Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Making Room

In the past few days, I began a new morning writing practice.  This change took place after I made room for it by clearing a bedroom desk from other knickknacks, books, pens.  Just the act of making room for something new can open up my mind and clear space for creativity.  A small step with maybe significant results.

I also continue to push myself to engage with my community, beyond my comfort zone.  Yesterday, I volunteered for our local Humane Society and walked a sweet dog, Snugglefoot.  She kept looking up at me as if to ask, "Am I being a good girl?  Do you like me?"  "Yes and Yes",  I would say to her as I patted her head and scratched her ears.

A few days before, I had a Bunko night with other ladies.  As I threw the dice, lost a few games, won a few and shouted "Bunko" four times, I observed myself.  I was ill at ease with the banter and lightness of conversation.  But, as I made myself participate in it, I heard myself being funny, even a bit silly.

Interesting experiences and I will keep up with them as I learn more about different parts of myself--making room for summer growth.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Not 750 Words

Definitely not doing 750 words every day or maybe even today.  So much of life gets in the way. 

There is the mother bird and her baby finally leaving the loosely knitted nest they made in my son's flowering lemon tree.  We watched her and her mate build it, weather the desert winds, wondered if a baby or two were beneath her wings.  Then, just a few days ago, s/he  popped up when mama had flown for food.  And not too long after, the baby bird's trial flight agitated our son's kitty, Basil.  A young one herself, this new world of windows, trees, flowers and birds are enchantment to an apartment-raised kitten. 

So the baby bird flew up and down and Basil followed its movements around the patio, her golden eyes widened in anticipation.  But the drama from the nest is gone now.  Instead, gutters are removed and painters arrive to restore our son's new home to a place that demonstrates new and first ownership pride.  For Basil, the tradesmen, who come and go, are not the kind of movement she likes, so under the bed she flees.  Only to be coaxed out by a treat or two.  Then back into the dark again, where all is safe.

I share her sentiment to a certain degree.  While I have breakfast of bananas and peanut butter on toast, sip my tea latte and close with a mixed berry nut yogurt, I read the news, particularly the comics.  I write, long hand, in my Higher Power journal, and then my daily mini collage ritual.  I ask for guidance from my HP and state my intentions to be "thriving today."  Then, I'd like to be like Basil and, if there are no birds to watch (fortunately, since I feed them daily, they often are still fluttering outside), I'd like to return to the safety of the bedroom where it's still and more shaded that the rest of the house. 

But I don't retreat.  I stretch, and shower, take a walk around the neighborhood and chat it up with neighbors and yard workers.  I think I know what's ahead in the day, but the unexpected may occur and so adaptability is necessary.  Limited political news is a regular distraction and today, I wear "red for ed" as our Arizona teachers prepare for a strike.  Walking out or walking in on issues is a choice I make every day.  To stay in the nest or to fly.





Monday, April 23, 2018

Two new Erasure poems

You may recall that I am a follower of Austin Kleon and often use his posts, tweets, and books (Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work)  for inspiration.  Specifically, he introduced me to "erasure" as a poetry form.  He suggests blacking out all the words from a newspaper article to reveal the remaining words as a poem.  My variation is to circle the words or phrases I want to use and then reconstruct them into a poem.

Here are two I wrote yesterday 4/22/18.  Sunday newspapers can be a treasure trove of images and words.

Down this Road (Az. Daily Star, Sports)

Down this road,
I don't have any worries
about what that looks like
when we show up.

The lines can
get a little blurry.
But
when we did
what we wanted to do--
we were good.

Ready to Embrace (Az. Republic, Lifestyle)

Ready to embrace
with
a seductive sense
of style
twin chandeliers
descend
from the
soaring
ceiling.  




Saturday, April 14, 2018

Much about Spring

Much about Spring
has already been said
by poets greater than I am.

So, I only want to ask this about Spring:
how does a mother dove
make a nest
to withstand
wind gusts
of over
fifty
miles
per hour?

And when
it blows
apart,
why does
she risk
her life
to rebuild
it?

Oh,
I know:
she is
a
mother.


Sunday, April 8, 2018

More than an Obituary for Ginny Dobbs


More than an Obituary for Ginny Dobbs (based on the 4/8/18 obituary of Genevieve “Ginny Dobbs/Steed-Gideon, Arizona Daily Star)



Ginny and Tom had a dream and ran a motel by that name, Dream House.  Still located on Miracle Mile, back in the late 1940s it pulled in a steady stream of road trippers.  Maybe a few babies were made on the bed sheets Ginny washed and dried; maybe a few lovers hid behind the curtains she sewed.

When the freeway was built, the motel income faded along with the bed sheets and curtains.  So Ginny and her husband turned to other small businesses; they always ran them smart.  Tucson was a growing town and folks needed furniture and cars needed repairs.  When the repairs couldn’t keep cars running, a wrecking yard stocked with vehicles, broken concrete and spooled wires was the next venture for Ginny and Tom.

Gifted with a business mind, bouncy smile and sparkling eyes, Ginny could warm the hearts of customers and sometimes charm them with freshly baked goods.  After her Tom died, Ginny kept busy with cooking, sewing, and tending grandchildren.  Never one to be idle, she managed the family businesses and became an admissions clerk at St. Mary’s Hospital.

She lived a long life of ninety-four years.  Probably not a remarkable woman in a large sphere of life, but her face in the local paper’s obituary column pulled me in and my eyes set on the pearls in her ears, and the pearl strand around her neck.  Maybe her husband gave her that matching set for an anniversary gift.  I can see her touching them like a rosary before she put them on for church or special occasions.  They would be precious to her for decades, but now they lie in a green velvet box, in a drawer, covered, like a shroud, by one of her pressed cotton handkerchiefs.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Back story sketch for "The Bare Things" Part 2

I am slowly restarting, expanding my Alicia Frame story, thanks to encouragement from most of my beta readers.  I need to do a mind map for Part 2 since that really helped me move forward with the first part (novella) in November.  Here's what I have sketched out, so far.




NYC late winter 1926/Alicia Frame setting
Streets stuffed with men in long wool coats, bump into each other and don’t tip their hats.  Instead, shoulder to shoulder they eye each other, grumble a few words best not repeated in a lady’s company and shove until one of them backs off and moves on down the street.

A delicatessen is open 24 hours a day.  When Alicia first arrives this shocks her.  In Paris, the baker wakes early to make the baquettes, roles and pastries, but he closes shop by 5 p.m. and goes home to his family.  Here, she finds, it is a city that never sleeps and everyone who wants to get ahead, move faster than the next person, cuts hours at home, carries more than one job if necessary.  And, if a person is running a place where folks needs to grab a bit as they rush off to work or after late hours, then it is open 24 hours a day.  Thus, Alicia’s neighbor, Mr. Brumbinski, a recent immigrant in Poland, works the midnight to 7 a.m. shift at the corner deli, then works at a sleeve factory from 8 to 4, goes home for a quick meal made by Mrs. Bumbiniski, sleeps until 10 and then goes to work.  He does this five days a week and has one day off from the sleeve factory, Saturday.  Since most in the garment district are Jews, he and Mrs. Brumbinski go to the Temple and now Alicia, reclaiming her familial faith, often accompanies them to the midday service.

By that time, she has partially recovered from her long Monday-Friday days at Scribner’s that run into the early evenings.  She hopes this is going to change when, in late Summer, Philippe will bring Emily to join her.  It didn’t take Alicia long to discover that rooming with Miss XXX wasn’t going to work long.  A bit of a New York Party girl after work, her roommate liked to dine and drink and arrive back late.  This disturbed Alicia’s usual Parisienne lifestyle of early to bed early to rise—particularly when she had become a mother.  So looking for her own place which would accommodate Emily and, perhaps as she had promised Emily, a small dog, was how Alicia spent her Sundays.  After a cup of coffee and semi stale pastry that Mrs. Brumbinski would salvage from her husband’s take home on Friday, Alicia would borrow their Sunday paper and read the ads for apartments for rent.  She hadn’t found a place yet, but, in her rapid adjustment to America, she was becoming more optimistic by the week.

Hadn’t she already endured the rough and lonely ocean voyage from Normandy to New York? As one of the few women on board who was traveling without a husband or child, she had to learn how to avoid the sneers and not subtle invitations from single men of all ages and nationalities.  She learned to be in the company of the elderly matrons of various countries who were taking the last major leap of their lives by resettling to America.  Some were going to go to New York, but others had family waiting in Chicago, Boston or Philadelphia.  Alicia used this time to practice her English and she gained insight into how these women planned to adjust from their home country to this one.  When they were greeted by Lady Liberty, all of travelers on the rails—first class, second, and third class such as Alicia, cheered and cried.  A new and better life was in front of them and America promises safety, security and opportunity.




Monday, March 26, 2018


Children’s Practice 3/2018



1.      Experimenting with running-on rhyme aka Dr. Seuss
Fish, dish, whis(per), lis(ten), miss, kss risk, tsk, priss

It was dawn when I glimpsed the fish
Jump from the bowl to the dish.
I guessed he was wise about the risk
But then I heard him utter, “tsk, tsk…
I underestimated the risk of the dish,
So would you be so kind as to help me, Miss?
I don’t mean to sound like a priss,
But I need some water dipped into this dish.”
I was surprised at the request from him
To use the dish as a place to swim.
But being a gal who’s inclined to agree,
I nodded and made him a clear blue sea
Of water in his chosen dish.
Now he’s quite a happy dish-risk fish.  3/14/18

2.       Creatures and their actions aka Margaret Wise Brown

Gardenia flowers open one petal at a time.
Each a pearly white, uncurling from her green stem,
Stretching her edges in shadows
Softened by the morning sun
Whose shine shifts its angle by afternoon
When the blossom’s work is done for the day.
Gardenia flowers open one petal at a time.  3/26/18