What can YOU say in six sentences?
I am reading a book about a writer who can't write, though he did manage to get the book I am reading written while he procrastinated and agonized about the one he was supposed to be writing.
Of course, while he is struggling to write a paragraph a day, he is gazing out a window in Rome, there on a fellowship, taking walks to the Pantheon and across the Ponte Sisto.
God knows what…Continue
Every morning when I come to my office, I draw a card from the deck of Wild Woman Mystery cards; today's card was Grief and I have looked at it each time I walked past.
What am I grieving or what should I be grieving or what in my life is grief-worthy?
Sure, my need-to-pack-up-and-leave bones are showing but that is only because a record number of years in the same house looms, and one of my friendships is…Continue
Broken windows and empty hallways, but I don't care. We are going to fix it all up, put paint on the walls, tighten the leaky faucets and find a way to patch the holes in the roof. We'll hang chintz curtains and fill the extra rooms with love in the night. And the day...but you'll be busy writing and I'll be busy painting and we'll have rules about too much red or yellow or blue or spumoni gelato or vodka before noon. We'll agree not to have children, but a cat will move in under the…Continue
Just before our love got lost you said, "You have your mother's nose."
I still haven't forgiven you.
I mean, you have your father's temper and his inattention to detail and his tendency to sleep all afternoon on Sundays, but I didn't point them out at the time.
I remember the time you kicked our dog, and I wondered if you'd someday kick our kid.
If you want me, I'll be in the bar.
Hi, everyone... So the judging was difficult and fraught with laughter and good-natured bantering.
The challenge was in two parts, but only one person, Deborah, wrote to the first prompt. Bolton, I know you did but it came in after the deadline and I had already compiled the pages for the judges.
So, with apologies to Deborah, we decided to just cancel…Continue
"I don't know exactly what a prayer is, but I do know how to pay attention," says Mary Oliver, so I am paying attention.
I've gotten off my horse to almost worship the morels scattered under the tree, nestled under the tree, springing from the duff, resting in the duff, rooted in the dark rich soil, the springtime soil.
And there is a king snake, a lonely cry from overhead, a breeze carrying something unnameable, and nothing is silent though some might call it so with no sounds…Continue
I always think of sentences while I am riding... sentences that would make excellent openers for brilliant novels, like "He thought about meteor showers while he had sex, and in this way his life streaked across the sky."
Or, "She grew up wishing her mom was the kind to sprinkle sugar on top of bread and butter, and it was only after she was an adult that she remembered the cold mornings when she ate cinnamon toast and hot chocolate before school."
These sentences often fly…Continue
Challenge: Write to either or both prompts below. Two prize packages will be awarded, one for each prompt, and trust me when I say the prize packages are WORTH entering. The judging panel consists of three readers who will read blind. I am simply the facilitator. If you will be at HoW4, I will award your prize then, and yes, you can win twice. If you will not be at HoW, I will mail your prize. Challenge begins now and runs through Friday morning, April 19, 8am PST. Put the prompt…Continue
He is a singularly ineffectual human being, unable to say, "I am a songwriter," or "I am a student," or "I am a caretaker."
Instead, he wanders, pushing dirt around in a circle with a broom until I wake him at eight o'clock one morning, in full rant about the job he is not doing and his remarkable lack of initiative.
For two days he is inspired to make a difference in the world around him, to be productive, to roll fewer cigarettes from the pouch of Drum, to actually lift his…Continue
He missed smoking.
The sunset was over and the sky had retreated backstage and quiet, like a wool blanket, had settled over the small homestead, creating a cocoon of cliche.
But still he stood on the porch staring into the gloom.
When the stars began to rub the daysleep from their eyes, he rubbed a hand over his own face and turned toward the house.
There was nothing left to do.
His day had been lived, as all the days before, and tomorrow would come,…Continue
Dear Writing Family,
When I am absent from you, it is because I don't have the best and choice offerings, or my best is going into something long and cumbersome, or because I ride behind slow moving cows and do the heavy lifting.
When I am absent from you, it is because I don't have poetry or songs to transcribe, only "to do lists" and a fresh batch of edits that make writing seem like more craft than art, and my heart gets buried under the waves of deadlines and moving…Continue
He rolled over to turn off the alarm and hit a pile of chilly magazines, Playboys, arranged on her side of the bed in the shape of a sleeping body, July's centerfold unfolded on her pillow.
He drank his coffee in the silent morning, an additional pile of back issues at the place where she normally sat.
In the bathroom he discovered the newest one, recently arrived in the mail, with a note tucked beside a red-head with a tattoo on her ankle, "Happy dump! This month's visual…Continue
It is such a fragile thing.
The butterfly tastes with her feet.
The bat has sex in the fall, but doesn't get pregnant until the spring so her body must have a thin membrane that holds the sperm apart...and warm...and alive...until the time is right.
The sherds of an ancient pot, dug up carefully from dense black soil, crumble in my clumsy hands.
The long-eared bull takes a dive into the canyon below and you say, "Don't look at him, just act like we don't care,"…Continue
It was three rolls of sushi with abundant ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce: Dragonfly, Sunburst, and Caterpillar, all chef's specialties, all toted home from town 45 minutes away.
It was a hot fire, a cold night, and whiskey on ice.
It was red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and chocolate curls on top.
It was that moment when you realized that if you want something, you have to make it happen and that good things do not come to those who wait, but rather those…Continue
It is a long, strange, and boring story about why I walked six blocks carrying a coffee maker in my arms... in snow boots and stocking hat... puffy yellow vest...
I called it a collage but the man I said it to got a funny look on his face, so I murmured something about "performance art" but that didn't help either, and it was hard to backtrack to joke.
He doesn't know me very well, so I have to give him a break; but it is the walking I wanted to tell you about... the walking…Continue
So, it is easy to trot them out in all of their dripping ugliness: The Bad Mother, The One who Won't be Ignored, The Mediocre Artist, The Flirt, The Attention Monger, The InAuthentic Self.
We all have them, those who rise up to mock us.
But after 40... or is it 50... perhaps I came to it early... the ones that matter are the ones that attack our work, our lifework, the work we were born to do.
The Superior Reader (wife to The Superior Reviewer) , the Vicious Editor (he…Continue
Her tiny bird bones contain a brilliant energy and she launches herself into my arms with a delighted squeal; our hearts have known each other forever.
We met less than an hour ago, but she doesn't measure friends or time the same way I do.
I go in and out the back door, checking on the steaks on the grill, and she runs to me each time the wind pushes me back inside to be lifted high and cuddled, but not for long and then she's off again.
She's seventeen months old; how…Continue
Love doesn't always take into consideration life, or scheduled teeth cleanings or shopping lists or banking, but we muddle through, all of us who are in love, and so after days of no breathing and too many discussions about logistics instead of soul, he drops me off at the new local bookstore while he goes to the dentist.
The door is still locked, fifteen minutes until 10am, so I walk across the street to Wells Fargo and open a business account to run my new book accounts through…Continue
If you ask him, he says they live in Connecticut with the beavers and the trees and an old concrete damn exactly even with his basement retaining wall.
If you ask his wife, she says they live in New York City and that he should learn to sleep with ear plugs.
He likes to take the train, two hours from Grand Central Station, and watch the buildings and traffic fall away as the tracks climb up into the hills.
From the country station it is a nine minute walk to the house…Continue
There were three stools at the bar in PF Changs and we had a buzzer, but a lady's coat and purse were on one of the stools, so Fred went first, then me, then my husband, and when the lady turned to remove her belongings she said, "Why, hello, cowboy!" and then asked him how long it had been since he had been in Weatherford, Texas.
I turned to Fred to catch-up after not having seen him for months, and figured my husband was doing fine when the woman said, "You are just beautiful,…Continue