Say Bye-Bye Now!

As I told you all, I was planning on closing this blog on Valentine’s Day as a present to myself. It’s too difficult maintaining two blogs at the same time, and Karen Virginia Flaxman’s blog, Notesfromthereader’snook@wordpress.comwon the decision. So bye, all you wonderful followers. I’ll see you on Karen’s blog!



This blog is closing soon!

Hello, my dear friends and followers. I’m not certain that you know that I’ve started another blog here on WordPress, using my pen name, Karen Virginia Flaxman. This blog is “Notes from the Reader’s Nook”, and here I post book reviews, my own poetry and that written by others; I also share some of my deepest thoughts and memories about topics that are of great fascination to me, such as philosophy, psychology, literature, and more.

I’ll keep this blog alive until February 14, 2019 – Valentine’s Day. Closing this blog is my Valentine’s Day gift to myself. I’m finding it difficult to post twice or more a week to one blog, let alone attempting to manage two. I so appreciate the support you’ve given me since I began blogging here on WordPress, and I hope that you’ll follow Karen Virginia Flaxman at “Notes from the Reader’s Nook”.

Thank you once again,


On Eccentricity

“To seek understanding before taking action, yet to trust my instincts when action is called for. Never to avoid danger from fear, never to seek out danger for its own sake. Never to conform to fashion for fear of eccentricity, never to be eccentric from fear of conformity.”

— Steven Brust, novelist, b. 1955

I’ve considered this quote carefully, and I find that the segment that resonates with me is about eccentricy. I am an eccentric and proud of it, frankly. I’m still a hippie although now in my 60s, and I treasure the values we believed in so strongly. It is so disturbing to me that a great many of my fellows have jumped sides; I’m astounded that some are now conservatives, interested in making money, with a minority having become supporters of the Orange-Haired Monster. Unbelievable!!

As Malvina Reynolds might say, “Where have all the flowers gone?” 🙀

qotd: solitude

Beautifully said, wouldn’t you agree? Whenever I’m disturbed emotionally or am having an awful time letting go of problems I always find that spending a few hours in a library calms me down and restores me to sanity. Recognize that phrase, anyone? 😉 Reactions very welcome!

inexhaustible invitations


A library is a good place to soften solitude; a place where you feel part of a conversation that has gone on for hundreds and hundreds of years even when you’re all alone.

The Library Book, Susan Orlean

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Lifelong Commitment

I have at times wished to die, considered various methods of dying, and written my thoughts in notebooks scattered about my apartment, over the past several years. But because I have a cat I cannot die, cannot, as it is said so melodramatically, “take my own life”.

There is a contract made approximately eight years ago, between this cat and me (or is it “I”? One seldom remembers … ). The contract states that I will never willfully abandon him, never leave him as a consequence of a decision deliberately made. I am legally, emotionally, and spiritually bound by this contract for the duration of this cat’s lifetime or my own, whichever comes first. I am forbidden from breaking this agreement under any circumstances; that is, if I have a choice in the matter. Should something unforeseen yet fatal to me, something caused by powers outside myself occurs, then I am released from the strictures of the contract. If I can do nothing to prevent this event, say a fatal illness, from happening to me, the cat knows he must forgive me and cannot bring a breach-of-contract lawsuit against my heirs.

Thus, although dying tonight might be a powerful  wish in my mind, I may not do anything or take any medications or in any way at all cause my own death. This is an extremely strong reason why the chronically ill, the isolated elderly, the grieving widowers and widows, seriously depressed and suicidal people ought to be given an animal  – a dog or a cat, depending on the person’s physical health and abilities to care for the animal and meet its needs: A dog must be walked and exercised, whereas a cat is easier to maintain. Each person will sign a contract like mine that will state that the person is to be responsible for, committed to, contracted to this animal. Through this simple mechanism animal shelters can be emptied and many suicides prevented – thus killing (or not killing actually) two birds with one stone.

In conclusion, I will not die tonight. I must go on for tomorrow will arrive very soon, and my cat will require his food and his nurturing. I, in return, will receive his love and gratitude, expressed by his being on my lap, his paws kneading my fleshy body, his purring several decibels louder than at any other time of day or night, his joy and delight expressed through much drooling. Who actually gets more out of this relationship? I do, of course. My little cat gives me a reason to stick around, to go on living for one more day. His love sustains me as much as my feeding him keeps him going. I am the clear winner!


As Time Goes By

Yes, time has gone by since last I posted to this little blog. Life has gone on, both good and “bad” things have happened. Friends of mine have been dropping one after another, some deaths expected, some out of the blue, shattering my heart and mind like asteroids whacking the planet and sending it far out of its orbit. Death, death, and more death, but my own, at times much desired, comes not.

How I miss my close friend, my sister in spirit, Mindy. Younger than I and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Mindy was found one clear morning in April by her neighbor, wrapped tightly in her blanket clutching her stuffed bear, Mooshie, in her arms and pressed tightly to her body, dead. Yes, dead! At the age of only 57 she was gone.

No more manic late-night chats out in the garden area smoking our American Spirit cigarettes, probably disturbing the neighbors, listening to the Maccabeats or the Klezmatics, or other klezmer band on YouTube, bouncing around like a couple of high school girls in out pajamas, shrieking with laughter and impersonating people we weten’t fond of; these little coffee klatches might go on for hours, especially once we’d relocated to her apartment. Those are the times that live on in my memory; there are nights on which I suddenly awake, hearing Mindy’s voice saying, “You can’t fix the whole world, Ellen. Some things you must simply let go”.

Oh, how I tried to fix Mindy, to help her overcome the demons that plagued most of her waking hours and drove her to screaming out in the middle of the night. “Help me! Let ne in the house! Someone’s hurting me – someone’s raping me! Help me, help me, oh God please help me!” No one could help Mindy; no one could successfully erase the terrible traumas inflicted upon her as a child, as a teenager, as a young married woman with a husband who brutalized her, tried to destroy her self-confidence, her self-esteem, and her joy. Later,  there were children, a son who abused his mother, telling her he wished she were dead, or that she was only “a piece of shit who shouldn’t be on the planet”, abd other such loving things. And a daughter who played push-pull, come here – go away games that tortured Mndy in her soul. How Mindy managed to hang on amidst all of this astounds me.

I will miss Mindy for the rest of my life; she was brilliant, educated, artistic, and childlike. She once said, “I’m like a child!”, and so she was. She posessed a child’s spirit, a child’s soul, the kind of creativity children have that leaves us when we become older. I hope I can retain that childlike spirit and soul for as long as I may live.

When it comes my time to go, I pray that Mindy is there to greet me and to walk me into our new playground which shall contain all of our toys from books to music to cigarettes to coloring books and colored pencils and markers and, most importantly, the stickers that she adored. May we rest there together eternally, just the two little girls whose time with one another was all too brief.