Sunday, December 29, 2019

Talking to Myself Two

Judy by Hydrangea Bush Summer 2019. Photo by Doug

Talking to Myself Two December 29, 2019

I used to do it a lot–all the time.
My own soul was my last resort. I do
listen now, but I still consult my
good sense, my deeply lodged intuition.
I’ve trusted it more than anything else.
If It insisted I go to Russia, I borrowed
money and I went. I was never sorry
that I listened to my own voice first.
What other voice could I trust more
than that? As I age, the other voices
grow more insistent: I should listen
to them, trust them, but take my own
consequences. I fell days before I was
to fly to Russia, but the doctor said
I was fine. Good to go. I went. My
back healed, and I forgot about it.
I never break any bones. Now I 
have to get back to my walking. It 
keeps me heart-healthy. I fell nearly
six weeks ago. Time to climb back
on the horse. Practice putting my
heels first, use the cane. Why not?
Practice walking slowly until it’s
routine, normal. I don’t like the cane, 
but it does help me keep my steady
pace. No more running and 
then falling for me.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Talking to Myself One

Winter solstice night,  December 21, left to right, Terry Hogan, Tim, their son, and Judy Hogan. Photo by Virginia Ewing Hudson

Talking to Myself One December 22, 2019

It’s a priority now to talk
to myself first. People I love
want me to do as they say,
but I hold them off. “First,
I have to talk to myself. Say
whatever you like, but first, I
must talk to myself.” Funny,
how my authority dims as 
I add years. Sometimes I have
to stand up and fight. Then go
off in a corner and think what
I’d better do. My plan worked
out. All that money went to
fix my car. New tires, new
hoses, new steering column
fluid. $800 gone in a flash,
but my truck works again.
When my ex-husband came
to visit, I got quiet. I’d been 
miserable in that marriage.
He said his family did too
much harm so he would
stay away so he couldn’t
do any. I never knew he
felt that way. He seemed
happy to meet his grandchildren,
to see me and offer to help.
“What can I do?” “Nothing. 
Make yourself at home.”
But as I gathered plates,
he took them out of my
hands. He wanted to hug me.
“I’ll be gone when you come 
out of the bathroom,” he said. 
But he was still here as they
set up his phone to get him
back to his motel. Maybe
he wanted to get lost. The
grandchildren want him to

return, and maybe he will.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Late Years Sixty

This photo taken in April 2017 as we celebrated Judge Fox of the Superior Court ruling in our favor.

The Late Years Sixty December 15, 2019

For John W., Keely, Therese, Donna, Dean, Sara, and Zack 

My plan did work. Steve agreed
to repair the steering column fluid
problem, and I got my truck fixed.
Nearly four weeks I’ve spent healing.
I still tire easily and sleep a lot.
My former husband is driving to see 
his granddaughter graduate from
college a semester early. She plans
graduate school to get her master’s.
She wants to be a therapist. I’ve
been one without the degree. So
many people I’ve comforted and
reassured, told “You can do it.” or 
“You’re okay.” I will learn to live
with my body and its whims, watch
for warning signs. Even Friday the
thirteenth became benign. Our judge
ruled for us this time. In 2016 she
ruled against us. She finally 
understood. Maybe she learned of
our losses: three treasured ones
died of cancer. They did all they
could. Only three of us came to
the November meeting; only I from
this little town; the rest in despair.
The next week eight people came,
mostly from Lee County. We were
locked out. We came here, crowded
around my dining table; laid plans.
December 6. A week later our judge
ruled. Not against us this time but 
for us. How rare is justice any more, 
but it found us this time: eight of us.  
We didn’t mention God, but He or She
was there.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Nine

Photo of my mother's mother, Grace Roys in China in 1913, In her lap, Richard, by her, my mother, Margaret.


The Late Years Fifty-Nine  December 8, 2019

Each day darker and colder. We enter 
Saturn and Saturnalia. Last November
seems so far away. I drove that flock
to Clayton and arrived, despite getting
lost. Drove back in pouring rain, got
rescued by the grandmother and then
scolded: “Don’t you have a son?”
“He’s at work.” “A grandson?” “He’s
in school.” She drove to find me and 
I followed her back. It was pouring rain. 
They wanted cash. I barely had enough.
On the way home I lost a windshield
wiper, but the hens were processed. 
This year’s flock is unmanageable. They
sleep outside at night. They are weeding
the garden. I fell a year ago, also in
November. I’m recovering again. Slowly.
More afraid of falling. She recommended 
P.T., and then I fell because my body 
wanted to run, and I didn’t. It took weeks 
for my black eye to heal. I have to remember. 
People do help me. I rarely expect it, and
then they do. A lesson worth learning. 

More than I deserve, yet it helps.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Eight

In its early time in my home, this orchid was so lively and beautiful. I need to help it live well again. 

The Late Years Fifty-Seven December 1, 2019

Ever since I fell, almost two weeks ago, 
life has been so different. I’m not quite
the same person. My left cheek is still
purple. I have one little sore on my right
hand, and one on my left. I sleep ten
hours at a time, wake so slowly. I look
at things as if to learn them thoroughly
and never forget their true nature. I 
cover my legs with a warm, soft blanket
and wonder what will be next in my life.
My faithful truck has leaked all its 
steering fluid so I can’t drive it. I’m not
in great pain except in my fingers, but
I need them for typing, even for thinking.
I sat with hundreds of other people last 
June to hear Louise, my favorite author. 
She has hundreds of fans, thousands. I 
have my handful, but they’re all treasures.
I thought I’d be healed in a week, but
now it’s nearly two weeks. My faith was
dented, my confidence shaken. I didn’t
want to run, but my body did. I couldn’t
stop, only by falling. Yesterday people
kept helping me. The man at the collection
center did all my work. The young man at
the post office got my truck to move 
forward. I had tried, but I couldn’t do it.
Then Tim found the leak, not oil, but
power steering column fluid. Now I can’t
drive it at all. I can call AAA to have it
towed, but who can be trusted to fix it?
What will help me regain my spirit? Resume
my real life? Be my real self? Tim was angry
when I wouldn’t listen to him. I said I needed

to talk to myself first. Will my plan work?

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Seven

Mature bald eagle near Visitor Center facing camera of Doc Ellen, DVM. 


The Late Years Fifty-Seven November 24, 2019

Yesterday Tim did a lot of dog-drying. 
He was determined to dry their muddy feet.
Sometimes successfully. The chickens 
who sleep in the backyard were puzzled.
“What’s the point of drying feet? They
get wet again anyway.” Since I fell on
Tuesday, I don’t do much. Make the
meals, at least supper. And I wash the
dishes, make my bed. Baths will have
to wait until I can get out of the tub by
myself. I read my book a little. I renewed 
them all since I couldn’t get them returned
on Thursday.  I see better without my
glasses. The frames got bent. It’s hard
to believe I can do all the things I was
doing so easily on Monday. I will
heal. I’ll get my bounce back.  I’ll learn
how to slow my pace even if I have to
use a cane to do it. Blasted things,
canes. I’m more likely to fall with
a cane than without it. Still, I try to
be sensible. I haven’t been this inactive
since 2017 when I fell in the road, running 
from a speeding car. At least she didn’t 
hit me. That was a comfort, though one 
neighbor spread the word that she did. 
This time hardly anyone knows. My
doctor worries. I worry, too. Will I be

okay? Will I truly recover?

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Six

Judy by Elisabeth Plattner June 1, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Six  November 17, 2019

Honor comes late but welcome.
The Veteran Feminists of America
have put me on their website. They
learned all my secrets. Most things
I did quietly. I didn’t waste energy
or time, but used the Zen wisdom 
when you cut up meat: “Go for the
spaces between the bones.” It worked
every time. I told women their writing
was important, and I published them. 
Mostly, I was ignored. Every once
in awhile a woman writes to thank
me for helping her. I didn’t receive
the big literary awards–the North
Carolina Award, the Literary Hall of 
Fame, but the landscape changed.
I helped and published men, too,
but the major change in our literary
landscape in the seventies was how
so many women’s voices were now 
being heard. I published them in
Black Sun/New Moon. I drew them to
a day-long meeting called “Tell Me A 
Story That’s True.” I never had much
money but I found it to make new
things possible. A woman bought me
a tee shirt when I didn’t have the money
at the conference. We used Muriel 
Ruykheiser’s words: “If one woman told the
whole story of her life, the world would 

split open.” I hear the first crack.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Five

 Photo taken in 2017 when Judge Fox had ruled for us in court.
Things got more difficult later. Johnsie Tipton, first left, and John Cross, end of table on the right, died of cancer in late 2018 and 2019. Terica Luxton, of Lee County, also died in 2019.

The Late Years Fifty-Five  November 10, 2019

Sunday morning. Time to write
a poem. What will it be today?
We’re back to cold. Where is my
fur-lined coat? Buried in a chair
where I threw all my winter gear.
We go from 70 to 27. Cold is no
excuse not to do my morning walk.
Then I need to take the dog out and
feed the hens. Inside we can be
cozy. Tim will light the woodstove.
Outside the rooster complains,
and daylight is slower than usual
to grace us with its presence. Sun
will warm even this cold beginning.
We live far enough south. We have
wood from friends and fatwood fire-
starters. Yesterday, when Deb’s
front tire went flat, I drove my
old truck to Clayton for our coal
ash meeting. It refused to go very
fast, but with Deb calling out the
directions, we got there. After
the meeting, my truck wouldn’t
start. I’d left my lights on. John,
parked next to us, said he had
jumper cables, so we got the engine
going and drove home. Deb left
to check the air in her spare,
which a man had put on, when
we drove into the RV park. Every
time we had a car problem, 
someone helped us. Deb and I
called our day an adventure. It
seems more like a miracle. Is 
there a message here? Someone
is looking after coal ash fighters 

who won’t quit?

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Four

Judy sitting by the Haw River to write poems, 1992. Drawing by Mikhail Bazankov, 1938-2015. Cover of Beaver Soul, Russian edition, 1997.

The Late Years Fifty-Four  November 3, 2019

We talked about the Muse. What
Jacques Maritain calls creative
intuition, and Joyce Cary, simply
intuition. Cary says it comes upon
the artist or poet like a discovery.
Virginia Woolf says it celebrates
its nuptials in peace. It’s like a
swan floating down the river.
Eliot says what we write joins 
the tradition if it’s new and good,
and everything else shifts slightly 
to accommodate the new discovery. 
None of them, though helpful, 
wrote their thoughts as a woman
poet might. For me it’s a question
“What shall I write about today?”
which W.B. Yeats posed to himself.
As soon as I ask, the answer flows 
into my mind, a guide to follow,
word by word. My mind forgets
everything else, especially the
trivia: the new exercises I need
to do every day, whether my email
to the coal ash folks will reach them 
all successfully, and the cold
outside, the time change–seven
has become six, with daylight
earlier, and nightly dark, too. All
my worries and problems take a 
backseat or work their way into
the poem. As long as the words
in my mind don’t desert me, I can
live and write as a poet with a
sacred voice always there to
reassure and reward me,

no matter what.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Three

Wag on the dam a few months ago. Photo by Doc Ellen, DVM

The Late Years Fifty-Three October 27, 2019

I have these aging symptoms: nosebleeds,
afib, falling. My doctor doesn’t want any falls.
They’re no fun–like falling half-way out
the chicken coop door or into the flower
garden, and once into the Christmas tree.
I rarely even get bruises. I go months
without a fall, and I’m very careful. 
Nosebleeds are a nuisance, but I know what
to do. I hate afib, but I endure it–drink
my lemon balm tea, and it goes away.
No harm done. I had seven falls in the last
year, so I’m to try physical therapy. Of
course, my sleep patterns are irregular.
I’m more of a night owl than I like.
My body is whimsical, and I have
strange dreams. Last night I was getting
to learn something new, and I was
happy about it. I had to have my dog
with me. But what was it? Not, I think,
physical therapy. Writing more, not
less, I think. I was in a big room with
other people. We were all doing it,
and we all had a dog. My Wag is old,
older than I am, has trouble with her
back legs. On solid ground she walks
fine, but on linoleum, she slips and
slides. I walk okay, and I don’t fall
most of the time. I’m very careful now.
I wanted to live to be a hundred, but
I didn't expect these annoying symptoms.
Still, I’m telling the story, and my heart
is good. I do sleep. Even if my body is
whimsical, it does still heal. I get more
chances. I don’t like these problems,
but I know how to change my life.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-Two

Eight years ago I sold my big crop of figs at our local co-op, Chatham Marketplace. But hard freezes have worked havoc on the figs in recent years.

The Late Years Fifty-Two  October 20, 2019

Mostly, I don’t think about dying.
My days are full of things to do
though I’ve learned to be satisfied
with less, to rest more, and take naps
on purpose instead of by accident.
I also do my cooking by stages, take
breaks to read my novel or answer
email. I still walk up at the dam,
unless it’s too wet or blustery. I
let my son close up the hens at night.
And in rain, I take the dog out early, 
even if we both get wet. I’m often so 
tired, I wonder if that’s how I’ll die–
too tired to move any more--but I 
sleep and my energy returns. What’s 
a little rain after all? And sleep still 
revives me even if I do wake up 
so slowly. I often wish I could do 
more. I haven’t been in the orchard 
for months. I missed the figs, if they 
were there, and the grapes. I stayed 
out of the garden when the rooster 
claimed it for his hens and chased 
me off. My heart still beats steadily. 
I remmber most things or they come 
back to mind if I’m patient. I keep 
learning to accept my limitations. 

A good life lesson after all.

The actual figs.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Late Years Fifty-One

Photo of blue-winged teals migrating by Doc Ellen Tinsley, DVM.
The Late Years Fifty-One  October 13, 2019

Aging. The term never meant much.
Now it does. I move so slowly. Every
morning my body has to start all over
again. First, sit up; then move to the
end of the couch so I can hold onto
it and two chairs to stand. Then a step
at a time, arms out for balance, into
the bathroom. Back to get dressed,
brush my hair, put on my glasses.
Every waking is like this–always gradual.
I don’t dash anywhere anymore. I still
walk without a cane–very carefully.
I fell twice, once going up onto my
front step, and once going down, so
I’m extra careful now. I get tired
more easily, stop and rest often. More
naps in the early afternoon, and then
I have to wake up slowly again. I
write, type, read, think–a blessing. 
I’m careful not to get too hungry
or too tired. When I sleep, I go deep.
It takes time to wake up. When I die,
it will be like that–a deep sleep and

no need to wake up.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Late Years Fifty

No coal ash sign designed by Keely Wood and erected in April 2015 on Buckhorn Rd., Moncure, NC

The Late Years Fifty October 7, 2019

For Dean Tipton

Last week we lost Johnsie. The last time 
I saw her, she was happy, laughing. Two
months ago. We were celebrating Dean’s
birthday. Keely had brought a cake. She said
her doctors had told her that there was no
more they could do, after a year–or more–
of chemotherapy. Dean and Johnsie live by
the train track bringing coal ash to dump in
Moncure. They came to hearings four years
ago and said they lived at ground zero.
Johnsie told her co-workers at The Pilot that
the trains running through the center of 
Southern Pines were death trains, but no one
listened. Maybe they’ll listen now. She turned
up at our meetings whenever the chemo hadn’t
laid her flat. She was always cheerful and
thankful for all the coal ash fighters. We
tried, but we didn’t stop the coal ash trains.
So we lost Johnsie. She used to say, “Jesus,

take the wheel.” Maybe He did.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Late Years Forty-Nine

The Late Years Forty-Nine Oct. 6, 2019

Another reading–three books again
to read from, attract buyers, and
entertain in the short run. Last year
in July, when I went there to read,
no one came to listen. This year one
woman, who even took notes and
afterwards asked questions easy to

This time I didn’t lose any              

words. I forgot a few names, but
that’s normal these days. My son
went with me and listened, too.
He fetched my truck and drove us
home. Our dogs were frantically
happy to see us and bounced around
to hasten treat time. I made supper of
baked potatoes and a three-egg omelet.
He went off to watch the news. I
picked up my diary. My one reader
said she’d talk to the library about
my books. They should have them.
They’re about our county. A good
reminder. Readers are found one at
a time, and sometimes won.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Late Years Forty-Eight

Sunrise at Jordan Lake January 1, 2019 by Doc Ellen.

The Late Years Forty-Eight September 29, 2019

After re-reading Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own

Virginia Woolf writes about the androgynous 
mind, both male and female, and at ease with 
itself, incandescent, even. All the grudges and 
spites fired out of it. And my mind? I do see the 
multiplicity of injustices in this new twenty-first
century. Plenty to protest, to fight about, but
even at this age, or maybe because of my age,
I’m writing what I see, and my vision is clear.
I can see through the tricks we play on each
other when we’re afraid to be open and brave,
but in the long view they’re foolish and no
point hammering about it. Let them simmer and
take in the truth of their own behavior. Virginia
Woolf’s books pointed me this way years ago,
toward her mirage of Shakespeare’s sister. For
me it became a goal. I could see nearly forty
years ago how I had created a world around me, 
not unlike his Globe Theater. I can look back on
how I courted experience: sex before marriage, 
living alone in New York City, making friends with
two little Puerto Rican girls watching me walk by
from their third floor window. Now I stop to talk
to my friend Tawny, who walks her infant daughter
in a baby carriage, with lively Ginger on a leash, and 
better behaved than when Tawny was pregnant. We both 
wait for baby’s smile. A room of my own? A priority 
since I was thirteen. Slam the door and write poems. 
I’ve lived with and without other people, at home
and abroad. Some dearest friends in Finland,
Russia, the West Coast. Laughter, confidences, tears 
together; songs, paintings, poems. All done by
women, whose minds are open, free, affectionate.
So many imbalances, suffering, poverty of spirit,
but I feel in me a tide of Life and Wholeheartedness,
the power to transform, if not to cure, anger, hatred, 
ignorance, and the need to dominate. The earth
is warming, shifting, toward Eros, away from so
much control, hostility, competition. If floods come, 
what will they wash away? If we lose face, what
do we gain? Maybe we learn to think more
clearly, see farther, love better? Isn’t that worth it?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Guest Blog by Mary Susan Heath

Guest Blog from Mary Susan Heath for September 22, 2019

The Late Years Forty-Seven September 22, 2019
Mary Susan Heath, English Ivey climbing brick wall 

A Different Reminder: another part of Judy is not fragile. 

The Ivey planted in the old black wash pot was transplanted from a Christmas arrangement. The wash pot belonged to my mother’s mother, who used it every Saturday on the farm at Powhatan to boil water for the family laundry. It has been re-purposed now to hold the fertile soil that grounds the Ivey under my Mother’s carport—Still useful. 
Vines. A morning glory vine. English ivey, which is a kind of vine. It climbs and can also act as ground cover, spreading horizontally and reaching 8 inches in height. 
Judy’s roots run deep. She has lived and worked to create community among writers. There was the poetry journal Hyperion (1970-1981) and the founding of Carolina Wren Press in 1976. She was one of the founders of the NC Writers’ Network (1984) and served as the first President. Lots of shoots that are still growing. 
Those who speak for the protection of the environment are also part of her entwining circle. Fracking in 2013 and most recently the issue of coal ash shipping by Duke Energy. 
We’re all in there. Judy gathers us close, covers us with encouragement, and pushes us to climb—even if the wall is brick. Ivey is resilient to cold and drought. At 82, Judy keeps climbing and is, I think, at her best as a writer. Three new books out in 2019 —Baba Summer, Bakehouse Doom, and Fatality at Angelika’s Eatery. Still offering her excellent editing, teaching, and writing expertise. It is my pleasure to count myself among her tendrils. I’m in very good company. 
Mary Susan Heath
Author, Creative Nonfiction

The Late Years Forty-Seven by Judy Hogan Sept. 22, 2019

There are flowers you have to kill
when they sow themselves among
the vegetables: violets, honeysuckle, 
morning glories. I never want to.
They look fragile, but they’re tough
as nails. At the dam they were poisoned
out of existence, gone all summer,
but in the waning of hot days, they
began all over again. The orange
ones run like flame; the blue are coming
in fast, too, and the white ones hold
their own. I’m told my brain bleeds
every so often. I can tell when suddenly
I can’t remember my zipcode. Who
forgets a zipcode after twenty years?
I do, apparently. Then I’m okay again.
Mostly I am okay. I prepare for
classes on creative intuition, a major
lifelong gift if you have it, and on
books that delve into human feelings.
The whole secret of living is to be
yourself. Who else could you be?
Why do we even try? Our fate was
established years ago, and people
help us. Only a few bother to be our
enemies. Mostly we’re ignored. Those
with hearts whole figure it out, take 
that leap into speech and joy, know 
the zest of living well, laughing and
yielding to whatever comes.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Late Years Forty-Six

Doc Ellen Tinsley, morning glories on chain-link fence.

The Late Years Forty-Six September 15, 2019

Another reminder: part of me is fragile. 
“Keep listening to your body,” says my
doctor. I do. I sleep more. But some 
days are too full. I do my best, then rest.
I find blue morning glories, then orange,
to go with white. The tiger lilies rise above
the swarms of small sunflowers. The zinnias,
when the wind lays them flat, turn and
go up again. Their panoply of colors
makes Robin smile. I find okra. Despite
chaotic planting, it endured, but our
rooster, worried for his hens, chases
me off, and I drop the okra. I’ll go find
it before I open the coop. My second
Russian book will be published–stories
so important to me twenty-seven years
ago. They still are. I can yet write and
think, talk and plan my day. “Keep doing
what you’re doing,” says my doctor. 

I do. I will.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Late Years Forty-Five

 Morning glories in Judy's back yard garden

The Late Years Forty-Five  September 8, 2019

First, I waited for the leaves.
There had been–at the very edge–
grass clumps, but no hint of morning
glories. Finally, here and there
heart-shaped leaves. Then a week
without rain. I checked for any sign
of color to go with green. Then
came the edge of a hurricane with
wind and rain. Morning glory leaves
know how to hang tough. When sun 
returns, there they are–half a dozen 
white blooms. What color will show 
up next? We also have our quiet days
when very little seems to happen.
Are we healing? Will we live long
enough for our wishes to come true?
Have we still latent in us a success 
story? Will that editor choose the 
next book in my Russian series? 
He did. Jubilation! Let the world
know. Our story, our history is 
being told, book by book, year by
year. Do I have enough years left? 
Maybe not twenty, as I had hoped, 
but maybe enough to leave our love 

lie open to the wide, wide world.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Late Years Forty-Four

Photo of first zinnia by Tim Hogan in Mom's garden

The Late Years Forty-Four September 1, 2019

Was it love or simply attraction? Or both? 
What exactly is it when you can’t let go,
even when you try? You know you can’t
be indifferent. You see through his poses,
his act of not caring, his jealousy not hidden
very well, and after he died, you still have
him in your life. Funny, how a whole life
can hang on a few moments of ecstatic
union. His wife, his children, his grandchildren 
love you because you knew how much his 
family, his birthplace, his country meant to 
him. He said you’d have to be divorced.
That was after several weeks of tender 
communion. You ignored the word he was 
pointing to in the dictionary. It wasn’t possible. 
He could pretend, but for you it was too late. 
Did he think he could gesture to the wild 
forest and say, “Let’s go there and never 
come back,” and you would forget?
Foolish man. Then, in a book years later, 
he drew that image of a man and a woman 
walking into the forest. But from the very 
beginning, he’d prophesied that one day 
we’d each have a wing and fly somewhere–

together. I still believe it.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Late Years Forty-Three

The Blue Grosbeak at Jordan Dam, near Moncure, N.C.

The Late Years Forty-Three August 25, 2019

We have so many poisons now. It’s a wonder
we stay alive as long as we do. We kill on purpose
and by accident with our pesticides and
herbicides, by what we let out of our smokestacks 
and car exhausts. Our big trucks do their share
with their diesel engines as they drag their logs
and tankers uphill. No wonder our emergency
rooms are crowded and we die before our time.
Still, I have lived this long: eighty-two years.
I can look at death and nod. Yes, eventually. 
I recognize the land of the dead when I see it.
Broken rocks, all sizes, browns and greys. No
color. No vegetation. It had seeds, but it was
sprayed to kill any life, vegetable or animal.
Yet I hear a cricket, and then the true miracle:
the heart-shaped leaves of morning glory
outwitting a rock death, rain finally rinsing off
enough poison to bring forth something green
right at the edge. Leave those rocks alone, and
they will bring forth the undead, the vine, and 
in time the pink, purple, blue buds, which will 

open to the sounds of a bird’s hymn of praise.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Late Years Forty-Two

Judy, while teaching at her Lifestyle Workshop for Writers on June 1. Photo by Elisabeth Plattner.
Usually I put up a blog on Sunday, but last Sunday, I went to the Emergency Room to see about this possible small stroke I had on Saturday. They did many tests, and no brain damage. Here's the poem. I just remembered to do my blog for last week. JH

The Late Years Forty-Two August 18, 2019
For my audience at South Regional on August 17, 2019

A curious conjunction. I had them
laughing, mesmerized, their eyes alight.
They wanted to hear every word I said,
but my words skittered away from me.
I said the wrong one, or the word I wanted
vanished while I tried to find another
one that would work. What overwhelmed
my mind that Saturday in the library I loved?
About ten women came, and my son Tim,
who brought me and also carried in the 
box of books I wanted to sell. A lovely
librarian, Teresa, had everything set up, 
even cookies and tea. She had a
sound man put a mike on me and
adjusted it. Women drifted in, eager,
curious, and I welcomed them all. Then
I transformed them, even while my
mind was playing tricks. Was I having
a stroke in the middle of my success?
By 4:30, I wanted to go home, but
they didn’t want to leave. Most stayed
talking while Tim packed up the books.
He brought me my yoghurt drink, and
our friend Virginia rubbed my back. 
Slowly, I felt better. I pulled on a long-
sleeved shirt and wasn’t too hot as we
drove home in ninety-degree weather.
I rested while they made supper. 

Afterwards I bathed and slept.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Late Years Forty-One

Judy by her hydrangea bush in early spring 2019

The Late Years Forty-One August 11, 2019

It’s so easy to worry, and I do.
About money, my health, my friends.
Then come the surprises. The credit
card company tells me I have money
with them which I didn’t know about.
They sent it to my bank. It’s teaching
time, but where are all my students?
I write to two of the silent ones. They
answer that, yes, they’ll take my class,
and one wants to take them both. I
Spend a day quietly to give my heart
time to heal, get back to normal. It
does heal. I rise early, breakfast as
usual, and take my morning walk.
The little bird sings to me before
sunrise. My friends see something
in me they value. They hang on,
let me see their agony. I wish them
courage. In this life we never get 
to coast. It’s “work, work, if we
don’t work, we don’t get anything, 
not even love.”* My Muse lives,
my health holds. I have enough
money. There are tears, but 
laughter, too. Don’t forget
to give thanks.

* Joyce Cary, The Horse’s Mouth

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Late Years Forty

Photo by Tim Hogan

The Late Years Forty August 4, 2019

Lacrimosa was the name for Mozart’s Requiem 
in D Minor, played so often when we lose people. 
Tearful. Full of tears. Yet we laughed when 
Johnsie joined us. She’s still fighting her own 
personal war with an enemy invading her
body. We hug her. Keely has brought a cake
to celebrate Dean’s birthday and mine, and the
halt of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is to
bring fracked gas and its accompanying
explosions into North Carolina. We’ve already
lost too many fervent souls. They fight and they
smile as long as they can. On other fronts, love
is demonstrated other ways. We have a leak
bringing down our ceiling plaster. I call Gene.
He has lost sight in one eye. A retina got
detached. He guides Tim by their smart phones
through the steps to stop the leak. Tim had
planned to sleep in, but he calls Gene to
learn how to stop the leak. Gene describes
that he needs to blow down a clogged pipe, but
how to do that? Finally, Tim finds a way, and a 
lot of gunk come out and then the water
that had been blocked. The air-conditioner
works again, and the wet ceiling dries. We
take a long breath. If only we could save
Johnsie, bring back sight in Gene’s eye.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Late Years Thirty-Nine

Judy by Emma Tobin, late 2018, teaching a class.

The Late Years Thirty-Nine July 28, 2019

The human body has its ways
of sending messages, especially
when aging. I know when I need
to slow down, rest, listen, obey.
I had these messages years ago.
I’d have vertigo then. Nothing
to do but lie flat. I learned to
drink self-heal tea–better than 
Dramamine. Now it’s afib–
my heart racing. I drink lemon-
peppermint tea, take deep breaths,
forget about work, sleep if possible.
Then allow myself a lazy day: 
read a novel, write in my diary.
How I love to work, get things
done. I remind myself that
everything can wait for a day.
“Take a load off.” “There’s no
rush.” The work I want to do
will be there tomorrow and the
next day. I slept. I rested.

I listened. I healed again.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Late Years Thirty-Eight

Photo and sign by Keely Wood. A hot day in Moncure, N.C.

The Late Years Thirty-Eight July 21, 2019

I was thirty-eight when I had that dream.
I was sitting in a circle with black women,
and someone stabbed me in the back.
A nightmare which has come alive
in my mind again, but of course it has
happened before–in the intervening
years. I use my ingenuity and courage
and make things happen: a small press,
a major library program for new writers,
a statewide writers organization where
all are welcome, giving a death blow
to the clique mentality. It’s no wonder
I was hated. I didn’t publish them. I
Interfered with their power base.
Or here, I wanted to protect my
neighbors from coal ash poison, and
in years earlier, formaldehyde, plus
other causes of cancer. I lost John
Cross, who was always willing to help,
and Terica, endlessly inventive about
how to fight fracking and coal ash 
dust, and Cora, who told me she
loved me as if she knew people who
didn’t. I wouldn’t change what I’ve done
even if I live among those who stab
me in the back when they can. I forget 
more. I can’t go and do as much as
once. Yet here I am. Help me or 
harm me, but let me do my work

while I live.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Late Years Thirty-Seven

Photo of sunrise  from Jordan Lake Dam on New Year's Day 2019 by Ellen Tinsley, DVM

The Late Years Thirty-Seven July 14, 2019

It is quite true that the artist, painter, writer or composer starts always with an experience that is a kind of discovery. He comes upon it with the sense of a discovery; in fact, it is truer to say that it comes upon him as a discovery. It surprises him.
–Joyce Cary, Art and Reality, p. 15.

What then do all these words mean
that come upon me–years of them now?
I listen. I record. I respect, nay, I honor
that mysterious flow. As to Eliot’s vision
of how a new voice will become part of
the tradition that has gone before and change
it all, I’m hesitant to claim to be that
important. Besides, he says, such poetry
won’t be personal, and mine definitely
is. My friends and children, my chickens
and hydrangea bush, the little blue
grosbeak who sings to me at six in the
morning–at sunrise time–when I go to 
walk, are personal, or are they? Does the 
bird’s insistent call when the sky is pink 
all the way around, red, and even green
in places, and he waits to hear me sing,
“I see you!” does that stay personal
or does it change into a token of eternity?
What happens to the words I hear in
my ear and baptize with the water
of my spirit, which lifts me past my
balance problem, my lament that I can’t
do everything I did only eight years ago?
The answer comes easily now. I’m still
making discoveries, and they are 

still in possession. I needn’t be afraid.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Late Years Thirty-Six

Judy and Sheila Crump after Gospel Sing to raise money to fight our coal ash dump. Photo by Johnsie Tipton.

The Late Years Thirty-Six July 7, 2019

It has been so for most of my life. 
Some people love me, and some hate me. 
I think of the woman in the post office, 
being waited on. I didn’t know her, walked 
around her and put my package on the scales,
not imagining I would offend her, but when
she left, she said pointedly and coldly, “Sorry
I interfered with your post office business.”
Meaning: “You interfered with mine.” I
was reprimanded. True, I didn’t think my
gesture would be offensive. She probably
has me pigeon-holed now as a racist.
Another day, walking toward Food Lion, 
a woman coming out calls to me, “Miss
Judy.” It’s Delois, whom I know, and who
hugs me. “How you been?” “I’m fine.
How is your mother?” I hadn’t heard since
late last year. Cora was so sweet, so dear.
Once she told me, as if in defiance of 
somebody, “I love you.” “Mama passed,” 
said Delois. “I’m sorry. She was so sweet.”
I’ll be more careful in the post office, but
I doubt I’ll change the mind of the other
woman. Delois’s hug and Cora’s love
are what sustain me. A friend told me
 years ago, “If you make enemies, it means
you’re getting something done.” If people

love you, you’re doing something right.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Judy Featured in Two Events July 17 and August 17, 2019

Photo by Emma Tobin, December 2018

Judy Hogan featured in two events: July 17 and August 17, 2019

July 17, Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. I’ll be at the Eva Perry library in Apex near Raleigh, for an author tea, along with authors Peggy Payne and Anna Jean Mayhew. The Eva Perry Regional Library is at 2100 Shepherd’s Vineyarad Dr., Apex, NC 27502. 919-387-2122. Contact: Lisa Locke, Adult Services Librarian. Tea will be served, and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions. Please come. It should be fun. 

Peggy Payne (born 1949) is a writer, journalist and consultant to writers. She has written four books and her articles, reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, among others. Her books focus on spirituality.

Anna Jean (A.J.) Mayhew’s first novel, The Dry Grass of August, won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the Book Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. She has been writer-in-residence at Moulin à Nef Studio Center in Auvillar, France, and was a member of the first Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Writers' Network. A native of Charlotte, NC, A.J. has never lived outside the state, although she often travels to Europe with her Swiss-born husband. Her work reflects her vivid memories of growing up in the segregated South. A.J.—a mother and grandmother—now lives in a small town in the North Carolina Piedmont with her husband and their French-speaking cat.

Judy Hogan was co-editor of a poetry journal (Hyperion, 1970-81).  In 1976 she founded Carolina Wren Press.  She has been active in central North Carolina as a reviewer, book distributor, publisher, teacher, and writing consultant. She was one of the founders of the NC Writers Network, and chaired the board from 1983-7.
She has published twenty-two books including seven volumes of poetry, ten mystery novels, and four non-fiction books, the latest being Baba Summer: Part One about her experiences with Russians in the 90s. Between 1990 and 2007 she visited Kostroma, Russia, five times, teaching American literature at Kostroma University in 1995 and giving a paper to a Kostroma University Literature Conference in March 2007. She worked on five exchange visits, as well as cooperative publishing with Kostroma writers and exhibits of their artists. Judy lives and farms in Moncure, N.C., near Jordan Lake. 

On August 17, Saturday at 2 p.m. Judy will read at the South Regional Library in Durham from two new books, Baba Summer: Part One, and Bakehouse Doom: The Tenth Penny Weaver Mystery. After a short break, Judy will give a workshop on writing memoir, from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and buy books. A memoir is a form that is quite flexible, and most people can do it fairly easily–tell the story of their lives.
The South Regional Library is at 4505 South Alston Ave, Durham, NC 27713. Contact Teresa May, 919-560-7410. It’s free!