Posts Tagged ‘California Writers’ Club Sacramento’

My fifth Wordsworth book in my Wordsworth the Poet series is here. I’ll be in Hawaii for book signings, talks on Wordsworth and other workshops. Stay tuned for dates. Hilo friends, I’ll be at Basically Books on June 24th at 2:00 p.m. I’ll be discussing how I wrote all five Wordsworth books and Wordsworth promised to make an appearance. Please drop by to say hello.

My Oahu events are still in pencil. I will post them when they’re in ink. I’ll be speaking on caregiving and will do a poetry writing workshop along with book signings.

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Please join me at my next session…this site will give you all the info. Thank you.

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This is lifted from the March issue of Write On!, monthly newsletter of the CA Writers’ Club,

Sacramento Branch.


Keeping with the tradition of March CWC luncheons in years

past, the March 16, 2013 luncheon will feature a special group genre


A panel discussion will focus on the importance and the benefits

of research in writing, developing and editing the material, and some

tricks of the trade. The subject applies equally to fiction and nonfiction.

One wrong detail can put your work and credibility at risk.

Learn how to apply the “C.R.A.P. Test” to research sources

before writing.

On the panel will be:

Michael Troyan, Community Relations Manager for Barnes &

Noble bookstores and author of MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest

Backlot and A Rose for Mrs. Miniver: The Life of Greer Garson.

Frances Kakugawa, author of 11 books, including Kapoho:

Memoir of a Modern Pompeii, of her childhood in WWII Hawaii

when her village was destroyed by lava from a volcano.

Kimberly Edwards is a freelance writer who writes how-to,

self-help, human interest, profile, first-person and destination articles

and essays for many newsstand and trade magazines and


Steve Liddick, author of three novels, a memoir, a camping

cookbook and many articles in national publications.

Each panelist has extensive experience in the business of

“getting it right” in their work, whether it be an article, an historical

piece, a non-fiction work or a novel.

Time permitting, there will be a question and answer session and

members present at the luncheon will be invited to cite their own

examples of the value of research.


Effective March 16, 2013 the CWC luncheons will be held at

Cattlemens Restaurant, 12409 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova.

The restaurant is located just east of Hazel Ave. at the northeast end

of the Nimbus Winery complex, along Highway 50. Cattlemens

boasts a spacious meeting room with free WI-FI, quality audio-video

equipment, free off-street parking and excellent food, buffet style.

CWC Luncheon Meeting Saturday, March 16, 2013 –– 11 a.m.

Cattlemens Restaurant – 12409 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova

The public is invited to attend – The meeting fee includes lunch:

$12 for members, $14 for non-members


Frances Kakugawa will have a book signing

of the latest in her Wordsworth series:

Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer, Saturday,

March 2, 2013, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at Barnes &

Noble Booksellers in the Birdcage Center in

Citrus Heights. Frances recently returned from

a six-week Hawaiian promotional trip.

Cheryl Stapp will sign copies of her new
book, Sacramento Chronicles: A Golden Past,
Saturday, March 2, 2013, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at
Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the Birdcage
Center in Citrus Heights.

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From Hawaii:
Wayne Harada, columnist for Star*Advertiser, posted this review of my newest book, “Breaking the Silence: A Caregiver’s Voice. This is followed by reader Red Slider’s comment. Both men expressed my efforts beyond my own.

Book review: Tips on surviving caregiving
June 5th, 2011
By Wayne Harada
Columnist: Star/Advertiser

Caregiving for a beloved elder or an ailing kin or friend is no picnic.
It’s hard work — and a two-way street, for both the caregiver and the recipient of the
care and attention — and help is on the way.

“Breaking the Silence: A Caregiver’s Voice” (Willow Valley Press), the latest book by Frances H. Kakugawa, is “the” book to ease you through the process. Kakugawa, an award-winning former Islander, speaks with the voice of experience, fueled by her passion of writing poetry and honed with the skills of a school teacher, her one-time profession. She also cared for her dying mom — the catalyst for her to help fellow caregivers in the tough process.
Now a resident of Sacramento, Calif., Kakugawa has been visiting Hawaii this month to present workshops and give talks, on her experiences in dealing with caregiving, notably with loved ones who also have Alzheimer’s Disease.

She’s also on the book promotion trail — and her volume is inspirational and instructional, insightful and inventive, and surely should be a talisman for anyone involving in or eventually will be a caregiver.
OK, you can’t wear a book like a good-luck charm, but if you have this within easy reach, you’ll get by the good days and the bad days of caregiving. There’s so much wisdom and wonder here.

In what is both a confessional (Kakugawa cared for her mom, till she passed on) and a manual (you can learn how to express your thoughts by putting pen to paper), she brings light where there was darkness, hope where there was chaos, and assessment where there was confusion — not only through her personal experiences, but with the kindness and support of caregiving individuals and caregiving groups.
As they shared, she learned; as they discovered courage, she found empathy — a bonding of two communities, one helping the other.
Her bottom line: You cannot do it alone, and a day of frustration and defeat will ultimately bring a glimmer of compassion and understanding in the journey of sharing and caring.

In plain talk, she tackles tough topics with candor and honesty; with her roots in education and her livelihood as a poet and wordsmith, the book absorbs and addresses the paths and journaling of others who shared the experience of dementia and determination — folks like Red Slider, Kakugawa’s companion in Sacramento, who was caring for his mom when she entered his life. He also has helped her nurture her writings and her life as an inspirational speaker.

Other brave and proud caregivers who share their stories, about dealing with their respective moms — Jason Y. Kimura, Eugenie Mitchell, Linda McCall Nagata and Elaine Okazaki — and they reveal there are textures and gradations on how to handle the chores, deal with the grief and move on … enlightened and enriched.

Their vignettes, and of course Kakugawa’s, will touch the gamut of emotions — laughter, tears, recollection, reward. All part of life, all real, all individual.
In a word, “Breaking the Silence” is golden. And a treasure, especially for those in the initial phases of facing caregiving.

1. red slider:
June 6th, 2011 at 1:25 am

Wayne, Thank you so much for your understanding of the importance and humanity of Frances’ work. You couldn’t have gotten any closer to its true meaning than when you wrote, “‘Breaking the Silence’ is golden.” ‘Silence’ is, indeed, the most formidable challenge any every family caregiver will ever face.

I’ll tell you a little story about Frances. My first contact with her came in the midst of my long ordeal caring for Isobel (my mother) and from a shear accident of my own curiosity. I am a poet and writer, by trade, and I’d written a couple of poems about my caregiving experience. So, it was natural for me to wonder if anyone else related caregiving and poetry as I did. On a lark, I googled the terms ‘caregiving’ and ‘poetry’. At that time, only a single entry came back; Frances’ Kakugawa’s “Mosaic Moon”. I bought a copy and read it at once. It so inspired me, and encouraged me to keep writing about my experience, that I sent a note of thank you via Frances’ publisher.

A few weeks later I got a wonderful email back from Frances and the two of us began corresponding. As time went on, caregiving became more and more difficult for me. Though I tried to conceal this fact in my correspondence, I think Frances sensed that I was approaching the point of having to throw in the towel, despite the fact that I’d promised Isobel I would care for her at home. Sleep deprived and in ill-health myself, the task was becoming impossible.

Almost at the end of my rope, Frances appeared at my door on some pretext about having a book-signing in California or something. She took one look at me, sent me to bed and took charge of Isobel’s care until I had fully recovered and was able to return to caring for Isobel.

Not only had Frances made it possible for me to fulfill my promise to Isobel, but the she and my mother formed a wonderful relationship and bond. From then until Isobel’s death a few years later, I believe Isobel’s last few years were fuller and more rewarding than I could have ever provided alone. The rest, as they say, is history.

I can say, the day Frances appeared at my door was the first time I believed that there might actually be life after caregiving.

What I learned, from Frances is that caregivers are not only confronted with the diminishing ability of their loved ones to speak and express themselves, but are thrown into a world of silence themselves as their old friends visit less and less often; their nights-out to enjoy the sounds of conversation and laughter of others become fewer and fewer, and their contact with the world is reduced to exchanges on the medical condition of their loved one and terms like ‘respite’ and ‘hospice’ and ‘septicemia’. After a few years, caregivers often find themselves confined to a world as silent as the growing silence of their loved one. This takes a toll on caregivers, greater even than the physical demands of the job, which are hard enough.

The tools which Frances, through her books and workshops, made available to me were much more than a few valuable how-to’s to help make me a more efficient and effective at being a caregiver. Writing and expression are at the heart of what caregiver’s need to do if they are to keep themselves healthy and in the world, even as their loved ones recede from it.

To reach for one’s feelings and thoughts and self-presence during the experience, I learned, is as important as reaching for medications and Depends and doing visits to doctors and applying wound-care bandages and making day-care appointments.

To keep expressing oneself is the ‘golden means’ that Frances has been providing for her readers and audiences and members of her support groups for many years. Caregivers who retreat into the silences that surround them are ever in danger (as I was) that they, as well as those they care for, will become casualties of this cruelest of all diseases – Alzheimer’s, the thief of life.

“Breaking the Silence” and her earlier work, “Mosaic Moon” not only have something of value to offer to everyone who reads them – about life and the dignity of life – but something very special for caregivers who not only read her work, but find themselves inspired to pick up pen and paper and give voice to their own experiences, whether through journals or stories or poems or simply jotted thoughts. For them, the answer to the question, “Is their life after caregiving?” will almost certainly be a resounding, “Yes!”

best to you, and many thanx for the review of this important work – red

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In the Sacramento Bee a few days ago, two children were removed from their home because of being sexually abused by their parents. Children deserve the right to be safe and happy. Parents owe this to their children. Our children’s voices ought to be of laughter and giggles instead of being silenced into fear and confusion.

I was reminded of this one night when I was a guest in my niece’s house.

Overnight Guest

i am an overnight guest
  in their brand new home,
   both girls, instead of pulling straws
    sleep with me
     on a king-sized bed
      with me sandwiched in the middle.

giggles, giggles, betwixt the sheets,
  “go to sleep!” “stop poking me!”
   bring more giggles
    but even giggles soon get sleepy.

brandi is sound asleep on my right,
  nicole on my left slide to the edge,
   proclaiming, “I love to sleep near the edge.”

i curve one arm around nicole,
  holding her in before
   she falls like icarus
    into total darknness.

i lay awake, thinking of life,
  how some of us live near the edge
   taking risks, pursuing dreams, living
    outside of little white boxes,
     often teetering on one foot.

only in childhood do we know,
  someone’s arm is always there,
   holding us in from over the edge.

and this is how it ought to be
  when we are young and trusting
   in our parents’ home.

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Review of Breaking the Silence Published Internationally

Anyone read Chinese? This is perfect for Poetry Month.

Professor R.K. Singh’s insightful article on my most recently published Breaking the Silence: A Caregiver’s Voice has just been published in Research (Vol. 10, No.2, Autumn 2010), a respected journal published from Patna, India.

His article was also translated into Chinese to appear in The World Poets Quarterly (Vol. 061, February 8, 2011), a journal based in Chongqing, P.R. China.

Professor Singh is a noted Indian scholar and poet who has authored over 150 articles, 165 book reviews and 34 books. His article on Breaking the Silence provides a thoughtful critical analysis of the poetry and themes in Breaking the Silence:
Read Professor Singh’s article at:


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Share a Poem

The echo resounds throughout cyberspace: April is National Poetry Month. April is National Poetry Month.

To honor poets everywhere, I invite poets to send one of their favorites. Send your poems to fhk@francesk.org and
the honor will be mine in posting them here.

Go Poets!

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Poetry to Music

UBerDavid of Oregon
set my Dangerous Women to music.

Check this out…wow…

Just click here and play!
Dangerous Women

Here are the lyrics – You can Sing Along!

(or Karaoke good, too!)

Dangerous Women

We are the dangerous women…
Who never say no to sunsets, sunrises,
Evening strolls or double martinis.

We are the women who speak to you
In supermarkets over apples and cabbages.
Making you wish you could follow us home.

We are the women taught by mothers,
To make you feel we could be yours
No matter what your age, color or size.

We are the women who seek
Extraordinary days out of the ordinary
Leaving aches and joy and empty spaces.

We are the women who write poems
And send you copies without permission
Capturing moonbeams in your name.

We are the gatherers of dreams,
Fantasizing scenes
In private places where secrets live.

We are not easy to be with
After sad movies, romantic novels,
And on Sunday afternoons.

We are so damn demanding
You wish we had never met,
Yet you know, we are the poetry of life.

Yes, we are the dangerous women: vulnerable,
Ageless, poetic, passionate, living life with two feet
Slightly off the ground.

We are the women you should avoid
If you don’t believe in Peter Pan, Never Never Land
And the first star of the evening skies.

But pour us wine, as the sun sets low
And we will hand you the key
To our inner souls.

– fhk

(UBERDAVID is a techno-acoustic music duo. They are David Rolin…(drums, percussion and vocals) and David White…(keyboard/synth).”*

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My Name is Me

Sometimes a  poem patiently waits to  be written from the most ordinary places.  A few days ago I sat in my office,  staring at the bookshelves, reading book titles and names of authors. My eyes stopped at one of those black and white composition notebooks tucked somewhere in the mess.

That notebook reminded me of something my mother did after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

How could I have missed the significance of what she did?  Why did it take me nine years to become aware of this? The following poem easily flowed out of my pen:

Matsue Kakugawa

How could I have missed this?

Soon after she was diagnosed,

She began to fill a composition notebook

With her signature.

“So shame,” she said, ” if I can’t sign my name

nicely at the bank.”

It became her favorite pastime:

Matsue Kakugawa, carefully written

Page after page after page.

As her disease progressed, Matsue Kakugawa

Began to lose a letter or two, and soon,

She was reduced to scribbles and lines.

Five notebooks, one hundred sheets,

Two hundred pages, twenty two lines per page.

Twenty two thousand Matsue Kakugawa.

How could I have missed her

Twenty two thousand attempts

To save herself from the thief?

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A Poet’s Declaration on Editing

This  poem has a special place in my heart. I wrote this while I was teaching third graders.

I had a special Editor’s Chair, a plush, red velvet, ornate arm chair that was used only  by writers who wanted their work edited by the class. This chair had quite a history but to shorten its history, it was donated to our class by Wayne Harada, the then Entertainment Editor of the Honolulu Advertiser  because we were both deeply involved in the state Children As Authors* program which was created by Dr Vi Harada. Whenever students wanted editors, they  would ask to sit in the Editor’s chair and we gathered at their feet to listen and critique.  We did a lot of writing in all subject areas and the reason might have been an opportunity to sit in the Editor’s Chair.

I took the chair one day to read my poem.  I expected an  unanimous nod because wasn’t I the teacher,  but one student said, “I like the poem to end at “I am! I am!” I would suggest that you drop the last four lines?” What???

(We were not allowed to use “ought” and “should” during our editing process because the final decision was the writers’ and we were not to impose our  ideas on any writer. We could only suggest.)

“Okay,” I said rather defensively, ” Let me read this again without the last four  lines. Then I’ll read the poem as I wrote it and let’s see what you think.”

I wasn’t play acting at this point. I was fighting tooth and nail for my poem. I read the original with expression and drama and sort of read the edited version without much flair.

“How many of you think I need to drop the last four lines?”

Without looking at each other, the majority of the class raised their hands. What? I have over- taught these kids!.  A couple of  loyal Kakugawa fans kept their hands  clasped on their laps.

“Okay,” I said, “Let me think about your suggestion and I’ll get back to you.”

I later showed  the poem to a professor friend and he said, “The kids are right. You’re over talking.”  I still tend to over talk today, thinking I need to hold the reader’s hand a bit closer to my work. Mark Arax of “West of the West” asked me once, of my short story, “Do you need that last line?”

So here is that poem without the last four  lines

A Poet’s Declaration

I am a star

In the Milky Way.

I am the crest

On emerald waves.

I am a dewdrop, crystal clear,

Capturing moonbeams in the morning mist.

I am that dust

On butter fly wings.

I am that song

Of a thousand strings.

I am that teardrop

You have kissed.

I am a poet!

I am! I am!

I am that rage

In the thunderstorm.

I am that image

Of a thousand forms.

I am magic on each page.

I am a poet!

I am! I am!

(this poem appears in two of my books: Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry and Teacher, You Look Like a Horse.)

*Children as Authors Program:

I took my students through the entire writing process.

1.Rough drafts

2.Editing and Revising

3.Final editing by Publisher ( teacher)

4.Final copy ( text, cover, dedication page, about the author, illustrations)

5.Book release at Authors’ Autograph party. Special invitation to parents, administrators, press.)

6.These books were added to the school library and put into the system. All were available to be borrowed as any other book in the library.

I also used this program in all subject areas so their books covered all parts of the curriculum. I miss those years.

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