Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Late Years Seventeen

Judy's chickens who ran away waiting on her back porch to get back in. The one in front is Isabelle or Izzy, also called Rogue One, an expert escapist even with her wings clipped.

The Late Years Seventeen  February 24, 2019

Hardly anything dismays a daffodil.
Crowds of them are shining in my
gardens, some stalks bent so the
blooms touch the ground, others are
as upright and cheerful as usual.
It has rained for days, the ground
soggy, mud on our shoes and on
the dogs’ feet; the hens wet, their
wings unfluffed. They gather at
the top of their “room” to watch
birds or dogs or any entertainment
that keeps them dry. I read old
diaries and think about my life.
Could it be that in my eighties
I still possess innocence of heart? I
never did try for more than who
I am, what I was. I fought and got
labeled a trouble-maker. Some few
saw deeper, saw the reality behind
the laughter and the silences. Who 
else would I be? The daffodils do
it every year, despite weeds and
other debris in their near neighborhood,

so why not me?

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Late Years Sixteen

Photo of Bald Eagle near Jordan Lake Dam by Doc. Ellen, DVM

The Late Years Sixteen, February 17, 2019

You are the flower of my aging heart,
always there, in person or by email.
I called you my support system. More 
than that. Like you see into Wag’s soul, 
quiet and reclusive though she is, and
into the hearts of the eagles that keep
an eye on you while you check on
their precious nests and even attend
your public talks on eagle lore, you see
into mine. Yes, despite my suffering
when his love claimed mine, and yet
so much we had to let go, you understand
my contentment nearly thirty years
later, when our story will take its
destined place in the history of our
two warring cultures. I said, “I’m so
glad I found you in my older years, 
and you echoed the thought. Love 
becomes eternal in such moments.
Years aren’t necessary. Certain
instants in a long life when time 
stands still are all we need.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Late Years Fifteen

This is a view of the Black River in the Taiga (wild forest) in the Mezha District of the state of Kostroma, where I was taken in 1992 to see the area of Mikhail Bazankov's rodina or birth place. 

The Late Years Fifteen February 10, 2019

This week I proofed the first long 
chapter of my love story. He’s gone.
I’m alive. His sons and his wife live.
I live, to tell our story, our history.
At times we wanted to forget, to
escape our love. We tried and failed.
It plunged us too deep, well below
consciousness, where the Muse
dwells, and the inmost truth of our
being. Later this week, the world
will know all the details. Maybe
some of the hate will subside. What
need is war and making souls into
enemies? We got past all that at the
end of the twentieth century. Now
we have to relearn it. I lost him, but
the words still live. Those movements
thirty years ago that taught us the
permanence of love when soul is
drawn to soul. That won’t disappear
even when I die, but I have some 
years yet, and three more books
to put out into the world. We ached.
We rebelled. We hurt each other,
but we couldn’t let go. We didn’t.
Our story, our history now rests 
like those suffering ancients did

in the stars.

Baba Summer Part One will be published on February 16, 2019. This is the first of four memoirs about my experiences in the 90s in writer exchanges getting to know Russian people. I knew that Adelaide Books of New York City was to publish it this year, but I learned only earlier this week that it was to come out February 16, 2019. That’s a week away, folks. It might be a couple of weeks before I get the books I’ve ordered, but feel free to send in checks now for a signed copy.

Paper: ISBN-13:968-1-949680-74-9 $22.30, with tax, $24. With postage: $26 from Judy.
E-book, ISBN-10: 1949180-74-3. $9.77.

You can also buy it from the Adelaide Books website, and see some comments on my writing from Susan Broili.

Baba Summer, Part One (520 pages) is a memoir by writer Judy Hogan of her first visit in August 1990 to Soviet Russia as part of a Durham, NC Sister Cities Writing Exchange with the Writers Organization of Kostroma, a city which had been closed to Americans during the Cold War.  In diary, and letters with her new Russian friends, she shares her experience, not only of falling in love with her partner in the exchange, Mikhail Bazankov, but also of many other new bonds she made with Russians: a nationally known painter, a school teacher, a translator and proof-reader at the VAAP copyright agency, and a student of philosophy.  Hogan learned to speak, read, and write Russian so as to enhance communication with her new friends.  The exchanges and their mutual projects continued through 2001, and Hogan anticipates publishing another three volumes of diary, narrative, letters, and poetry.  She names the twelve years of her intensive experience with Russians as the most important event of her eighty-one years.  This book begins in August 1990 and ends in June 1992.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Late Years Fourteen

My orchid when it was young.

The Late Years Fourteen  February 3, 2019

We met in a Baptist Church. Some of us are
church-goers, some of us are not. We had a 
prayer from Debbie–non-denominational.
We introduced ourselves. We were nine,
with our two lawyers. They were eight, with
their staff and lawyers. The Christian rule
is to love your enemies. First, we talked
briefly, each of us about our concerns.
Then we went over the history of what 
happened in court over the five years.
So far, we’ve both won and lost. So have
they. The appeals court said we had to
start all over, go back to the beginning,
but we all chose mediation. The mediator
was kind and respectful, treated us all
well. First, he listened to us. Everyone got
a chance to speak. Then he took our list
to our enemies to see if they could agree
to any of our wishes. Meantime we ate
a potluck lunch and rested. They’d 
brought sandwiches and ate in their designated 
rooms. The mediator returned with three
of our wishes granted, all minor, and yet
a good sign if our enemies could yield in 
small ways. We think they don’t want to
go back to court. As the afternoon wore
on, they never yielded on the big things. Our 
lawyer proposed having a break of several 
months, when more information would be
available, and they agreed. As the clock
moved toward five, we all wanted to leave. 
We said goodbye and shook hands. If we
didn’t exactly love our enemies, we did
respect them more than we had before, and 

we hope they came to respect us.