31 Day Blog Challenge, #17
Back in 2002, I was writing prolifically for Swans, an online webzine, much of it was pretty focused on the real world and more specifically on the catastrophe brewing in the country of my birth, the place once known as Yugoslavia.
But every so often I would do other things for Swans, and one of the things I did was a serial poem – a poem that was published in ten parts over the course of a span of weeks. The title of the cycle was “Going Home”. You can read the whole thing if you like – it’s still archived, and Part 1 begins here:
From there you have links that will take you through the cycle (click “next” at the bottom of the page and it’ll take you forward, step by step). But the one segment that I particularly want to draw your attention to is this:
Because of what happened next.
A little while after these poems were published – in what was arguably a less frequented part of the Internet than, say, the Huffington Post – I got an email from Gilles d’Aymery, the editor of Swans, forwarding a note from NASA.
They were putting together a commemorative poster for the Mercury 13 – the first women astronauts trained by NASA. None of them went to space, not back then, but they were the vanguard, the first, the beginning of the dream – and now NASA was planning a commemorative poster for them, and they wanted… they wanted… they wanted permission to use my poem on that poster.
I screamed, and then I cried, and then I ran around the room for a while holding the printout of this message as if I was holding the stars themselves in the palm of my hand.
It is unlikely in the extreme that I myself – my physical shell – will ever get any closer than this to stepping off our own world into the fearful and awe-filled wonder of the Universe. But my poem graces a poster which memorializes thirteen women who shared my own dreams. And this particular publication is written in my record in letters of star-bright gold.
I could not be prouder of anything I have ever done than I am of being chosen to be a part of this NASA project.
24 Photos of Acts Of Kindness
How to Save an Endangered Language
For a while now, scholars, the United Nations, and perhaps your grandmother have been worrying about the impending death of Romani, Cherokee, Yiddish, and thousands of other tongues, Utne reports.
“With 7,000 different speech systems in the world, many nearly killed off with their native speakers, preservation is a beyond-enormous goal. It’s also time sensitive. Experts estimate that 3,054 to 3,176 languages are endangered: That’s 43 to 46 percent of all known languages on earth, in addition to the hundreds that are already extinct. But now, collaborative initiatives like the Rosetta Project illustrate that everyone—really, everyone—can pitch in.”