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Besides Benicia, Do You Live in the Past, Present or Future?

End of the year column, writing and new writing groups.

This is my last column of the year, I note as I start typing, not wanting to write a typical end-of-the-year thing.

I spent Christmas with my son and his family in Steamboat Springs, Colo., where it was snowy but not so much this year as in previous ones. Over coffee, I saw a fox passing through the backyard.

I was moved to tears by a gift from my oldest granddaughter. She wrote, played and recorded a “grandparent sonata” on her flute. I was also moved by a collage of our Christmas’ past. This year was a change for us.

I suppose we’re all partly in the past, present and future world, challenged to find the right balance. People often say “live in the moment,” and I do that some of the time. Young children do it especially well. They have no goals, no plans for the day, no “promises to keep.” Once we realize there are days ahead, plans to be made, money to be earned, mouths to be fed, etc., we have to look ahead, at least some of the time. It’s easy to lose "the moment."

We’ve been admonished to heed lessons from the past — our own or our collective past — lest we repeat earlier mistakes. Of course we might just as well learn what worked in the past and maybe even how to repeat that. Certainly, we need to pay some attention to past events.

Writing has been a way for me to deal with the past — to explore the happenings in my life that have had significant impact. As I listen to poets in Benicia, particularly on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the library, I hear others speak of the events of their lives. Sometimes in lyrical phrases, rhyming or not, serious or funny. People write and talk about politics, world events, nature, past loves and future hopes.

The Benicia Literary Arts Guild is becoming a functioning organization this next year as part of the Carquinez Review, with the aim of supporting writers in the area. Stay tuned for more details. The art contest for the cover art for "Sign of the Times," a poetry anthology produced by the First Tuesday Poets and the Guild closes Jan. 10.

For 2012, I hope we all learn something from an unexpected source, become a little more humble, kind, humane and a lot more understanding of others. Happy New Year!

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Rita Martinez December 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM
where was this photo taken?
Peter Fournier December 29, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Hi Rita, I will check with Lois Requist for you. Peter
Lois Requist December 29, 2011 at 11:09 PM
So, I walk west along the water's edge from downtown, passing 3rd, 4th, 5th. I think this is about between 5th and 7th west. At the water's edge. If you went to the convenience store on J, I think, you'd just walk one block south. Hope that helps.

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