Welcome new readers

The Katz/Wulf team hosted their open house over the columbus day weekend and I had the good fortune to meet many people and present my calling card with my blog emblazoned on it.   Several people have been kind enough to notify me of their new readership and I am very grateful to each and every one of you and to the unknown ones who read and leave few traces of their readership, if there are any such animals.  I’m not sure if the computer computes all who click on.  I guess they register as “hits” without necessarily leaving an email?  Would anyone like to educate me on this point?

Then, out in Aliso Viejo, California my cards were again made available.  I don’t know if I have any new readership from that event, but if I do, welcome to your, too.

My internet skills often need a consultation or two to allow me to post a blog and for this reason I go to the library to do my printed words.  I use computers supplied by the library along with the help the library staff offers.  Thus, because my small town has limited library hours and my personal storage area of patient attention for the work is also limited, the time I can devote to the computer world is less than my ambitions demand.  We shall see.  This in way of explanation for why sometimes blogs don’t come out as often as once or twice a week:  my ideal.

For today, a story pointing to a cure for inconsolable grief: a deep down realization that one is not alone.  Everyone suffers loss.  So one is in kinship with all others.

A woman lost her young child to sickness and couldn’t face that fact/  She walked the neighborhood streets, the outlying suburbs, the rural villages, the city itself carrying the dead offspring in her arms, begging for medicine to cure her beloved.  She came to the Buddha Shakyamuni and he explained that if he were to be in possession of a mustard seed he could make a medicine for her but that the mustard seed must come from a family that had not known loss.

The woman was filled with renewed energy and went from door to door explaining her mission to all whom she met.   But nobody could help her.   All had suffered loss.

In a very compassionate way, Shakyamuni taught her the universality and inevitability of loss and thereby consoled the suffering woman.

So this story can help me and all who have suffered a loss. We must part from those we love.  When the body can no longer sustain life it’s time to move on.  We grieve and come to terms with our grief.  Even in the beginning and middle of the process, even if it has no end, may our compassion for ourselves, the other living and the dead increase and may we grieve in a way that further develops our inner resources, including our happiness with ourselves.

Prevailing culture

“Am I wrong?  I started out thinking that I don’t suffer, that I am a happy person, that in fact something was wrong with me if I weren’t happy and could admit to suffering.

Does not our media offer a purchasable solution to every known unhappiness under the sun?  It’s un-American to be unhappy.

That’s what I thought.  But what about lines such as “lives of quiet desperation”, “tired with all these for restful death I cry” and the like.  I realized that the connections is my thoughts weren’t really connecting to legitimate claims and feelings.

After some time had passed, time of talk and reflection and reading and study I realized that I agreed that there are sufferings in life that are unavoidable, sufferings in life that are common to all humanity and that these sufferings can be distilled down to four universal sufferings: birth, death, illness and  old age.  These are four conditions which all human beings go through and they are, by their very nature, fraught with hardships.

The sufferings of birth does not refer to pain of the birth canal passage or Freudian ideas of leaving the womb.  Once I’m born, if I live, I’m going to run into frustration of one sort or another, such as misunderstandings of speech, being in a hurry and encountering a slow talker whom I must hear out for directions, having to wait in lines when I don’t want to, “the thousand natural shocks that flesh in heir to”.

No amount of purchases, no matter what is advertised will ever remove me from that basic suffering or from the other three that are even more self evident.

So the next question is what do I do about it in order to make the most value out of my life.  I agree with the writing that affirms that I can create the most value out of my life and be as happy as I can be amidst the four sufferings by learning to cultivate my humanity, reach out to those who are suffering, gain the trust of the people around me, create value out of every situation and live with a fighting spirit.

In this quest I wrote my book-in-progress, Growth is Inevitable (When You Challenge Family Discord).

Three Meetings a Day

I once read that making friends adds fuel to world peace.  Strangers are people I haven’t yet met.  Potential friends are in that category.  If I make the acquaintance of a person, the natural reaction is to get to know the person and if, in that process, opportunities for encouragement arise, who would resist?  I try to encourage and comfort.  It’s a great part of building relationships that blossom into friendships.

It’s a source of personal power and happiness.  I’m strong enough to help someone else.   Wow.  That makes me feel powerful and helping someone else also brings with it, happiness.  That means I can make myself happier than before by being kind.  Even a dog knows whether it has been kicked or tripped over and though that doesn’t mean misunderstandings don’t arise, it does mean that everyone is touched by kindness.

Now where world peace opens up is in the realm of caring for another.  I wouldn’t want to fight with a friend.  That friend might  have opposing views but still we would try to remain friends because we like and respect each other.  The wider my circle of friends, the more we all have an interest in cementing the peace of our world, however large or small our particular world is.

In looking around the current world brought to me by BBC radio news I hear a great deal about fighting within communities.  I feel  very fortunate to be living in the US of A where communities are not easily broken apart.  I go to the grocery store without worrying about snipers.  I give a lot of thanks for that gift of peace.  There are other examples of the benefits of peace but taking walks, walking to shopping places, driving on roads that aren’t mined, simple things so dear to me are priceless and are, the news tells me, rare.

Anything I can do to spread the enjoyable benefits of peace seem a small price to pay especially when the price is as much payment for growing my inner resources as anything else I could possibly be doing.

open letter to author of The Hours, Michael Cunningham

hi, michael cunningham, dear to my inner-resources development fund, you’ve incited me to communicate. My inner-resources development fund owes you a debt of gratitude for your donation, gratefully recieved through an inter-llibrary loan of your novel The Hours.

Unlikely candidate, though I am, I’ve become a writer. I’ve written things on my blog. But now, at least partially thanks to you and to a book by Michael Larsen entitled How to Write a Book Proposal, I want readers, art-viewers, and comments. Yes, I, prefer an alternative to silence. Maybe you do, too. So I’m writing to you.

I admire The Hours. In my take on Mrs. Dalloway, I concluded that the goal of Virginia Woolf’s book might well have been expiation for her objecting to intrusions into her life of events beyond her control, as Mrs. Dalloway’s anger when the death of the ex-soldierl invaded her party through the doctor’s report of the incident to another party-goer was evidence of her objection to intrusion into her life of events beyond her control.

Mrs. Dalloway thought of her guests and disliked that they might be upset hearing about this episdoe in the life of the greater city. Virginia Woolf might have caugt herself doing a similar response and wanted to make up for that less than compassionate (one might say) reaction. But Mrs. Dalloway thought of her guests and was trying to protect them. She might not have had compassion for the soldier and the doctor and the ministsry official, but she had compassion for her guests.

The Hours seems not to be a work of expiation. The Hours seemed to be a challenge to you, its author. “I want to write like Virginia Woolf. I can write like Virginia Woolf,” and you set out to see just what you could do along those lines.

“I can write like Dostoevsky,” I once bragged to an acquaintance. I can string together many-worded complex sentences into a coherent story.” But I nvever tried.

You, however, tried and succeeded in penning a novel in its own right, inspired by the inspiring Virginia Woolf. Remember the autobiography, I Am Camera? Somehow that comes to mind when thinking of an author noting, through a character, the sights of daily life. It’s impossible to separate the author’s observing eye from the book character’s observing eye. In that respect you captured Virginia Woolf because you and the character of Clarissa merged especially well.

Another way that I thought you captured Virginia Woolf lies in the matter-of-fact, just-another-part-of-life view of death. The suicide easing himself off the window ledge and the probable future suicide housewife were presented with very little sadness, if any, entering the writing. The sadness came when the author’s mother showed as a collapsed, almost-absent remain herself.

The housewife’s comfort in contemplating the option of death in an hotel room introduced a note, to me, that I don’t remember hearing from Virginia Woolf. That note is the wonder of a life whose expanse did not include any wild alternatives to speak of or think about.

You wrote about a reader and a writer and their friend or family. Everyday people in various socio-economic strata. You and Virginia Woolf are dedicated to writing about humanity and the human consciousness of alive people. Thank you for your efforts. If you read my “Mrs. Dalloway’s Party” blog at donnawynbrandt.com, please feel free to comment. Thank you very much for wading through this letter.         Please excuse me from correcting all my errors.  Thank you.

Adventures with George new epsiode with old vw camper vanagon

As long as I’ve known George, since 1988, he’s had vw campers.  Once he had a camper and a van and the mechanics combined them so that he had a whole running one.  VW vans reek of tempermentality.  Once we had to stop every hour to cool down the engine.   Once the whole sliding side door fell off.  Once there was a fire around the gear-shifting material.  It erupted right by my seat.

I’m hesitant to ride in George’s vans.  Then George might get indignant and ask, “What are you afraid of?  It’s been running fine.  But the past of our association, woman and machine, haunts me.

Most recently, a malfunction caused George injury.  We had just gotten back the Vanagon from the fabrication factory.  It had quieted the muffler and done something so the catalytic converter attached to the muffler without a break, without a broken seal in the pipes and tubes.

The engine was now closed off to the rush of air that used to whoosh over the machinery, cooling it.  The fan belt twisted, now, because the belt fit too loosely, and the mechanics knew the race-car jerry rig solution of twisting a belt that needed a tighter fit.

George figured, rightfully, that a twist would cause deterioration at a rate more rapid than normal ageing and this would destroy the cooling system.  So he untwisted it.  However, the looseness caused the same effect and while we were driving the fan belt broke and the coolant couldn’t circulate.  The coolant boiled.  It smoked of coolant fumes.  George dropped me off at my apartment and limped home, coming to rest in back of the garage.

That’s when he opened up the engine cover to see what was going on and stuck his head deeply into the apparatus to see if fire caused smoke and discovered the smoke was boiling coolant vapor.  However, in his investigation he breathed in the coolant fumes and rasped his throat.

First Four Card Set ten dollars

Four Card Set

Waitress as Magnificent Ostrich

Waitress as Magnificent Ostrich

Adventures with George – how buying mattresses gave us an art show

George and I and our gallery-owner and friend Nancy-Nan noticed LaFlammme’s Furniture Store advertising a “going-out-of-business” sale. We needed furniture, especially new mattresses.

George’s mattress was a top of the line mattress at its purchase date, 1985. Now its springs protruded through the quilted, flowered, covering fabric, like an alien poking fun at a thing of earth.

Nancy-Nan did the negotiating and delivery date slated within the week. Now George had to clear out and clean up under the bed, a task he had avoided for the last twenty years. And what a twenty years it had been. So enventful that the objects placed under the bed had been long forgotten and neglected.

The objects found included dust-imprisoned protfoloios – one of George’s and one of mine. Mine was so imprisoned in grime that George set it out in the garage- threatening me with its next interrment place of Mickey’s closet if I didn’t clean it up and take a look to determine its future.

Twenty years ago George and I lived together alone. His Mom had gone to a nursing home and his brother Mickey was still a street person sleeping in the unused rides of Coney Island. Computers had not invaded lives, and we were blissfully unaware of what time-stealers computers would become. In short, we had time to enjoy each other’s company and amuse ourselves around the house.

To document our leisure hours together, I had set up mirrors and by eyeing the reflelctions our bodies produced in the mirrors did nude scene of George and me relaxing together. That body of work from 1994 filled the portfolio.

George’s portfolio consisted of vintage photos, a hodge podge of scenes from out West, NYC, Finland and Paris.

We disn’t know what to do with them so we, as usual, consulted Nancy-Nan who wanted to see them. The spring season we found ourselves in involved us, especially Nancy-Nan with her farm, in many projects. So she took a non-commital look and put the portfolios away.

But summer rolled around, I asked Nancy-Nan about the portfolios, she relooked at them, chose many and decided to feature them in her season show. There was a big party for opening night, a big party a week later for those who couldn’t make the first party, and so our mattresses led to an art show.

Mrs. Dalloway’s Party

by Donna Wynbrandt

I went to Mrs. Dalloway’s party. Mrs. Dalloway and I are similar in that we both want to have lives of beauty and order.

Mrs. Dalloway decided on a beautiful setting for her party.

The lighting was done with ordinary light bulbs of different placements and intensities. Yet for all its common appearance and everyday familiarity, the effect was to present an interior landscape of serenity and peace. The atmosphere, like eternal art works, could hold a gaze.

The war had ended a few years earlier. The soldiers living on beyond their deceased comrades had come home and Mrs. Dalloway had banished the war from her domain.

But not everyone had been able to do the same.

One returned soldier in particular had been destroyed the day of Mrs. Dalloway’s party and the doctor who had attended the death also was attending Mrs. Dalloway’s party. He was an invitee. There, at Mrs. Dalloway’s party, he met another party goer, a government ministry official and the good doctor felt the need to discuss the situation, all too frequently observed, with the government representative.

Young, young men who had gone to the war even younger than when they returned, had taken all the natural attributes of young people with themselves. Especially had they taken their high ideals, sure nose for hypocrisy and injustice, and boundless hope. Their spirit, their minds, their bodies, their talents and poetry had gone to war.

Mrs. Dalloway’s Party


All they had brought back were the splintered, broken pitchers of life that had been theirs, their ever-full youth.

They had lost their normal human development. Maturity and experience, not of natural and unforced progression augmenting their years, was theirs.

Horrors that ended their hope, idealism, sense of fair play without a replacement were the legacy, result and effect of their military service, do what it did for others.

The war unhinged their screws, fittings, moorings to life and the doctor heard about it from the families, saw the evidence in the vacant-eyed young men.

He felt the hopelessness of these youth as if their vanished hopes were blood pooling in a communal wound basin with the doctor himself as the repository, the urn, the pooling-place of hopelessness.

This particular young man had leapt from a window to escape any further sufferings and indignities of this life, only to be impaled on the spear tips of the iron railing surrounding his last interior breathing space.

Mrs. Dalloway heard this report given in the adjoining hallway. It frightened her to be changed from a reveler to a mourner. She was upset. She angered. She placed blame on the men who had brought other people’s lives and deaths to her party. Uninvited death, uninvited mourners, uninvited war. And she lashed out in hostility saying to another who wanted beauty and order in her life, “How do they dare to bring death to my party?”

Mrs. Dalloway’s Party


This other, to whom Mrs. Dalloway turned, had not been disturbed by the sudden reversal in the room’s atmosphere nor in Mrs. Dalloway’s demeanor.

This other exhibited the inner strength of even the most ordinary of people by her wise words to her hostess and relative.

“You truly fear the hardships of change and impermanence. If you could but see an opportunity for yourself to allay some of this grief and consternation, you would be awakening your own happiness.”

She took Mrs. Dalloway’s hand, carefully kissed its fragrantly-creamed back and gave a gentle smile.


I was overcome by this rapid progression of events bombarding my sensibilities and bowed myself out of the room, retiring to a mint-green striped, rolled-back couch in a nearby alcove.

Two men came in. They spoke in grave, soft voices, sorrowing over the deaths of firefighters in the forests of southern California.

I was Mrs. Dalloway all over again. I had been trying to retrieve a party mood to myself. I had been preparing myself to find a room of a light hearted gathering without reminders of war, gruesome deaths, hardships, responsibilities.

But here was more uninvited death at a party. A party with flowers in vases, a summer party, a party in a land of eternally tranquil light.

Mrs. Dalloway’s Party


And here were two people, solemn, mourning over those who had died trying to save homes, forests, wild creatures, human beings from a natural disaster, fire.

Somehow I was able to refrain from speaking when those flickers of righteous indignation began to burn me up.

I wanted to loudly blame the authorities who had sent the firefighters in, too close to the fire.

But it was death. It was an unforeseen accident. The firefighters were heroes. I was remembering the remarks of Mrs. Dalloway’s relative.

I felt so bad that these beautifully rich and cultured voices, so solemn and grave and sad were solemn and sad and grave. I was so angry that they weren’t light-hearted and laughing.

I so longed to hear those refined articulating throats speak in my presence forever but I could not bear to hear any more about death.

I was too overcome with both grief and sorrowing at the reports and joy at the ears of mine encountering these gorgeously spoken syllables.

I had to run away. It was all too much for me. Too rich for my blood. I was too inexperienced, too immature.

But I waited, silent, until I could do or say something of value. I would consider Mrs. Dalloway’s loss of equanimity and her relative’s words to her as a lesson to me.

“The firefighters can do nothing more for themselves. What I can do for them, I will do. I’ll pray that their spirit of service, no matter what the consequences, remains with me.

Mrs. Dalloway’s Party


“Without their bodies, their eyes, their voices, we’ll be lonely. We’re especially sorry that they’re not among their loved ones.

“Maybe, somehow, they’ll absorb our good will for them.”

That’s what I would say when it was my turn to talk.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, I lost my temper merely because of the strangeness of life, of unforeseen opportunity to listen and learn of fumbled possibilities. I lashed out, as had Mrs. Dalloway, but more brazenly, hotly blaming authority for what I considered unnecessary death.

But what really angered me was that death is necessary and death, necessary death, came to my consciousness when it was least welcome.

Necessary death intruded and I lost my temper and hated the intrusion of death. Hatred is a world of rage and it blinded me to the sensibilities and sensitivities of those civilized ones who weren’t enraged.

They had been sorrowful. I had become sorrowful in sympathy with them. Then I felt unhappy. Sudden sorrow. I lost my temper. Could I not have been compassionate without being sorrowful? Could I not? Sympathy for sorrowing need not, itself, be a sorrow.

“I wandered around and finally found

Somebody who could make me be true

And even be glad just to be sad

Thinking of you….”

Mrs. Dalloway’s Party


Would I not be willing to consider song lyrics as a teacher?

Could we not be happy with our lives? Even “be glad” of our lives while feeling sympathy for the bereaved and feeling for their sorrow? Is that not the nature of compassion? An impetus to try to comfort?

If my life force were stronger, if my life condition were higher, my joy in life would keep me in temper despite all other fleeting emotions, such as sympathy for sorrowing.

All this was before I knew that I could share compassion without sharing grief. That which I’ve learned I need to practice until it becomes a part of me. I’m afraid of grief.

Is it not said, “We become what we fear”?

So what am I saying? Am I saying that fear of inconsolable grief transmuted ordinary or profound sympathy into rage? Must a regrettable loss of temper become so serious in my mind? Am I over analyzing or just trying to get to the very bottom of the incident in order to make genuine my apologies.

Apologies to the gentlemen who bore the brunt of my rage and from whom I withheld the comfort of compassion.

That’s my hope. That civilized, cultured voices and beings will accept my apologies and speak in my presence again.

The non-ordinary folk who had moved me so much, turned my face into a mass of wind, every stirring vibration a rare and rich gift my life had somehow earned.

Mrs. Dalloway’s Party


What was that Bob Dylan song? “Once I held … in the palm of my hand… I didn’t know what I had… I threw it all away..”

For an instant I knew what I had. But before I could register as a good, that which was good, my innate darkness imploded my natural awe and appreciation. I felt that I had to inspire the same sort of awe and appreciation, I despaired of my ability to so do and I tried, anyway, out of anger, without further thought addressed to the problem.

I felt that I had not earned it. I had earned it. That’s why that experience was there. I had somehow deserved it. What goes around, comes around. I hadn’t done enough. I had to do more. I was angry at that insistence. I lost my temper, my nerves, my edge.

My best bet would have been to remain silent. I could have said, “We all have to go sometime.”

And here I am again, making a mockery out of my own regrets. My happy-go-lucky nature is finally reasserting itself and giving me cause to laugh at a ridiculously inept hypothetical solution to an unrepeatable experiment. “We all have to go sometime.” ha ha ha.

Yet this happy-go-lucky attitude is that which I lost in my sympathy, that aborted emotion, for their suffering,

They were mourning, but their voices’ quality was absent of the emotion of suffering, the state of mind of suffering. How did they do that? Their very tones prompted a desire to see into the nature of sorrow and suffering.

I wanted their voices laughing. I didn’t want them sorrowing. I didn’t want them to mourn. To sorrow is to suffer. I felt I had to suffer, too, in order to share their experience at that moment. I

didn’t want to suffer.

Mrs. Dalloway’s Party


What a control-freak I must be. Anytime of stress or strangeness or change and I feel threatened. .

I jumped to the conclusion that they were asking me to suffer and I lost my temper. It was too much to ask. But solemnity is not suffering. Sadness. Is sadness suffering? That I can’t answer with assurance.

I wonder: Must it be that parts of life: regrets, sorrow, loss, grief are, of inevitability sufferings?

We suffer at the same time that we, on a different level, revel in the aliveness of ourselves.

Oh happy-go-lucky attitude, are you reasserting yourself? Has my own discretion tutored me? Has my ignorance of the functioning of compassion been dispelled?

Where is Mrs. Dalloway now? I want to discuss this with her. Death is as necessary as parties. They can’t be kept apart. The world intrudes on our smaller worlds. That’s necessary, too. Compassion without sharing any emotion beyond or besides compassion itself is always good legal tender. I do so want her to know. I didn’t know it at the time. Still, I might not always keep it in mind.

If Mrs. Dalloway and I could talk about it, we would both better learn the lesson. Of this I feel sure. Maybe both Mrs. Dalloway and I are each, ourselves, a form of expiation. So much creativity is expiation.

royalty on display

DHW  Royalty on Display001


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