Tuesday, September 13, 2016


I've been mowing my yard since noon. It's now 2:38 p.m. I've been taking tons of breaks, drinking lots of water, sitting, wiping my sweaty face with a damp paper towel. My joke has been that I'm not going to push myself the way some public figures/Presidential candidates are pushing themselves because I don't want my image falling down one of my little slopes to be plastered on newspapers, to go viral on YouTube, with some caption about a weak woman attempting to do a man's job.

Ha. So funny. Ha ha.

This sitting in sweat is comforting. It reminds me that I have a capable—if out of shape—body, a vessel for my ridiculous thoughts, for my ponderings, for my stories and poems, even for the works I edit.

Bodies aren't magical, but they are sacred.

My friend weed whacks for me. I know he wants to finish up the bits of mowing I said I'm too tired to accomplish (I'll be back out there in about five minutes), but he hurt his arm a couple of weeks ago, an arm that's already been injured from too much drumming, too much piano over the 62 years of his life.

I'm not going to let a man with an injury do the job this woman should be doing since it's my yard and not his.

I'll buy him a burger as thanks for weed whacking.

I'm live journaling again, just typing into the window without a plan. Type, type, mutter, mutter, blather, blather.

My sweat is drying salty on my skin, and I perversely like the way it tastes when I lick my lips.

Another gulp of water, and I'm back to it. A long job, but it's my fault for "firing" my yard guy (by starting to mow myself when he didn't show up for too long) and by buying this wretched house with its yard that's bigger than it looks (twelve years I've lived here).

This movement is good for me, though. Movement gives me creative ideas. Later, I'll write something real, or start writing something real. And I'll continue to figure out what I want to do next to "thrive" and to continue to "serve."

Monday, September 12, 2016


1. This post is "live," meaning I'm typing it directly into my blogger window. I'm also not looking at the screen or the keys since it's lovelier to watch my cat inching closer and closer to the sunspot in the kitchen. I will proofread before I click "publish," though.

2. I'm working on a decision regarding my future as a human being, what my role is, how I can serve, whether I've been "serving" in ways that keep me from thriving, especially creatively. This place where I live ...

3. I'm not as free to make the choice I want to make as I'd like (money matters), but I'm certain that my getting in my own way more than lack of resources is what's keeping me less free.

4. I have been writing much of the day, but I'm not satisfied that this work is The Work. I'm getting closer, though.

5. I have to decide what I want to do about building my freelance business. I love kind of work I do; I'm good at it; but ...

6. I want to write poems, novels, and essays and work with young writers. I cannot make a living at this. Yet. If I could just remember to research and ask and apply and talk myself up, "yet" would be "now."

7. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and ask myself, "Have you decided that you want to live?"

8. I never answer myself.

9. This is enough.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I emerge after a long absence to vent

1. I dreamed I visited a place that was so beautiful, so full of ice and water, of cliffs and sea creatures, viewed through high, polished windows with a person I loved, that I cried. The way to the place involved a fabric bridge that swayed over an abyss as we drove or rode. The bridge was multi-colored, like a stretched-out quilt.

2. I dreamed of an old friend in two different ways. In the first part of the dream, my husband had told me she’d died; in the second part of the dream, she flowed into my living room, dressed in yellow and smelling of sun.

3. He Who Shall Not Be Named and his son have basically said that all of us who have been sexually harassed in the workplace are to blame for not leaving. But why should we have to leave jobs we love because some Neanderthal with drooping eyelids and large hands can't keep himself from saying things, from reaching for body parts he has no right to touch? In the office, at conventions, on buses on the way from Columbia to the airport in St. Louis. On a train from Paris to Frankfurt. On the UMC campus after I stopped to give directions to a lost student (who harassed me later by following me to my apartment). What does the Orange One expect us to do? Find another job, another school, another career, another train, another bus, another city, another state, another world, another life? Walking away is not always an option. Nor should we have to choose it. Harassers should simply not harass (not pissed about this issue at all).

4. Once, when my child was about 5 or 6 months old and had begun to learn how to sing, she sang to the priest in church (Episcopal) as he delivered his sermon. She did not sing softly; she cooed and called and trilled and shrilled and thrilled. I started to take her out so that she didn't disturb his flow or the rest of the congregation. The priest paused. Let's say he'd been talking about Matthew 10: 7-16. ("Cure the sick, raise the dead, clean the lepers.") He drifted back a few passages, stared directly at me and quoted: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." My Girl and I returned to our seat, invited and welcome. If we’d been at an Orange-haired rally, we would have been asked to leave.

5. I have not watched cable or network news since the DNC convention ended last Thursday night, but I have been reading news online. I go to The Guardian’s front page hoping to read something semi-innocuous (to me) about Theresa May or Boris or David. But the powers that be sense I’m an American, and the big, red face in a big, square photo droops down on me, and all the news is about him. Except for those stories where I read about another shooting death or the terrifying spread of the Zika virus. Can we stop obsessing for a bit? Can you give us a moment away from the steamy piles of words, the staccato syntax, the fluffy strands of toddler hair covering the bald spot?

6. My kitty sits next to me on the sofa. I run my fingers between his ears and down his neck, and he purrs, and the stone in my gut begins to dissolve. It will be all right. It will be all right. There, there.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


My younger brother once wrote a letter to a girlfriend in which he said, "I love you fiercely." His friends mocked him; I did not. 

I believe loving fiercely, loving even people we fear, loving "enemies," loving each other, this will be the only way we're going to survive. 

This hate that I keep seeing is poisonous. It has weakened me so that I can barely get out of bed. That's a pity. I have things to do, poems/novels to write, passions to share.

I know people are afraid and that fear leads to hate, but, come on. This is ridiculous. Just stop it already, stop hating. Stop fearing. Listen and love. Please?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Stepped out of the house to meet a poet friend tonight for dinner. She was mad (crazy) from grading papers; I was mad from wallowing in self-denigration and dust. It was good to sit under the bright lights of Bob Evans, to talk about her students, my frustrating neighbors, her Catholicism, my Anglicanism. She told me about a role playing game for which she is writing a devious character; I told her about my current practice of writing poems beginning with a first line by poets I love.

We laughed.

We talked about the fearful hatred we see on social media and hope that it's only those with loud mouths speaking out.

I ate soup and salad; she ate a sandwich. I drank two glasses of water; she drank three cherry Cokes ("I need the caffeine to get me through later!").

Her lightness lifted me.

Tomorrow, I'm buying a cup of coffee for a local professor I've met only once (she doesn't remember, but I have a long memory and remember every second, even the way her hand felt in mine when we shook) but who might be a good collaborator for me someday. She is bright and passionate. She's a bit more fierce than I am.

Oh, who are we kidding? Everyone in the world is more fierce than I am.

On Friday, I will go to a short Christmas concert.

On Saturday I meet with my lovely teen writers who are pushing themselves to go deeper, to sing louder, to step out of their comfort zones so that they can learn what it's like to write differently, to see the world through different filters (we've been working on "empathy" exercises, though that's not what I've been calling them).

Next week, my darling Girl comes home for holiday break. I'm embarrassed for the state of my house, things I've needed to fix for months and months, but something broken in me hasn't been able to get around to doing or calling or asking or fixing.

Between now and then, I'll do what I can and try not to feel too much shame when she sees the mess. It will be all right.

I'm on the edge of talking myself into teaching a single composition class over the summer, perhaps one in the fall. My poet friend tells me her boss would love to have me back. The thought fills me with dread, but I need the income.

I don't know how to teach; I just know how to mentor.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dear Friend,

I hope you're having a good, quiet evening with your pups. Don’t worry about reading through my edits. They aren’t a worry for me. I feel good about your project; it’s full of joy and healing.

Tree branches are banging against my house, and they sound like someone pounding on my front door. They sound like fireworks.

This does not help with my skittishness from being certain some random dude with a gun is going to wander into a classroom on the campus where my daughter is studying sculpture, some random dude with a gun —pop pop pop. I can already smell my child’s blood. It’s time to text her again to make sure she’s alive and has working, texting thumbs.

This country is full of madness and pain.



Saturday, July 11, 2015


I so love solitude, the sound only of the refrigerator, my own breathing, the cat purring, eating, digging in the litter box, occasionally my neighbors' lawnmowers. Solitude is where I can hear my own voice, figure out what it's really saying.....

Ah, crap. I'm trying to be too poetic.

Here's a truth I just need to say: Today and yesterday, I felt so lonely that I turned on the Food Network and then the Learning Channel (Oh Lord, I watched Say Yes to the Dress) just so I could hear other people who are totally not like me talking into my living room.

I haven't been lonely (except for a few years in the late '90s and the aughts when my then little daughter suggested I was lonely for my lost self) since about 1987.


I have to admit that I'm lonely for my friend Laura who moved cross-country to Seattle starting June 28. Two cats in her car. The trip was kind of hard (Yes, I'm singing "Our House" in my head as I type). We've been friends for twenty years, spoken at least once a week, more recently connected almost daily.

She's going to have a wonderful life - bookstores, coffee shops, art classes, maybe a cool, low-maintenance condo.

But I think maybe she took all the air with her when she left.

There. That is all.