BECOMING MARJORIE launched!

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Sharing the stage with (left to right) Rainy Day Books founder and owner, Vivien Jennings, Marjorie’s daughters Barbara and Debbie, the author (me!), and Marjorie’s friend and colleague, Janice Kreamer, Chair of the Kauffman Foundation.

More than two years ago, I began a book commission to capture the story of one of our nation’s unsung feminists–the sort of woman who wouldn’t have even called herself a feminist. It all culminated with an incredible launch week for me full of media interviews and promo stuff from September 19 to 24, 2017.  All those spoon-bending, how-in-the-heck-am-I-gonna-do-this hours spent (and will experience again–I’m already into the next commission) do somehow grow from an idea into the words and they find their pages and get beautifully bound and into the hands of readers.

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The NPR gig: now to remember everything I wrote!

I’m going to give enormous credit to the most amazing artists who comprise 94 Design–Paul and Laura Adams. Their exquisitely art-directed style turned boxes of artifacts into thoughtful visual assets. This is our second book together and I really don’t want to ever try this without them. They make my concept real, and then they make even better than I hoped it could look.

Paul and Laura Adams of 94 Design are the consummate professionals behind the art-directed look.

If you’d like to learn more about the woman who prompted a book to be written about her amazing life and legacy 25 years after she died, she’s here:

BECOMING MARJORIE

http://www.rainydaybooks.com/search/site/Becoming%20Marjorie

 

And the Women Said

“And the Women Said” by Kelly Grace Thomas | Rattle: Poetry
http://www.rattle.com/wp-content/themes/reddle/js/html5.js

Kelly Grace Thomas

AND THE WOMEN SAID

And the women said watch as men call us lottery tickets
watch as they cash register us into gamble into played
out combinations of sweaty bills and pocket want
watch as they lick their lips for that better life
watch as they pout, when we don’t pay out.
When the bling of our breasts don’t make them
Cheshire cat the same. When we got our own debts
that gotta be paid, to mirrors, to mammas, to the way our hearts
traffic light in the closet after we sold ourselves
whole.
And the women said feel the way we became campfire
how we ghost storied into this dangerous beauty.
How them men can’t scrub out our smoke, how our blue learned
to burn slow, standstill like the moment between beggin and maybe.
Feel the way we soil into shovel, how we let ourselves be held even
after a matchbox tongue misspoke of our flames, even after we told flint,
you don’t live here no more. The women said feel how we are not open
fields waiting for their strike. They cannot not bury us
deep, call us things of war and be surprised
when we land mine.

from Rattle #51, Spring 2016
Tribute to Feminist Poets
2017 Neil Postman Award Winner

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oh what a world

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My daughter celebrated her 20th birthday by marching on Washington DC with tens of thousands of other women. It was an intense kind of joining, and a peaceful event . . . the sort of thing that happens when women are in charge.

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I have no hope for this country under the new administration, but I am full of hope for what women can do to influence our future. Just looking at my girl makes me feel that way.

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the salt in the water

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I am swaying back and forth over the steam . . . praying to the God of salt in boiling water who keeps the eggshell from cracking.

Today I awakened in a country of unconscionable choice. Deep in the dirt of my DNA there is some Pompeii of knowing what life will be like now. I know what we must do, if we can.

My friends and I text a roll call to see who is standing and how. Nessie wants walking but I’m not sure anything’s got legs anymore, certainly not the popular vote.

Andrew called from Ireland to remind me of my daughter’s heart. I make of list of happinesses: Elise got engaged. Brianna’s little Oliver is a week old now. Cybelle got that job at Western. Mail just dropped through the slot in the box just like any old day. The feeling of my son’s earlobes and the center of his forehead. Gregorian Chants. Bagpipes. To be on the last part of the last chapter and know I’ll make my deadline. The expensive lotion from Taylor. The mermaid stone from Jane. The bird candle from Suzanne, and the birds in Jill’s office. The birds in the airport. Yesterday’s lunch to celebrate my daughter’s first vote in a presidential election that included a woman’s name on the ticket. Here’s to those eggs, and here’s to celebrating before they were broken. And if I bake bread or write thank you notes or make soup, then oxygen will start to flow through this bag of bones again.

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Outside my kitchen window, there is a geesyness of sky and November’s leaf music. The sun still rose over a world that has seen far worse, I tell myself.

I place the three eggs in the pan. I add more salt to the water, less to the wound.

© L. Seaver 11/9/16

the last thing She sees

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Of the field and fall

from grace we yield

the summer-sated grasses

and the golden-hour lasses . . .

Letting go the season

has come to pass

What wouldn’t I
do to spare you?

The Earth drops her gown

from green to gold to ground

but the last thing She’ll see

is blue . . . remembering

a world She once knew

. . . all the women do.

© LGS 9/14


(Bolstered by my writerly colleagues at http://www.lakeeffectwritersguild.com, I post this for my girl, and for all us girls)

“With No Language but a Cry”

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The Coyotes surely understand it.

Their primal sound

melding death and birth, pain and passion.

Our Scottie dog surely understood it,

howling with all the agony of Scotland.

The mother cows

bleating their grief when their calves are taken…

The deer

stomping their hooves and rubbing their foreheads

in an expression of emotion

that leaves me gaping in wonder.

The parents wailing in a playground in Pakistan . . .

My friends waiting for six year old Sophi to finish yet another round

of chemo . . .

Pieces of ourselves flying off our bodies, flying off our faces . . .

Emitting no words . . . not even organized cries, only high-pitched gasps,

trying to knit ourselves, our faces, our children, our planet

back together.

~ Barbara Jalon Hiles Mesle © 3/16

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the sister wives of Ignacio Rocket on the Vernal Equinox

After an hour in the labyrinth of the French Quarter, Elizabeth remembered, “I think I know a place where we can dance—it’s near the water.” So we moved like a herd of cats towards what turned out to be a polka bar. “Perhaps I should have been more specific,” I said to no one who could hear me above the drone of accordions. My friends drank dark beer from a big boot being passed around. Elizabeth said, “Just let this happen to you!” Then she went off shrieking and leaping around the dance floor like it was electrically charged, bumping and battling for space. Lisa yelled over the din directly into my ear: GOOD GOD, THE POLISH ARE A CLUMSY PEOPLE.

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Terri, Helen, Connie and I decided to find the gay bar instead. By now it was raining, so I shed my sandals and ventured barefoot into the late twilight. “There are diseases on the sidewalks here,” said Terri. “There is certain death in my shoes,” I countered.

Four sore blocks later, Helen said this whole night was beginning to feel like a pilgrimage. Terri said we should be getting close. Then Elizabeth was running at us from up ahead, “It’s up here!!” We had no idea how she got ahead of us. “My head feels like 11:59pm in 1999,” Connie said. There was no cover, so we all went in, absorbed by a purple haze of music.

The fog machine made us cough so Terri bought a medicinal round of drink. We danced wild and primitive to a pulsing thrum of ‘90s rock with one hundred of our closest, sweatiest new friends who indiscriminately gyrated against any gender. A tall skinny kid limboed into me . . . he asked my name and I said my name is too old for you . . . he looked affronted. WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU? Well, of course that is the question ‘xactly I said… ah come on he smiled Sid Viciously don’t you wanna dance with me… sure ok I’ll dance with you and you and you and you dervishing around everybody until a little Filipino man constricted me. His eyes glittered and his hands slithered but he couldn’t hold me so he conjoined Connie who later worried that some sort of fully-clothed consummation might have occurred and Elisabeth admitted she, too, most definitely felt his filipenis, so hey, maybe we are all sister wives now.

Only Helen made the final leg of the journey with me, into the dripping wet night with naked feet sore from conflagration . . . stepping over the No Trespass chain onto an old loading dock tilting into the delta. We watched reverently on our knees as the Moon revealed a dabbled path of light across the water in the first hour of morning. Before the perfectly balanced scales of the cosmos, we silently spoke the names that weighed heavily on our hearts. We tossed flowers of their faces into ripples that widened with grace and absolution on the equinox.

 

~ Leeanne Seaver © 2012