Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Rub sleep from your eyes
And you may see the sparkle
In the shadow corners
Of your messy bedroom

Trudge to the cupboard for a bowl
But notice, out of the corner of your eye,
The immaculate slate
Awaiting your chalk strokes

Wake up, and grumble
--If you like--
But don't grumble too loud
Or you'll chase away the spirits

They are there
All around you
Hoping today
For once
You will notice.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Past is past
Minutes ticking away
Released into the emptiness
Of nowhere

Future is all dreams
Wants, desires
Most without substance
Or hope
Never to be realized

Use the now
Begin anew
This moment
Live in the present
Make something of it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Way

Rest your angry mind
A moment
Hushing thoughts that swirl within
And burst through every facet of your life

The tension will kill you

Breathe the air
It might not be as fresh as it once was
But it still feeds you
After all these years
Change has not destroyed all
There is still time

And you need to breathe, after all

No more talking
Invectives churn inside your mind,
So just release them
Set them free
For saying them only gives them power
Over you

Feel the inner workings of the earth
Beneath your feet
And know that even the worms
Have a purpose

And so do you
Do you know what your purpose is?
No? Not yet?
Then keep silent so that you can hear

If you listen long enough
You will feel the pull
Your own unique link to the universe
And then you will know
What you must do.

Monday, August 22, 2011


The dowager's hump
Comes naturally
To most of womankind.

Are we
Afraid we might stick out
Or show off
Or think more of ourselves
Than we should.

Of our breasts
Lanky hair
Pale skin
Brown skin
Or acne
No matter what we have
We teach ourselves to hate it
To hunch over
To hide.

Oh, what would we be
What could we do
If we would only stop hunching?

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Choice

The night
Is softly falling
Behind trees
And under rocks.

Silence retreats
That her older, louder sister
Murmurs upstairs
Getting ready for morning.

Muscles ready
Not for a day of lethargy
But for the whirlwind of activity
Work and play
That hold the hands of sunshine
Green grass
And sound.

You have a choice:

Slink into the shadows
Crawl back into bed
And waste the day
Or tag along with the sun
Skipping through the world
A light
Signaling others
To act.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


In case you also check out my Not Writing blog, this post is in both places. I thought I'd just write it in one, but my thoughts shoved the poem I had in my head out, so this is all I can think about:

I was slapped in the face this morning. Not literally, but I'm stinging from it just the same.

And it's all my fault. And it's all because I haven't been writing.

For YEARS, ever since I took freshman composition, I've been in love with the idea of writing a play about Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, whom I suspect wrote Shakespeare's plays. But over the past many years (too many to mention, believe me), I didn't write. I have tons of research for it, a huge collection of books on it, and I'd even made an outline of the major events so that I could someday write it.

Only now I don't have to. The movie is coming out in October, and it's calledAnonymous. I've missed my opportunity.

Fiction writing is one thing--sure, J.K. Rowling has made the one and only Harry Potter, and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only happens once, but other fantastic characters can still lead beautiful lives on paper. I noticed, too, that yet ANOTHER production of The Three Musketeers is coming out. (How many versions are we going to get? The book is better than any of them.)

But Oxford's story should only happen once. I just hope it's done beautifully, that it is better than I can wish for, that people can see the irony, the tragedy, the poetry of the whole situation. Either way, whether it sucks or holds audiences spellbound, it's too late for me to write it. I've missed that chance because I haven't written it. Hell, I am probably still a decade away from having the skill to write it.

I love the story, though, so I will go to see it in October, hoping it's brilliant, but still feeling a bit compressed because I will never write it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


At long last, more than a month after I finished the &*%$(@ project, my tortured fingers have recovered from grouting long enough to write about my summer tiling experience. As with my gardening entries, I managed to find quite a few similarities between tiling and writing, and the time it took gave me a chance to mull over these nuances and, perhaps, improve my writing in the process. At least these offer me a way of perceiving the process of writing differently.

So that you can see I know what I'm doing, here's a picture of my finished tiling project:

Looks pretty fantastic, doesn't it? And I'm an amateur, too. First time tiling ever. I'd make a long, arduous blog about this (and brag a whole lot more), but that would be too much to remember (and endure), so I'll start with the first part of the tiling process, preparation:

1. Prep the space for tiling. That means tearing down the previous tile, which in this case was a glossy white bathroom tile intermixed with bright, ugly wildflowers. The eighties-inspired bathroom look was pretty awful, but I have to admit that the bare wall devoid of eighties tile looked worse. Once it was chucked off, though, I knew there was no going back.

In the same way, revising my novels (i.e., "ripping them to shreds") often takes a similar path. I create a new document, name it novel revision #2 (or #7, or #25, depending on the novel), and then paste chapters of the old document in one at a time, revising them fully before pasting in a new chapter. At some point, I realize the rest of the novel is complete crap, and I stop pasting. It is then that the old draft disappears back into my novel folder and I begin composing for real. Tearing down is really hard, and turning my back on entire chapters (or the whole second half of a book) is even harder, but sometimes it's necessary.

2. Plan out where you are putting tile. I made a template of my backsplash, especially the part above my stove (shown in the picture above), in paper so that I could fit the tile into it on the floor of my dining room before I set the stuff in thinset mortar on the real wall. I even used the little spacers to set them apart from each other properly, so that my measurements would be exact. Why? Well, it gave me a chance to see the finished product. In fact, my plan changed, for I realized the accent tiles would be set too high on my template, making them almost invisible, and I arranged them differently. I even changed the angle during the planning stage, opting for a far more graceful diamond pattern instead of block squares. Had I waited to plan until I started mortaring all the tiles, I would have two choices: Live with the inferior setting, or tear the whole thing down and start over. Neither one would have been any fun.

Sure, when one is in the throes of NaNoWriMo, one can just applaud oneself for getting the requisite 1,667 words written each day--or even throw a party when one writes twice that many. But writing off the cuff, at least for me, means shredding most of it somewhere down the line, and I will have far less work to do in revisions if I write a plot outline and plan out the characters before I really get the novel going.

3. Tiling happens in a particular order, which cannot be changed. I had to prep the space, plan out where the tile was going, cut the tile, mortar the tiles up, let them dry completely, then grout. Had I tried doing any of these things in a different order, I would have messed the whole thing up. Had I mortared the tile over the existing tile, it wouldn't have stuck. Uncut tiles would never fit together. Had I grouted before mortaring, the grout itself would have no hope of keeping those tiles up. They needed to be glued first. The order of the process matters.

That seems self-explanatory, but writing's steps also follow the same logic. If one hasn't written anything--or if the writing has fundamental problems with character or plot or content that have yet to be addressed--editing for grammar is silly. I need to prepare for the writing, write it out, revise for content, then revise for grammar, then send it out to beta readers, then revise again, and only then (at the earliest) can I call the novel finished. The steps aren't arbitrary rules created by your much-hated English teacher. They are necessary to help you create the best quality work you can. Only a supreme writing genius can avoid some of these, and I don't know one of those.

Now that the preparation is done, other elements happen. I'll cover them in another blog as soon as I can.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Countdown to NaNoWriMo

It's coming. Every year it's coming. I tried it once and failed miserably, mainly because I spent the second half of the month house hunting. But I've moved now. Nothing should be standing in my way, especially a house hunt.

And the house we bought is almost fully refinished/painted/cleaned/reorganized. Even those pesky backsplashes are completely tiled and grouted (though I still haven't posted pictures). My son's quilts are days away from completion. I do have a ton of Christmas houses to paint this year, but if I don't get them all done, who will know but I? Christmas comes EVERY year (just like NaNoWriMo).

I'm revving up my revisions on several novels, after hardly writing in July. I'm excited, I'm motivated, and I'm fully aware that my kids start school in four days. So, the countdown might just be meaningful for me this year. I'm posting it here, just in case.

Do I really want to do it? Not sure. Last year I realized at the halfway point that I was way off base with the novel, and I haven't done anything but research it since. Will the novel eventually turn into something? Probably, knowing how willing I am to revise (i.e., shred). But you can bet I won't be sending any piece-of-crap novel out December 1.

What about you? Will you write for NaNoWriMo? Are you already churning out a book? Do you act like it's NaNoWriMo every single month? Does NaNoWriMo make you yawn?