Arleen Klass Watson was born August 27, 1922, in Ohio. Her mother died shortly after her birth, and she was taken to New York City to be raised by her sisters. She was the youngest of six brothers and sisters. Two of her siblings died at young ages. The loss of her mother had a profound effect on Arleen throughout her life, and it influenced her writing.
Arleen fell in love with the New York stage and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and performed in many Off Broadway plays. Her roommate was Lauren Bacall. Her love of acting, dancing, and writing began there. She fell in love and married just before WWII began. He was a lieutenant in the army, and she was forced to leave New York to live on several military bases he was stationed at, leaving behind her dreams of acting and stardom. It was not a happy marriage. They did have two children, both daughters twelve years apart. In 1964, Arleen found the courage to divorce him and begin her life anew.
She made her home in Miami, Florida. She raised her children and began a career in her late forties in public relations for a South Beach hospital where she entertained local socialites. She fell in love again years later with an older man who was twenty-five years her senior. He was a married man, and though he would not leave his wife, he was the true love of Arleen’s life. Their secret affair began in a bungalow by the beach and lasted many years, until he passed away.
Arleen’s life motto was Never Give Up, and she never did. In the last years of her lifetime, after decades of emotional unrest, she found peace in her heart and in her mind. The wisdom of aging and the acceptance of her fate led her to finding God on her own terms, which is how she lived each day of her life.
By Arleen Watson
Joy comes to us
for only moments at a time.
We much remember that and not be selfish
and expect her to stay with us forever.
We must learn to enjoy to the fullest
the time she let us have.
When she must go,
we must let her go with good grace.
You will have the memory forever.
Arleen Watson's Splinters of Glass is a moving memoir by a remarkable woman whose evocative poems draw us into her private world. Her language is vivid and precise, and the images she draws with words linger in the mind. Mining nuggets of ageless wisdom and cherished rememberances from a life well-lived she has given us not a handful of glass splinters, but a basket of diamonds.
-- Maxine Schnall, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger
Splinters of Glass is the expression of a complex woman and the promise fulfilled of a loving daughter. The deeply passionate way poet Arleen Watson viewed the world is expressed in the darkness and the light of her portry. I highly recommend this work of art as an expression of the beauty that cannot be limited by mental illness, but serves to overcome it.
-- George Kallas, Psy.D., Ph.D
Reading Arleen's poetry made me want to have known her. She paints with words. Her use of metaphors, like in the poem "Summer Wind," brings alive the moments. "The Little Scar" takes you to touch her wound. She felt the world passionately, both the good and the bad, and she took me into her world with her poetry and entered my own soul softly...softly.
-- Marily A. Reyes (MAR) (Litt,D), Executive Director, The Cove/Rincon International
"Arleen Watson’s posthumous collection of poems Splinters of Glass is a deeply
personal work that can best be understood as inspirational poetry. . . . [H]er
poems are accessible and heartfelt."
-- Daniel Casey, Misanthropester Blog and freelance reviewer.
Arleen Watson’s Splinters of Glass: Poetry of a Life is a posthumously published
collection of confessional poetry in the tradition of American poets, Sylvia Plath,
Anne Sexton and Sharon Olds.
Watson’s work is all too human and her poetics of vulnerability and loss will stand
the test of time while deeply touching many who read her. Arleen Watson’s life
story is a beacon of hope for those of us who never give up on life and our dreams.
Splinters of Glass as it draws on her life is Watson’s opus, ensuring she and her
poetic soul remain a legacy, visible to the world.
-- Frances Roberts-Reilly, Bookpleasures.com
I believe that when we are born we arrive with a certain dharma or purpose, if you will. Some are born to sing, or paint, to teach or to study law. For me, I was born into a family of writers and a legacy of expanded forward thinking minds. I was blessed to have the opportunity to grow up with and study with some of our greatest spiritual visionaries and teachers of spiritual wisdom.
Though I appreciate all types of literature, I have a personal affinity for good poetry. Good in the sense that when words paint vivid pictures in your mind with vibrancy and causes emotional peaks that make you feel the author’s strife or struggle or triumph in your heart.
Knowing my fondness for unusual and profound poetry, a family friend shared with us Splinters of Glass written by her mother over thirty years ago. As I began to read one poem, then another, and yet another, which made me feel the heart of Arleen, I wanted to know more about the author. Arleen was a woman born with passages of birth that could have confined her to a life of sullenness and surrender. She was bipolar and lived in a time that didn’t recognize or understand the disease. She was also born beautiful and talented, and she enjoyed an unabashed love of men and sex that her generation didn’t talk about, let alone write about. She authored many poems under the pseudonym of Pan Anderson so she could write freely but anonymously.
My father, Wayne Dyer, read many of her poems before he died and was moved by the authenticity and passion that Arleen wrote with. We often say people wear their heart on their sleeves. Arleen wore her heart like a badge of courage pinned front and center on her chest.
I am sorry she passed before I could meet her, but when I finished reading her poems I felt like I knew her once upon a time.
I invite all of you to take a walk on a beautiful day in the park, or curl up next to a lit fire and bring Arleen’s words with you, as you will find her good company. Splinters of Glass, a treasure chest full of greatness.
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