All posts for the month February, 2018


Published February 24, 2018 by Nan Mykel

Perfect, beautiful! ove it. Great opening line! Good morning.


It’s about time one sits on top of the ash heap and not buried in it. Ashen, sure. It was hard work digging oneself up and out.

There it was. Stood at the side of the concrete path leading to the toilets for days. I picked it up. Brought it indoors. Still have it, at pride of place on the shelf where such things go. Many years later. A thought trundled into my head, a positive to combat the general habit of malaise. Humility is good but too much … you know the saying. It’s about time.

Only one small chip in the rim. It was in there for what must have been really many years. The block of flats had a coal boiler, even then it was an odd thing. 1995. We bathed in an inch of water often. Often it broke. Often the landlord didn’t bother to buy…

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What History Did You Live Through?

Published February 23, 2018 by Nan Mykel

In 1985 I attended a Friends General Conference in Pennsylvania. and signed up for an Autobiographical Writing workshop.  We were asked to recall  our experience of historical events during our lifetime.

I recalled the bombing of Pearl Harbor (my parents brought me to the radio to hear in 1940).

The death of Roosevelt in 1944.

Atom Bomb dropping in 1945

Listening to news of the Bay of Pigs invasion on a city bus in Atlanta, in 1961.

Watching news about the assasination of Kenned, and the shooting of Oswald. (Was it live? It seems so).  1963

The assasination of Martin Luther King in 1964.

Segregation in the South. (A family from the Mule Train stayed overnight with us in Atlanta.)   1968

Watching the First Man on the Moon on tv 1969


I took brief notes from the memories of other workshop members:

Berlin Air Lift, spring 1948

During the communistic liberation in China in 1949,  saw several professors conscripted to carry baggage for the national soldiers. Students identified the professors and tok their places due to respect, To avoid looting, the town prepared food for the fleeing national soldiers.

On a train in Japan when the civil rights movement was going on.

In October of 1929, was 9 years old and riding a bike during the collapse of the stock market.  Parents looking glum, strained. A neighbor, an officer in a bank, shot himself.

One post-sputnik Christmas one woman received a chemistry set. The next spring the family drove four hours to the National Science Fair in Washington, D.C.

Mother crying at Kennedy’s assasination in 1963.

In 1939, while in nurses training, reading of SS troopers breaking the glass of Jewish merchants. The article was titled “The Night of the Broken Crystals.”

Execution of the Rosenbergs–the family was early friends of the Rosenbergs.  “Ethel’s not going to leave her kids for an idea.”

Recalling when Nixon and Reagan were elected.

The Depression:  “Use it up, wear it out, or do without.”  The thrill of getting new fabric for a dress from an aunt.  A visit to Hoover Village.

Tornado May 5, 1936. He was a teacher at a school in Tupelo, Miss. It got dark early–lightning, noise, hailstones. He held on to a lawn chair, then let it go.  At 9 p.m. it was lit clearly.  No injuries at the school.  Fires were beginning around the school, but rain began and stopped the fires.  Destruction in town.  He helped drain hot water tanks for  first aid victims.  There was a half mile or desruction.

July 3, 1929 (56 years ago, in 1985)  Navajo Reservation.  They were holding a sing.  They played a game where a rock buried in the sand was picked up on horseback.  The Choca Canyon bridge washed out.

Geraldine Ferarro’s nomination.

Dartmouth College student pacifists. Interviewing William Buckley on Pacifists.  Passing out cigars to celebrate the Cuban revolutiion. (David Greenstein).

Viet Nam war. Daughter going with draft dodging boyfriend to Canada with Peaceniks.

Anyone want to share any of their historical memories?

My parents took us to Florida to watch the launch of Apollo 11. Even miles away, we felt the mighty Saturn rocket in our bodies. As significant as that historic event was, I recall the experience for personal reasons. With the vibrations resonating inside of me, it was the only time as a child I acknowledged my chest. In my young mind, chests were the possessions of “real boys”, a class I was excluded from.–owningitlog


STORY SCRAPS — Group Therapy

Published February 23, 2018 by Nan Mykel

For the first time Rob was fighting tears. He motioned to Amber, on his right. Mesmerized by Rob’s sharing, Amber surfaced and said, “Uh…”  The group sat quiet, expectantly, and watched empathically as her tears began to trickle. Jackie said gently, “Take your time, there’s no rush.”

Amber could feel the intensity  of everyone’s eyes focused on her, even Rob’s. She looked down into her lap and spoke softly. “I’m a new student and live alone in a single freshman dorm room, and my little sister died several years ago. My father was an alcoholic so my aunt Betty took me in for a couple of years. I’m a social work major at the  college.”

Ed nodded. “And what do you want from the group?”

She took a deep breath and said, “I’m afraid of men. I mean I hate them all! All they’re interested in is sex!  They just see me as a sex object!” Her voice sounded strangled now. “I hate everybody! I hate my mother and my father and me and–everybody!” Rob put his hand on her shoulder and gave a squeeze, whereupon Amber began emitting little choking sobs.  The group sat and stared at her, speechless, for once. Jackie passed her the Kleenex. There was still silence, as though no one knew what to say. Another covered her face with her hands.

Finally Ed spoke. “So that means you hate me and Pete and Stuart and Rob?  You don’t even know us. Somehow that doesn’t seem fair.  Is that something you want t work on?”

A little laugh escaped from Amber. “I don’t know. I think that’s reality. That’s the way the world is! Maybe nothing can help.” She was quiet, and so was the attentive grop. Finally she spoke in a small voice. “And I hate myself, too.”

Ed glanced around the grop. “How many people in heere hae themselves?” There was a mmentary shocked silence and then slowly four hands went up, even Rob’s. Ed regarded the the raised hands and said, “Do you wantg those who hate themselves to hate you, too? Will that make you feel better?”

Amber protested, but in a lighter vein. “You’re confusing me!”  She let out a deep sigh and said, “My life is such a mess!”

Ed looked around the group again. “How many members’ lives are a mess?” When everyone raised their hands Amber had to laugh. “All right, I guess I’ll live.”  She blew her nose loudly and the group moved  on to other issues.

Nether Amber nor Rob had experienced group psychotherapy before, and observed with interest the variety of therapeutic techniques used in the group. As they were to learn  later, some were Gestalt, some psychomotor, some Rational Emotive–whatever seemed to fit. After the deepest, most emotive exchanges, the group’s comaraderie and commitment remained.

As the session ended, someoone said, “Group hug,” and there was one. Someone else explained that the group often eats dinner together at the nearby steakhouse. Amber and Rob accepted with enthusiasm, welcoming the warm friendliness of the group.

There was no talk of therapy during the dinner. Amber noticed no one ordered beer with their meal, and from the  jokes and talk of current events you’d never guess they all felt their lives were a mess. She began to feel right at home with these people, especially Rob.


Grey Haibun for d’Verse

Published February 19, 2018 by Nan Mykel

Night regurgitates day in images that ride their REM waves, waves that slap the hard beach repetitively, incessantly, omnipresent in the fog of sleep and in the spaces between the incidental, accidental thoughts that drift by during timeouts in the day.  Like now.


Endless road ahead

Moonlight summons old spirits

The Earth a cocoon



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