“I am large.” Walt Whitman wrote, in Song of Myself. “I contain multitudes.

In the spirit of that celebrated nineteenth century poet, essayist, and journalist, we all “contain multitudes.” Here are a few of the ones I claim, in no particular order.

  • a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer & a poultry farmer
  • a Gestalt psychotherapist & a sociologist
  • a grandmother & a mother & a daughter
  • a really bad gardener & a Buddhist wannabe
  • the alpha mom to a gorgeous white shepherd
  • a tenor & a mezzo soprano
  • a swimmer & a snowshoer
  • a reader, a writer & a published author
  • a divorcee & a wife

The list goes on.

Sometimes Often, the lives we live seem in polar opposition to each other.  For example, I’ve been a failure and a success, a victim and a survivor, a stutterer and a keynote speaker, and I’m sure there are many I’m forgetting.

I can be gracious and generous, as well as opinionated and impatient.  Recognizing that, I try to embrace my “inner bitch” at least once a day.  😊 Everyone is happier when I do. I’m sure you can relate.

All have brought me to where I am today. And I’m glad.

Let’s start with the blog.

A somewhat irrelevant meme included because it always makes me smile.

MY BLOGGING MISSION has evolved over the years.

2013 to 2016: to foster curiosity in cultural differences, especially the ones that make me gasp

2017-2019: to help us chew on ideas we previously swallowed whole

2020-: to examine conflict in all its varieties

Whatever the mission, these “three Cs” have guided each post:

Curiosity, Compassion, and Courage

If you’d like to subscribe, there is a button you can click on at the top of this page.  Thank you, and welcome.

Here then, is that virtual resume these ABOUT pages have become:


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Lowry Hall, Kent State University
Lowry Hall, Kent State University


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Janet Givens, First month in Zhezkazgan
Woody and me, in Kazakhstan


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Detailed map of Kazakhstan, JanetGivens.com
Detailed map of Kazakhstan


Family gathering, my front stoop. June, 2015

I share my life with C. W. (Woody) Starkweather, my friend, my spouse, my lover, my cook, and my chief Beta reader. For each of his roles, I am grateful.

I continue to write narrative non-fiction in Vermont with Sasha, my white  shepherd, at my feet, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire just out my window. I sing whenever I can, serve as a reading mentor at the local school and am looking to expand freelance writing opportunities.

Shortly after I turned 70, I opened a new psychotherapy practice, complete with a new photo, business cards, and brochure. I’ll give it two years and see if it takes off here in rural Vermont as well as it did in Philadelphia.

Janet Givens, MA, Psychotherapist

And, I continue to blog weekly. I hope you’ll join me.