This issue begins Volume 10, our tenth year of publishing The BeZine online magazine. To mark the upcoming tenth anniversary, we will run a section in each issue this year called ReCollection. In it we will post work from past issues, looking to re-collect these examples of what The BeZine has been and continues to be. We hope to produce an anthology in 2024 from these re-collected works and more other selections from the first decade of our magazine.
We open this first ReCollection section with the last writing published by Jamie Dedes, our beloved founding editor-publisher, while she was still alive, published 17 September 2020. In this reflection she posts a beautiful poem, a goodbye, and reflects on the beginnings of The BeZine. However, Jamie kept looking forward, so she ends with some ideas for the future. We haven’t yet started a podcast (online radio show), but we are planning for her idea of an anthology, finally. She left us 06 November 2020, not even two full months after writing this.
One Lifetime After Another
one day, you’ll see, i’ll come back to hobnob with ravens, to fly with the crows at the moment of apple blossoms and the scent of magnolia ~ look for me winging among the white geese in their practical formation, migrating to be here, to keep house for you by the river… i’ll be home in time for the bees in their slow heavy search for nectar, when the grass unfurls, nib tipped ~ you’ll sense me as soft and fresh as a rose, as gentle as a breeze of butterfly wings… i’ll return to honor daisies in the depths of innocence, i’ll be the raindrops rising dew-like on your brow ~ you’ll see me sliding happily down a comely jacaranda, as feral as the wind circling the crape myrtle, you’ll find me waiting, a small gray dove in the dovecot, loving you, one lifetime after another.
from the edge of eternity!
I was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease twenty-one years ago. I was given two years to live. Thanks to loving family support and excellent state-of-the-art medical care, I’m still alive and kicking. As the disease continues its progression, however, my activities have become increasing constrained. Over the past two years I’ve slowed down dramatically. I am holding the Zine back from fulfilling its wide promise. I find it hard to keep up with obligations and to honor my own ambitions and the prodigious talents and boundless ideas of my colleagues. The long-standing lung issues have evolved into respiratory and heart failure. Other challenges to productivity have popped their disconcerting heads. These include pulmonary hypertension and a rare blood cancer, incurable but manageable. There is, however, good news.
I’ve had years none of us expected I’d have, years to enjoy my family, my friends, lots of music, reading and writing. I got to see my world-class son married. I’ve been able to spend time getting to know my beautiful multi-talented daughter-in-law and to visit with my cousin Dan when he came home to the States after years of living abroad. Daniel (now Fr. Daniel S. Sormani, C.S.Sp) and I grew up together. He is more like a brother to me than a cousin. Ultimately, I had the pleasure of forming an arts for peace community.
I began blogging in 2008 (The Poet by Day) and in 2011 I founded Into the Bardo with San Francisco Bay Area Poet Ann Emerson and Rob Rossel, a therapist and nature writer. Ann had a rare bone cancer and Rob faced cardiovascular problems. Our intention was to chronical living with dying. My friends preceded me into the bardo after just three years. I had to ponder what to do next.
The Original Zine Team Partners
This post is dedicated to them
I decided to broaden the scope of the blog, to create a platform for the global expression of peaceable minds, diverse perspectives and cultural understanding. This was a conscious effort to create a virtual space where we could find the commonalities across borders and learn that our differences are so often benign, not threatening. I found talented high-minded folks and a team slowly emerged. We grew from three members to twelve and a subscription base of a few hundred to one that is over 20,000.
We expanded our outreach joining with Washington State Methodist Minister, the Rev. Terri Stewart, and Beguine Again, our sister site. We became a larger presence via Twitter (thanks to Terri Stewart), a Facebook Page (The Bardo Group Bequines), and two Facebook Groups: The BeZine 100TPC (that is, 100,000 Poets and Friends for Change) and The BeZine Arts and Humanities Page. The idea behind the former is to share good news, the “best practices” that are happening all over the world and can be inspiration for initiatives in other areas. The idea behind the arts and humanities page is to give people a place to share the wide range of arts we all engage with or practice and to underscore the fact that “The BeZine” is not just or even primarily a poetry site. We welcome and encourage all types of creative expression.
I have led this effort since 2011 as manager, editor, and recruiter, but it is now time for me to bequeath this grace-filled platform into the hands of the rest of The Zine Team. Some of the support we get from team-members is quiet. You may not be aware of these stalwart and mostly behind-the-scene visionaries. Hence here is a list of the Zine team members.
John Anstie—Currently associate editor, prose and music, 2023.
Anjum Wasim Dar
Michael Dickel (Now [at the time of Jamie’s writing] Managing Editor, 100TPC Master of Ceremonies)—Currently editor, 2023.
Priscilla Gallaso (has moved on but not until after making significant contributions)
Chrysty Darby Hendrick—Currently associate editor, 2023.
Joseph Hesch—Currently still a Core Team Contributor
Charles W. Martin
Corina Ravenscraft—Currently associate editor, art, 2023.
Terri Stewart (Cloaked Monk, Zine Canoness, Beguine Again founder)—Currently a continuing partner-supporter.
Kella Hanna Wayne
WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN MY NEXT SUGGESTED BIG EFFORT?
The BeZine Educational Blog-Radio Shows
- Team-member Naomi Baltuck is our resident storyteller and also works for LBGTQ understanding and rights. She’d be the perfect person to do a show and introduce other storytellers to our audience and perhaps provide guidance and encouragement for those whose ambitions include this art.
- Team-member and the Zine’s Canoness, the Rev. Terri Stewart, initiated and runs a program for incarcerated youth. She could bring more information to us on these children and perhaps encourage the start-up of other efforts elsewhere in the U.S. and wherever in the world youth incarceration needs addressing.
- Team-member John Anstie is a singer and poet. Music is important to him. He works with the Sheffield Music Hub as a volunteer. He’s a bass singer in Fox Valley Voices and Hallmark of Harmony. If he was amenable to the idea, I’d like to see him bring together a small panel of musicians and composers to discuss the place of music in our lives.
- Corina Ravenscraft works in several areas that engage, but animal rights is certainly of key importance as is art as avocation. If willing, she’d do beautifully with a couple such shows. (By the way, Corina’s running the Zine banner art contest this year. Check it out. Info HERE. Cash awards.)
- Michael Dickel, a poet, writer, artist and educator teaches English and poetry. I’d love to see him do a show on poetry writing, especially one providing youth guidance.
- There are so many people for whom English is not a first language but who love writing in English. Anjum Wasim Dar is the perfect person to interview and discuss the rewards and challenges of such should she choose to do so. Many of the Zine’s contributing writers have this in common with her.
- Who better than Mbizo Chirasha to draw together other writers and poets for a discussion of the new colonialism of Africa?
- And who better to handle a panel discussion on surviving life with disabilities and chronic illness than Kella Hanna-Wayne?
- Many of our contributors run organizations that are working for the good in their communities: clothing closets, food banks, soup kitchens, after-school programs, boys-and-girls club activities and on and on. So much good is being done.
And how about a Zine anthology? The sales might help with the maintenance of this site and its activities as well as promoting and acknowledging our talented contributors.
I’d have loved to be involved in helping to bring such work to the fore. What do you think? Share your thoughts and preferences in the comments section below. Enthusiasm is encouragement. Maybe the team will decide to move forward on these ideas. It’s up to them, of course. They probably have some other and better ideas themselves. One way or another, whatever The Zine Team decides to do, it will be magnificent. Guaranteed.
With love from the edge of eternity,
Jamie Dedes, Z”l
The BeZine Founding Editor, Editor Emerita
©2020 G Jamie Dedes
All rights reserved
Originally posted in The BeZine Blog on September 17, 2020 (lightly edited for ReCollections). Jamie left the mortal world less than two month later, November 06, 2020. The Winter 2020 and Spring 2021 issues of The BeZine included sections dedicated to remember her: Table of Contents for the Remembering Jamie… sections.
Jamie Dedes, z”l…
…was a Lebanese-American poet and freelance writer. She was the founder and curator of The Poet by Day, info hub for poets and writers, and the founder of The Bardo Group, publishers of The BeZine, of which she was the founding editor and later a co-managing editor with Michael Dickel. Jamie was the Poet Laureate of Womawords Press 2020 and U.S associate to that press, as well.