The Vanishing Word

Vanishing Word bookshelf

One of my favorite authors Alice Munro, was 92 years old, and died on May 13, 2024 in Port Hope, Ontario.

I’ve collected her works of short stories and novels bounded together under such titles as The Progress of Love, Runaway Stories, Open Secret Stories, Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You, Away from Her. Alice Munro wrote unexpected plots with unapologetic people, whose flawless dialog was realistic and shocking. She pitted a character’s frame of mind into unwavering life challenges; Alice Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her style, compared to Earnest Hemming’s, wrote a character’s thoughts with precise, sparse, and un-frilled clarity. Alice’s storytelling was like ice water poured over a naked body. Another comparison was to author John Updike, both wrote about social complexities and sexual relationships as backdrops. Also, as with author Flannery O’Connor, Alice’s vivid creation of eccentric, independent individuals filled the imagination. Alice was either loved for her graphic portrayals, or disliked for the quickness in moving her characters from one place to another, without allowing the reader to settle too comfortably in each scene. One of her books should be on a must-read list!

Vanishing Word library

Another recent news feature that caught my attention was about Lauren Groff, a bestselling novelist and three-time National Book Award finalist. She opened a 2,300 square foot bookstore in Gainesville, Florida. More than 3,000 people showed up throughout the first day for a series of author readings, folk music, live poetry composition and, of course, book buying. The numbers haven’t swayed, as the store’s title WATCH US BITE BACK, required no explanation. More than 5,100 books were banned in Florida schools from July 2021 through December 2023 — the highest number in the country, according to PEN America.  Lauren’s pride, as walk into the bookstore, displayed frequently challenged books across the United States, among them The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Tricks by Ellen Hopkins and All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and Flamer by Mike Curato. With its focus, WATCH US BITE BACK hopes to help Gainesville more of a literary destination — a hub for author readings, book club gatherings and workshops.

Words won’t vanish when there’s a willingness to read, listen, and learn.

What’s in Your Suitcase?

What's in your suitcase? Packing for a long trip away

After a brief visit stateside, I’ve returned to Europe; the time here will be well into 2025. I’ve planned more of a life change, so saying good-bye to family and friends felt different, because my resident visa brings me closer to obtaining the second passport. In addition to purchasing a home a few years back, I feel fortunate for the approval of the much sought after, free-to-low-cost National Health Care Insurance, which is one of the main reasons why Americans relocate to Portugal. And more importantly, I casted my vote in the U.S. primary, through the absentee registration program, allowing the ability to vote in the upcoming November 2024 election. This last matter was a priority, because of what’s at stake for the US and the world. Continue reading

March is also a Renewable Month

Luck has nothing to with your life. I repeat, luck has nothing to do with your life. Making simple, intentional changes to your routine—such as exercise, sleep, and mindfulness—can help improve your well-being, extending and making the most of your life. I’ve learned and have practiced this philosophy, since years ago, from taking yoga and meditation at a well-respected studio located in Santa Monica, California. Continue reading

Old Battery

the vast imagination of a child is often lost when one reaches adulthood and gets caught up in climbing the ladder

“Very little is needed to make a happy life.” Marcus Aurelius

As a child, I swam in the clouds with vast imagination. I thought growing up in Ohio, tomorrows were endless and troubles invisible. Adulthood left behind the small-town security and shelter of family, and longtime friends since elementary school. New days consumed a grand-prix mindset. Surviving the competition meant glued to the grindstone called important success. I surmised getting ahead, you know… college, making a living, seeking that promotion with competitive salary raises gave more options than my small Ohio town. Continue reading

Some Traditions Do Matter

The movies Don’t Look Up and Killers of the Flower Moon, written with different plots, their premises are the same: greed for power, resulting in the destruction of people.

The end of the 2023 playbook mirrors a sadness and destruction with wars, political toxicity, and an up close and personal view of climate twisting, tossing, and throwing weather changes as if the gods are playing a game of tennis.

I wondered long after I’m gone, how many people would stand in this exact spot? Continue reading

Thanksgiving All Year Round

 

Portugal’s cuisine isn’t the familiarity of French, Spanish, or Italian. However, historical Brazilian and African delicacies blend into Portugal’s mediterranean cuisine, making the country a memorable contender. Aromatic variations of Piri Piri spicy peppers, Cinnamon (Canela), Bay Leaves (Louro), Sea Salt (Sal), and Smoked Paprika (Colorau) into delectable combinations are a foodie’s dream. Here are some of the specialties I’ve enjoyed:

Thanksgiving all year round: Portugal’s cuisine isn’t the familiarity of French, Spanish, or Italian. However, historical Brazilian and African delicacies blend into Portugal’s mediterranean cuisine, making the country a memorable contender.

Continue reading