Armen D. Bacon's Blog (67)

Fifty Shades of Friendship

 Sometimes, when you don’t even realize you’re caught in the undertow, someone swims along and saves your life.

Elusive time. Is it just me or are the days flying by? After a grueling week of deadlines and to do’s, daily living barely sandwiched in-between the rigors of the 40 hour work week, a refrigerator completely empty except for coffee creamer, a six-pack of Diet Coke and  a half-jar of Kosher style pickles, I woke up feeling spent, empty and breathless.  I was also out of…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on March 2, 2013 at 10:18pm — No Comments

Drowning myself in writing

On a rare day, this day, I write new words without boundaries, minus hesitation, taking chances, discovering the playfulness hiding inside my thoughts, surprising myself every few lines. Within each word, I conjure a new world, creating a mental landscape built with trust, inventiveness, as I chase a (new) dialect that whispers something important to me. My first draft is messy, the second even messier. I return with an ax, then the scalpel until it rolls off the tongue just right. I am…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on February 11, 2013 at 5:58pm — No Comments

A Stunning Weekend of Contrasts

I drift here this evening to chronicle my thoughts, document life, jot thoughts that linger, provoke and even haunt. Arriving dizzy and in a stupor, I search for words to describe the stunning contrasts of the weekend. Yesterday I spent a good part of my day working with my co-author on a presentation we will be doing in Seattle at the Search for Meaning Conference (March 9, 2013). We will share the language and landscape of Griefland and our thoughts on daring to breathe again.  A few hours…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on January 20, 2013 at 7:28pm — No Comments

Grief Reverberated

I was in Los Angeles this past weekend recording the audio version of my book, "Griefland." Another milestone author moment. The experience was unforgettable, yet odd and completely out of context. A few times, I had to stop, gasp, catch my own breath.  My voice changed, choked, as if horrified at hearing this story. I sat in the sound booth yearning to scream, shatter the glass, break free once and for all from the excruciating pain born from loss.  "Ma'am, are you all right?" the young…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on December 4, 2012 at 5:27pm — No Comments

The Art of Never Looking Away

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget. "  ---Arundhati Roy

As the holidays grab their usual hold on me, my hands tremble then…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on November 24, 2012 at 2:42pm — No Comments

Grief has no Expiration Date

 I received a note this week that threw me back into my childhood days and came from a close friend whose mother was killed in a horrid automobile accident when we were all very young. Her path, an unusual one – she moved far away and eventually landed on the other side of the planet where she raised a family and is now teaching. Her aunt attended one of our book signings and asked me to inscribe a copy of ‘Griefland’ for her. A few weeks later, when I received the note, her words chilled me…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on November 17, 2012 at 7:04pm — 2 Comments

The Destiny of Survival

This week I stood before hundreds of students to share a mother’s tale of survival. They came right back at me with eyes wide open, hands raised, some grabbing and reaching, others floundering in mid air, quizzing me for minute details about the aftermath of loss. A generously long line formed at the end of the day, one young woman embracing my pain while sharing her own; another young man with sweaty palms broke down while whispering, then whimpering, the loss of his brother. A few shy…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on November 3, 2012 at 10:00am — No Comments

Soundtrack of Griefland

They arrived in droves,in the hundreds - members of the Cemetery Club, some referenced in the book, others attracted perhaps, by the book's title, wanting to share their grief, lift the veil of silence, somehow convey the depth of personal sorrow in the company of others, who like them, had endured unthinkable loss. One man wept uncontrollably, apologizing profusely, whispering his wife had taken her life 33 years ago. Today, the grief remained fresh, wounds still oozing, he confessed in a…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on October 22, 2012 at 11:01am — No Comments

This Month, Griefland Sprouts Her Wings

 

As our book's official pub date hit October 2, I found myself teetering a bit, not sure if I'm really ready yet to set free this work we have devoted ourselves to for the past three years. It feels a little like letting your toddler cross the street alone for the first time, holding your breath, hopeful they land safely. This morning, I pause to…
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Added by Armen D. Bacon on October 14, 2012 at 2:11pm — No Comments

Making Eye Contact with the Faces of Griefland

It’s been exactly one week since Nancy Miller and I stepped out onto the vast stage to share our story before a standing-room only crowd at the Central California Women’s Conference.  Our co-authored memoir made its powerful debut surrounded by an entourage of family, friends and loving supporters. We also noticed the faces of grief-stricken women, there for us, perhaps also looking for a shred of hope to remind them they would smile again.  Photo ops, pens running out of ink, hearts cracked…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on September 25, 2012 at 7:37pm — No Comments

Griefland Comes to Life - A Moment of Self-Return

             

How do I describe the moment this morning when my publisher called to say she was holding a copy of my published book  in her hand? I begged her to grab the spine,  inhale its magic, caress the front and back as if it were living, breathing. When my co-author, Nancy, and I first met in January 2009, it was a few short weeks after her daughter, Rachel, had died. My son, Alex, had died 4 years earlier, on July 17, 2004. We asked ourselves if writing a book together would…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on August 31, 2012 at 2:30pm — No Comments

How Many More Saturday Matinees?

Yesterday, I took my 86-year old mother to the movies, something we have done for as long as I can remember. As the credits were running, while I hoisted her up on the count of three, cane in one hand, other arm clutching mine, I found myself wondering how many more Saturday matinees (lunches, shopping dates, family dinners) this lifetime would allow us to share as mother and daughter. The realization that the number might be smaller than 10 or 20 or 100 suddenly…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on August 26, 2012 at 7:19pm — No Comments

The Grief Collector

I teeter this evening - vascillating between stanzas of silence - suddenly needing to hear notes from my favorite music. Sondheim soothes without minimizing emotions.  My playlist includes Rent, Next to Normal, A Little Night Music, Barbra, Bernadette. Judy Garland. Their scores and voices invite me to whimper, then cry. Tonight I obsess over a friend's loss of both breasts and the abrupt news that she will also need chemo. I turn down the volume in order to concentrate, tally these losses.…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on August 23, 2012 at 9:46pm — No Comments

Returning to Yesterday

We met in Marseilles nearly four decades ago, both of us college students, women of an uncertain age, eager to spread wings, determined to flee families we thought were suffocating us. We lived and traveled abroad one entire year, perfecting our French while cementing a sisterhood that would endure the ages and stages of two scattered lives. This afternoon, she arrives for a long overdue visit. Smothering brie onto a baguette, lifting glasses in unison, we will return to…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on August 11, 2012 at 8:00am — No Comments

Early Praise for my soon-to-be-published first book: GRIEFLAND

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on July 31, 2012 at 1:00pm — No Comments

I dare you to live your life

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on July 25, 2012 at 2:54pm — No Comments

Remembering the boy who wanted to fly

 

I wake up to this date: 7/17. It haunts and beckons. It is vaguely familiar - I know it from somewhere. It belongs to my past, present and future.  It is the 8 year marker of my son’s death. To a phone call that changed the course of (my) life. I lay frozen and still this morning – a day of remembrance when grief is again raw, brand new, fresh, thrashing me into walls, off of cliffs.  I breathe it in, exhale, the expanse of time now spreading out in front of me like a close friend I…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on July 17, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

Inching My Way to Becoming

At 61, I became a published author. These were the first words spilling from my lips this morning as I tried rearranging my skin, holding a hand mirror in front of me, gazing at a reflection of life's unforeseen circumstances and all things that had gotten me to this precise moment in time. Surprising me was a look of contentment staring back at me. Gone was the angst, the grief hangover, the hideous side effects that had knocked me to the ground, leaving me bruised, battered, beaten…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on July 4, 2012 at 10:27am — No Comments

A Moment of Sheer Wonder

How do I find words to convey the moment of opening the e-mail attachment from my editor that contained the jacket cover copy for our soon-to-be-published book,"Griefland." Title...check. Author names and bios...check. Blurbs from respected authors...check. Sampling of words: intimate, astonishing, achingly beautiful language...check.  Doug Rice writes, "Armen Bacon and Nancy Miller accomplish what is rarely every accomplished - they courageously write their way into the darkest of the dark…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on June 28, 2012 at 8:45pm — No Comments

I am from everywhere and nowhere

For the past five days I have been in another world, living at Princeton with women from all corners of the universe: New York, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Mali, Croatia, France. Lessons learned from a group of inspiring women, notes scribbled and etched into my memory (not in any particular order) - We don't see things as they are - we see things as WE are; you cannot be whatever you want to be - but you can be a lot more of who you already are; if you don't know where you're going - any road will…

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Added by Armen D. Bacon on June 19, 2012 at 6:00pm — No Comments

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