Sunday, December 24, 2017

Shron Ramirez Flower of the Heart

Flowers of the Heart Thirteen December 24, 2017

For Sharon Ramirez

I met her in 1975. We were both visiting 
our friends Paul and Foster in Berkeley. I 
was returning from a small press conference
in Davis, where I was almost elected chair.
Some men editors were afraid of the new
women editors, and there were now three
on the board of seven. When we three
went off to talk about what our organization
could do, the men called us “The Feminist
Conspiracy”: Mary MacArthur, Anne Pride,
ad I. The men elected first and second quit,
and I was third, but they wanted to get the
seventh vote before letting me reign. Sharon
did astrological charts, and she told me
my trine between Uranus and Neptune meant
I could work well with mavericks, and so
I was. The small press editors in 1975–men
and women--were feisty and independent. 
They were hard to manage, which I did
for three years. The next year Sharon
invited me to stay some weeks with her
in Cupertino. She lived in a big house on
a small lot, with many plants, three sons,
a husband, a cat, a dog, and a goldfish
pond. She watered her plants constantly.
She played tennis every day. I wrote poems
and love letters. I ranged the hills around
her house, sometimes finding apricots on
limbs hanging over a wall. There had once 
been fruit farming there. When I made my
lunch, I had to watch out for the cat and
dog. If I left my food on the table, they’d
jump up and eat it. Some of the herbs I
brought home to try in the cooking, she 
distrusted. Were they poisonous? I told
her no and used them anyway. She showed
me two novels–one about tennis players 
and one about her childhood during World
War II. She said that one was too painful
to write. She tried not to, but it wouldn’t 
let go of her, and I told her it was the one she
needed to write. Later I published Brinktown.
She saw all these love letters waiting for
the postman, and suggested maybe I should
 marry the postman. I never did marry that
beloved, but writing those letters and poems
made me happy. 

I’ve walked my whole life
down an aisle between pines
toward you.
The clearing opens.
In my hands
I have only apricots.
VII. 10. Sun-Blazoned. P. 44.

Later I published them. Sharon did her own
writing, but her gift to me was as a guardian
of my creativity: giving me a room, privacy,
time to write, and laughing at my foibles. I
Visited her again in 1978, when the small
presses met on the Olympic Peninsula. And
still again in 1992, when she lived in Oregon
and was a beachcomber, looking for agates 
and other semi-precious stones. They rolled
in along that coast. We were both writing.
She introduced one of her friends to me.
He was an amateur pilot and took me for
a spin. He did some risky swoops, but
we didn’t crash. Sharon also attracted
mavericks. Sometimes they drove her
crazy, but she held onto her friends, even
at a distance. I’ve never been able to get
her to visit me on the East Coast, but she
still eggs me on. She told me a few years
ago that we were too old to get published. I
said I didn’t think so, and I began to get
books in print, doing some myself. She
still laughs at me in a loving, nurturing way. 
Not too many people can do that!

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