Memories of camping in the upper peninsula of Michigan have been with me all my life. I was just three when I went with my parents to a clearing on the shore of a lake where there was nothing but a narrow dock, a rowboat, an outhouse, and trees.
We slept in the canvas tent my dad used for deer hunting. The tent smelled of mildew, had no floor, and large flaps that tied closed.
At night our cots creaked when we moved. Continue reading “My first seeing”
It occurred to me the other day that I could just stop writing.
There is no reason why I must continue to work on my short fiction, essays, poems, and blog posts. I could just quit. Cold turkey. And what a relief it would be.
I would never again feel guilty about fooling around instead of writing, nor would I ever again feel guilty about spending an entire day lost in the revision of a story.
I would be free. Free! I could throw away all my half-finished work and all my folders stuffed with ideas written on scraps of paper. I could throw it all into the recycling bin and do other things. I could complete my to-do list; learn to bake bread; organize my photos; finish my genealogy projects; and of-course I would exercise a lot more often.
I dwelled on the pleasant possibilities of this for several minutes, and then began formulating my thoughts on the topic into sentences. I should write about this, I thought as I reached for a scrap of paper….
In the book “A House of my Own” by Sandra Cisneros, she writes: “At sixty I want a house pared down to what nourishes my spirit.”
Also: “What I’ve longed for is a refuge as spiritual as a monastery, as private as a cloistered convent… a fortress for the creative self.”
I read these words recently and identified strongly with them. Continue reading “A Fortress for the creative self”
As a person who is obviously well over the age of 50, I do not like being called “Miss” by the staff in restaurants and other places of business. It seems patronizing to me. And just plain wrong.
Calling a woman “Miss” is akin to calling a man “Mister.”
If a man asked a waiter for a glass of water, the waiter would not say, “I’ll get that for you right away, mister.” He would say, “I’ll get that for you right away, sir.” Continue reading “I am not a miss”
This blog is called Sixty Something because I am, but it’s about a lot more than that. I like to consider myself a cultural observer, and a semi-deep thinker. I am also an author. My memoir, Almost Home, is available from Amazon and other online booksellers. My WordPress site for Almost Home is at: www.hilaryharper.net
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While we are having some repair work done in our home office, I have temporarily moved my books to various locations around the house, leading me to wonder, once again, why I continue to own so many, especially considering how often we move.
I am a constant reader of books, but it’s not just their content I enjoy. I am a fan of books themselves. The actual objects. I love holding books in my hands, feeling the weight and texture of them, touching the paper pages, and riffling them with my thumb.
I enjoy studying the front and back covers of books, appreciating the design that has gone into creating them. Artful cover designs are one of the pleasurable things about owning a collection of books. I might not ever reread my books, but I will certainly look at them from time to time. Continue reading “Book Lovers Lament”
I learned the identity of my biological father two years ago as the result of an autosomal DNA test. Without knowing his name, or anything about him, the test results connected me with cousins in my paternal family, and led to the knowledge of who my father had been.
After decades of fruitless searching, finding my father was an incredible achievement. But success stories like mine are far from unusual these days.
The number of people using DNA testing services has grown steadily during the last few years, increasing the chances of finding a biological relative among them. The tests are fairly inexpensive, easy to take, and provide estimates of ancestral ethnicity along with a list of cousins.
But the most remarkable thing about DNA testing is the way it has put an end to secrecy in adoption, donor conceptions, and other cases of unknown parentage. Continue reading “The End of Secrets”