Gloria Choo loaned me a book “Rubyfruit Jungle” by Rita Mae Brown, and it was shocking, I was leaving home. She took me to a safe house and once there I helped some girl with her math homework. It felt good to be free of him, but I was afraid for my future. The book was like reading “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” only it was women. I had never read or seen anything where females were lovers. It was 15 years later that I started writing poetry for Penny Sartori, a intensive care nurse that convinced me to love life and to believe in rainbows and living, when death is beating on your door. She has written a couple of books about near death experiences and her work helped me to overcome my fear of death. I did not know at the time that I would develop a brain tumor and experience my own near death experience. These days I think a lot about the people who gave me books and hope in life. I think more about teachers and about the past. I no longer contemplate suicide. I remember Karen Blaydes who drove me out to see Flannery O’Conner’s peacocks. She was a great teacher and she inspired me to apply to a great college, Bard. Writing and thinking was primary there and now it is everything to me. It is my history, and my future. I was born to read and write. I was born to chase literature and to fall down the rabbit hole.
I celebrate those who taught me to rejoice in writing and reading.