Things I Love Right Now, on the Evening of July 7th, 2020

My job and my coworkers at Rockland Public Library. I enjoy going to work every day and being part of this team.

My forever family at Bailey Public Library and the town of Winthrop, Maine. I miss everyone so much, but I also know that we will always be connected.

My downstairs neighbor, Nan, and my neighbors Sue and Leo.

My family. My Sunday call with Dad, my Monday evening call with my grandparents, and calling Mom three times a week or more.

My best friend Eryne and our walks together.

All of my friends.

The love of grandparents for their grandchildren.

Books, and the fact that there will always, eternally, be another one waiting for me.

The new album by Haim.

The Memoir Watch Party by Claire Hersom's Adult Education Class.

Working slowly but very steadily on my novel and short stories.

Having returned to plaid and patterned shirts after a stretch of only solids.

Being a homebody.

Being independent and quite content to be single, but also saying "You never know."

The p…

Reflections on a Journey

I've always been a writer, but until the last year, I'd never written extensively about myself. I never even talked about myself that much, as a matter of fact. I always preferred to analyze the world around me, and to draw out the stories of other people.

Last year, I tentatively posted a piece called "Into the Light," in which I talked about my struggles with bullying as an adolescent. Immediately, I was flooded with comments of support and encouragement. Some people were inspired by my willingness to talk about a difficult subject. I began to contemplate, as is my nature, and an idea occurred to me. What if, concurrent to writing my novel, I delved into my own pain, and put it out there via my blog, for people to react to? This would be something new and different for me, but I was in exploration mode. The response to my first attempt at this had been overwhelmingly positive, so why not give it a go, I thought. If people don't want to read it, they won't. …

Time's Up: My Version

When masculine men take to the stage to pontificate and tell us all how it's done, you offer up plaudits and encouragement. You feel like the world is balanced, sitting correctly. Your hypocrisy repels me.

When an effeminate man takes the spotlight, you cry "narcissist!," or ask "is he having a breakdown?" Your traitorous concern is false and abominable.

When a woman strides confidently to the microphone and lays out the most solid plan you've heard so far, you (begrudgingly) admit she's smart, but express concern that people will be "uncomfortable" with a woman in "that role." Women buy into this as well. How pitiful.

You demand that the working poor go back to the job in spite of the fact that it's clearly not safe and the numbers continue to rise. They could die, but at least you'll have your luxuries.

Men and women laid down their lives for our freedoms. The operative word is our. They did not fight simply to ensure that …

Taking Pride and Saying Goodbye

There are certain words, the meaning of which I’ve tried to embody throughout my life: warmth, kindness, genuineness, professionalism, tolerance and caring. However, sometimes I have gone too far in terms of tolerance, by accepting those who do not accept me. The time for that has passed. The world is at a tipping point, and the time for caring what others think has passed as well. To celebrate Pride month, I have decided that I am cutting people out of my life, something I’ve never done before. Too many people who do not accept others for who they are, are given a free pass by those of us who are accepting in the true sense of the word.

There were many who called me names and pushed me to the ground, but others have been through far, far worse. More insidious than the outright bullying are those who ignored me when I was in pain, who didn’t ask what was wrong, who tried to rewrite my history and downplay my accomplishments. I am saying goodbye, in the name of freedom and peace. Homop…

Sketches from Bailey: Ann

The three of us gather in the lobby, and I set the alarm. We walk out into the late summer heat just as the sun passes behind the bank of clouds that have moved in steadily all day. A storm is coming, and it will be a whopper. I pull on the door handle of the Library to make sure it’s locked. We meander down the walkway, unhurried and grateful. Today was long and hectic, but the three of us move together like the pieces on a Stratego board. Working together for so many years will result in that.  Marcia drives by and waves at us. As we near the path to the municipal lot, Ann and I say goodbye to Cin. Inside my black Jetta, the temperature blasts us like the brick ovens my brother works over in the pizza kitchen. Ann burns herself on the metal door handle. I ask her to assess the day, then she turns to the topic of her brother’s upcoming visit. I crest the hill and pull into her driveway. She sometimes sits for a moment to finish her story, and I’m never impatient. The work day is don…

Guest Blogger: Joshua Doyon

Today, I'm delighted to welcome the second of three guest bloggers to In His Own Words. Joshua Doyon is a small business owner who also holds a degree in English Language and Literature Studies. A licensed medical marijuana caregiver, Josh operates The Herb Company in Augusta, Maine. He has been engaged to Cassie since 2014, and they have seven pets (including twin cats!). Josh enjoys reading, writing, golf (both ball and disc), poker, and baseball. Today, he shares with us five of his beautiful, affecting poems. I know you will enjoy reading the work of this talented man.

Words have always been a passion of mine, and I recognize that same passion and love of language in Shane. There’s something fascinating about the way syllables bounce around, creating art, preserving knowledge. Over the years, writing has taken a back seat to work and the rigors of life in general. Earlier this spring, for the first time in years, I scribbled a few lines and posted them to Facebook. Shane was q…

Guest Blogger: Eryne Thibeau

Today, I am so pleased to welcome the first of three scheduled guest bloggers to In His Own Words. Eryne Thibeau, a lifelong lover of books, is the owner of Quality Green Cleaning, based in Gardiner, Maine. She started her small business in 2011, and she values the freedom of being her own boss, as well as the great connections she has made with clients. She will clean your home or business thoroughly, using products that are safer for the earth and its inhabitants. When Eryne is not working, playing with her dog Buffalo and cat Luna, or enjoying nature and friends, you will find her curled up with a book. Today, I present to you her piece on podcasts. You're sure to get some good recommendations from Eryne!

Three Wonderful Podcasts  by Eryne Thibeau 

Hello. Welcome. It is a great honor to be a featured guest blogger on my dear friend Shane Malcolm Billings' fantastic blog: In His Own Words. Shane and I have been friends for more than a decade, and there is rarely a day that goe…