Be Seen

“From now until further notice, you’re no longer allowed to tell me how YOU feel.” A gentle and wonderful woman (and friend) told me he said to her.

The words were never said to me verbatim…but their substance was. I know how it feels to be seen as “less than” through the eyes of a man you think you love, you live with, you dream of a future with.

I told her what I had learned what feels like long ago but only hours sometimes “now, you must write how you feel.”

Today I realized that when I began writing again, after years of abuse and – that why I write and why so often it’s so personal is – I know what it feels like not be seen. But it’s more than me simply wanting to write how I feel now. I want the possibility for you, dear one to feel seen.

This is not to say I want you, dear reader to see me. What I want, what I strive to do is say “I see you.”

I hope at some point along the way I do that for you. That’s what my favorite writers do for me.

And until then I won’t stop trying.

Be Seen

Words from My Generation – Generation Why

In honor of all those who embrace why without answer, and then focus on they will instead.



Those who claim we are destroying the earth
Once claimed there were people destroying their God.

Those who claim all religions are the source of ills
Once claimed that all godless were the source of illness.

Beware the benevolent trends. They destroy the forrest before the medicines even get a chance to first grow.

Beware those who claim why the creations have become less bountiful – beware those who call you thief – that the gate was opened like a mugging – and the green stollen – denied now to you forever for the crime.

Beware of the word missused, reused or recycled. Beware of those who deny new language to invoke change. They drain the waters as they always have. Beware any who claim ownership of language.

Beware those who say beware.

Be aware of words used, the poetry of linguistics not the logic of the false critics and mystics.

Mind the gaps between age, ages and so called sages.

Not all explorers are courageous or wise. Experience is often wasted on the inexperienced.

Be bold enough to welcome the return of authority.

Beware the blamers for they are the victims of another age’s benevolence. Give them soulful pity. But no mercy.

Assume that not only the survivors survive. Beware the anointed victims.

Beware the music induced, not introduced and received in the slow dose of ordinary perception.

No one knows the mind, mindful or empathic – unless they know their own. Pay them no mind until you’ve learned your own.

No one can walk in anyone else’s shoes until they’ve walked in their own. Beware those who elevate empathy above kindness.

Beware those that says  “silence always is golden” or  “it speaks more than words can say” or “talk is best done slow;” for they never knew the unleavened word. They were the keepers of the grandest inquisitor’s tools too horrific to word – left to the world of the wordless.

Beware those that choose by committee.

Beware the children of Democracy.

Beware those left to create with only excuses made for creation and call that art.

Beware the time when musicians or games are heard and seen only in solitary boxes and not shared between people. Joy shouldn’t be contained or created with false friends. For that is a fest of famine obeying a vegetable law.

Beware those who value introversion more than solitude.

Beware the ones who long to be numb.

Beware those that say you must understand that you will not or never be understood.

Beware those who don’t have the conditions to suffer – for they will strip yours away and demand thanks for it.

Beware the ones who teach well, but were not taught well. For they don’t know the value in the safety they’ve shown you in self-reliance. They will never see their hands relocating the chains from themselves back onto you. Be aware. For they will betray the law of lessons.

Beware the promise of free love for it is the most costly of deceptions without
Even an offer made to partner Dyonisis with Apollo;
No manner of manners will save, no loving will ever serve, when everyone is free to choose slavery.


Words from My Generation – Generation Why

You are tired

I’ve been working hard or hardly working on an idea and I’ve been mute too long.

So this is intended to get myself back into the groove (and discomfort) of the possibility of an audience, reader, listener thinker; I’m forcing myself to show you a glimpse of my process.

Getting a story told that really may be worth the telling is harder than I thought in ways I’d never considered…lucky me?

For that story – this is a piece / inspiration that has spurred the idea along since the beginning; the idea of a jacinth song. the idea of what a jacinth could be.

This is one of the early poems by e. e. cummings written during his years at Harvard somewhere between1911-16;  never in a collection perhaps only ever read (certainly only ever published) until his death.

He was so very young when he wrote this and perhaps that’s part of what I love about it.

This poem is framed on my wall and I’ve recorded it as part of that story (I hope) I will one day share with you and will be a wonderful story.

Sharing this poem now?

Well, it now feels like I’m sharing a secret – one that even he didn’t find the nerve to do.

Or perhaps that was the intention all along.



I hope so.


cummings 2

You are tired

Just No Stories

False proverbs I’ve started collecting:

– The pen is mightier than the sword.
– All’s fair in love and war.
– The luck of the IrisH.
– Make new friends, but keep the old.
– Never a borrower or a lender be.
– Blood is thicker than water.
– Time heals all wounds.

True proverb:
– The only guarantees are death and taxes.


The Hottest Ticket in Town (An unedited Facebook Post from January 16, 2016)

My grandfather was Austra-Hungarian nobility. He was very rich. What did that mean?

He spoke 17 languages and consulted on cultural projects throughout the western world including the original Madison Square Garden.

His father built hospitals and schools for the blind, the first of which ever in Austria.

He bred Dalmatians to run alongside his horse and carriage and made them better and better for use for fire fighters’ carts safely getting quickly to the rescue.

He insisted education be continued and my mother speaks 9 languages.

He was a Hussar.

He was murdered in a gulag after being held captive for over 10 years for the crime of being a rich aristocrat.

Imagine alone the connections and ideas that can be made when you can communicate and read 17 languages.

The word aristocrat now implies egomania, selfish acquiring and soulless self centered motivations.

That’s a lie created by people who wanted to produce the fear of false oligarchies.

Carol VanBreyer’s DNA is in mine and I say this with some epigenetic need to caution some of you today…fear is the hottest ticket in town and the easiest to acquire. You’ll be surrounded by people you know and feel supported and safe as everyone nods knowingly and gratefully at those telling you who to fear. The seat is free of charge.

But you’ll never be able to get up again. That costs way too much.

Please consider this when talking about this election this year. Better to have no one to vote for than vote because you’re afraid.

The America my grandfather touched was made to be beyond and untouchable by such a thing as fear of one man. But the way that must happen is very delicate.

I trust you’ll understand. That’s why America is unlike any other place.

Thanks for reading. smile emoticon


Crabs in a Bucket

If you ever go crabbing  (or have) you’ll notice you don’t need to cover the pail because as soon as one tries to get out, it’s yanked down and back in by the others.

I’d like to imagine this guy somehow got out. And he’s not gonna go back in without a fight.

People, far too often, are like those other crabs in a bucket.



Written in the early 2000s I’ve published  this not only because it’s still very true, relevant  and tells you quite a bit about who I am (and how to pronounce my name), but also because I want readers to consider what’s sacrificed when we urge people to believe in a idea of safety or self confidence that, in my opinion, is shallow at best and harmful at worst.

Recently there has been a lot of attention toward celebrities and the unusual names they’ve chosen for their children like; ‘Apple’ or ‘Rumor’, or spelling variations like ‘Phinnaeus’ for an already uncommon ‘Phineas’. People have responded with scrutiny and confusion; “What was she thinking?” or with accusation; “I can’t believe anyone would do that to their kid!” They are convinced that the selfish parent has marked the child in an irreparable way that will reverberate through adolescence right into adulthood.

In my trendy Manhattan neighborhood, I recently overheard a man say to a woman walking beside him “It’s irresponsible to give a girl a name like Apple. Children are cruel and her whole life she’d have to deal with – you know – like “Hey, Apple! Wanna apple? Why do it? How will the kid live with that?”

Perhaps I should have stopped and answered his questions. My name is Ooana. It is pronounced, “wanna” – you know – like “Ooana, wanna apple?”

Why did my parents do this? My Hungarian born mother immigrated to the United States via Romania and married my father, an American. Five years later, I came along. She’s explained (with a tone of delight that would rival a four-year old-girl talking about how she chose the name for her most favorite doll) how she first read the name in a poem, that it’s an ancient Dacian Princess’s name and that she always knew she wanted a daughter named Ooana. She’ll also insist that the original (rarely used even in Romania today) spelling with two O’s rather than with one (Oana) “is prettier and more elegant.”

Suddenly Phinnaeus doesn’t seem so bad, eh?

How did I live with it? My father’s mother did not-too-gently advise that the name “Ooana” would be a poor choice. She suggested her mother’s name – Katherine. Throughout my childhood I’ve memories of my grandmother’s regretful gaze and sighs of, “You really would have made a lovely Katie.”

It was Juliet who asked “what’s in a name,” and decided that ultimately it didn’t matter. My name did and it does: I’d been teased and made to feel self-conscious. It was difficult, hurtful and cruel. My name has always posed challenges. But my name also has been the real inspiration to honestly examine myself, become an arbiter of my own destiny and in the spirit of Emerson, strive to be truly self-reliant.

There’s a point when some are confronted with their eccentricities and recognize them, not merely as challenges to overcome or to be bridled by, but as traits and qualities that make up a unique and broad potential. For me, that recognition began when I stopped worrying that I had a funny-sounding name that marked me as a target for people’s unkindness. Instead I decided to see it as a mark of distinction. It is my responsibility and good fortune to live up to it. And that simply has made all the difference.

It may be simple, but it wasn’t easy. I did have to overcome any sense of insecurity or loneliness that came with childhood teasing. I did have to compare myself and decide what it meant – to me – that unlike my classmates I didn’t require or receive a clever knick-name. From the first day of roll call I stood out and there was no way to avoid it. So I had to relish it.

I’ve never been one of five or three or even two people with the same name. I’ve never needed tricks or numbers, middle or last names, or adjectives like “Little Katie and Tall Katie” to distinguish me. I’ve always stood out, often alone and sometimes feeling naked in a room full of eyes. Yes, it is daunting. But also, it gave me the inklings of insight that; having ultimate say in the kind of person or image I reflect and am therefore defined by is immensely powerful.

Using patience and creativity when challenged by someone or something that can’t be controlled is another element of self-awareness. Unlike Katherine, my name isn’t easy for people at first read. It isn’t always easy when first heard. My name can’t be changed or shortened like “Katie, Kath, or Kat.” It doesn’t carry with it any helpful references or tricks that allow people to catch on quickly to what my name “must be.” Therefore, people have used a variety of names they’ve assumed to be mine because their experience has defined “what does and does not make a word an appropriate name.” Some think of Charlie Chaplin’s wife, Oona and others recall the similar sounding, Juana. They insist that it must actually be one of these. I’ve seen people argue about it, forgetting I’m even there. Other times, I’ve had someone think they are the brunt of my joke saying with more than a hint of sarcasm “Yeah right, like, ya wanna?”

I actually have used that joke – to help someone remember or understand my name. “Its Ooana, like I wanna know your name.” So, I enjoy seeing the variety of reactions my name gets. It isn’t tedious or inconvenient. Meeting new people or approaching a stranger I do with confidence because I always have a conversation starter. And sometimes, someone will simply say; “I’ve never heard that name before, that’s wonderful.” How could I be fearful of introducing myself? There’s always that chance that my first conversation with someone begins with a compliment; even if I’m having a really terrible hair day.

I’ve had to embrace something about myself that others find challenging and learn how to help others overcome the challenge. I do it every day. This lead me to reflect on how else I effect and impact the world and if I both react and act on what I discover. Intellectually, academically, personally, creatively and socially this act of reflection is invaluable.

Yes, being named Ooana is sometimes uncomfortable. That discomfort is what spurred the desire for skills that gave me and later strengthened my ability or opportunity to be flexible during, ultimately overcome, or grow more at ease in the midst of any feelings of discomfort. It required a more keen awareness of my instincts. So next I began to understand that I could successfully live a life that challenged my abilities. I can pursue what really gets me motivated. And I’m free to adjust if those ambitions that resonate deepest within me change their tones.

Would these lessons have come were I named Katherine? There’s no way to know. What I do know is that no one looks at me anymore with concern regarding living with the name my parents gave me. My father acknowledges that naming a daughter Ooana gave him some reservations and has said “I knew you’d have to live up to your name.”
He was right. Everyone should be so lucky.