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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Keeping Up With

I'm not sure I can do this--
Write a novel.
And yet I know I can.

Pen to paper.
Fingers to keys.
Plod forward, trying to keep up with my characters.

Wait. What did he just say to her?
What would he say?
Who is that approaching?
And now a dog is in their lives?

The story fascinates the storyteller.
It better.
If not, it won't entertain anyone at all.

On writing a novel.
Daily meditation writing
after penning a portion
of Chapter Twelve
in my current novel,
Fermi's Redux. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Happiness Found

I pray for help detaching from my ego
Asking that I no longer have an ego;
Let go of my ego becomes my new mantra.

I say it when I wake,
     When I take my first sip of coffee,
     When I shower,
     When I brush my teeth,
     When I drive.

Let go of my ego,
     Let go of my ego,
          Let go of my ego.

It becomes a rhythmic intonation
     Keeping time with the breaks in concrete
     Along the road beneath my tires.

Let go of my ego.

And all the while I also
Pray for help with this,
     As my heart fills with love,
     My mind and body relax,
     And I discover true peace.

For happiness springs from within.

Today's meditative writing was inspired by readings from
and 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dear Woman Who Handles My Billing

I am disappointed I lost my insurance appeal and that I now face having to pay out of pocket for my mammogram and accompanying tests, which I believe should have been covered. Indeed, it's what IS covered in other civilized countries where healthcare is a right and not constrained by the for-profit insurance companies.

I wish that your breast care imaging center helped its patients get better insurance coverage. How horrible that once the nightmare of a lump is detected, the patient suddenly becomes responsible for the hundreds of dollars to diagnose it, never mind the thousands to fulfill their astronomical deductible if they are unfortunate to need treatment.

At the very least I had hoped that your center, the insurer, and I could work out a split bill where the insurer would pay for the usual and customary procedures in an annual mammogram, and I would cover the costs of the extra imaging for the lump. But as you pointed out, the billing cannot be split. 

I don't understand why not. This all-or-nothing categorizing as diagnostic vs. preventative discourages women from contacting their doctors when a lump is found. I would have been better off financially keeping quiet and calling to schedule my annual mammogram. I wonder how many women weigh the risks of waiting an extra couple months for a routine mammogram that is covered at zero cost to the patient as per the ACA guidelines versus reporting finding a lump in their breast, knowing that to do so will mean they'll need to pay for the images, tests, and visit.

And how ironic that I should be researching this problem of insurance companies and breast centers across the country during October—National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Side note to those readers who are concerned:
My lump turned out to be nothing more than
a fibrous formation, which is a typical growth in my body. 
Today I logged in online and paid what I could split between two credit cards. About this time next month I will pay another $200, and so on until the entire $814.55 bill is paid. I hope this good faith effort will keep your center from turning my account over to a collection agency. 

In the meantime, I shall also contact Consumer Services at the state's Insurance Department to double check that I really have no other option in this case. 

Thank you for your time.


Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Oh, Health Insurance, You Skanky Muse

The outrageously high prices of health insurance and how little our insurance policy actually covers is what keeps me up nights, as you can see in this six-column chronicle I penned this morning. Once again my health insurance company has hijacked my sleep and my time that could be spent on writing my novel. This afternoon I will be working on my official consumer complaint to the state's Insurance Department.


How's your health insurance? Share your experience in my informal anonymous Health Insurance Costs Survey:


Thanks to Natalie Goldberg's six-word memoir assignment in her book The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language that inspired the shape and form of today's post.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

A brazen attempt at blazon poetry

Reading Natalie Goldberg's books serve as my daily writing prompts. A couple days ago I read about Blazon poetry in her book The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language and naturally attempted my own. Goldberg suggested penning a list, an ode to something or someone you love. It's a fun exercise no matter what you think of my own scrawling, a snippet of which I am sharing here. Give it a whirl; you may find yourself addicted to the process!

A Blazon to Summer

Days of insomnia.
Light pools an immense lake.
Morning explodes in chirps.
Days linger; a lover remaining close.
Flowers a frock.
Grass slippers.
Moss socks.
Snake play toy.
Sun bath.
Lawn mower cicadas.
Crickets evening symphony.
Herons statue heralds.
Bees gossiping neighbors.
Dogs synchronized to the sun,
We sleep no more.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Surveying the costs of health insurance

I am currently fighting three health insurers, trying to get them to cover basic healthcare costs, including what is supposed to be covered under the ACA. Am now taking it to the next level. After meeting briefly with a health insurance advocate at New Hampshire's insurance department, I am in the process of filing official complaints with the state.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering if others are drowning in health insurance and medical bills--from ridiculously high premiums to astronomical deductibles, never mind the rising costs of co-pays. Therefore, I've created a brief Health Insurance Costs Survey and hope you'll follow the link to complete it and add your voice to what I consider a national crisis.


If you're outraged or even a bit peeved, please also consider contacting your elected officials. It's time to get them listening to us and our needs, rather than to the interests of health lobbyists and rich corporate donors from the country's medical industries. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Penning the six-word memoir

This year I've plunged into a practice of daily meditative writing. Or mostly daily. I embarked on this new journey one day as I was cleaning off my bookshelves, leaving my adjunct professor years behind while welcoming my new life as a writer. And occasionally teaching artist, especially now that I've been added to the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts roster.

While weeding through my vast collection of books, setting aside those I was certain I'd no longer need, I removed Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Later, sitting to read Pema Chodron and take some time to reflect and meditate, I noticed a book spine with the Shambhala Publications logo. Those who already know Goldberg's work and that of Chodron will know my instant excitement. I picked up the book, opened, and began reading. In that instant an entire new world of writing and meditating possibilities opened up to me.

I am onto a second book of Goldberg's now: The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language. In it yesterday I read about the six-word memoir.
Created at Canva.com.
Instantly intrigued, I grabbed my notebook, made grids, and wrote several. It's a fun word play that I used again today, penning: The bite of fresh ginger tea. It may not be revolutionary, but it was what I was thinking as I brewed green tea with fresh ginger for my husband this morning. I've not been a green tea aficionado, but have recently begun to develop a taste for it, so long as there is that sharp edge of fresh ginger root to spice up a warm cup or a glass of it cold.

As you can see from my graphic, I ended up expanding on the six-word concept until I had a handful of lines that together formed a memoir. It's a slice of who I am and who I'm becoming as I grow in my daily spiritual practice. I gladly share it with you, and invite you to try the six-word art form. I also recommend you consider launching your own daily meditative writing practice.