Saturday, January 25, 2014

Coffeeshop Writers' Group - Les Trois! - Poem: A Home of my Own - Dinner for one

Linda Barrett and Margaret sat opposite me. Margaret's parents own Hunan Village in Abington, PA.

Linda read AN INHERITANCE OF LOVE, written for her mom's 84th b'day.

Beautiful! I wouldn't change a thing, I said to Linda.

When I call Linda, I often talk briefly with her mother, Jane. "She treats me like a queen," sez Jane. "I really don't deserve it."

I'm wearing a Ralph Lauren lightweight sweater I bought at the now-defunct Le Coffee Salon in Hatboro, PA, when my friend Yin Liu was the owner. Just discovered it at the bottom of the heap.

I gave Margaret an assignment to write a poem - or a prose poem - for next week's meeting. She smiled in her shy way and said she can't write poetry.

Then, I said, write about something you really enjoy. First of all, look at her gorgeous purse! She could write about that! But, nope, she won't take a chance.

Here's my poem. I read it to Judy Lipstick over the phone and she did not like the ending at all. Then she called me back. Ruth, you have so many beautiful things in your house... that Richard Parker tiger... and on and on she went.

BTW, Judy is the only one who 'got' my literary references, including the title, which I hadn't realized was similar to VA Woolf's A Room of One's Own.



Apartment living offered
roaches, who squirted
tobacco juice on our books,
the sounds of pig-bellied
Donna who yelled at her
husband for jerking-off
in the shower
and a kind-hearted family man,
a felon, across the hall who
carried my grocery bags
up to the second floor
before their ouster for
posted prominently on the door.

We were happy there,
the three of us, Sarah and Dan
in alphabetical order of their birth.

At Goddard College in Vermont
I kept cowbells on the door
I can still hear their Arnold Shoenberg dissonance
from my home on Cowbell Road
with the almost palindromic zip code

My house has become my child.
For Sarah and Dan have fluttered away
The architect is unknown but he had a
sense of humor, slanting the roof,
so that in the living room we cry,
“Raise High the Roofbeams, Carpenter!”
and admire the dust abstracts glimmering
like Pollacks from the fake wooden
beams, yes, my very own cathedral in
which I dare not pray to a Creator who
does not exist,
but do.

Let me lie down on the soft cream-colored
carpet in the Quiet Room. This, too, is my
child, chosen, not conceived. Architect
that I am, I designed this room like the
Creator his universe, Let there be light,
with transparent white lacey curtains and
a halo of life’s bounties.

It’s the room I choose to die in, hopefully
not a brain tumor like Dad’s – oh, he withered
up into a ball and was gone
just like that. The Quiet Room will steady me
in my descent – or should I say ascent? –
to the billions of galaxies beyond our view
where perhaps I’ll meet Richard Feynman and Einstein,
Dad will be there with his arms out, calling
Ruthie! Ruthie! How long I have waited.   

Judy had mentioned the J D Salinger docu which we both watched on PBS. Praps that's where I got the idea of Raise High.

Making my Butternut Squash Soup. Wanted to show you the Butternut Chunks. They'll get so soft you can Squash them with a spoon, instead of pulverizing em in the blender.

I had two bowls. Seasoned with cinnamon, black pepper, and pulverized garlic. Also has the usual peppers onions and mushroom.


Ed Hunter, Career Coach speaks at the Giant while the snow falls gently all around

Well, not exactly, but the weather was daunting enough that very few people were out on the roads.

Here's Ed Hunter, who I recognized from his website Life in Progress Coaching. 

Robin Frankin, head of the community room activities, helped us set up the room. I mentioned to her that I read in the Inquirer that Giant just donated $5 million to CHOP, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which she knew about.

All the more reason to shop at the Giant! Social responsibility.

I'll say one thing about Ed's presentation. There was not a single moment of boredom. He livened his talk with anecdotes about himself and his clients and seasoned it with a sense of humor. Wish I had space to tell you some of his tales, such as sitting next to a woman on the airplane, who was dissatisfied about her job, until he asked her: What is your dream job?

To his astonishment, she said she wanted to own a biz that trained Guide Dogs for the Blind.

WHAT GETS PEOPLE HIRED? Their intelligence. That's the no. one factor. Everyone wants smart people but the number one thing that derails careers is RELATIONSHIPS.

People must learn to build relationships at work.

Here's a few of our intrepid job seekers. Would you hire people who came out in the snow to learn how to find work?  

JOB SEARCH. Several different types. Active job seekers are constantly on the Internet looking for jobs. They go on well-known sites like, CareerBuilders, Craigslist - watch out for scams -  and LinkedIn. Ed advises to sign on with LinkedIn, altho he believes there's only a small chance it will help land you a job. Go on their Groups site.

Passive job seekers are happy with their jobs but if a great opportunity comes along they'll investigate.

70 percent of jobs in the US are with small businesses with less than 100 employees. 

Ed discussed the SAW Method of seeking work.

S for SEEK is the dominant method. Seems like it should work, going on above websites, but it's not that effective.

A for APPLY. Companies want you to apply online b/c it's really a fence to keep you out, said Ed. People prefer to walk into a company and charm them with their personality, but it doesn't work that way anymore. You can chance it with a small biz and have a conversation with someone.

W for WAIT BY THE PHONE. Don't you hate that? (Oh, maybe that's them, offering me a job, or a second interview, when it's only your wife asking you to buy milk on the way home.)

Ed likes the teachings and books of LOU ADLER, a noted recruiter. 

Note to Mr Adler from Ms Deming:  Your website's a bit dull-looking. Spice it up with some nice colors and designs. Also, get to the point. During the cursory look I took at your website, I didn't learn anything. You're too long-winded.

ALWAYS CHECK YOUR COMPETITION, said Ed. There's another international recruiting firm called Management Recruiters International. Look at their attractive website.

Looks do count! BTW, I knew the man who founded MRI, who became a billionaire. Alan Schonberg worked with my dad at Majestic Specialties, ladies' apparel in Cleveland. Alan left to co-found his company. And my dad died a pauper, buried in a pauper's grave. Not really, that's me... I have no burial insurance.

Alan Schonberg lost his battle to lung cancer last November at age 85. Click on that link above to learn of the importance of mentors.

Lou Adler took a survey of 1600 people. The question was: How did you get your last job?

12 percent got it through the Internet
32 percent through Passive Seeking, an opportunity came up
46 percent through Networking
14 percent through Recruiters, who only look for executives or professionals. 

The Hidden Job Market is Public, Someone found you on LinkedIn.

When finding a job, said Ed, ask yourself these questions: What job would be fun to try next? If you have an inkling that you're not going to enjoy a particular job, don't work there out of desperation. Most likely, you'll be miserable and back to square one.

Sell yourself like E F Hutton sold itself in commercials.

When E F Hutton talks, people listen. Watch this legendary commercial here. 

Be enthusiastic and passionate about your interests. You've got to tell people what you've done, in an exciting way, not a boring way.

Papa! You done got the job! And bring along your brand new bag.


People you know like dentists, lawyers, accountants


Who would you like to work for?

Have conversations - not with this guy - and learn about what you want to do next.

Okay to say on an interview "I'm in transition." Be honest. And tell them what you'd love to do.

Be kind to yourself, said Ed, while looking for work. For sure, the Job Hunt is not for sissies.

Applause for Ed Hunter, who came all the way from Valley Forge, and a special gift to warm your house in winter... Red Cyclomen

Oy veh Dr Shlewiet - Mazel Tov Latif - Greetings Craig Slingluff

Selfie in warm PJs with a cuppa blueberry tea to help keep me warm at this outrageous hour of 12:45 am. It's so cold in the house - I keep the temp at 69 - that I wear layers and also my shoes for when I go in the kitchen.

Bundled up this morning to run after Mailman Ken - man, it was cold - and very slippery - I wanted to mail a supportive letter to my Board Member Dr Basem K Shlewiet.
That man is in serious trouble for 'criminally assaulting his patients.' I wrote the letter with the help of my friend Teresa. The final words were:

One day you may find that writing a book about your experiences will be healing and provide a blueprint for other psychiatrists to follow when confronted by intolerable temptation.

My prayers go out to you, your family, and the victims. (I should've wrin 'to YOUR victims)
 Read the story in the Philadelphia Inquirer and watch the damning video. 

I worked on the Compass all day long, taking a break to watch and nap thru Netflix during my lunch break: a great film noir "Crime Against Joe" with John Bromfield and Julie London.

Then I watched "The Following" with Kevin Bacon, who played a detective trying to catch a brilliant professor of literature who just happened to be a serial killer.

Hi Kev!!! Can you see me typing on my Red Living Room Couch?

Lemme tell you something before I forget. You know how I love my house, right? Last nite while falling asleep, it came to me that I love it the way I love a person. Or a child. For example, when I walk in the upstairs hallway I reach out and touch the Yellow Quilt hanging on the wall. It's so beautiful and it's mine.

The same is true for the soft hallway carpet I picked out all by myself. The house is the keeper of my soul. Does that sound strange?

I worked for about four hours on the story of Latif, a reformed thief. I titled the story "LATIF: Twenty Years a Prisoner." Iris said it was a great tale.

Photo: Me in front of old temple in the sea
This is Ellen Rosenberg who's winding up her teaching of English in Bali. She suggested I use one of her photos for the Compass.

We've got the cover photo. Actually, it's a stage set from a play written and directed by

Stephen Stahl
Stephen Stahl, an actor/director who lives in New Hope. He and his then partner were the first gay couple to apply for a marriage license in PA. Very interesting story about his career and his setbacks. He is astoundingly frank and riding the wave of the success of his latest play, off-Broadway.

And, me? I never leave Cowbell Road unless the gig is 20 minutes away or less from my house!


Craig L Slingluff, Jr, MD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Craig is a terrific poet. We'll publish two of his poems. I found him quite by accident.

In 2004, the Compass had a wonderful series of poems called "Remembering Janice in Building 50" by a man with a similar name. 

Here's Building 50, where many New Directions' members, including myself, spent many an awful stay after being out of control with our mental illness.

Don't it give you the creeps? Dickensian. My motto: Make your first visit your last.

So, when I goggled the Craig of Janice fame, I came up with
Craig  L.  Slingluff,  Jr.,  MD
Professor of Surgery
Research Interests: Human Tumor Cell Antigens

The man is a wonderful poet and studied with the great Gregory Orr and Carolyn Forche. Read Forche's "The Colonel" here. 

I believe it's a true story b/c I met her at Arcadia College in Glenside, PA, at the Poet Laureate Ceremony when blind David Simpson, accompanied by his dog "Willow" became the Poet Laureate of Montgomery County.

Let's get them in the Wawa video cam now:


Great shot of David with his long gray hair. His twin brother Dan, also blind, is a poet, too.

Back to Craig, I'm especially interested in cancer treatments since my dad - as well as my BF Simon - both died of lung cancer that meta'd to their brains.

Said Craig in his emails tonite about his cancer research: "We've made some discoveries, and continue to learn a lot.  Some of the work has made a bit of a splash in the field."


"In cancer, we are trying to induce immune responses about the "transformed self" cells that make up the cancer.  It is a fascinating field indeed."

Read Craig's poem "Mastectomy" in the Virginia Quarterly Review. What sensitivity!

Two of Craig's fave poets are Robert Hass and Mary Oliver. I'd never read Hass but reserved it online at my library.

Let's you and I find one of Hass's poems and read it together at - what? - two in the morning already?

Howdy Bobby! I shore like your poetry. Ever heard how Bill Moyers pronounces it? PWO-eh-tree.

Wow, this is an awesome series of pwomes. Read it here and swoon!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna open my front door - it's 18 degrees outside - and pay my respects to God. I like to say hello, even tho he's never there.