This is Today

I try to keep my blog a healing and nurturing place for myself and maybe a bit of an escape for readers. So I don’t like to write here about political issues. In fact, I hate politics, although I recognize how important they are. I can wish for permanent world peace, but I know that humans are deeply flawed and that the concept is a utopian ideal. Even without taking into account sociopaths and psychopaths, humans are gnarly, snarly selfish creatures. That said, there are plenty of mainly wonderful people doing wonderful things in this world.

Anyway this is leading up to me saying something about a political situation. And that is war perpetuated against Ukraine by Putin and Company. I find it so distressing, both for the Ukrainians and for world stability. There are constant wars against people all around the world, but the reason I am commenting here on this isn’t because these are white Europeans, although I’ve seen people argue this. It’s because there is a domino effect that can occur and there is a pattern of war in Europe contributing to or leading to war in many regions (world war).

Additionally, all four of the gardener’s grandparents were Jews from Ukraine, although it was part of the Russian Empire in those days.  Jewish history beyond the Pale has a lot of sad chapters, but there were also happy times and some good neighbors. Volodymyr Zelenskyy being selected as president of Ukraine was a big deal. He not only was a comedian and not a politician before this top office, but he is Jewish. How significant and hopeful that someone Jewish could be elected president of Ukraine. And now this horror.  Please send Ukraine what you’re good at: prayers, protesting, positive vibes, money, whatever you can do.

Here is a poem Rattle just published by a Ukrainian poet. She took Putin’s speech from Feb 21 and created an erasure poem, where words are erased to find a different meaning. Mir in Ukraine


I had to get a piece of my memoir ready for the workshop at the Tucson Festival of Books. I received the manuscripts from the other participants the other day and am eager to read them. Some of them are probably the same pieces that made them finalists. For mine, I chose a different one. For the contest I sent in the first section of the memoir, about when I was a little kid. For the workshop I sent in the next section, where I was ten to 14 or so. I know that makes it sound like an autobiography, but it’s definitely a memoir, focused more on my relationship with my father.

On the subject of my arty junk journals, I began to prep the book to use for daughter’s wedding journal. First I had to gut my 2nd year French book. That felt great! It also provided me with some collage materials–music, maps, French passages. When I first saw people altering books, I didn’t like it. I couldn’t imagine violating a book. The teaching I had received about treating books like treasures was strong within me. But now I realize that there are plenty of books that end up in landfills and that there is a difference between an out-of-date textbook and a first edition of Peter Pan. It’s fun to give the book cover and the “collage materials” from the inside new life.

Reading some good books, such as Ashley C. Ford’s Somebody’s Daughter, a memoir, and Caroline Goodwin’s Madrigals, a collection of poetry and collage art.



Filed under #amreading, #amrevising, #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, #writingcommunity, art journaling, Memoir, Reading, Writers Conference

50 responses to “This is Today

  1. It’s difficult not to think of this war right now. My grandparents also came from Ukraine and Belarus. Good luck with your writing and projects! 💙

  2. Amy

    I agree—how can anyone not agree that Putin is a threat to everyone everywhere, not just to Ukraine? And my husband’s four grandparents were also all born in Ukraine before immigrating to the US in the early 20th century.

    So…what is the difference between an autobiography and a memoir? Best of luck at the workshop.

    • Exactly like the gardener’s! His name should be erased!
      An autobiography tells someone’s life story. A memoir tells a true story about someone’s life that is more focused, usually from a shorter period of time.

  3. My prayers are with the brave people of Ukraine who continue to fight for their freedom. Good luck with your writing projects, Luanne.

    • Thank you, Jill.
      My prayers, too, and so those of so many. I contacted a Ukrainian crafter on etsy this morning to see if I could just “buy” something, anything. I told her our hearts are with them. She said that is so valuable to them to hear. Makes me so sad.

  4. Thank you, Luanne, for your reflections on Ukraine’s crisis, its being under attack. My background includes Italian and German ancestors, but Ukraine has a special place in my heart. I took a river cruise on the Dneiper from Kiev to Odessa before lockdown, and I fell in love with the country and its people. When will people ever learn, how can we ever have peace? Personally, I am happy that The Hand of Ganesh is about a month away from publication, and grateful for the life I have. Have been walking my labyrinth, in prayer, for Ukraine. Blessings to you and yours.

    • I’ve been thinking about you, Elaine! and that marvelous trip you took and how much you loved Ukraine and how jealous I was because I wanted to go! Concentrate on your labyrinth and the book pub as much as you can. I know that the news from Ukraine kind of takes over our minds and hearts!

  5. It’s especially difficult for people from there. I’d so glad to shared your thoughts, and the erasure poem. Mir, peace in Russian. Do you know “The Keeping Quilt”? A dear picture book about fabrics from a babushka becoming part of a quilt that was as a cloth during Sabbath meals, a huppa for a wedding, as a bedspread as great grandma was dying, as a baby quilt for the author–reaching across “six generations and an ocean of time.”

    • I love that book and all of Polacco’s work! She’s a Michigander, too, and I follow her on Facebook (her daughter actually handles the posting)! In fact, I posted an illustration from the book the other day, pretty sure. This reminds me: so many people think Fiddler on the Roof was about Russia, but it was from Ukraine as Sholom Aleichem who wrote the Tevye short stories was from Kiev (Kyiv)!

  6. Thank you for posting the link to the erasure poem, Luanne. I listened to the spoken word version to get the full impact. I can’t think of a better vehicle for an anti-war poem than using the warmonger’s own words to call for peace.

    I hope the workshop will be helpful for your progress on the memoir. (I am so looking forward to reading it when it’s finished.)

  7. Thank you for the link to Mir in Ukraine, Luanne and for your thoughts on this terrible thing that has happened. I have no relatives or ancestors to focus my prayers on and have never visited Ukraine but it fills me with fear and horror especially with Putin’s threat that he will use nuclear weapons. It reminds me of being a very little girl in school just after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. We regularly had to practise what we would do if a missile was launched on London. We heard the sirens (the same ones that had been used during the Second World War) and we all had to hide under our desks. I remember feeling terrified because my parents and grandparents spoke a lot about their experiences during WW2. I had no idea that hiding under a desk would not protect me from a nuclear missile. The people of Ukraine have no protection against anything that Putin might throw at them. All they have is their immense bravery and the knowledge that they are willing to fight to the death for their country.

  8. I’m also particularly worried by this war Luanne, because it does seem he is perfectly prepared to start a world war and use nuclear weapons. Uncertain times.

  9. It seems like so much conflict all the time. I pray for the Ukrainian people. I have many friends from there. Best wishes for your upcoming writing events.

  10. I hate the idea of what’s happening in the Ukraine. It makes me sad and frustrated. Good to talk about it here, but not dwell on it. I hope your writing event is great.

  11. This war is an outrage. All folks have the potential to be drawn in.

  12. Ha ha. I bet there are a lot of people who would love to tear up their old French books. On the subject of the Ukrainian invasion, I think the whole world is shocked at the unprovoked aggression and the killing of innocent civilians. I never thought this would happen again, but here we are….

    • I never thought so either! This is so crazy!!!!
      Haha re the French book. Especially for me. It’s so weird since I’m a writer and a reader, but I am not good with languages. Well, I’m good with written, but not spoken languages. Way too uncomfortable with having a bad pronounciation and way too lazy to work on it. Anyway, I didn’t need this old book any more ;)!

      • That’s the same with me. I’m great with written but not so good with spoken languages. But I know a lot of people who would be happy to shred their old French textbooks. It’s not an easy language.

  13. This is how world wars start. I wonder if mankind will ever change. Always wars and the search for power.

  14. Rita O.

    Re “Even without taking into account sociopaths and psychopaths, humans are gnarly, snarly selfish creatures.”

    Yes. it’s because psychopaths are only ONE of TWO married pink elephants in the room, and the second one is the bigger elephant — read “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room” …

  15. Luanne, at times like this you can’t help but mention politics and this is so much more. Europe is rocked by this, we are all in shock and disbelief and wondering how far it will go all the while feeling for the suffering of its people.

    I’m smiling at your French book and the positive feeling it gave you – mine would be the same with a Physics book. Wishing you well with your creation and writing! hugs x

    • Ah physics! I never had to take it as I never took biology–and that was because I refused to dissect any animals. I was banished to the dummy “earth science” class. And there my science education was buried for good.
      Speaking of the war, it’s so horrifying. I feel so heartbroken and it’s so hard to focus.

  16. Whatever our principles about politics and blogging, it is difficult to eschew it completely at the moment

  17. Praying for the Ukraine! Heartbreaking does not seem to describe adequately how everyone is feeling. People have been through so much in these last few years, and now this. I do believe in the power of prayer, and I know that so many people in so many places around the world are praying day in and day out. I wish you blessings with your writing projects…sometimes, it does help to talk about these things, so we can keep moving forward. Keeping everything inside does not help us much…

  18. If only we lived in a world where politics could be ignored and no harm would be done, but such a world never has and never will exist. I had been avoiding reading and listening to the news, but since Russia invaded Ukraine, listening to the latest news is what I do on my morning walks. I have wondered if support for Ukraine has more to do with them being “White Europeans,” but I think you’re more accurate: the loss of Ukraine to Russia will have a domino effect, and nobody (in their right mind) wants another world war. I really think Putin has gone off the deep end. I wonder if, like Trump, he has surrounded himself only with those who will agree with everything he says. From what I’ve been hearing, Putin has more to lose than to gain from invading Ukraine, even if he “wins.”

    Good luck with the book festival. Most of all, have fun!!

    • I plan to have fun, Marie. I hope that going away will give me a break from the news on TV, on my iPhone, on the computer screen. It’s a feeling like heartbreak.

  19. Lovely post, Luanne. I too stand with Ukraine, against the bully and murderer, Putin. I hope hope hope that Mr. Zelensky and his people will prevail. I quiver and cry at the prospect of a third world war. It must not happen!!!

  20. Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    And now from Luanne…

  21. Sadly, I do tend to agree with your overarching view on humanity although there are good people out there too. I’m glad your old text books came in handy.

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