writing after retirement


writing after retirement coverThis week I received my complimentary copy of WRITING AFTER RETIREMENT: Tips from Successful Retired Writers. Chapter 16 is titled “It’s Never Too Late to Start Blogging.’ By my very own blogging self.

I wrote this quite some time back. Well, not that far back, because I generously refer to and borrow from Robert Lee Brewer, who got me started on this blog in earnest. Thanks to his Platform Challenge of April 2012, folks beyond the original ‘Not-Bob’ circle will be able to benefit from his guidance and wisdom.

“Unlike previous volumes which focus on how to earn a living while writing in very specific areas, this anthology accurately describes a wide range of different avenues an aspiring author can pursue, either for profit or for personal fulfillment. Speaking directly to retirees, this book opens doors to many other areas worth pursuing; its chapters vary from the inspirational (the importance of linking to a community with similar interests, reconnecting to one’s dreams, seeking inspirational sources) to the quotidian (everyday writing tips, and how to use one’s experience to find subjects to write about).”

And by a curious twist of timing, I have within the month become, well, retired myself. What a relief to read in print that it’s not too late to start blogging in earnest! And into the bargain, to have at hand a guide to all manner of issues that might arise for those of us writing after retirement.

sunday reflection


clouds reflected in pondSummer hasn’t quite yet started for me. Or rather, it’s started and moved in fits and bits. Not just heat settling and then dissipating. Events, too. Weddings. Retreats. Reunions. Helping family move. Planning the launch for the book of writings from the incarcerated women we work with. Acclimating the new rescue kitty (OK, she’s three but so t-i-n-y at 7 pounds she looks and feels like a kitty), reassuring the resident rescue dog. Oh, and did I mention writing . . . ?

By next week (my calendar assures me) I’ll ‘be on vacation.’ Meaning, I hope, writing more. Lots, in fact. But between now and then, let this small token suffice:

Retreat Reflection

You pass through me
breeze and breath, sorrow and joy
the rippled lilt of the mirroring pond.

You grow in me
grafting roots, limbs, the whole
living tree of us reaching toward light.

You live in me
your words the bread of our communion
your laughter the wine that lifts my spirits.


misty memories


I did not cry at my son’s wedding. The rain and Maine mist had me covered. And yet, the memories, misty as things become in the blur of emotion and layers, remain firm and strong.

The way they look at each other is enough to make anyone believe in love. The years they spent in discernment of their path, separately and together, is enough to make anyone believe in faith. The joy and rightness in the air over the weekend was palpable enough to make anyone simply believe.

We created a movie featuring video clips of him learning to walk and play piano, running cross-country, delivering a valedictory speech; and including photos with friends and family at home, in the mountains, at the ocean. For background music (when he wasn’t playing) we used ‘Beautiful Boy’ by John Lennon. [The corresponding slide show by her parents was set to Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely.’ Tell you something about these two?!!!]

As the two newly-weds spend the week on a Maine island, we return to the misty shore of Massachusetts, wet with rain, storm and yes, not a few tears. But they are tears of such joy and appreciation for the many gifts of heart that a weekend with all our wonderful families uniquely offers. Misty memories, all.

springing back and forth


Recently, I went to visit my daughter for spring break. I arrived to a two-hour time difference, only to arrive back home one week later to a three-hour difference. Just one of many differences between Arizona and Vermont.

What this does to a winter-habituated body is curious. One day I’m walking in 95-degrees, face toward the sun, opening confidently upward like the butterflies we watched wake up at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The next, I’m cocooned back under a foot of snow, wondering just what Punxsutawney  Phil was up to six weeks ago. A coyote in groundhog’s clothing, apparently [see spoof recommending his indictment].

The good news is, the body knows its cycles and I along with it. I am proud to live in a climate where winter is winter and, well, summer is summer. There is no denying it – when the snow is well past (say, by the end of May – although the June snowfall is not unknown in these parts), gardeners flock to mud patches like crows to seed. And transform them into incredibly beautiful plots that nourish body and senses. In remarkably short order. I can’t speak to the drama of spring to someone living in, say, Arizona. But I do know that last week it was very, very green. And that by summer, it will be very, VERY brown.

So feast your eyes on the two sides of spring I moved between last week. Enjoy them both, as I did. It’s not everyday you get to experience two completely different seasons on the same first calendar day of spring!

early morning kayak, mixed



‘early morning kayak,’ by faith

My three adult children made a Google hang-out date with me for this morning. Today is my birthday; they wanted to be ‘with’ me when I opened their gift which arrived in the mail three days ago. Turns out this project has been in the making for months – at least four or six.

Here’s the full story. My son Josh loved a small poem I posted while he was away in Ghana for the six months in 2012. While he was on a three-day weekend break from his work there, he decided to pen a tune for it – as he describes it, the notes flowed from the poem through him. Next phase: he and his younger sister Caitlyn spent a reunion weekend together when he got back Stateside in November. At that time, they apparently recorded and re-recorded the song until it felt just right to them. I do not know at what point his older sister Faith got into the project: all I do know is, her artwork graces the CD cover. Today I located and promptly framed the original. My lopsided photo doesn’t do it justice, but it felt important to have as much of the total package together here as possible.

For once in my life, I was/am utterly speechless. With awe. With gratitude. With the absolute certainty that THIS is what is important in life – knowing and being known by loved ones who take the time to connect through their own respective gifts. May you also enjoy them – lyrics by myself, music by Josh, sung by Caitlyn, with cover art by Faith. Early Morning Kayak (Music (C) Joshua C. Hester, 2012)

Ahead of swimmers and breakfast,
slip silently through morning waters
stroke forward, glide, repeat
floating free from routine constraints,
giving up and in to the lulling roll,
the rhythms of the sea.