The Sixties Two Ways

Those of us who came of age in the 1960s are now in our 60s…including my lovely husband, Al, who turns 60 soon. Al and I are at the top of our game, if you think of life as a game, which of course it is. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. With Al, I won big time! He’s my favorite person on the planet and supports me no matter what. There have been a lot of amazing sunsets in our thirty years together:)

Since early 2014, Al and I have had more challenges as a couple than we’ve had in our entire marriage. We’ve also had more blessings. Through it all, he was the one I leaned on, he was the one I could count on, he was the one who held me in the light. He loved me well; he loves me still. How lucky am I? I will never forget the remarkable kindness of this man I had the good sense to marry.


I’ve grown in amazing ways just by following Al’s example. Where I am anxious, he is calm. Where I am insecure, he is a rock. Where I am sad, he always has a smile. He’s sparked some major changes for me, all for the better. He’s always telling me to “go for it” with whatever my heart desires. And now I’m able to do the same for him. I tell him all about the Desire Map stuff I’m learning even though I think he somehow intuited it the day he was born sixty years ago.

As Al and I came of age in the 1960s, the world was all about peace & love. We had those qualities instilled in us at an age where they took root and grew. Peace and love are still two of my favorite words and best feelings. And we are still stardust, we are still golden…just like Joni Mitchell says in “Woodstock.”

I used to think that bodies being made of stardust was a nice metaphor. Many years later, through my interest in and study of cosmology, I learned that we are literally made of stardust. Joni wrote some smart lyrics. And we are still living in Woodstock Nation, without the mud and bad acid:)

Al and I create dreams for our future instead of rushing to meet deadlines. Our next big dream is to visit ancient Greece. Well, that’s my dream. Al wants to go to Alaska, via Seattle of course. I’m on board with that trip because there’s a little someone in Seattle I’m longing to see. And his parents, too!

No matter where our stardust lands on the planet, I believe that, for both of us, the 60s are going to be sensational. All over again.

Peace & Love,


What Gen? And Why?

Ju1BHst read an article by Abby Ellin in “Psychology Today” explaining Millennials, aka Gen Y, to the rest of us. There’s always been a thing with me, especially when I was a young writer, and even now as a teacher, where I feel a little out of step with the times. As I got older and saw things happening in fiction I could not do 20 years ago, I got a glimmer.

I was ahead of my time.

Sound braggy? Frustrating is more like it.

I have wanted to teach hybrid and online classes since forever and I want students to have structured freedom. I want to not cross out the entertainment value of literature in favor of motifs and making sure none of the poems have curse words in them. I want students to research what truly moves them, whether it’s building their own online presence or posting a YouTube video as a final exam.

I am a 58 year old Baby Boomer, and, according to Ellin, have most of the characteristics of a Millennial. Just check out the number of “I”s in this post. To some in my own generation, this smacks of narcissism. To Millennials, it just means investing in your personal platform. Which I also do with my 12 year old beloved blog, *sticks out tongue at hacker* my frequent Twitter and Facebook presence and my early use of Instagram (before FB acquired it, I used the filters for fun.)

Am I self-promotional? A narcissist? Well, I don’t spam but I do want you to know I write books and I wouldn’t mind if you bought one. Or all of them. And print copies so I can autograph. Kidding. I get a little embarrassed when some rare friend asks me to sign a real book. I’m all about the e-age. It fits me, my work, my life, my ambitions. I’m an introvert in the internet age. Perfect.

Impatience has been a trait I’m suffered from early years (and I do mean suffer, skipping steps is not recommended) and I’ve tried to temper it in every way. Turns out Millennials think of this characteristic as cutting to the chase. Focusing in on what’s important right now. I do want  to get to the meat of the matter as quickly as possible. There’s way too many distractions these days. But I’m Boomer enough to know I might miss something along the blue highway, so I’m still trying to slow down and enjoy the show.

Valentine to 11 Years

This month marks 11 years here at A Writer’s Diary. In my life, I’ve achieved so much more than I ever thought possible. I was a high school drop-out who became a college teacher and the published author of five books. How’d that happen?

As a young woman, I didn’t have aspirations above getting married to a guy I loved, having kids, and being a homemaker. It was a weird dream for a freak, which is what people called kids like me back then, in post-hippie days. It wasn’t a put-down. We proudly flew our freak flags.

So I should have been joining a commune or something. Instead, I hitch-hiked all over the country my junior year and then begged to be let back in school for my senior year. I didn’t think they’d let me skip a grade, but I guess they wanted to get rid of me:) I graduated with my class.

I married my true love the same month: June ’73. A year later, we were divorced and I was licking my wounds in Key West, a 19 year-old divorcee on the run. Key West was different then. It was, put simply, paradise. But I was heart-sick over some stupid rebound guy, and didn’t ever fully appreciate its wonders. Mallory Square was just people holding beer bottles heading down to an empty area where we watched the sunset. No stores, no performers, nothing to distract us from that natural beauty.

Then the bad ex-boyfriend begged me to come back to Detroit, and like an idiot, I did. I’m still here, but he got the boot a long time ago. I promptly moved in with a musician boyfriend ten years older than me. When I saw his sister’s new baby, I was struck with unexplained baby lust. I wanted one. Really, really bad.

The muso said no, as he should have, and after I left him for the next husband, took off for California with another girl. I got married this time with all the special things my first group marriage by mayor didn’t have. And in the 7 years we were married, by the time I was 25, I had 2 sons, who remain the best things I ever did in this life. They grew into amazing men.


My divorce from their father, when I was 28, made me reassess my life. I had almost no college, except for a creative writing class I took. Because I was always a writer. I had my diary, I wrote journalism in junior high, graduated to poetry for the next ten years, and when I was pregnant with my first son, wrote my first novel.

This was all stuff that happened in the most natural way. I am a reader. I have always been a reader. But what slowly dawned on me was the fact that I was a writer, too. And I reasoned that teaching was a good job for a single mom writer for three big reasons: June, July, and August. Also, I was off school when my kids were. Perfect!

Ha. Teaching the kind of alternative kids that I had been was the hardest thing I have ever done. I applied to grad school and did that at night while teaching stoners with small attention spans during the day. Then I applied to teach at college. Then university. Then started taking chunks of time off to write.

I wasn’t a single mom for long. Marriage #3 has lasted 28 years this month. My sons were 5 and 7 when I married Al. They don’t remember me being married to their dad. They don’t remember I spent 5 years as a SAHM before the bug to move on bit me again. It was more than a bug, it was a troubled marriage. Almost 30 years later, I’m exploring divorce and child custody (as well as addiction) in the novel I’m writing.

So, how did this dream life come to me? Well, sure I did the footwork. But it’s been a pleasure. When you do what you love, life has a way of working out.

Back in ’73

reunion3A couple of weeks ago, I went to my 40th high school reunion at the beautiful botanical gardens in Taylor, Michigan, where I grew up. I don’t live there anymore, but my BFF Lisa was in town staying with us, and we decided it would be a fun trip down memory lane. Was it ever!

That’s Dave Allen and me in the pic above: he was my first love, my first kiss (!). The first kiss was not good. I thought kissing involved a lot of moving your head around, because that’s what it looked like on TV. Dave has no memory of how bad I was at kissing, but over the summer of ’69, he taught me:)

Now Dave is married to Diane. He plays guitar in a band. Like the MC5 shirt Dave is wearing, they kicked out the jams at the reunion, with a special appearance by Mike “Crawdaddy” Crawley on harmonica and vocals. Several ladies took the dance floor, along with a couple of the men, including Jesse Enriquez, another pal from way-back-when. Saw Mike Woodby too. I always loved him; he was so nice to me! He never tried to hit on me like most boys did back then. Not saying I was some beauty, far from it, it’s just guys. They’re like that when they’re teenagers.

Back to Dave for a minute. God, I loved him! I had one boyfriend before Dave, and I never let him kiss me. He put his arm around me at a dance and I thought he was getting fresh! But Dave, I was ready for him. That kiss he doesn’t remember was on the bleachers at West Junior High. Lisa and I drove by there after the reunion. We lived around the block from each other and drove by our houses. Trip back in time. Without the LSD.

So, Dave. I remember sitting in my parents’ basement and him casually talking about “when we got married.” I was thrilled! I remember his mom bringing us cold drinks as we sat on his porch. I remember I went with the family to Cedar Point. This was true love for a twelve year old. Or was I 13? Dave remembered another incident in which I gave him a love bite that was clearly visible to his mom. She didn’t hold it against me.

We were so innocent. All we did was kiss. And love each other lots. The best part of seeing Dave is he told me he sometimes reads my blog! I had no idea he even knew I had a blog. Crawdaddy brought a print copy of The Paris Notebook all the way from Kentucky for me to autograph. That was sweet, too. Just good people, good times, and yes, gray hair.

Our Fortunate Tortured Selves

Remember liberal guilt? The idea that because we had so much, we felt guilty, and so to assuage our consciouses, we were happy to give some back. I still think giving to the poor is a noble cause, but I never thought guilt was what social programs were about. I thought those programs were in place because of  love. Because of generosity.

I’ve been poor, even homeless, but I’ve always worked. My income, when I have one worth reporting to the IRS, has always hovered close to the poverty level, which is now $13,444. My jobs have been waitress, secretary, high school teacher, college teacher, writer. The only government assistance I’ve ever used was a Pell Grant to start my college education. After I married, the Pell Grant went away. I pursued education anyway because I believed it was my way to a better job than waitress, bartender, or secretary.

Now I have two degrees in English, two jobs (writing and teaching) and I couldn’t buy myself a used car. Forget about a house! My husband is the reason I am living in a new house, buying new things to furnish it with, and feeling twinges of guilt. I have so much. Most of the world has so little. It doesn’t seem fair.

Land a man, land on your feet. This uncomfortable truth has been the reality of my life. Yes of course I cook and clean and so forth. That’s the unpaid work we women who marry take on. Well, some of us.

Had I not been married, I would have pursued full time teaching with more zeal. But the way things happened, I was able to teach part-time and write for great chunks of time, taking years off the day job. Without that time  off from teaching, I never would have been able to pursue things like writing for magazines. I would not have been able to write novels or find a publisher. I probably wouldn’t be writing this post or have the time to worry about all the poor people in the world. I’d be too busy grading papers or flying the freeways.

When I told my husband about a post I wrote a week or so ago, all about moving to the country and buying new curtains, he said I should be careful. He said I should not flaunt our situation. He said it would make some people with less feel bad. He was right. And ever since, I’ve been feeling guilty about my good fortune.