We found each other years ago. Who could imagine that such deep friendships could evolve in our lives—eight women in their sixties, or near sixties? Who could imagine that we would see each other as friends we could count on regardless the need? But that is what happened . We wrote from our vulnerability and shared that with the others who were committed to preserving the trust, secrets, and feelings of the writer.

We deepened our love of each other by meeting bi-monthly in each other’s homes, demanding nothing of each other but giving freely of our best selves in our writing, listening, and sharing. We honored ourselves yearly at the Refectory (Columbus’s best restaurant), celebrated birthdays, travelled together, and rented houses in Chatauqua Institute for the “Writers Week.”  We cooked together, studied together, played together, and gave ourselves daily writing assignments.

Now, we are each sequestered, staying-in-place. Each of us has a different take on what’s happening in the world.

I called Bev Davis, the founder of our group, and asked her if I could use one of the poems she wrote at Chautauqua in my blog. “Go ahead,” she says in her southern accent. “It’s not perfect–but it is what I wrote.”

I love how Bev is willing to be vulnerable in my blog, letting me post what she considers an “imperfect poem.” I love how much the theme of this poem maps onto how it is for all of us, now, in this “imperfect world.”


Bev Davis

Oh the lowly puzzle

All broken into pieces

Whose flat edges and round holes

Its complexity increases

It puzzles me no end

That time is spent pursuing

A task so laborious

That hardly seems worth doing.

As the parts refuse to fit

And my anxiety grows

I wonder why this pastime

Is one that I have chose.

The puzzle often sits

In surgery waiting rooms

Distracting those for whom

Impending danger looms.

Some old folks cannot remember

Moments just before

But connecting puzzle parts

Transports to days of yore.

I have come to believe

That there is healing

In the lowly puzzle

That makes it so appealing.

Completing the puzzle

Is completing our goal

To make sense of our parts

Til we too are whole.


  1. This is terrific, Laurel, to feature Memoir Group and Bev’s very appropriate poem! We have put together three puzzles so far during our hunkering down this month. It is great to see all your smiling faces and I’m eager to see you in person.
    Love, Diana


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