Debris and Detritus

Posted by Priscilla on October 15, 2013

messy2.jpgThe greatest interference to creativity is a messy brain, followed closely by a messy workspace. I used to not think so. I used to have a mind that could organize thoughts on the fly, find anything under any pile and see, in my mind’s eye, exactly where on the page the one trenchant sentence lay. No longer.

Sure, the piling up of years makes it harder to sift through the junk to find the treasure, but it’s more than that. My very brain has become messy. What are some signs of a messy brain?

  • Starting a task, leaving it, going onto another, leaving that, going on to a third. Not finishing.
  • Multi-tasking. Not leaving one task before starting another. This leads to thoughts jumping around. What color should my business cards be? What do I want to say in my blog on order? Oh, I’d better take the chicken out of the freezer.  Do I need business cards, anyway? You get the idea. 
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Posted by Priscilla on October 13, 2013

no-bullying-zone-md.pngParents fear many things. Many things anger parents. But nothing hurts a parent as much as finding out that someone bullies his child. We wish we could shield our children. We wish we could give them just the right weapon, or at least make them impervious to the oppressions of the bully.  We can’t.

Bullies inhabit every schoolyard. If a child does not want to be destroyed, he must stand up to the bully somehow, some way. He must stand up on his own.

Bullies inhabit every workplace as well. They inhabit every career path, every political group, and every school of philosophy. Bullies surround us. Perhaps we are the bully.

A bully believes he is right. A bully forces her ideas on others. A bully makes others follow his rules. A bully judges.

In order for a bully to prosper, he must have a victim.

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A Brisk Wind Blows

Posted by Priscilla on September 30, 2013

Sky_2011_005.jpgWhen a brisk, bracing wind blows through a room, stale air, cobwebs, even dust rush out before it. This is true for the room; it is equally true for the mind. A sign in the window on Elm Street in Bethesda, Maryland says, “Middle age is when your broad mind and your narrow waist begin to change places.”  The sign raises chuckles. But then a check: That describes middle age—and old age—only if we have locked our intellectual doors and windows tight against the rushing wind.

I drove to Washington, D.C. this past weekend to honor the legacy and the life of a man. We honored a man who, though raised in privilege, cared deeply for the poor in his home country; a man who, though reaching the highest levels of academia, listened with warmth to secretaries and building engineers; a man who, though influential in government, and known by scientists and leaders around the world, never lost his curiosity nor his vision. We honored my cousin-in-law, David John Jhirad.

In the company of men and women from all walks of life—astrophysicists, public television producers, poets, mathematicians, world development experts, State Department analysts, and students—I knew that a stiff breeze was blowing. My sluggish mind began to stir. In conversations throughout the weekend, my curiosity and excitement about life, the world, and the future came alive.

Did you know that even in the 1960’s, hospitals in America were segregated? That a clinic in the south would have a waiting room in the front for the whites and a waiting room in the back for the blacks?

Did you know that five states have their own sovereign wealth funds (usually something reserved for nations) that could be used to solve the problems of the extreme poor in developing countries? 


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My Name, My Destiny?

Posted by Priscilla on September 24, 2013

name.jpgI love Carol Bly, the author of Beyond the Writers’ Workshop.  In the middle of a discussion on the importance of learning to do things with our hands, she says this: “Ancientness itself is healing.”


My first name happens to mean “ancient.” And I have often wished to have a healing influence on others, to use my words to bring health and life to others. When I read Bly’s words, they stopped me in my tracks. Weirdly enough, something began to flower deep inside. That’s it, I thought. That’s who I am.  My name actually is my destiny.

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