Posts tagged ‘Peach Seed Monkey’

Seven Years…no itch…

Oct 2018 has been a challenging month, usurped by the Kavanaugh circus plus on-going orange White House madness. And then there was Hurricane Michael. My hometown, Albany, Georgia and much of the southwest corner suffered greatly, as did parts of Florida and South Carolina.  As I pause to celebrate this blog’s 7th Birthday today, I continue to hold close my family and friends who are still recovering. 

If were a person, born on October 27th, “they” would be an imaginative and idealistic Scorpio with strong intuitive powers and powerful emotions. Their unique combination of determination, personal magnitude, and penetrating insight would make them excellent at combining business and pleasure. (like that idea).

I’m fascinated by the hidden signs and meanings in numbers so I consulted with a friend who’s into numerology:

I’ve always understood the number 7 to be the number of the spiritual seeker of truths. If you’re in a 7 year numerologically, it’s an introspective year when you feel the need to withdraw and be a bit hermit like—and then emerge in the 8 year, which is a good year for manifesting and making money…  —Holly Blake, painter, Numerology Geek, Residency Manager: Headlands Center for the Arts

To all readers who share this birthday ~ Happy Birthday and Many Glorious Returns of the Day!

After seven years, PSM.Blog and I have are not parting ways anytime soon, and I’m grateful to all you Followers, many who started with us back in Oct 2011. Starting today for the next 7 days, I have a special celebration planned so stick around…

The number 7 is amazing in its own right and made even more famous by the psychological term seven year-itch, which (according to Wikipedia) suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage. In 1913, Phillip Gibbs published the novel, The Eighth Year, in which he credits the idea to British judge Sir Francis Jeune. Of course, here in the US the phrase was popularized by George Axelrod’s 1952 play, The Seven Year Itch and the 1955 comedy film adaptation starring Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe. (Ewell also starred in the play with Paulette Girard who must’ve been pretty miffed when Billy Wilder, et al, chose Marilyn for the film. But hey—heaven help any “ingenue” going up against NORMA JEAN).

Not surprising to learn that seven year itch started as a name for long term, irritating, contagious skin complaints. Man-o-man do I know a little something about skin complaints: eczema—interestingly enough—lasted seven years, finally going away after a 3-day hospital stay in 2006. Toward the end, a clerk in a health food store told me “Oh, you’ve been suffering for seven years? Then you’re almost done.”  She based that on the theory that every cell in our body is replaced in seven-year cycles. A myth. Our miraculous bodies are constantly replacing cells: colon cells refresh after only four days, and we get a whole new skin every 2-3 weeks. Believe me, it’s more than a notion to watch your skin fall off at a rapid rate: flakes in the hospital bed and all over the floor. It’s been twelve years since my trauma with eczema ended and somedays I still sit and marvel at the blessing of no part of my body itching. My heart goes out to anyone suffering with chronic eczema.

These days seven year itch is used in any situation where we find ourselves in a lull after a long period of time—a full-time job? buying a house? revising a novel? Nah. I’m actually in year 12 of this novel-writing process and—while I definitely feel like an introspective hermit—I’m way past any itch. As you may have heard me say, the light at the end of this tunnel is so bright I have to wear sunglasses here at the computer. Feels real good to know Bloggie’s year 8 is just around the corner—I certainly would like to manifest a book deal in 2019.

The seven-day week was associated with the seven heavenly bodies: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. As a result, some believe, marking rituals every seventh-day became important.

To celebrate, I cracked open my archives and selected one popular post from each year to re-publish, one-a-day for a week. Day 1 will begin tomorrow. Please leave brief comments so we know you were here. If you have a longer, more personal treatise, please email me:

Numerologically speaking ~
To figure out what year your’e in: add up the digits of your birthday, month with current year. EX: if today is your birthday,10/27/18
becomes 1+0+2+7+2+0+1+8=21 and 2+1=3 so you are in a 3 year ~ representing vision, imagination and joy of living. You and Bloggie possess a great talent for creativity & self-expression. (Like the sound of that, too!)

More tomorrow…

💃🏾🐒 🎂🎊🎉

Celebrating 4 Years!


Wooo–whooo!! THANKS to YOU—devoted Followers—this blog is 4 years old! To celebrate I’m launching a new feature: IN A NUTSHELL: an audio blogcast where I will share my writings, research interviews ~ and what not. This first episode is a revised version of the pages I read on Friday, October 23 at Rant & Reverie, a fundraiser for Novato (CA) Theater. It’s a scene from the set up of my work-in-progress novel, Peach Seed Monkey. To listen, CLICK  HERE ~ or ~ the play> button below. Leave a comment!…share your thoughts on the reading.

In A Nutshell 
1: A Wind Blew from the North 10.30.15

Upcoming Reading ~ This Friday, Oct. 23 in Novato

Hello All…long time no see, but I’m back with good news: I’ll be reading from the homestretch draft of my novel, Peach Seed Monkey, this coming Friday here in Novato, CA.

I hope you locals can come out and join the Rant & Reverie to raise money for the renovation of Novato Theatre.

Update ~ Early last month I made a trip back to Albany for a family funeral and was able to work a lot on place and setting for the story; you really have to be there to nail it. Was introduced to an area of Albany I’d heard of but never visited: Cromartie Beach. I was so intrigued that I’ve written the location into the story ~ this is where my Altovise Benson buys her retirement beach house ~


OK…Click on the poster below for details about the reading this coming Friday…


I Believe

‘Tis the season.
(Written December 29, 2011)

A few nights ago my husband Rob was watching the movie version of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic children’s book, The Polar Express (creepy animation, but I love the book). I caught the tail end when the boy holds up the bell and says, “I believe, I believe!” and then the bell rings. That sent a little bell jingling in my head with the idea for this final post of 2011.

I believe in signs.
Clear, unexpected signs that show up along a path, urging you on, when you’re full of fear and self-doubt but moving forward despite them.

I haven’t reported here yet, but the day after Thanksgiving my manuscript was rejected by an agent I had high (as it turns out false) hope for. One down and many more to go. Pity party only lasted two days. Learned a lot. Moving on.

2011 is the year that I finished my first novel. Proud of that. I’ve had more than a few signs this year on the journey. Gotten to the point where when one shows up I just shake my head, smile and say I’m not even surprised. However, depending on who’s in conversation, I might as well say I believe in Santa Claus.

A fellow writer sent an email urging me not to pay so much attention to such things as signs, but just buckle down and write the best book I can.
She doesn’t get it.
I love the signs. I’m grateful for the blessing. I was excited by them and shared some of these stories with a few friends, but then cut back on talking about them outside of my little family of three, because of people who don’t get it. But the jingle bell told me that’s their problem. So here I am, throwing this out for those who get it.

It’s clear to me now that the key to catching signs is forward motion despite fear. My sister Betty spoke of it often: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey,” her graduate students quoted her to me. And that’s definitely what my mother Irene was talking about when she forbade us to say “I can’t”, replacing it with her mantra: “Can killed Can’t and they got in behind Couldn’t and haven’t seen him since.”

Photo: Anita Jones

So in the spirit of the season, I’ll share three of my favorite signs ~

#1. February 22, 2011~ I had taken the writing as far as I could without  traveling back to Albany to immerse us both—story and myself—in the sights, sounds, cadences of southwest Georgia. That morning I met an interested friend for coffee in San Rafael to discuss the book. Then I dropped by Fairfax library, the whole time struggling with the decision to start putting money where my idea was: plane ticket, car rental, hotel, etc. I walked out to my car, and in that very moment of wrestling with thoughts of flying home I saw that the license plate of the car parked next to mine included: AJR747 (my legal initials are AJR).  Of course I had to share the story with the woman sitting in the car. She smiled and said, “Sounds like you need to get on a jet!” (Then she thanked me for pulling her out of her worriation over an upcoming anatomy test). Two months later I made the first of two 2011 research trips back to Albany.

#2. Oct. 14, 2011 ~ parking lot of Maples Pavilion at Stanford University in Palo Alto.  Well, I’d driven all the way down there for an education Roundtable with Charlie Rose as moderator. I wondered why there was so much parking available. Well, it was because I was there on the wrong day, the thing was the next Saturday.  Frustrated, I made the best of it, decided to do research in the Green Library. Got to the driver’s side door and spotted something on the asphalt in the empty space next to my car. “Is that a peach seed?” I asked out loud. Knelt down to examine and yes it was ~ a crushed peach seed! You already know what I said then: “I’m not even surprised.”

#3. At the suggestion of Aruna, a writing cohort, during this Christmas break I’ve been reading Richard Yates, starting with Revolutionary Road. Amazing work, written from the eye of the storm of detail and dialog. I’m learning a lot. I noticed that his birth and death years are exactly the same as my mother: 1926 ~ 1992, but this next sign really got me: Betty had a few terms of endearment—often called us “Cutie”—but her favorite was “Pookie Nose”. The third line in Yates’ novel The Easter Parade reads:

“Their mother, who encouraged both girls to call her “Pookie”, took them out to New York…”

OK. ‘Nuf said.

Here’s to a happy, productive 2012 for all of YOU… and …

THE POINT IS ~ hope you’ll always hear the jingle.

The First Bite

A weekday in Harlem, Albany, GA, circa 1960s 

America has a multitude of best-kept secrets. The Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement  is one of them. It started in the fall of 1961. I was seven years old, and my late sister, Betty, was just shy of twelve.To my knowledge our late parents—like most of the more than 20,000 blacks in Albany at the time—were not active in the Movement. Quite the contrary, they sheltered us from it, for obvious reasons: extreme southern white bigotry was nothing to mess with. Yet that is exactly what a few brave souls chose to do, mess with the racial status quo in order to force change. You will meet many of those heroes in future posts.

I have many vivid memories of my parallel life growing up on Hazard Drive while this crucial part of American history unfolded around me. These memories were the bud for my work-in-progress novel, PEACH SEED MONKEY, where I have placed a host of fictional characters inside the very real present-day Albany, with flashbacks to the highly charged 1960s.

I invite you to visit here often (and subscribe!)  to learn how important the Albany Movement was ~ and still is ~ as an instrument of change and a model for the Women’s Movement, Vietnam protests and subsequent non-violent struggles for human rights throughout the world. Although the Movement is crucial to this story, PEACH SEED MONKEY is a work of fiction and will set out to do what novels do best ~ present the author’s exploration of a certain truth.

Leave comments, join the conversation as I’ll be sharing snippets from my process and travels—both mythic and actual—as they pertain to and inform the story; sometimes going back to 1960s Albany and my childhood house on Hazard (now a parking lot, for real); sometimes looking around my present-day life in northern California and even projecting ahead to the world our teenage daughter is headed for. I will let you in on why this is a story I am powerless to resist.

%d bloggers like this: