Sunday June 18, 2017

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There Comes the Strangest Moment

There comes the strangest moment in your life,
when everything you thought before breaks free—
what you relied upon, as ground-rule and as rite
looks upside down from how it used to be.

Skin’s gone pale, your brain is shedding cells;
you question every tenet you set down;
obedient thoughts have turned to infidels
and every verb desires to be a noun.

I want—my want. I love—my love. I’ll stay
with you. I thought transitions were the best,
but I want what’s here to never go away.
I’ll make my peace, my bed, and kiss this breast…

Your heart’s in retrograde. You simply have no choice.
Things people told you turn out to be true.
You have to hold that body, hear that voice.
You’d have sworn no one knew you more than you.

How many people thought you’d never change?
But here you have. It’s beautiful. It’s strange.

“There Comes the Strangest Moment” by Kate Light from Open Slowly. © Zoo Press, 2003. Reprinted with permission.  (buy now)

Today is Father’s Day. The exact origins of Father’s Day are in dispute, with some saying the celebratory day was founded by a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd and some saying it was Grace Golden Clayton.

What is known is that the first Father’s Day celebration to take place, at least in Washington State, happened on June 19, 1910, at the behest of Sonora Smart Dodd. She got the idea to celebrate dads after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. Her own mother had died giving birth and Dodd’s father, a Civil War veteran, raised all six children by himself on a farm. Dodd thought the ministrations and hard work of fathers deserved recognition, too.

A few years earlier, however, Grace Golden Clayton suggested to her Methodist minister that a celebration of the fathers killed in the December 1907 explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company was in order. More than 300 men lost their lives in the explosion. That celebration took place on July 5 of 1908.

Regardless of who came up with the idea, it caught on, and by 1924 even President Calvin Coolidge was on board. He recommended it be a national holiday, but was rebuffed. It wasn’t until President Lyndon B. Johnson signed an executive order in 1966 that Father’s Day became an official celebration, on the third Sunday of June.

Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney turns 75 today — born in 1942 in Liverpool, England. He is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the recipient of 21 Grammys. His Beatles song “Yesterday” is one of the most covered songs in musical history, and he has written over 30 No. 1 songs in his life.

“Every time I come to write a song,” says McCartney, “there’s this magic little thing where I go, ‘Ooh, ooh, it’s happening again.’ I just sit down at the piano and go, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know this one,’ and suddenly there’s a song.”

McCartney is a big believer in magic and circumstance when it comes to his past. When he was 14, his mother died of an embolism. This led to his connection with John Lennon, whose mother had also died when he was a teenager. “Life is an energy field, a bunch of molecules,” McCartney said. “And these particular molecules formed to make these four guys, [the Beatles].”

It is the birthday of American author and psychotherapist Amy Bloom (books by this author), born in 1953 in New York City.

Bloom is the author of the New York Times best-selling novel Lucky Us (2014), about a pair of teenage half-sisters who travel across World War II America in search of fame. In embracing the book’s setting, Bloom ensured that each chapter title was a jazz standard of the time.

Aside from fiction, Bloom has also contributed articles to publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, and Vogue. She created a Lifetime Television network show called State of Mind, which examined the lives of professional therapists.

It’s the birthday of novelist Gail Godwin (books by this author), born in Birmingham, Alabama (1937). She’s the author of many books, including The Odd Woman (1974), The Finishing School (1985), and The Good Husband (1994).

She was raised by her mother, who worked as a newspaper reporter and wrote romance novels on the weekends to make extra money, while Godwin’s grandmother did all the cleaning and cooking. Godwin later said: “Already, at five, I had allied myself with the typewriter rather than the stove. The person at the stove usually had the thankless task of fueling. Whereas, if you were faithful to your vision at the typewriter, by lunchtime you could make two more characters happy — even if you weren’t so happy yourself.”

Her first big success was the novel A Mother and Two Daughters (1982), about a widow named Nell Strickland and her two recently single daughters, Cate and Lydia. It was the first book that Godwin had written from multiple points of view. She said: “For a long time I was influenced by … the idea that there could only be one center of consciousness. Suddenly I found I didn’t care anymore. I found I could be anybody, could enter fully into them.” A Mother and Two Daughters became a best-seller, and she’s gone on to write several more. Her book Publishing: A Writer’s Memoir came out in 2015.

Gail Godwin said: “I work continuously within the shadow of failure. For every novel that makes it to my publisher’s desk, there are at least five or six that died on the way.”

It was on this day in 1983 that Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space, aboard the Challenger for a six-day mission. She said, “The thing that I’ll remember most about the flight is that it was fun. In fact, I’m sure it was the most fun I’ll ever have in my life.”

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®