Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Flowers of Grief

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anthology: via French or medieval Latin from Greek anthologia, from anthos ‘flower’ + -logia ‘collection’ (from legein ‘gather’). In Greek, the word originally denoted a collection of the “flowers” of verse, i.e., small choice poems or epigrams, by various authors.

The little seed of an idea that I had a few weeks ago, an anthology about “Transforming Grief,” has now transformed into the beginning stages of reality, thanks to so much encouragement from many people. It has already grown into a lovely coediting collaboration with friend-writer Mia Amir. I trust it will further bloom into community conversation, learning process, book, and so much more over the next year or two and beyond.

Mia and I have only just started on the journey of turning concept into printed pages, with care and intentionality. I’m grateful for this generative crossing of paths! And I’m eager for the many surprises ahead, including, I trust, bringing many of your voices together into this volume.

If you want to stay updated on all our thinking, and of course, get our “Call for Contributions” in early December 2014, please send me your email (for now, c/o cbmilstein@yahoo.com), and I’ll add you, consent willing, to the Transforming Grief MailChimp e-announcement list.

We’re still hashing out the exact details for this anthology and its call, but for those new to this notion, here’s a “reprint” of my initial, tentative thoughts:

“We are, particularly at this horrific moment in history, swimming in a sea of grief that includes death but is so much larger, encompassing all sorts of sorrows and losses that, in a better society, could or should be avoidable. For now, though, if this is indeed the loss-filled waters we inhabit, how to better navigate through them?

Grief transforms us; we can also transform grief; perhaps grief can be a key today to transform society; and minimally, we need far more caring and communal ways to transform how grief impacts us and our communities if we are to maintain our sanity, not to mention any ability or desire for social transformation.

Yep, this is a scrap of an idea, about pulling together scraps of stories concerning a range of loss/grief into an edited book — yet I suspect it could serve as a gift of transforming grief for myself, ourselves, and others. More to the point, I’d like to stitch together short pieces by women/feminists, queers, people of color, those seen as mad or disabled — the voices that too often go unheard, the bodies that too often do the invisibilized labor of care, the sensitive souls who too frequently hold the grief of others as well as their own.

Who’s up for sharing their stories, their intervulnerabilities, their walks through grief, as journeys likely still in process? Who do you know (including yourself!) who writes or has written on grief from many angles, and would be an amazing voice in such a collection? (And any publishing houses out there interested, in theory?)”

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(Photo by Cindy Milstein, garden outside my mom’s last home, on a visit back some time after her death, East Lansing, MI, 2014.)

2 comments on “Flowers of Grief

  1. bnuse
    September 29, 2014

    Hi Cindy. I have mostly lurked on your blog have enjoyed your varied and thoughtful posts. I step out into the light of writing myself to encourage you to pursue your project on grief.
    Please forgive me if you already know about Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects. I mention it because working with grief is a part of Macy’s larger intention to help people recover their vision and agency in these difficult times. If you do not know about it, a good introductory book is called Active Hope. I learned not along ago that this work has been practiced in a community in East Oakland called Canticle Farm.
    I offer this info without attachment and with intention to encourage your own vision.
    Betsy (Victoria BC)

    • cbmilstein
      September 30, 2014

      Hi Betsy! I’m so glad you stepped into the light to share your thoughts and suggestion with me. I know of Joanna’s work, but will try to take a specific look at Active Hope. And much gratitude for your encouragement. I’m definitely moving forward with this project, with my coeditor-friend Mia Amir. If you’d like to get occasional e-updates, send me your email (c/o here or at cbmilstein@yahoo.com).

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This entry was posted on September 29, 2014 by in Dispatches from Life.
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