Why I Love Happily Ever After Endings Now

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I was sick from 2005 to 2016, beginning and ending in the month of May. I got sick when I was just finishing my first of three years of grad school in humanities. I focused on 20th century literature, and that meant world lit, not just English or American or any “old” stuff. I liked what we read but we read some really heavy duty literature. No happy endings. I can’t remember a single one in all the novels and poetry I read. In fact, one was so demanding emotionally that I was starting to have panic attacks as I read about the torture. I had to ask my professor if I could skip some of those parts. She said, fine with her. I read a ton of those books, wrote about them all and was done with the degree and that reading in May 2007 (with all As, thank you very much).
I did continue for awhile on that track of reading because I really liked my prof, thought I was enlightening myself and all that. But then as time dragged on and I was getting sicker and spending more hospital time and trying to read there, I got real tired of the Big Literature and not even feeling enlightened – or caring. I was re-reading Anna Karenina, got pretty far in (it was a new translation and a fabulous read this time), then I suddenly remembered the horrible, tragic ending, and marked the page and shelved it. Like maybe forever. Then I re-read a Jane Austen novel and read a couple others new to me, and very little happiness happened for very many characters between page one and The End. Tried Margaret Atwood – no, no, no! I read The Hobbit and enjoyed that but couldn’t go further with Tolkien, way too dark and really scary – and what exactly was a happy ending in those books and movies anyway? I did read all of the Harry Potter books one summer – thank you, J.K. Rowling. They were awesome and fun, a bit scary but I knew Harry and Hermione would be fine, no matter what Voldemort did (well, sort of).
But then I ran into some romantic characters in my own journal one morning, and they wouldn’t leave me alone. So I wrote that first novel. Then I wrote a second one. And I read a WHOLE LOT of romance novels and found out a lot of women (secretly) read them, too. I discovered Happily Ever After existed in romance novels and I fell in love with the concept and those endings (and the in-betweens – fuzzy warmness).
Now it seems I’m addicted to them. Reading them makes me happy and I like that state of mind – “It’s all going to work out, Dana.” Now I’m planning on writing a series of romance novels (that’s what romance authors do) and I can hardly wait to start. I read a lot of really good romance authors who give good advice – Diana Gabaldon, Outlander series (who doesn’t like Jamie and Claire?), Nalini Singh, a New Zealander who was a practicing attorney in Auckland who dropped out of law to write romance (some paranormal romance, too), Kristen Ashley who wrote a series of eight books based in Denver about Rock Chicks. I tell you, it gets to be a lot of fun! And I spend most of my days smiling as I’m both reading and writing.
I will write my transplant guidebook and perhaps go on the road with that, but romance reading and writing is now home to me. Yay for happy endings! I hope I get all A-plusses and make a lot of money doing it!


Health to Spend

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“Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for.
Spend all you have before you die; do not outlive yourself.”

—George Bernard Shaw

 I’ve read that before, several times. But today when I read it, I thought, that’s what I’ve been holding back on. But why? I’ve been wanting my health back for more than a decade now. During that time it lurched away from me in fits and starts till little remained. Now it really is back. In fact, sometimes I don’t recognize it because it still seems like a stranger. I am strange to myself, so I’m trying to reacquaint myself to my new self. I go walk now and I think I’m just strolling, not pushing for speed or distance. But when I return home, I look at my pedometer and I’ve covered more than 2 miles in just a little over 30 minutes. I don’t get that. I’m looking forward to the day when I expect that and a lot more. When I was sick, I thought I was always walking fast but could never walk a mile in 15 minutes. Never. So next week I’m shooting for 2.5 miles a day because, well, taking Mr. Shaw’s advice, I might as well wear out my health, spend it all. The week after that, 3 miles.

Today, I’m shooting for a zumba class downtown on the Auraria Campus at 5:15 to 6:15 pm taught by a friend of mine who used to teach the African dance class I attended for eight years. I’m a little nervous. But this time, today, I’m packin’, I’m carryin’ a big gun full of health. I’m going out to shoot it out with life. Open carry in Denver today.



Somewhere along the way, I became interested in politics. It could have even begun as early as age 24 in 1972 when I moved to Washington, D.C. for a year. It just happened to be the beginning of Watergate and we got the Washington Post daily and Sunday and The New York Times on Sunday, too. So much was happening across the Potomac from where I lived in Old Towne Alexandria. Besides all the flurry around those larger-than-life scandals and crimes, Nixon was the cartoon-character-sized personification of Evil.
I lived there till the spring of 1973, then moved back to Honolulu where I was interested in the women’s movement and  local native Hawaiian embroilments and activism. I worked with Hawaiian musicians then and heard a lot of their anger and resentment. I even worked on Neil Abercrombie’s first political campaign and he went on to become governor of Hawaii. In August of 1973, Nixon resigned from the Presidency. What a relief.
Now I watch Rachel Maddow’s show on my computer the day after it has aired. And I read articles my friends post on Facebook and The Economist and what comes in my email from national politicians and The White Helmets.
I try to keep up. My Grandmother Bennett, who lived to age 94, read the newspaper every day and stayed current with all the news, liked to talk and laugh about it.

Written 26 April 2015/Sun

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”
John Muir



A Lavender Night

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Once it was completely dark outside, beginning
of a lavender night, she walked outside.
The moon was full, the night sky luminous,
shining its silver light as the earth turned.
In Australia, in China and Japan, over the
Middle East and onto Buenos Aires,
New York City and then the west coast
of North America.
California would begin to see the full
moon an hour after she viewed it
shining on her marigolds.
In Denver.


The harvest moon is now a waning gibbous moon,
88% illuminated
on this date, September 19, 2016.

A Bucket List


For the first time ever, I wrote a bucket list. The first thing I wrote was to return to Buenos Aires for three to six months, taking Violet, of course. Then the second item was a trip to Patagonia and a stay in an estancia there. The third, a return to tango. So that pretty much sums up one-third of the list – Buenos Aires, tango, Patagonia. Embracing Argentina.

Then last night I read about Tibetan Buddhism and death, and how important it is to do exactly what you want in life. To be there for yourself and life and every moment.
Written June 2, 2015


Zen Things

Do one thing at a time

Do it slowly and deliberately

Do it completely

Do less



On my last day in Buenos Aires in January 2003, I was dubbed Americanita by the storekeeper and his wife in the deli across from Claudio’s house. I remember things at funny times and I wonder why they brushed against my mind in that moment. I was happy then. That was 13 years ago in Saavedra barrio on Miller Street, far from Capital Federal. I had been staying at Claudio Massonat’s house and making frequent trips to the store during the three weeks I was there. On that bittersweet day I was taking their pictures and they were taking mine with my camera. The film got stuck in the camera and I never got them developed. But in my mind’s eye I can still see and feel that afternoon, the inside of the store and its many delicious scents, standing outside in the sunlight on the quiet street, the people’s smiles and their kindness to me. That trip was when Buenos Aires became my heart city, mi ciudad del corazón.


Zen Thing #11 – Think about what is necessary

Being a Fool


I wonder what I’m doing here on earth. I don’t think of it consciously often. It’s more of a basso continuo that keeps repeating under everything I do in a day. At night sometimes the floodgates open and I dream what I should be and want to be doing. And sometimes I just get a small, quiet nudge – yes, move in this direction. I know I am a writer. But how to put that to my best use? It doesn’t lie in writing for other people. That doesn’t pay enough to make me suffer through their content and try to make sense out of it. No, I’d rather be a big fool and write my own fiction, non-fiction, blog posts. Foolishly happy. That.


Be regular and orderly in
your life, so that you may be
violent and original in your work.

                        —Gustave Flaubert

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