Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.

Monday, March 30, 2015

WWJD?

 In light of the new legislation in Indiana that allows business owners to refuse service to LGBT citizens may we remember these truths. This is no less than blatant discrimination - the same kind that refused African-Americans the right to eat in restaurants, drink at drinking fountains and go to integrated schools. No difference except it is possibly even worse to do it in the name of Jesus.

Have we really not grown as a society since the 1950's ?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

America From An Outsider

I have been struck by a series running in the New York Times Magazine by Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knaussgaard. He was assigned to travel parts of America and give his impressions.
I don't know about you but I say OUCH!!

Here are two excerpts:

I had never really understood how a nation that so celebrated the individual could obliterate all differences the way this country did. In a system of mass production, the individual workers are replaceable and the products are identical. The identical cars are followed by identical gas stations, identical restaurants, identical motels, and as an extension of those, by identical TV screens, which hang everywhere in this country, broadcasting identical entertainment and identical dreams. Not even the Soviet Union at the height of its power had succeeded in creating such a unified, collective identity as the ones Americans lived their lives within. When times get rough, a person could abandon one town in favor of another, and that new town would still represent the same thing.  

Nowhere in the world has shared culture been a more imperative requirement than in America. More than 300 million people live here, and they had descended over the course of a very few generations from a huge number of disparate cultures, with different histories, ways of behavior, world views and experiential backgrounds.  All of them, sooner or later, had been required to relinquish their old culture and enter the new one.  That must be why the most striking thing about the United States was its sameness, that every place had the same hotels, the same restaurants, the same stores. And that must be why every American movie was made after the same template and why, in this sense, every movie expressed the same thing. And that must be why all these TVs were hanging on the walls, unwatched; they created an immediate sense of belonging, a feeling of home. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

America the Beautiful

We just spent a week in Arizona and were overwhelmed by the beauty and diversity of the landscape. We traveled by car from the Grand Canyon in the north, to Sedona midway through the state, to Phoenix in the south.

We took a rafting trip in a canyon, loved the beauty of Sedona, saw a billion stars and the Milky Way in the darkened sky, explored a slot canyon on Navajo land, drove up a mountain to an old mining town, saw Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West and went to an Indians spring training game!

If you leave this country for your vacations or go to the same place every year do yourself a favor and explore America.

The vast magnificence has a story that these mere photographs cannot begin to tell.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See

This is the book I have been waiting for: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  If you are a reader you wait for that book that you don't want to put down but you also do not want to end. It's rare.

I savored this book, stretched it out as long as I could.  When I heard it was set during WWII I was not excited. I had vowed not to read anymore novels set during the war or of slavery. While they are mostly all wonderful it just felt like enough was enough - but this one is different.

First, the writing is exquisite. Every page has at least one beautiful sentence that you want to write down, underline, keep in your heart. There is not a single cliche in the 530 pages - quite a feat for a writer. (I love long books too).  I'm sure Doerr spent years in research, but you never feel like you are supposed to be learning something historic. You are caught up in the experience of these two young people.

Marie-Laure is the girl at the heart of the story. Some of the best writing is seeing the world through the perceptions of this blind girl:

Music spirals out of the radios, and it is splendid to drowse on the davenport, to be warm and fed, to feel the sentences hoist her up and carry her somewhere else.

Marie-Laure sits at the square table, a plate of cookies in front of her, and imagines the old woman with the veiny hands and milky eyes and oversize ears. From the kitchen window comes the wit wit wit of a barn swallow, footfalls on ramparts, halyards clinking against masts, hinges and chains creaking in the harbor. Ghosts. Germans. Snails.

You know from reviews that it is the story of two young lives are interwoven at some point, but it happens in an unexpected way.

There are so many awful books that make it to the fiction best seller list that it was a relief to find one that actually belongs there.