What can YOU say in six sentences?
The wildest thing I have ever tasted is miner's lettuce from the hillsides.
The wildest thing I have ever seen is a cinnamon bear crossing the creek boulders at dusk.
The wildest thing I have ever heard is a fox's mating call in the night, the one that the Navaho cowboy said was a chindi (a witch), and I am sure I understand why.
The wildest thing I have ever done is have my nose pierced or perhaps hiked into the wilderness and slept by a hot spring.
(Warning : Gross alert for some of you with weak stomachs.)
So my editor tells me I have to take out the part about the baby bird impaling himself on a nail, and I argue with him that it really happened and what about that golden thread of truth?
He says that some things are so true they don't translate well to the page.
I wonder if I can write, then, about how we branded that big longear yesterday and made him into a steer and how his nuts were as big as most…Continue
It still breathes, humming and sighing and shifting and smelling like a million-ingredient soup.
It is still full of work, half-finished projects, that old bicycle leaning against the wall, the fresh shavings beneath the tool bench, that small puddle of oil that needs to be absorbed by some cat litter and swept away, stalls fragrant with manure, restless animals with tight bags and empty bellies that don't know the latest news, the day's headlines.
It is still a place where…Continue
The manuscript says "revised March 5, 2009" on its opening page, and I am unprepared for the reading, for the moments of wow followed by groans where the me of then is sooooo bad.
If my fingers aren't on the keyboard, they are constantly fondling the blue/grey used-to-be sticky stuff that is for tacking things to brick walls.
I'd rather read "Magpie Rising" even though Gilfillan sometimes bores me and I want to ask him, "Who cares?"
Yeah, who cares.
There is a…Continue
The first few months were hard, especially the early mornings when he would rise while it was still dark and she would hear him getting fully dressed, right down to his boots, stomping around making coffee while trying unsuccessfully to be quiet.
She put on her bathrobe that first morning and went into the dim kitchen, "Dad, is everything ok?"
"Oh, sure, sure, just getting ready to go do chores... Didn't mean to wake you."
When she asked him what chores he meant do to…Continue
The pot of energy is finite.
When Tommy Lee Jones was filming "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" many, many people told him why he couldn't or shouldn't make that movie.
The biggest criticism was the title.
How much easier it would have been to change it to "The Three Burials of Jose Gomez."
Tommy Lee Jones just kept right on doing what he knew he should be doing.
I am sorry that I cannot hear you, cannot waste any more of my energy listening to you…Continue
I walked into the kitchen in the total dark, switched on the light above the stove to make a comfortable puddle.
The windows were still black and last night's dishes were in the sink.
As the the minutes marched on and the clean dishes piled up in the drainer and the water began to boil, the day came to life with golden fire in the black stove, rich brown coffee, wilted green spinach in bright yellow eggs, melted butter on raisin toast, and rusty bacon.
The cocoon of…Continue
The bedroom filled with your anger, and it pooled in the night; even sleep could not pull the plug to allow it to drain away.
I dog-paddled in my dreams.
Four phone calls from angry people--all of them related to me, and an old lover--and now I need to sweep the grainy residue from my office.
My anger absorbtion capacity sensor is glowing with warning--sending auto-generated messages to my brain saying we have reached our limit.
I pull a mask over my vulnerable…Continue
Last night I fed spaghetti to an old Navajo with a red ribbon braided into his hair.
He sang, probably to ward off witches, when I showed him the spear point I found at Bull Water, and later I wished I knew that same song when he told of shooting an eight-year-old girl in Vietnam, one who had been selling cigarettes in camp every day until she came wearing something more explosive than a cigarette tray.
His life pivots, you know, on that one day, that one bullet, that one…Continue
I wish for you fat cows with hair in shiny swirls where they licked themselves.
I hope you believe in fairies and ghosts and more whipped cream and elves.
I wish for you a long cool drink of water out of a heavy glass mason jar,
With a child by the hand on a summer night wishing on the evening star.
I hope you get so caught up in the book you are reading that you forget to eat or drink,
I hope for you hot coffee from an enamel mug on a…Continue
He knows that she is FUN; you know how she smells.
He knows that he is attracted to her; you know what she says in her sleep.
He knows what she orders in a restaurant; you know that she likes ranch dressing on her fried potatoes.
He knows how she talks about things she is passionate about; you know what passages she reads aloud at breakfast.
He wants to be in love with her; you want to build a life with her.
He likes the pain of what could have been; you…Continue
Yesterday I saw a golden eagle, current surfing from the cliffs.
He came over to check us out.
We ate leftover pizza and drank a beer on the point where I dream of building my someday house.
It is hard to believe in someday houses.
We glassed a pool of water way down below the point in the bottom of one of the three canyons that run together right there, a deep pool of water, one I want to go to someday, drink from, swim in, touch.
My little dog can run 14…Continue