Thursday, December 10, 2015

Memories of Xenophobia: What I Learned About Christians, Jews & Muslims in Provence

by Francesca Rheannon


The Jews


“McDO, that's a Jewish business,” my host Michel said contemptuously. I was staying with him and his wife, the lovely Marie-Jo in Apt, an ancient Gallic-Roman city in the south of France. The year was 2002 and I was in Provence to gather research on a book. 

The couple had generously opened their home to me, someone they barely knew, and we had quickly become fast friends. Michel was a private chef; his wife was a nurse who was taking leave from her job to care for her elderly invalid mother who lived next door.

Michel had not always been a chef. He was a man of many sides and a checkered past. He didn’t fit easily into any categories. For one, he had spent close to a decade in prison during his youth. The details were never really forthcoming, but it had something to do with underworld gangs in Marseilles. He would have looked the part, too, with his street tough’s body, all barreled and bandy-legged, were it not for his warmth and ebullient nature.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Helaine Olen, POUND FOOLISH & Les Leopold, HOW TO MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS AN HOUR

Helaine Olen talks about her exposé of the personal finance industry, POUND FOOLISH: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry and Les Leopold discusses his new book HOW TO MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS AN HOUR: Why Hedge Funds Get Away with Siphoning Off America’s Wealth.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Writers Voice Earth Day Special: Amy Larkin, ENVIRONMENTAL DEBT & Katharine Applegate, THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN


It's still Earth Day on Writers Voice! Amy Larkin discusses her terrific new book, ENVIRONMENTAL DEBT: The Hidden Costs of a Changing Global Economy. And Katharine Applegate talks about her new novel for kids of all ages, THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN. Written in the poignant voice of a gorilla, it’s based on the true story of a gorilla held captive for thirty years in a suburban mall.
Listen to this week's episode here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign Has Colleges Weighing The Stakes

Today is Earth Day. Yesterday, I attended a screening of the terrific new film Do The Math, featuring 350.org's Bill McKibben and the growing Climate Resistance Movement. 
The film discusses the exciting new fossil fuel divestment movement that is sweeping campuses around the U.S. and elsewhere. I wrote the following post about the movement for CSRwire several weeks ago, but today is a good day to post it here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dying Lessons

In reading over my last post, I realize I still haven't explained the "raging inside" comment in this series of posts about my mother, Frances Alenikoff, during her last days and after. Maybe I'll get to it this time. Maybe I won't.

Rage can be so boring. You've got to have just the right distance from it so it doesn't come across as self-indulgent and tiresome -- but still be engaged enough to be able to write about it in a true voice.

So, dear reader, I'll serve up the ire when the time is right. But today, I want to talk about dying.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Ripening of Mourning

Frances on her 91st birthday with me and my granddaughter
The last time I posted here, it was two and a half months after my mother, Frances Alenikoff, passed away. In that post, I came right up to the hardest edge of grief -- and ended before crossing over into it. My post ended on a loving note -- it's last word is "joy."

But when I wrote that post, I was raging inside. It wasn't pretty and I wasn't ready to share. Now nearly ten months have passed since Frances' death and it's time. A commenter to my last post jumpstarted my stalled will, so here goes.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why I Took A Break From Posting On This Blog: Death & Near-Death

I haven't posted on this blog for awhile, not since mid-April. It wasn't because I was lazy. It was because, to paraphrase John Lennon, Life had other plans. My mother died and my leg was broken when I was hit by pick-up truck while on my bike (that's in order of importance, but not chronological.)

Frances Alenikoff at age 62
On June 23, my mother passed away at the age of 91. Her last months followed the trajectory of so many of the old-old in this country: increasing longevity of age with no accompanying increase in the longevity of health.

Illusions of Immortality

My mother, Frances Alenikoff, was a modern dancer, choreographer and multimedia artist (here's the wonderful obit from the New York Times), who inspired many, among them current editor of Dance Magazine Wendy Perron, who wrote this moving In Memorium.