All posts for the month December, 2019


Published December 31, 2019 by Nan Mykel

TODAY is the last day of Public Access television in Athens, Ohio, and I am mourning.  It was such a beautiful concept and contributed so much to those who watched regularly and those camcorder artists/enthusiasts who volunteered their time and creativity to the project.  My heart is too involved in it to share a rational unbiased version of causes of its demise, but I’d like to as a townsperson thank Bob and Lois Whealey for their two separate weekly shows, relative latecomer Alexa Ross who bore almost the entire volunteer load to the end, commedienne Jane Penwell , co-producer with me of Athens Kaleidoscope, and backwards in time to the great and talented Ken Dobo, Jamie Tevis and Joe Agranoff for Friends and Neighbors, the Junior Producers and Richard Sams with their call in shows, John Spofforth, and the many creative Athenians who stepped up to the plate as volunteer producers.  …and Charlie Grubbs as Indian Charley and his nature shows; I must stop because there are so many Athenians who welcomed and utilized and watched and produced as volunteers the life and doings of those of us in this small appalachian university town…and the Video Volunteer action group who raised funds in the early days through bake sales and yard sales.

My own introduction to the great creative palette that was Public Access was in 1989, when my son left the house headed for the Rec Center, and within a half hour to my surprise I saw him appear for the first time on the talk fest with Ken Dobo and others on Ken’s  Trouble on the Network Show.  There were annual awards nights and… I’ll shut up and either share a link or present Steve Zarate who sang both early on and recently the song he wrote and played, “The Public Access Song” for the last time:




Philosophical Flash Fiction

Published December 30, 2019 by Nan Mykel

I think I’m one of the handful of our species who still carry a few Neanderthal genes in their DNA (another fantasy, or it could be truth?) I withdraw to my inner cave for comfort, also when frightened by the antics of my universe.

The entrance to my cave is narrow, if not hidden, and its roof everpresent, overhead and revealed by the spirits of the night. Inside I most often experience protection and shelter, but then unpredictably, for no reason, the sky is rent and the displeasure of the spirits falls through.  In 1971, without warning, joy morphed into fear as my precious wombling appeared, both mongoloid and terminal.  Fear had pelted from my sky, so long protecting.

The sins of the fathers, surely not mine?  I watched the rent in the sky, distrusting its false reassurance. .

Years passed, propitiation helping maintain the fabric of the sky, until the sky was rent again and again and the size of my haven shrank.  After years of succor by the cave spirits, fear moved in, and the floor of my cave became unstable.  Retribution was upon both me and the few family and clan mates who also had sought succor.

Expatiation for what?  As we look on, age, disease and a mysterious silence fills the cave.  A shepherd’s crook reaches down and snuffs out its own.  Finally, overhead, rocks begin to fall from the sky of my refuge and we crawl out to discover a frighteningly similar world.

The scene in this sprawling land of mountain crags of cautious and fearful humans creeping out from their places of temporary refuge feels somehow archetypal.  I look up and wonder, is this a new day or a new night?

285 words





Published December 29, 2019 by Nan Mykel

P.S.  Forgive me–I skipped right through the coccoon stage.  Wonder why?  Wishful thinking, I’d guess.



Hi. I’m Joe, an erudite caterpillar

who lives above you on that weeping willow.

You may not know the sky is falling

because I see you’re not bawling.

We caterpillae can see ahead

and oh there is so much to dread…

Shall we two souls just run away

and let the others join the fray?

Leave reality far behind

and link up with the other kind

who stick their head into the sand and

pretend the farce is really grand?

But wait! Hold on! Does this really say

that cowards speak  for the US of A?

Shame used to be a painful feeling

worthy of prayer, seeking healing.

Kindness, truth and compassion?

Weaknesses, now under ration.

Will the worldly rich give a damn

or is honor and heart only sham?

Hard to be true to yourself if you lie;

a lifetime of shame if you don’t try.

Meanwhile erudite Joe on his pillow,

sends hope from up on his willow,

that all our best wishes  come true.

With new wings he flies to the blue.

The Evangelical Mystery…

Published December 27, 2019 by Nan Mykel

Can anyone help me understand what the Evangelicals value in the president?  I’ve never heard of him turning the other cheek; au contraire!

The Seven Deadly Sins are:


I won’t insult the readers’ intelligence by listing examples of the president’s commission of these deadly sins.  I just wonder what the Evangelicals are telling themselves and their God about him.


Published December 23, 2019 by Nan Mykel

I know Lamarkianism (inheriting acquired characteristics) has been disproved,  but in copying some of an earlier issue of family history I felt a sudden warm resonance to the writing style of my maternal grandfather.   His quirky and humorous understatements about his life rang bells for me.  And I recall how he told family stories at dinner when I visited, each night, and I was the only guest at the table.

I may be puffing myself up in likening our styles to each other, but the recognition, whether valid or not, is a very warm, grateful one, and restorative to my faltering ego.


Published December 22, 2019 by Nan Mykel

ME: “You don’t know what I’ve been through!”


ME: “First, my daughter was coming from Atlanta to help me with speaking out at the Court House in Columbus about the disability funding settlement and someone ran into her and she totalled her car the night before she left for the airport to fly to see me.  She caught the plane the next morning, however, still bruised from the wreck,  drove  2 hours in another car to my place and the next day she drove another hour to pick up her little sister from a state facility to spend the night with us. She had set up a Christmas tree for her little sister to decorate, but turns out the little one (now 48) was too tired and slept 15 hours.  Upon taking her back the next day they stopped at Bob Evans and then saw Frozen Two. Well, I stayed home, of course. What did you expect at 84?

“Afterwards we went to an eatery with handmade jewelry on its walls but two women were sitting under the showcase of the necklaces we were interested in, so we waited for them to leave. And waited. They didn’t leave til closing.

“Meanwhile we were sorry we had left our Boggle at home so in desperation we made one up, using an algorithm. She still beat me.

“The next day I had a funeral to attend at 3 pm, and afterwards we rushed the hour long drive, together this time, to my youngest daughter’s  state facility to attend a Christmas Party,  where many good folks, including my eldest daughter,  caught an intestinal  virus.  I was proud it skipped over me, until the next day, in Court. After 2 hours sitting in a packed court room in Columbus,  it struck.  I had still not testified, if that’s the right name for it.

“I spent the next hour ensconced you-know-where and my eldest daughter testified for the family. Plans were for her to catch a plane back to Atlanta after Court and for me to make the 2-hour journey home on the GO-Bus.

“Well, you can imagine a 2-hour bus ride while being vulnerable to an intestinal attack.  I had been  stuck in a booth at the Court House in Columbus and my daughter’s plane for Atlanta was to fly away a little more than 4 hours later.  So, she pointed the car back to my place and drove the full speed limit. When we arrived she didn’t bother to get out, and we couldn’t even hug because I was virulent. (I had been sitting on an opened Time magazine during the entire dash home).

“The next day I ate a banana and applesauce and the day after I figured I could go back to eating regular. Wrong. Another round of intestinal upset. In the meantime my Spectrum wasn’t working, my cell phone’s battery was dead, my new computer hadn’t been fully installed, I had to make a visitor stand yards away from me, and I fell twice rushing out of bed for my landline.  And I guess it’s kinda my anniversary—been retired 20 years  and one side of my fanny is twice the size of the other because of the fall.  I guess it’s what I deserve for wasting that 20 years.”

CP:  “You’re right, but think about your eldest daughter, would you?…And look out the window at the lovely white snowflakes falling onto our winter wonderland…”

ME: “Yes, but my Spectrum still doesn’t work, my cell phone’s still dead, and I can’t post this on my blog…”

CP:  “You sound like a yes-butter to me.”

P.S. The hearing was in opposition to kicking people out of institutions.  One woman who spoke said both her parents had Alzheimers and she was caring for them at home.  When she asked for a placement for them she was put on a 10-year waiting list.

TYING ENDS – For D’Verse

Published December 12, 2019 by Nan Mykel

Think about it–all the ragged ends,

those threads undone and tromped upon,

the finished products cut asunder in despair,

those outgrown or cast aside, too big to fill;

quilt pieces dropped, forgotten,

to return in dreams, unfinished.

Forgive and be forgiven, hear and be heard

for the first and last time.

So many stubs, so many seines to throw

to capture them all.

How can one leave a life unfinished?

I never learned the art of tying ends.


Nan  Nov. 09


Published December 10, 2019 by Nan Mykel

Have you noticed            along  East State

and the Library           frost has come,

taking with it the leaves            but not

the hundreds of berries           revealed now,

unprotected to the elements,    neither

devoured nor visited by the birds?

The hungriest feathered aviators, how did they

learn the lesson     not to be tempted

by the round brown faces      hanging around

and so available?      Is their odor pungent,

their taste bitter?         Their juice deadly?

They look like berries to me,       or is it an illusion?

I  learn my lessons painfully.




Mr. Crabby

Published December 5, 2019 by Nan Mykel

This is a delayed photo to illustrate a post about my trip to Tybee Island this summer. Someone found him on the beach and wrote in the sand, “R.I.P. Mr. Crabby.” Since he was already dead, I felt no compunction in gutting him and “airing” him for 3 weeks prior to hanging him on my wall.

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