Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The Post-Civil-War Editor of A Small Newspaper in Knoxville, TN, Who Influenced the Founding Father of Modern Journalism

Spring has come again to beautiful Old Gray Cemetery in Knoxville, TN. As a Trustee of Old Gray, I have been researching the lives of people buried there and find them fascinating, as history older than one’s memory usually is. … Continue reading

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Hearing Virginia Woolf in Buddhism Class

(Italicized text from The Waves by Virginia Woolf)

The young monk sinks easily into the asana, or lotus, position. He is Caucasian, tall and thin with large dark eyes and a friendly smile. I guess him to be in his thirties. Over a plain, long-sleeved cotton shirt, he wears the traditional Tibetan Buddhist robe—a maroon cotton cloth wrapped across the left shoulder and another wrapped around his waist, floor-length. His short black hair is in a tight knot at the center of his crown, sleek as if gelled to control stray curls. Before him, on the tiny puja (prayer table) sits not an ancient scroll in Pali or Sanskrit but a laptop. The glowing Apple on its open cover seems especially incongruous; I wonder if he is ever tempted by all the seductive fruit of the Internet. Continue reading

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Elegy for Chilhowee Park, Knoxville, Tennessee

In old photographs they stroll in Sunday finery on lazy afternoons before the Wars, like ghosts in their Victorian summer whites on dirt paths that curve between boathouse and mineral spring. Sometimes they float in wooden canoes on Lake Ottosee … Continue reading

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Discovering the Past in Le Marais, Paris

It does not seem to me, Austerlitz added, that we understand the laws governing the return of the past, but I feel more and more as if time did not exist at all, only various spaces interlocking according to the … Continue reading

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The Magnitude of the Magnolia

I love flowers for their treachery their fragile bodies grace my imagination’s avenues without their presence my mind would be an unmarked grave. –from The Spring Flowers Own by Etel Adnan May, my favorite month, the month of ambrosial blossoms—jasmine, … Continue reading

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What is the Grass?

What is the grass?  A child asks Whitman that question in “Song of Myself,” the best-known poem in Leaves of Grass.  At first, he says he doesn’t know, but, being Whitman, soon takes up the metaphorical challenge.  He offers a … Continue reading

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Tennessee Williams at the Copacabana

Today, I am here with 88-year-old mother in the nursing home dining room for Friday Happy Hour. The beverage highlight is a Fuzzy Navel with rum. All of the resident attendees, my mother included, are in wheelchairs. I am thinking … Continue reading

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Sanitarium of the Mind

Some days the news is so bad, circumstances so dire, or personal loss so devastating, I long for one of those old-fashioned health resorts, an open-air sanitarium from the days before psychotherapy mushroomed into the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual … Continue reading

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Baking Soda Moments

Involuntary memory is a funny thing. Today, while scrubbing the shower stall, I suddenly thought of two people, my mother and my late father-in-law, prompted by the baking soda—baking soda moments, I suppose, to borrow from Proust.  I could not … Continue reading

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Fall again.  Light thins, weakens, fades; serotonin production slows to a trickle.  I was already in a melancholy mood when I read a friend’s email this morning. He’s a retired biology professor; in fact, the man who directed my husband’s … Continue reading

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