Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar

drawing of river winding through canyon by J.R.R. Tolkien
Every month (more or less) I post a poem. Since one of my projects this month is an essay about J.R.R. Tolkien, my June selection is Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar.

I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew:
Of wind I sang, a wind there came, and in the branches blew.
Beyond the Sun, beyond the Moon, the foam was on the Sea,
And by the strand of Ilmarin there grew a golden Tree.
Beneath the stars of Ever-eve in Eldamar it shone,
In Eldamar beside the walls of Elven Tirion.
There long the golden leaves have grown upon the branching years,
And here beyond the Sundering Seas now fall the Elven-tears.
O Lórien! The Winter comes, the bare and leafless Day;
The leaves are falling in the stream, the river flows away.
O Lórien! Too long I have dwelt upon this Hither Shore
And in a fading crown have twined the golden elanor.
But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?

Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
long years numberless as the wings of trees!
The long years have passed like swift draughts
of the sweet mead in lofty halls beyond the West,
beneath the blue vaults of Varda wherein the stars
tremble in the song of her voice, holy and queenly.
Who now shall refill the cup for me?

For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of the Stars,
from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds,
and all paths are drowned deep in shadow;
and out of a grey country darkness lies
on the foaming waves between us, and mist
covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever.
Now lost, lost to those from the East is Valimar!
Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar.
Maybe even thou shalt find it. Farewell!

The Tolkien Ensemble performed this song in Elvish:

Between the Lines Book Club: Being Mortal Documentary


between the lines book club logoOur book club read for June is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande. You can participate by leaving comments here, or by attending our book club meeting on June 22, 2019 at Arden Dimick Library.

Being Mortal was both a popular best seller and a huge influence on the medical community. In 2015, Frontline made a documentary about the book with Dr. Gawande’s participation. The California Health Care Foundation hosts public screenings of the documentary as part of their campaign to encourage people to discuss end-of-life care with their families. Here is the documentary:

Tarot of the Month: The Magician

The Magician from Rider Waite SmithThis month, let’s take a look at The Magician. This is a major arcana card, showing a powerful figure who channels energy “As above, so below.” The Magician is wise, powerful, and skilled, but a bit of a show off. They love their tools. Their collection of tarot decks is truly epic. They have the best crystals and the pointiest wands. Their sage is ORGANIC, y’all.

One of the benefits of midlife is that I just don’t have it in me to pretend to be other than I’m not. If I feel like using a pretty cloth and candles and crystals during a reading, I do it. If I feel like clicking on “Today’s Card” on a tarot app on my phone while waiting in the carpool line, I do that instead. In a similar vein, I feel that a tarot reader should be generally knowledgeable about the deck, but for heaven’s sake, if a person has reams of notes that they can use, why not use them? If I can give a better reading by using my books, then why not? Why own a tool and refuse to use it for fear of looking bad? Life is too short!

When it comes to tools, The Magician is a good reminder that tools are what we make of them. When tools help us, by all means, we should use them. If certain sights, sounds, or smells (candles, music, etc) put you in a receptive state, then use them. Look at your notes. Pull out your books.

On the other hand, we don’t NEED to have sage, or wands, or candles to get good readings. At a primal level, we don’t even need to know what the standard meanings of the cards are. All we need is a deck, and intuitive, receptive state of mind, and imagination. To study tarot is to embark on a wonderful world of scholarship, but to read tarot is more about intuitive self-knowledge than anyone else’s opinion. And as much as I’d love an excuse to drop thousands of dollars on Etsy products, tarot isn’t about shopping. Use the tools that help you, but don’t feel you need to acquire anything to promote an image. It may be a cliche, but it is true – real power comes from within.

Now excuse me – I just have to peek at the tarot stuff on Etsy ONE MORE TIME.



Between the Lines Book Club, All About Atul Gawande


between the lines book club logoOur book club read for June is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande. You can participate by leaving comments here, or by attending our book club meeting on June 22, 2019 at Arden Dimick Library.

Atul Gawande was both in New York but for the most part grew up in Ohio. His parents were immigrants from India. Both are also doctors. Atul was expected to be a doctor but resisted this calling at first, gaining degrees in political science and biology as well as medicine.

Dr. Gawande specializes in general and endocrine surgery. He has also been active in politics and in journalism. In the political realm, he’s campaigned for Gary Hart and Al Gore, and during Clinton’s presidency served as a senior advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services. In journalism, he’s written for The New Yorker and Slate and published three books: Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, The Checklist Manifesto, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, and Being Mortal.

Here are Dr. Gawande’s Ted talks:



Come Find Me in June!

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in Pride and PrejudiceY’all, I cannot keep my head on straight this month. Can one of you call me now and then and say, “Hey Carrie, according to your blog, you’re supposed to be at thus and such place in an hour – also, you left your tea on the counter?”

June is a joyful, busy month. Here’s how to find me!

June 15: Folsom Library, 10AM – 11:30AM

Scholar Presentation: Jane Austen on Screen

Who’s the best Darcy? Did Pride,Prejudice, and Zombies work? How did the movie Clueless manage to be such a great adaptation of Emma? These questions and many others will be explored in this presentation about television and film adaptations of Jane Austen’s work. From soulful eyes to fabulous clothes to modern Bollywood, we will talk about how different adaptations highlight various themes of Austen’s work.

June 20: Rancho Cordova Library, 3PM – 5PM

Tarot for Teens

I’ll be doing an informal tarot workshop and readings for teens. These are always fun workshops for me and the teens seem to enjoy them as well!

June 22: Arden Dimick Library, 10:30 – 12

Between the Lines Book Club: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Check this very blog on Fridays for more about the book!

June 23: Central Library, 1PM – 2:30

An Afternoon at the Algonquin Round Table

Join writer Carrie Sessarego for an afternoon of wit as we discuss the legacy of the Algonquin Round Table. This group of playwrights, critics, authors, and artists gathered weekly for lunch at New York’s Algonquin Hotel. Round Table members included Dorothy Parker, Edna Ferber, Robert Benchley, and George Kaufman. Who said what, who wrote what, and who was romantically involved with whom? We’ll have the freshest gossip form the 1920s, the sharpest insults, and the fastest comebacks



Between the Lines Book Club: Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande

between the lines book club logoOur book club read for June is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande. You can participate by leaving comments here, or by attending our book club meeting on June 22, 2019 at Arden Dimick Library.

Being Mortal explores the limits of medicine and what it might mean to have a ‘good death.’ This is a powerful and largely optimistic book, although one must be prepared for graphic descriptions of illness.

Want reviews? Here you go! See you on June 22!

New York Times

The Guardian

The Lancet






I Made a Thing!

cw_153_350So happy to have my piece “Love At Stake” published in June’s issue of Clarkesworld Magazine! You can find it here!

This essay originated as a longer piece for Harlequin Pop!. Harlequin Publishing wanted to try a new imprint of short books/long essays about pop culture. They accepted my (very short) book Pride, Prejudice, and Popcorn: TV and Film Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyrewhich is currently available as an eBook. They also accepted Love at Stake: Romance in Buffy the Vampire Slayer – but by publishing time, they discontinued the imprint.

When Clarkesworld needed a nonfiction piece with short notice, I remembered that poor Buffy was languishing on my desktop and polished it off. What you see in this magazine is essentially a summary of the longer piece, discussing the importance of relationships in Buffy and how these relationships reinforce the themes of the seasons in which they appear. Enjoy!