George and his sudden success

The poetry world was abuzz. Out of nowhere George was thrust into the public stage. They said he was a quiet man who lived in a small farmhouse in Maine. (Or was it Vermont? Does it matter?)

They say his word choice is exquisite and the effects of the precise order and pacing of his pieces are almost alchemical.

They say his poetry emerges fully formed while milking cows or tending to his fields or some other farm-like task.

(He lives in a colonial in an affluent suburb just outside of Boston.)

He simply comes into his cottage, cheeks rosy from the cold and pulls up a chair next to his wife, Grace, who is usually kneading bread.

“Honey” he says. “Guess what I was thinking.”

Usually she lets out a shriek.

“Not another word George!” She cries and she brushes the flour off her hands. Bits cover her cotton apron but she knows he’s going to say something monumental so she puts vanity aside.

She pulls the shopping list from their icebox and grabs a pencil. She looks intently at him.

“Now George. I’m ready”

And words flow from his mouth in their finished state. Grace embraces him with joy, tucks the scrap of poetry away and then makes him a cup of coffee.

(After his morning stroll, George passes Grace on her way to the office. They embrace briefly. He then makes a coffee and settles into his office for a few hours before heading off to his job. He choses each word carefully, sometimes thumbing through an dog-eared thesaurus that he kept from his undergraduate days. He considered rewrites to be the key to a tight, well-crafted piece. Generally he only shares his work with his editor but occasionally he will read aloud the final drafts to Grace over a glass of wine. Her feedback is disappointing to say the least. Quite honestly, she doesn’t know what to say. Poetry is not really her thing.)

They say Grace collected the scraps of poetry in a coupon envelope and drove their old pick up to New York to meet with the publisher of a prestigious magazine. The editors thought it would be a fun diversion to see the work she held in her chapped, calloused hands. She trembled slightly when she walked up to the polished conference room table. Her voice was clear and true as she read George poetry. The editor wept silently. They published his work in the next issue.

(George has submitted his work consistently for nearly a decade. He attended workshops, networked, and most importantly honed his skills. He looked at each piece with a critical eye. He was systematic in his approach. He never let the rejections get him down. He felt each no brought him closer to his first yes. Then one day, the yes finally arrived. A prestigious magazine was going to publish him in their next issue.)

George was an instant success.


Thinking about hard work and inspired by the daily prompt, suddenly.

<a href=””>Suddenly</a&gt;

All the things he may not know

I wonder if he knows that I drive fast on the highway singing at the full volume to songs new and old. The songs I sing boldly proclaim my feelings for him.

I wonder if he knows that I mostly only write in my journals when I am angry. The words he would find scattered around do not tell the story of my love.

I wonder if he knows that I both love and fear the passing years. A graying  beard and laugh lines suits him well.


Inspired by my love and the daily prompt: wonder.

<a href=””>Wonder</a&gt;


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?

<a href=””>Uncompromising</a&gt;


The conference room was glorious. One wall of windows looked onto the bay. White sails sparked on the brilliant blue water. A pastel patchwork of houses adorned the hills. From here the city looked pristine.

Of course, she knew that appearances can be deceiving. People love to believe in the smooth glossy perfection.

She gave them what they wanted. Curls tamed into a smooth professional spunky bob. That horrible hand drawn tattoo on her collarbone expertly concealed with scar hiding make up.

She chose a cream suit, the only concession to the artfulness of her page existence was an on trend silk blouse. Gone were the layers of jewelry that brought music to every gesture. Gone were the long auburn curls and the brightly layered scarves, blouses and skirts.

The bird of paradise was now a appeared to be a dove.

Oh who was she kidding. She was never a bird of paradise, she was a raptor. A soaring raptor who caught the up drafts and soared high over the golden headlands seeking pray in the fog cooled earth below.


Today’s prompt inspired me to rewrite the opening of a longer piece.

a href=””>Messy</a&gt;


The library was out of free glasses. Every store for miles was sold out. I moped around with no desire to look at shadows. The clouds rolled in.

I looked away and lined and used my sunglasses to shield my phone camera lens.

Some how the combination captured a reflection of the partial solar eclipse. You can see the crescent in the darkest part of the cloud.

<a href=””>Above</a&gt;


With a little imagination, we can do anything.

No more spoon fed ideas!

Puréed politics is as unpalatable as over-cooked carrots spun through the food processor.

Talking heads in 1950s suits telling us what to think is so retro (and not in a good way like that mid-century modern you’ve been eying).

If your words are sharp, short and fire rapidly, think for a moment: have you heard this before, in exactly this way. If you have you know you have been memified.

Let everyone know, our brains are not empty waiting to be filled with their memes that crowd out original thought. Imagination needs the space that the memes take up. So throw them away like moldy cheese.

We have been playing it too safe. Think of your worst ideas.

The worse the better.

For brilliance rises not in the safety of acceptable ideas that carry no risk. Brilliance bursts into life from outrageous ill conceived unconventional thoughtS.

Failed ideas are the food of the precious few.

You cannot fail if you open a void

and imagine.

<a href=””>Imagination</a&gt;

Really looking

Glazed eyes brushed past the crowd congregating. It was easy to imagine uniformity and conformity. It was easy to imagine that they all were from the same town, went to the same schools, thought the same things, avoided all the same mistakes. Mistakes that I always stumbled into.

I wore the uniform to hide the differences: the half smile.

I mastered the language to hide the difference: small talk and ask a lot of questions.

For years I navigated in and out looking like I was never touched by fear or sorrow.

Always surrounded by others and always alone.

And then I looked deeply. An accident perhaps. Two conformists side by side on a train. The lights flickered strangely and dimmed, a moment of uncertainty and shelter in the brief darkness. I looked at my right hand , clenched in the ring that stopped me from falling.

I briefly brushed another hand.

I followed the white knuckled hand to an arm, then to the shoulders, then the neck and then the face of a stranger.

I really looked and he looked back, both unguarded.

It lasted but a moment but the impact lingered. The suited stranger was not fearless or untouchable.

For the next few days, I experimented. I walked through public places seeking strangers eyes. I would lift my mask briefly and a relief would spread across their face. Unguarded eyes would look back before continuing on.

A million private joys and pains showed though in micro expressions.

Imagine my surprise.

a href=””>Congregate</a&gt;