Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Don't apologize
Because you didn't get to church
Or can't make decent soup
Or walk too slow
Or sometimes feel down
So down you don't feel like feeling at all

Just go
Without the sorries thrown in
Just cook
Without knowing what you're doing
Without enough salt
Without a cookbook to help you
Just walk
In the direction you find most meaningful
At the speed that suits you
In the way that makes your hips feel okay
And doesn't hurt your feet
Just feel
What's really thrumming there inside you
Not what you ought to feel
Not what others say is real
Not the person others claim is you
But you
Only you
Be you
Just be you
Just be

Friday, May 27, 2011

Move Me

Patience is a virtue
I don't have

Give me a plot that moves
A conversation that brings up something new
Or lose me

Make characters change
The world
The inner workings of my brain
Or I'll move on

Or help me grow
Beyond the confines I am used to
Or I will finish up your book
(If I finish it at all)
And sigh
That was

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Being Unfaithful

One of my friend writers online, who has been struggling with his novel for quite some time, tried something a little dangerous.

He tried working on something new. Several other writers had encouraged him to. "If your novel isn't cooperating, just move on," we told him. "Find another project that makes you want to write every day. Obviously this one isn't working for you right now, but you can always come back to it."

He tried to be tempted. He tried digging into another project, something with less baggage, less stress attached to it. It was then that the sweating started. His eyes shifted around the room to see if anyone noticed his infidelity. The words of his first novel came to him, whispering guilt, pain, and shame. How could he do this? How could he dump the novel he'd devoted his life to and start something else?

I admit that I still have similar misgivings. Instead of a lover (or spouse), though, the novel feels like a child. The first child is always the hardest, too. I don't want it to cry, or fall and hurt its knees, or feel lonely for even a second. I've revised my first novel about 25 times now, and it's still not quite ready (though it's getting awfully close!). But the first time I started working on something else--when I'd only revised the novel about 15 times--it felt like I was turning my back on my only child. Would she forgive me? Would she ever speak to me again?

What if she didn't? What if she was my only chance to express myself fully, and my creativity dried up completely? Karma. Wouldn't I deserve it, for being such a bad parent?

But part of my problem was that I had other children waiting on me. They were pulling on my apron before they were ever born, and I have still more gnawing at me now, wondering why I haven't started on them.

The truth is, my second child, though still only in revision #5 or so, helped me make my first child better. And my third helped me figure out POV in a way the other two hadn't. Each little child I created helped me return to the other ones with more patience, more depth, more perspective. They are better, more capable, more meaningful, and more interesting children because of their brothers and sisters.

I still feel wracked with guilt. Each hour I spend on one child is an hour away from the others (including the two children I bodily gave birth to). I have to drown out the voices, the little hands pulling at my skirt while I work, whining at me because I am not devoting that hour to them. And so I switch. I work on one until I am stuck, until I don't know what to do. Then I set it aside, putting it in front of cartoons while I spend some one-on-one time with another child.

I hope, when they are all grown and gone, they will not still resent the time I left them in a room alone and played with a sibling. I hope they all grow to be capable, meaningful well-adjusted novels (and plays).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Not Ready

The pseudo-Rapture
Has come and gone
And I am here

Will the morning bring news
Of empty clothing
Strewn around the world
Of people taken in their prime
To live here no more?

I cannot know
Until my Sunday comes
Yet come it will
And I feel blessed
To have another day
To live

My novels whine for me
Tugging at my shorts
As I cook dinner this evening
My son still needs
A patchwork comforter
My daughter needs a hug

My work is yet unfinished
So I smile with relief
To see my ordinary self
Still sitting here
Well beyond the deadline set
For launching from this earth.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Summer Goals

Over the last few summers I've posted a huge list of goals. Most of you know I'm the queen of lists. Even now I'm sitting at my laptop, glancing over at my list book as I write, considering the list for today.

But I just can't make a list for this summer. I know, generally, what I want to accomplish. I want to get my fourth novel finished, revise my first, second, and third novels and get them ready for sending out to agents, and revise my most recent play (which I just finished last week).

Really, though, I just have one big goal: WRITE.

I hope to write every single day. One blog entry and one hour of writing each day minimum. Bigger goals won't be accomplished without the smaller, daily task of writing. The big goals, at this point, look too big. It's rather like weight loss. If I only set my sights on the final goal weight, then that means every single day I remind myself how far I am from that goal. But if I just concentrate on exercising and eating right today, I have a chance to eventually make it to that goal, mainly by my daily action.

So I'm off. My lofty goals drift around, yes, but they are not the plan. The plan is just for today, the last day my kids are in school. I hope to spend the afternoon writing. How about you?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


In case any of you got some energetic message from me by e-mail telling you how I just love this particular website, and you have to check it out...

It wasn't me. I was hacked. No idea how it happened, but I've changed my password now, and hopefully it won't happen again.

I have nothing else to post right now. Too busy feeling violated. The rest of the day went well, but I'm still on edge.

I'm off to the piano now for some music therapy. Hopefully I'll be able to get to sleep tonight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Step Back

Put down the list of things to do
Save it
For a moment when your jaw
Isn't clenched
When the words
Don't blear together
From the throbbing behind your eyes

The floor needs sweeping
So put on some soft socks
To mask the feeling
Tuck the dishes into the sink
And cover them with a towel
The laundry can wait until tomorrow

Now is not the time for stress
Your brain can't handle much more
Without committing suicide

So let go...

Open the shutters wide
And soften your eyes with the green of trees
Drift along with the music
Of the turning of the earth
Feel it rumble under your toes
And echo with your own heart beat

God didn't create while panicked
He made it all slowly
Step by step
Looking over each little plant
To say,

Yes, that is good.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What Do You See?


A squirrel taps its way
Across the road
And up into a tree

A strange cross between
A persian cat
Its tale a fluff of gray
A softness I envy
Grace I'll never hope to learn

And a rat
A pint-sized rodent scavenger
A wild thing
With rat-like claws
A lurker in the shadows.

I know it is more rat
Than feline
And yet as I brake the car
With haste
And watch its tail flip angrily at me
Its dark eyes peek
Suspicious at me
I see a friend
And not an enemy

And so I cannot help
But see humanity
A few true rats, yes,
But most of us
More fluff than claws.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


After a hard night's (lack of) rest
The kindest greeting
Full of hope and joy and expectation
Is sunrise.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


"The Bath" by Mary Cassatt

Decades ago
One mother
Left me
Choosing some form of righteous path
Abandoning the straining fibers linking
Her to me
Snipping every tendon separate.

I could feel lost
But other mothers
Found me
Fed me with caring
Showed me what love is
Sewed together the ties that had been torn
To themselves
And made me whole again

Mothers of their own choosing
They picked me
And so many others in need
To encourage and help
With smiles and pats and advice

And now
To follow their example
I mother
Not just the children
Tied to me through biology
But all the others
Abandoned and snipped apart
Seeking solace and love
In the embrace of another mother.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Will You Stop Patronizing Me?

I'm an easy going kind of girl. Really, I am. I can pretty much get along with anybody. You can be stupid, and I'll help you get a clue. You're going to be imperfect (everybody is, you know, even you), yet I'll look over the imperfections easily. I have many of them myself.

But just patronize me, and you make an enemy for life.

So many have tried it. One guy in graduate school--a creative writing major--made it clear what he thought of literature majors. We had to work in a group together, three creative writing majors and me (a lit. major), and when the other three were going off on a tangent with planning, I said, "I don't quite understand."

Without blinking, this person leaned over, patted my arm, motioned to himself and the others, and said, "Don't worry. We're very creative people. We'll make sure you're okay."

I wanted to slug him. But since I am a pacifist, I didn't.

There was no shortage of such people in graduate school and academia. Usually it was a teacher of questionable worth who made it a point to patronize and insult the worth of the other teachers or graduate students around him/her in order to feel superior. But I always hated it.

Theatre has traditionally been a place for this as well, but until this last week, I hadn't really encountered it here in the community production of The Sound of Music. Sure, we have a couple divas, and they share their own little dressing room, keeping themselves aloof from the rest of us... but they haven't been too annoying.

Until yesterday.

We were just about to begin our second week of shows last night, and the girl who plays Maria came up to me with a few "suggestions." First, she wanted a bit more stage business for something, since she didn't feel like she could move the way she wanted to without it.

Okay. No big deal. I'd made adjustments for her before. Easy stuff.

But then she pulled out the patronizing card. She put her hand on my arm (always a bad sign), and said, "And be loud. When we sing together, especially. First the audience hears me sing," she says, "and then when you get up there, well, you know." And she makes a face.

Really? Did we have to go there? Three more productions, and we might never have to work together again. But she can't wait. She has to pull out the patronizing card and slap me across the face with it. I could spend the rest of the blog ranting about her acting skills, but I won't. She's not bad. And she can sing. And how well she does it is none of my damn business, since I'm not the director.

But neither is she.

I am grateful to be in the ordinary dressing room, and I'll take this as another reminder of how not to behave towards other people. We all have different talents, different strengths, and different weaknesses, and it's not my job to step on others while on my own personal journey.

It's also my job to do my best, despite the comments, and to do so with a positive attitude. Perhaps what upsets me most is that, even after all of these years, comments like this still bother me.