[Diane di Prima - photo by Bob Wilson via Issa's Untidy Hut]
The great Diane di Prima turns 78 today. Happy Birthday, Diane! - For links to many of her poems and books and talks and readings, we'd direct you to our last year's Di Prima birthday posting here. What a difficult year it's been! What a catastrophic year, in fact (Amber Tamblyn and Michael McClure's extraordinarily compassionate, committed, loving energies have netted some desperately-needed funds, (some $23,358 from a "Give Forward" fundraiser (see here) that ended on July 16 - the community really "chipped in"), but she's still far from "out of the woods", she still needs significant assistance to cover medical costs and get her through the turmoil of a continuing series of painful and debilitating operations.
Here's her note on the "Give Forward" site, expressing her gratitude and resolve. As she pointedly puts it, "one step at a time":
(Dear) Amber, I want to thank you and Michael McClure for making my situation known. And I especially want to thank all of you who have contributed to keeping me here on the planet. I want all you guys to know I am working HARD at getting and staying well. Aside from the dental stuff [removal of all her teeth!], I'll need glaucoma surgery, it seems. I'm also dealing with photosensitivity (caused by my reaction to a medicine) which makes it hard to be at the computer (my eyes tear). Right now, I can only work in my study at night). As some of you know I was born with spinal stenosis, and rheumatoid arthritis has made it worse. This also limits how long I can sit at the computer. Since so many of you have been kind enough to say that you've enjoyed my work over the years, I want to let you know I have a LOT of books in the pipeline; some ready for publication, others needing only a little tweaking (There are 14 of those, all told). Then there are all the notebooks with handwritten poems not yet typed. Right now, what I need most is TIME: Time to rest, do the next steps for my health, go to doctor appointments. Time to work on books that are ready - or almost ready - without having to stop doing that to teach or earn money. I need to write new stuff too: poems, of course; Part 2 of my autobiography, etc. (I need to paint some too, for my own sanity). I hope to hire a friend to help part-time with typing, correspondence, filing. I KNOW I can get strong and active again, teach what I really want to pass on; do readings, maybe even travel, if my back allows. Thank you again everyone who is helping to make these things happen - one step at a time".
Hang in there, Diane. We're sure you'll make it through this. Warm wishes from the Ginsberg Project. Warm wishes from us all.