The book Bright Wings – An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds, has flaps on its front and back covers that when opened give the book an impressive wingspan. The anthologist is my man Billy Collins, who paired his talent with the artistic Audubon ornithologist David Allen Sibley, to hatch this beautiful collection. However, in a recently acquired habit, I assessed the parity in the poetry assembled through the table of contents. Out of more than 100 poems, 37 were penned by women. Hmmm. My feathers ruffled. Continue reading
By now, I expect Billy Collins’ agent in California has received my fan letter. In another week, the letter and accompanying poem could be in Mr. Collins’ hands. Or perhaps it will drop into the former US poet laureate’s email as a scanned attachment with a message from the agent: “Another crack-pot fan letter for you.” Continue reading
I’ve struggled trying to think of something to talk about here, with you. Maybe you haven’t noticed my silent self sitting in your living room at the end of your sofa with a pillow tucked behind my achy back listening to your stories. You’re always so fascinating. I start to open my mouth and then clamp it shut suddenly shy and reluctant to share. Even a full-bodied glass of red wine can’t coax me to speak. Continue reading
I wake to my mother’s black and white image every day. Her photo hangs over my dresser and she stares directly at me. Its one of those photos where the eyes follow you. My husband has never objected to the location of the photo or that her gaze is focused on our bed. Perhaps its because she is very beautiful and serene.
Judging from the hairstyle and clothes, the photo was probably taken around 1940. She looks like a big city gal which belies her rural Midwest roots. I wonder if it was taken while she lived in Chicago where she finally settled down after years trailing her Dad in the Dirty Thirties as he looked for work.
Propped in my bed with the dog snoring beside me, cozy in a nest of pillows and books, we loll in soft grey light. A squirrel skitters across the roof and I tense, hoping he doesn’t fall down the chimney as happened to one of his brethren on Boxing Day. As I hold my breath, I hear my mother’s voice. Continue reading
The brush should be at a 45 degree angle as though bent into a strong wind. You want headway. Your pen takes orders from you, your hand its aegis. Never forget that.
Start at the left and trace your pen along an imaginary line. Keep your brush down and pull it steadily due right. Look straight ahead and don’t stop. Continue reading
When I shared my impressions of childhood living with an alcoholic father with a friend – memories of a five year old – he said that my memories predated a cognitive understanding of my father’s behaviour. I bristled. It was as though my memories were irrelevant because I lacked dates, context, and the cognitive ability to connect the dots.
Did you do “dot to dot” puzzles as a child? I remember doing them as far back as kindergarten. Teachers used them as a way to teach numbers. The easiest ones were from 1-10 and the resulting pictures were simple. There were no details in the final image, just a big shape, like a ball, or an outline of a cat’s head or a house. But its spare lines still told everything you needed to know. The same way kids know when something is off kilter without understanding why. Continue reading
He gives my shoulder a squeeze and leaves after placing a demitasse of espresso on the bedside table. “Have a good ski,” I mumble from the depths of the down comforter.
Left alone, I imagine his long, strong legs gliding up snowy hills through evergreens so dark they look black and white birch trees in between appearing like his breath as he exhales in the cold. Continue reading
But you already knew that, didn’t you? Here’s what The Review Review said about my story “Anchor” which was published in edition 190 of The Antigonish Review or TAR as it is sometimes called.
TARs current edition – 191 – is entirely digital and they’re archiving all their previous journals. When 190 is up, I’ll let you know. I’d love for you to read the story, especially those of you who followed the saga of Harry Bittercress and Lady Smock. “Anchor” branches into the story of Rose Laine and her boyfriend, Derrick Fudge, told from the point of view of Rose’s mother, a recovering alcoholic.
Blogging made this story possible. The series about Lady Smock and Harry Bittercress sprung from another blogger’s post (A Tramp in the Woods) about wildflowers he encountered on his rambles in the New Forest in England. Harry Bittercress is a weed and Lady Smock, commonly known as a cuckoo flower, is a dainty pink, hairless perennial found mostly in Europe and Western Asia.
Thank you, fellow bloggers, for the daily inspiration and for launching my fiction writing.
With love and gratitude,
Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda
Several times a month, I write a post for this blog whether I want to or not. Kind of like having sex after being married for 37 years. It can be a grind. It starts slowly, reluctantly even, then gradually it starts to work. The brain and body connect and everything starts to flow – blog-wise I’m talking. Well, sex-wise too I suppose. Continue reading