Sunday, May 27, 2012

Here's a short, short story I wrote in the first week of my fiction writing class at UA's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, another community bright spot!

Stadium Story  5/12

Though the sun is tilting into the West, the light is still bright as we get off the Phoenix light rail at the baseball stadium plaza.  Fast trip on this new urban train and I am glad for it.  The cast on my right wrist itches and it’s a heck of a hot night for me to pull this off.  Just proof that I am a guy, crazy in love.  Does my girl, April, have any idea of what I’ve set up?

I almost thought so this afternoon when I picked her up at her apartment.  She was cute as usual, her hair freshly washed, hanging down behind those soft ears I love to brush with my mouth, hair smelling like—what did she tell me it was the last time I asked—oh, yeah, lavender, sweet and soothing like her. But what I thought was a bit different was that extra pink blush on her cheek.  Since she’s naturally pretty, I didn’t think it was make-up, but maybe she was more than just happy to go to the game.  Maybe she was expecting something else to happen.  Well, I’ll know if she is surprised soon enough.

So, walking past the bars on the west side of the stadium plaza, already bustling with early beer conversations and the sound system blasting a familiar tune by Adele, a song I used to hate until April sat me down one night and made me listen to this song all the way through and said, her eyes brimming with tears, “Dan, this is how I’d feel if you ever left me.”  And I knew I wouldn’t ever leave her, but the fear that she had slammed me so hard that my wrist started to throb like it does when I’m stressed out and I knew it was time for my next step.

So, we go past the bars and I’m glad I’m done with that scene for a lifetime, I hope.  And we pass through security and the ticket checker and go into the stadium lobby—sunlight streaming unto the shiny concrete floor.  I see lots of families here as well as the usual Dbacks fans and since the team is playing the Giants, I expect there will be a big crowd.  But for me, the game isn’t what has my heart beating to a salsa rhythm.  Nope, tonight I ask April to marry me and when I get down on my knees, my casted hand awkwardly reaching for the little black box now tucked into my t-shirt pocket, the picture of us should be on the high definition stadium big screen for the fans to see.  And if the thousands clap and roar with approval, all I will be hearing—or hoping to hear—is one word from April’s cherry-colored lips:  “Yes.”

Monday, May 21, 2012


I love new (to me) words.  This one has possibilities....

pleach \pleech\, verb:

1. To interweave branches or vines for a hedge or arbor.
2. To make or renew (a hedge, arbor, etc.) by such interweaving.
3. To braid (hair).

Robert got up very early, and went off to pleach the big hedge at the foot of the far pasture.
-- Mary Webb, Seven for a Secret

I might not be able to install plumbing fixtures or to pleach apple trees, but I know how to throw a good party.
-- Nancy Atherton, Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree

Pleach is derived from the Middle French word plais, which meant "a hedge."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prime Time Library Community

Here's a "brightspot" worth sharing---

Last night, we had our last of six Prime Time Story sessions, convened at the Columbus-Eckstrom Public Library in Tucson.  We started with 7 kids and their parents and ended with 20 and their families.  Throughout the project, we shared stories and conversation, a dinner meal and tips on how to stay engaged with library (seen in the photo above) and reading activities throughout the year.  In their exit survey, several families noted that the program had increased family reading time through the six weeks and it is hoped that this new investment in family reading will continue.  This project began with the Lousiana Endowment for the Humanities several years ago and, with additional funding through the National Endowment for the Humanities, expanded to several states, including Arizona.  Only Tucson participates in the program at this time and it is coordinated through the Arizona Humanities Council.  Another series of the program starts at the Martha-Cooper Library next week (with another scholar taking on the role I had), so please spread the word and shine your light on this community effort! 

And here's a second photo with some of the kids in the foreground and me dashing to clean up a liquid refreshment spill.  Never a dull moment with kids....

Monday, May 14, 2012


As the summer approaches and the sunsets dip into the mid-evening hours, the rutilant light in the western sky softens the intensity of the day.  (Practicing a new word as do the authors below):

rutilant \ROOT-l-uhnt\, adjective:

Glowing or glittering with ruddy or golden light.

He had a round head as bare as a knee, a corpse's button nose, and very white, very limp, very damp hands adorned with rutilant gems.
-- Vladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle

It was like the show-piece that is reserved for the conclusion of a fete, the huge bouquet of gold and crimson, as if Paris were burning like a forest of old oaks and soaring heavenward in a rutilant cloud of sparks and flame.
-- Émile Zola, The Downfall

Why flashed through space a sudden and extraordinary splendor, intenser than the rutilant fulgurations of the aurora borealis, lighting up the whole heavens instantaneously, and for a moment eclipsing every star of every magnitude?
-- Jules Verne, To The Sun?

Rutilant is from the Latin word rutilāns, meaning "having a reddish color or glow."

Sunday, May 6, 2012

bright spot at night

How many of you stood outside last night to savor the Super Moon, 30% brighter than normal for a full moon?  It was lovely and reminds me of how there is perfection in the universe, seen from afar.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

coming attractions

Even though I haven't heard back from followers about the interest if following my "BrightSpots" feature, I am going to plan to do it anyway.  Part of the role of shining the light on "brightspots" is to act as if there is hope for our future.  So, in that spirit, I am sending forward a link to Cinema La Placita, a literal and figurative "bright spot" in Tucson.

In the near future, I will be posting an interview with the movie venue's founder, so look forward to that.