Category Archives: Cultural Politics

Woman vs Man Preparing for Book Launch & Events

Woman: weeks (months?) getting ready for book launch.
Buy new dress.
Return dress.
Decide to wear edgy jagged-hem blouse.
Realize anyone using word ‘blouse’ is too old for edgy.

Pick  black dress from among 12 similar black dresses in closet.
Try 12 similar schmattas (aka shrugs, cardigans, wraps) to cover upper arms.

Spends hour trying on necklaces to enhance neckline.

Remembers Bobbi Brown admonition to women of a certain age: Color near face for brightening!!!

Buys scarf of every color.

Looks for best arrangement of said scarves to
a) Hide neck wattle
b) Brighten!! (see above)
c) Prevent scarf-induced hot flash.

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One Morning in America Wearing a Safety Pin



Today, for the first time since the election, I went out and about in places where my safety pin could be clearly seen. (Till now? More hunkered, than out.)

I’ll put this as plainly as I can—it made a difference. Three times in one morning, interacting with two women (sisters) I’ve known for fifteen years, and two strangers. Immigrants from three countries: Brazil, Vietnam, and Ireland.

1) The sisters and I spoke in my driveway. One speaks easily in English; the other is less comfortable. The former pointed to the safety pin on my sweater and said, “I just heard about that on the radio.” We all shook our heads.

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Ten Ways to Begin Protecting Our Country, Our Worlds & Human Rights



Like so many, I woke up this morning, tearful, angry, and terrified for the freedom of all in our country and the attention we must pay to climate change. But even as I feel horrified, I refuse to feel hopeless or without agency.

We must look forward, ever more determined to do the right thing.

(My family tells me, sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a rolling of their eyes, that I have always been a ‘Plan B’ person).

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We’re All Immigrants: The Recipe Edition!


Grandpa Bernie, Grandma Kaplan, Stepdad Norman, Grandpa Cherlin, Mom & Grandma Bessie

Grandpa Bernie, Grandma Kaplan, Stepdad Norman, Grandpa Cherlin, Mom & Grandma Bessie

My dear friend, Robin Black, made the wise suggestion of having an election night dinner that was a tribute to immigrants. There are few few among us in America (Native Americans) who didn’t come from ‘somewhere’ –so, in effect:

Todos somos inmigrantes, Wǒmen dōu shì yímín, nahn jamieaan almuhajirin & waxaanu wada nahay waddanka u soo guurey

Among the many ways we can come together, what’s happier than food? I invite all to share their recipes–below in comments, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and over your back fence. Here’s one from my grandmother collection:

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Voting, We’re All Children of Immigrants



Not to get all Freudian, but last night I woke gasping for breath (repeatedly), paralyzed with fear, riding waves of Donald Trump smothering me. The nightmare stapled me to the bed. (And, I know if he read this, he’d say I wasn’t even close to being good-looking enough for him to nightmare me.)

Women cite stomachaches, inability to work, leaden feelings in their limbs, sleeplessness, and depression. Many men, including my husband, are as upset–but they move into anger quicker, while we fight feelings of being smothered and are traumatized from past sexual assaults as we hear his assaultive words against women.

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Not Our Shame


With every listen, the Trump sex assault tape sounds worse. Every syllable engenders feelings of being small and wretched and humiliated. I search for the genesis of these emotions, for the source of my desire to curl up into an invisible ball.

And the truths wash in:

The time my neighbor’s boyfriend covered my six-year-old crotch with his (fifty? sixty?) year-old fingers, inserting them through the fabric, while giving me a swim lesson in Coney Island. My shame, even now, floods back. My shame. My sister was with me. We were two little girls.

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Also posted in Domestic Violence, My Life, My Opinionated Self, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Debut Books by Writers Over 40

(first published in 2011)

Originally, I tried to resist writing this—especially after my plea against categorizing authors.  Plus, so many of us hide our age in this world of never-get-old, unearthing this information, even in our Googlized world, was difficult.

But when , along with the plethora of lists of writers under 40, I was faced with the declaration that, as headlined in a Guardian UK article about writers, ‘Let’s Face It, After 40 You’re Past It.”

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Five Ways to Give When Gifting


gift collage

Below are five of my most trusted ways to give twice when I gift a friend or family member. From book marks to magnificent jewelry, y.ou can’t go wrong with any of the organizations and sites below

Women for Women International

“Since 1993, Women for Women International has helped nearly 420,000 marginalized women in countries affected by war and conflict. We directly work with women in 8 countries offering support, tools, and access to life-changing skills to move from crisis and poverty to stability and economic self-sufficiency.

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Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped the Frank Family By Miep Gies with Alison Leslie Gold

anne frank book

“I am not a hero. I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I 

anne frankdid or more—much more—during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those of us who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then.


More than twenty thousand Dutch people helped to hide Jews and others in need of hiding during those years. I willingly did what I could to help. My husband did as well. It was not enough.” (from the prologue.)

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Can You Define ‘Women’s Fiction’?


How good does a female athlete have to be before we just call her an athlete? —Author Unknown

When did women’s fiction come to be? In 1956, the New York Times reviewed Peyton Place. It was called lurid, an expose, and earthy.” Grace Metalious is compared with Sherwood Anderson, Edmund Wilson, John O’Hara and Sinclair Lewis. I have no doubt that today (in our more feminist times?) she would be classified as a writer of ‘women’s fiction’ I’ve hit the caste system of novels before, from commercial versus literary fiction, to racial reading divides, to micro-indignities. Even name-calling. I thought perhaps I’d give it a rest this year, but alas my (woman’s? human?) hackles have once again been raised. A dear friend, whose soon-to-release book (okay, you pulled it out of me, it’s Robin Black and the book is Life Drawing) deserves everything from the NYT bestseller list to a National Book Award, has received excellent early reviews. (Life Drawing “might be the nearest thing to a perfect novel that I have ever read.”—The Bookseller, UK.)

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