Okay friends. Here we go. I am launching Tangled Locks Journal. We will be accepting submissions starting April 21st and will publish our first issue on June 21st.
I have a routine. I rise before the sun. I sit and sip my coffee slowly until it’s lukewarm while I tell time by listening to the traffic change on our street. A quiet time in a family of night owls. Gracie the cat stares at me until I set her breakfast down and then she pretends she didn’t even want it. I catch up on Twitter and Facebook.
Then I let my mind wander. Small blessings come into focus like annoyed-joy I felt when my husband and son woke me up with loud laughter last night. Or the gratitude I feel that I have taught my son to reflect on challenges and find the gift within. Or how much I am enjoying reorganizing my home and getting rid of what I no longer want or need.
My organization is more than striving towards a clutter-free life. It’s about unlocking my soul.
I am building spaces for creativity. My drawing and painting supplies are all together now. Gorgeous beads and fabrics are reminding me that I once made a living beautifying the world. I have moved the binder of first draft of a novel and handwritten notes out of a bin in the basement and placed it by my computer.
I think about my life.
Once I was a chemist who ran away to be an artist.
I sit with those words and know that is not quite the truth.
Once an artist became a chemist. Her parents insisted that she needed to do something practical to pay the bills. She could alway have her hobbies, they said.
She was a dutiful daughter. She locked the magic of her soul in a beautiful box. She forgot about it. Then one day, she found it and opened it. The thought of closing it up was unbearable and so she ran away to a beautiful crystal city 3000 miles away.
They were wrong. Words and beads and pencil lines turned into rent and food and clothes.
I’m not sure how it happened but as time passed, I reframed life in San Francisco as prolonged youthful escapades. I told myself that I was grown up and ready to settle down. Slowly, I fell into an old pattern. Art last. Writing last.
Once an artist became an executive.
Then she rediscovered herself and the cycle begins again.
I have reached the last air-chilled drop of my morning coffee. It’s colder than usual and the traffic is louder. More time has passed than I planned. I must go. I have a short story to revise.
The tides here swell and spill into the roads, more often now. Houses cling to shore. Most pretend that this is normal because to say goodbye is too hard. But I say goodbye every day as I walk and drive past the waters that I love.
I study the topographic maps. “This Portland neighborhood will be the new peaks island,” I think, as though the change will be gentle. But the sea is a not gentle. Storms will batter the coast and tides will pull the ground from beneath our feet.
We let the low tides trick us. “See,” we say as we kayak out on the waters “the sands are here as they have always been.” And in a far away place, an ice sheet crumbles.
Finalist entry for personal climate stories, 350 Madison’s 2020 #givingtuesday event.
I am honored to have a new flash fiction piece included in an imperative press anthology to document the pandemic and raise money for the United way of Eastern Maine’s Covid-19 relief fund.
My work was inspired by the incidental meetings of neighbors as we tried to break the isolation of social distancing.
I hope you will consider purchasing this anthology to help Maine nonprofits weather the impact of this pandemic.
Visit Imperative Press to find out more about Paul Bunyan Wears a Face Mask.
I just had a new work accepted in an anthology. My heart skipped a beat when I found out. This is my second piece that will be published.
I am a long way from being jaded or bored with people reading my work. I can barely contain my eagerness when I ask family, friends and other writers to give me their feedback.
“Have you read it yet?” I text with the persistence of a child on a long ride who wants to know are we there yet.
I hope two things: that I keep publishing and that I feel a thrill every time. I will write more about the new piece as more information on the anthology becomes available but this has me thinking about the first story I ever published.
In April of 2018, my short story, The Closing, was published by The Esthetic Apostle. It’s a lovely publication featuring poetry, prose, artwork and photography. They were a new publication when I sent them my work.
Last night, I spent some quiet hours surfing around past issue reading poetry and prose and loving the artwork and photographs.
Their archive is worth exploring.
Everything is a young fresh green telling us that we can forget the icy winter.
What’s above is below.
The world is reminding me of my life in San Francisco in the 1990s. Along with that has come a longing for the creative life I once led. A time of writing, painting, and drawing.
So I am sprinkling seeds for the future all over the place. I don’t know what will take root or when.
Today I was walking and ran into an acquaintance. She shared that she was a writer and editor. And boom. It hit me. When coincidence presents itself, reach out with vulnerability and gratitude. Life if too short not to welcome the gifts.
So in a very San Francisco-like drizzle, I shared my love of writing and my desire to get back to it, to make connections in the writing world and, most importantly, craft compelling stories that make my heart soar.
If this was a Hollywood film, that little encounter would have kicked off a series of events that ended in a book deal.
Turns out my wonderful neighbor was a retired science and non fiction writer. The gift wasn’t a professional contact, it was the feeling of joy I experienced talking about the process of writing. How I take an issue and create a person who lives in different circumstances and watch them interact with the issue. The way I listen to character the for days while they tell me their story and find their meaning. The passion I have for writing.
It’s good to find my way back home.
The paths are familiar. I remember bike rides and jumping in to rescue my son from a fall into two inches of rich chocolate brown mud. His front side perfectly clean and his back perfectly covered like he had been dipped in mud.
I remember catching frogs in the ponds and our squeals.
I remember an enormous pile of pine cones and an industrious squirrel. My amazement couldn’t not translate to my tween son.
Today I walk alone, my teen son sound asleep. I notice weeping branches against the gray sky. Runic messages in the roots telling me my fate if I care to translate. Today I love the texture and mess of wet spotted leaves. No instagram filters here.
A splash of green has me curious. Why so bright just weeks before the first snow. I feel the joy of those green leaves. Externally hopeful.
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I’m a lifelong Democrat who loves my country. I’m definitely a liberal. In all my years, I don’t believe that I have ever met someone who wants to take away all guns. They are out there I’m sure but most lefties like me want some common sense changes.
I want guns and accessories with some features regulated. Brand name and the look of the gun makes absolutely no difference to me. You are right, the hunting rifle with it’s wood finish looks traditional and yet does exactly the same thing.
Here’s what I want: Reduce the number of rounds before reloading. Reduce the number of shots a person can fire per minute. Eliminate gun show and private sale loopholes. Improve the background checks process. Ensure that violent behaviors such as domestic violence are reported. Provide a mechanism for families to be able to address suicidal family members. Too many veterans are lost because trauma left them suicidal and they had access to a gun during their darkest hour.
I think some conservatives like yourself could collaborate with us lefties on a few common sense solutions.
Please help me remember a time when we could work together.
Once, our people valued compromise. Differences in opinion were not reasons to scream insults. There was power in restraint and a common code of decency.
Please tell me that my hindsight is not just rosy nostalgia.
Part rosy and part true. Our people have a history of hate and bigotry. Waves of white supremacy have swept through our country. So many people lost their lives and livelihood to weak people driven by hate. Over and over again, the bigots have been defeated when decent people unite.
Please tell me how the old battles were won.
Many people spoke up and stood side by side. Many people risked everything to speak against hate. The risks were high but the cost of being agreeable in disagreeable times is too much to accept.
Please tell me everything will be okay.
There’s good reason to hope.
The marginalized voices have much to say. Are you ready to listen? They are ready to lead. Are you ready to follow?