Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Streamlining the Blog. And my life...

Hi kids! Today--September 29th, 2015--I am committed to re-igniting this blog. Eternal friend Collin Kelley came over and helped me improve this blog today, with an updated template, with pages added, and a fresh new design, and colors, and he also streamlined my links and photo placement. The clutter is gone, and this frees up not only space on the pages online, but it clears the stress from inside my own head.
A smoother, more user-friendly blog:
what a wonderful motivator, to write even more!
There are several poetry contests going on right now, including my favorite site for discovering new poets, The Poetry Super Highway, and the much-lauded Crab Orchard Review.
I plan to enter at least one of these contests, and I am also gearing up for editing--and submitting-- my long-overdue manuscript, "Words From Water", which is my first full-length collection of poetry.
I've also been working on two plays. The first is "The Taste of Shapes", a full-length play about a young girl who has a condition which blends the five physical senses, and the other play is a one-act entitled,  "Grandma Barnes: Indiana Legend", about a real-life woman in early 20th-century Brown County, Indiana, who just happened to be my great-great grandmother!
 I am setting a deadline of November to finish the first play, and early 2016, to finish the Grandma Barnes piece. "Grandma Barnes: Indiana Legend" would be fun to produce and perform in Brown County, at their small theater in the town known as Indiana's "Little Nashville", a quaint and charming place where artists gather alongside Midwestern ranchers and motorcycle enthusiasts.
More later.
Peace, kids.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Who Is She?

Today is her birthday. She is 53, and still as beautiful as she was in her 30's. She's a mom, a wife, a career-person who's navigated public-relations work in the rental car industry, worked as a performer at the most fabulous nightclub of the 1980's: The Limelight in Atlanta; modeled for national calendars and events; worked as an executive in accounting and advertising both in print and in television, and promoted every industry from voice-over and film production, to home-improvement supplies, to bowling alleys, movie theaters and entertainment emporiums, to real estate to film festivals. She's raised an educated, talented, gorgeous, and very grateful daughter, and in the past year--this woman has also dealt with the unceasing loss of her own mom, and the subsequent, unyielding grief of that loss. She is wife to a man who knows he can count on her to be there for him, to hug him when he needs a hug, to fix his favorite meal, to let him do the grilling when he is up for that; to cheer for "his" team. She reaches out to her neighbors, her church, her community. She has a laugh that is so melodic, it makes the birds outside, jealous. She's crazy-funny, and is always up for surprising someone with a homemade casserole, or a plate of crostini. She can be exhausting, because few can keep up with her early-morning pace, her running schedule, her bicycle races for numerous charities and causes: Cancer, MS, Arthritis, to name a few.... She's 53 today, and I'm proud to say, she's my warm and caring sister. You inspire me, Tina Georgette Allender Dudley. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIS! Peace, kids.

Monday, August 17, 2015

South Asian Vibe

Hi kids! I got out and about yesterday for "The Georgia Center for the Book"'s Writers of South Asia and the event featured dear friends Jaya (To India with Tough Love")Kamlani, Anjali Enjeti and Soniah ("An Isolated Incident") Kamal. Poet and human virtuoso, Franklin Abbott, created and organized this event. Joe Davich runs The Georgia Center for The Book in Decatur, and commented in the introduction, that Atlanta is the envy of many northern cities, given the number of events we offer which are literary, and the huge support we have for them. "Those Yankees are jealous" he said, to the delight of the giggling audience. The variety was stunning. In addition to poets, there were other writers, authors of creative non-fiction, essayists, and debut novelists. Indeed, Anjali read a stunning essay on her blended heritage; Soniah read a just-penned essay on her father, parental expectations, and understanding; Jaya read from her older and newer works, including pieces which challenge the notion of war. I met several interesting writers, all of whom had huge stage presence, and very evocative work. I left wishing I could claim "South Asian" as part of my own heritage. I think I'll probably have to settle for reading about their own journeys, and those journeys will become a part of the way I see the world, anew. Come to think of it, I think I already do.... Peace, kids.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Ways of Being.

Hi kids! I'm endeavoring to write more consistently in this Blog. I am losing affection for the Christian-model of humans. Frankly, I do not think we are created, "Broken", though Life certainly tries to break us. Or perhaps, a more-true thought is that when Life is not lifting us up, it is breaking us down. It rarely is "neutral". There are so many ways to "be" in the world. Sometimes--lately, quite often-- I feel like an Agnostic--someone for whom the very "idea" of God seems too distant, too faraway, too nebulous. A cumulus cloud, fading...and, in the very next breath, I'll find myself remembering watch beloved Mom attempting to pray, (try as she might, she could not speak the words; she was able only to whisper "I can't".) as I comforted (I hope) her, saying "Well, that's okay, Mom, I'll say the words, and you can say them in your head, okay?" She looked relieved and muttered, through a slight smile, "Okay...", as I prayed "The Lord's Prayer" and a "Hail Mary" for her. Earlier today, while scrolling through Facebook and friend's posts, I came across a nun explaining the Rosary being "Sung by Dominicans". It was kind of delightful and my joy at discovering that post, begs the question: Can someone be both ambivalent about God, while actively searching for SIGNS of God? Is it hypocritical to have membership in--and truly enjoy--a group on Facebook known as "Liberals, Atheists, Feminists, and Friends", while simultaneously planning a prayer or meditation session, or going into a church or Mass, to light a candle, for those who no longer, can? I can assure you, I suffer from no "cognitive dissonance". I feel culturally like the same "Cradle Catholic" I've always been: honoring Jesus Christ as a man of peace and good will, but feeling inside that God is "within". That we must fix ourselves, alone. I feel such kinship with the "Humanists" who believe only humans can advance humans, that we must respect all life. So that's where I'm at these days, broken-but-not-broken, a doubter, who believes. Peace, kids.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Hi kids! It's nearly mid-August and I have so much I want to say. Sometimes, the words feel as though they are leaping on top of each other, like leap-frogging children, risking getting bruised, they keep piling on, causing dizziness, and exhaustion. Still, I must speak. I am in the midst of many new adventures. I have created a group which will serve to "hear" each others' poems/prose each month, in a private setting, to offer both positive feedback and respectful, serious, critique. I am not detailing much about this group, as I am deliberately keeping the group, at least for now, small, and closed. But after just one session, I know this is a good path to better writing. And "The Demetra Foundation", which I am creating to honor my late Mom--Demetra-- will soon become a reality. I am endeavoring to sign at least five physicians to the Board of Directors. The Board will be responsible for developing an action-plan for raising awareness of Lung Cancer, and pursuing a campaign which will raise funds which will go directly to human research and human trials. Next step will be developing a group of Volunteers, who will be vital to the organization, and will serve in the following areas: public outreach, and working with canine companions for those with Lung Cancer, and ensuring those companion animals be fostered in the event the patient can no longer care for them. In addition to the above endeavors, I am continuing with my so-far-self-designed-fitness-program which I began only weeks ago. Currently, I am running 2-4 miles each day that I run, which is four days per week. I've just added free-weights, 10-pound free weights. Next up? Boxing! That's right. I want to learn to box! Ronda Rousey, this is all. your. fault. And of course, I am leaping back into the wild blue, of acting! I've missed being able to find myself, in a role. Writing and acting, are the only ways I've found to connect, to find me. In writing, I discover what it is I feel; what I need to say. In acting, I find the parts of me, that are lost. They are only found, when preparing to become, and performing as, another entity. Finally, the spiritual side of me is becoming more open. I'm open to possibility. Peace, kids.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Countdown on the Calendar.

Hi kids! So, its July, and she has nearly come to the end. I've noticed that lately, I'm tending to personify everything as Female. I'm not quite sure why suddenly, everything has a "gender". I was perfectly comfortable with the neutral "it", and no pronouns, but maybe my constant "feminizing" of all things gender-less, is some not-so-subtle psychological wish to bring the "feminine" back. As in, my beloved Mom. I guess we tend to anthropomorphize our dogs, our companion animals, and I know I do that: endowing our sweet German Shepherds with all kinds of human traits like kindness, generosity, empathy(I suspect the last quality named, is the only absolute in evidentiary terms). Perhaps I am "mom-izing" all things important to me. The calendar, for example. I am headed towards two dates that are so painful to anticipate, that I won't even LOOK at a calendar. Which of course, makes her (the calendar) even more urgently important to me. September 14th of last year, we lost kind, old "Appa K."--Mr. Ho Chang "Big Henry" (he was about 5'3")Kwon, to prostate and bladder cancer. Sort of. He actually perished as a result of pneumonia. And then, exactly four Sundays later, we lost my beloved Mom to (Never-Smoker)Stage 4 Non-Small-Cell-Lung-to-Brain Cancer. So we are inching towards autumn, and all that we lost. All that we still miss. The doors in my house are left slightly open these days, and these solid "girls"- with their white paint, squeaky-hinged, aching for visitors, are waiting for someone to push them back, enter their terrace-level rooms with remnants of Appa K.--his tweed suits, and on the third floor, bits of my Mom--her ankle-weights that were never used, except to steady the walker she so needed, for so many months. Until near the end, when even standing was something she could not do; even sitting up, impossible. And holding her head up? Eventually, that was a faraway dream. Holding one's head up, even as these doors to bedrooms, hold themselves open, revealing only a glimpse of what our loved ones left behind, and reminding us, like women with whispered secrets, that they can be fully opened, or closed, but left ajar, they conjure shadows for me. I'm imagining Mom in the next room, watching the daytime tv she was reduced to enjoying, a quiet request for melon, or ice cream, "Lisa, is there ice cream?" and I picture "Appa K." milling about, asking for a ride to the doctor, and then complaining that the doctors don't know anything. I hear him tell me a thousand times "Thank you; you are a good daughter. I am proud of you." And I carry the ice cream upstairs to Mom, and Hansoo carries his Dad to the doctors, and then I open the door more fully, just now, and no one is there, except Mom's pretty sweaters, fluffy and vanilla colored, they are pretty girls, curled up, as bereft as I am. If they could pray for a wearer, they would. Perhaps they feel as useless as I do. Peace, kids.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

"The Past is Never Past"--William Faulkner

Hi kids! It's been a few weeks since what would have been, my Mom's Birthday: May 28th, 2015, came and went as a day for tears and what-could-have-beens. I miss Mom more every day; it's not true that you "get used to", or somehow feel less pain the further away you get from the time she died: it's just not true. I find myself "reviewing" all the decisions she made, the decisions my sister and I made, etc., etc...the sense of wistfulness remains unabated. And yet. I can--at times--take comfort that we did everything humanly possible for her. Everything I could conjure to show my love, my thankfulness, my joy for having been gifted with her, as my Mom, I conjured. Grateful-Fors too numerous to list, but the laughter she gave me, the untethered thinking and raw, aching wit that I inherited from her, are just a few. Her warmth, her grace, her "all-in" sense of family, this was my Mom. The tears come up, when I write, the tap-tap-tap of keys, a reminder of the sound of her fingers, tapping away, late at night, as she emailed this relative, or that, or checked in at my blog, to "see what Lisa has written...". Peace, kids.