Remembering Carol Bly

Published 4:06 pm Saturday, February 4, 2012

“Naming what is bad or sad is vital not just for the sake of sturdy opinion but because of a mysterious property of the dynamic called repression. If one can build up the muscle openly to disdain things deserving of disdain one frees up — wonderfully! gratefully! —the muscle to praise things and to praise people who are worth praising.” From “Letters From The Country” by Carol Bly


I miss Carol Bly. She was a strong, meaningful woman.

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We attended a workshop somewhere up in the woods that just came back to me. Several of us attended the writing workshop below Cloquet. It was a summer campground. We spent four hours writing with later time to our selves.

Later on I looked Carol up in St. Paul. I’m not sure what I was doing that time and I found my way to Carol’s place, a small comfortable home. I think I arrived about the same time Carol did who had come back to St. Paul after spending time away. I helped her carry her things in and then we sat in the kitchen and talked.

As the day faded Carol said I was welcome to stay the night. She had an open room available and I took her up on that.

She went to bed early and I stayed up in her “living room” glancing through her books before calling it a night; then coffee in the morning.

Carol’s life came to an end Dec. 21, 2007 after she completed Shelter Half on Dec. 7. Shelter Half came later from Holy Cow Press. It was released on Feb. 1.

Before this Betty Benner, Bruce Heiny and I and maybe someone else I’m leaving out listened to her speak in an auditorium in Rochester and later we had coffee and cookies together.

I think she was in awe of Bruce.

So for all you people driving around with your cell phones clamped to your ear. Perhaps you might want to work on giving yourself more time to read and turn off the television and begin writing. Carol had a wonderful way with words.