Thursday, April 23, 2020

Teeter-totter

The balance falls here from one side to the other. I fill up, find joy, an optimistic moment and you fall into the deep place where all is not well. 

I fall and there you go bouncing up. Is it that we know we can’t make it with both of us down there at once? Or is it something else creating the distance and pulling us up and down on different schedules? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Never check the news first thing in the morning

Made the mistake of checking my news app first thing this morning,
And the earthquake on top of the tornadoes isn’t making the virus less upsetting. 
I think I’ll spend some time today pretending the president and the protestors and the economy are all a dream. 
Who knows? Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and have a whole new reality where we look like Canada and act like it, too, but it’s still warmer here, but not too warm because we solved climate change and found a vaccine in the same day. 
It could happen, right? 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

It’s good to have goals

I set goals for myself. 
Write two chapters a week. 
Order my groceries a week in advance. 
Bake cookies today. 
Don’t eat cookies today. 
Don’t eat chocolate chips straight out of the bad today. 
Take a walk. 
Do my physical therapy. 
Send the email. 

When I don’t meet the goal I get angry with myself. I can’t stand people who don’t do what they say they will do. Which means I can’t stand myself. 

So no cookies today. I’ve got to be able to look myself in the mirror tonight. 

I set goals for myself. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

A morning lull

Morning quiet, so loud it echoed through the house still at rest,
I am the only eyes fluttered awake with the first sun, listening to a low hum from somewhere outside our walls,
The skies chirp and a car revs its engine, but the children sleep on, as teens do only hours after falling asleep. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

A moment in time

Fleetwood Mac signs Rhiannon, and I’m telling my daughter how I almost named her that,
The sky out the window is blue and the sunshine has us both happier than normal,
She’s got a new toy to learn to use and I’m cross-legged on the carpet of our craft room,
Which is now also my make-shift office and I’m so much more content than I’ve been all day. 

Growing things in the time of Covid

We only have two live plants in this house and they both remind me of lost people. 

That the only two living things in this house outside the humans are wrapped together with death and loss is a strange irony.

There is the peace lily in all it's glory, great green fans rising up and over it's pot, occasional crunchy brown leaves screaming that we still haven't found the exact right spot to put it. 

My husband's co-workers sent it to him upon hearing of the loss of his mother. 

She was a strong, kind, funny and enduring woman who loved her son so well that he carries the imprint of that love with him into every situation he faces. 

As that plant grows it reminds me of her, but also of the loss of her.

The only other plant to survive my black thumb is a small green, and sometimes red, holiday plant. We placed it in a yellow bowl in the window on the day our friend gave it to us. 

His beautiful wife had left this world not long before and that little plant is wrapped up in the missing her and in the way that she endures.

Now, in the time of Covid, when I rarely leave my house I notice these plants so much more often and inevitably when I do I remember two women who left imprints on my soul, and I mourn them and I ponder why we stay home now-- so as not to create more loss.

Falling again

This morning I fell into that pit again,
The one where no one likes you and what’s the point and what kind of world is it?
And the walls are piled high with news, and maybe some of it is fake,
But mostly it’s real and insurmountable,
And even the facts become escalator steps running in the wrong direction. 

And like any good dreamer of nightmares or some such, 
I know I have to wait until I wake up again to maybe be standing by the edge again,
Reminding myself that the edge is nice,
There’s that apple tree providing shade and food, There’s that warm patch of green grass to lie in and if you look up you could be anywhere wonderful with skies that blue. 
Anyway, the pit is getting smaller, isn’t it?
Surely, I won’t end up in there again tomorrow. 
Who could waste time worrying about that on such a nice day?

Review: Bright and Beautiful Cozy Mystery

Note: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Mystery-solving priest Alma is at it again in this second installment of a spiritual LBTQ cozy mystery series.

In this book Alma struggles with who to trust in her personal and professional lives after the Bishop of the church gives her a license to meddle in a murder investigation. The dead woman is a famous poet murdered on church grounds the night before her wedding and played out in her wedding dress in the middle of the labyrinth. She was to marry another priest's brother the next day.

As Alma sorts through her feelings toward two of her old flames, she once again solves the crime, while putting herself in grave danger along the way.

Alma is a complex character and her inner dialogue is endearing and spiritual at the same time. This book deals with some of the struggled bi-sexual people have with both the LGBT and straight communities. The book also focuses on Alma's place between two racial identities and the differences between classes in large urban cities.

Even with all this going on the book does a great job captivating you with the story and the mystery moves at a pretty good pace as Alma puts the clues together. I got a little tired of hearing Alma pine for Naomi, who just doesn't seem that great to me, while throwing away Cesar who seems to be someone who actually cares for her. I hope in the next book Alma can move on to someone new who isn't as annoying.

All in all it's a great read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good cozy mystery with a big city twist.

You can make this book you're own here: https://www.amazon.com/Bright-Beautiful-Reverend-Alma-Mystery-ebook/dp/B085KXWB7L/

book cover of Bright & Beautiful

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The power of tea cookies to heal the soul

The small pink box speaks of a simpler time,
Tiny sweet shortbread beckons,
Chocolate piping promises a few moments of relief from the people who pull you or the day that threatens to break you,
And just one will do. 

Until the next one calls out and promises more and better, salvation in sprinkles and nuts,
Just another one will do the trick and leave you whole and satisfied and perhaps ready for a cup of calming tea or at least a spoonful of hope. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Unplanned Scenes

I'm not sure where this scene is going. Why is it here? I'm in that first draft phase where my outline seems to be failing me and I keep ending up in places I didn't expect, didn't plan for and my characters, frankly, don't have what they need to be in these places.

This novel is a sticky web that doesn't want to be woven some days. My editor says every scene must be there for a reason. Every scene must lead clearly to the next one. But at the moment I'm writing a collection of snapshots that are moving vaguely toward the end of a summer and very precisely toward the end of innocence.

It's not an easy path to pave with fictional characters or real life. It's that first life altering disappointment, when you find out that no one is perfect, that your parents are failing and your friends are failing and you are failing because failing is the only way to actually live. That's what I'm trying to capture with a sea of words in a way that grabs hold of your soul, crushes it, resurrects it and gives you enough hope to go on wanting to try.


Friday, April 10, 2020

Research

Hours scrolling through old newspaper articles
And dissertations 
How did someone decide to write about this obscure thing?
This taking forever
And google has failed me

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The perfect photo

The perfect photo 
Is taken from the front
Make-up over that spot on my right cheek
Hair curled
Eyes just so
Angle from above, please. 

And I will hate it
Until ten years from now I come across it
And realize I looked beautiful
Back then 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

She

She edges into the room, bit-by-bit,
And sometimes you don’t even see her,
But when you do,
She disappears just as quickly. 

She is the ninja on the wind,
The noise at the door that is gone,
By the time you get there. 
She’s always one step ahead, barely there. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Plotting a novel when life is stranger than a novel

That’s not realistic, they say,
You wouldn’t shut everything down,
Maybe some things, but not all of it. 

You should rethink that plot point. 
People just aren’t going to buy it. 
And cloth masks in the grocery store, no. 
No one is going to do that. 

Maybe a small scale thing. 
Don’t be overly dramatic. 
And people need to be fighting somehow. 
Sitting at home is super boring. 

I don’t think I could plot this reality 
And have anyone call it a believable novel. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Hot tea and comfort reads

Surviving a pandemic requires two things:

Hot Tea
To calm the mind and warm the heart
African Solstice is preferred. 

Comfort Reads 
To disappear into a guaranteed happy ending
Books I’ve read before are preferred. 

Check out this list of Comfort Reads and make your own at home!

Fangirl
Harry Potter
Mr. And Mrs. Bo Jo Jones
In The Unlikely Event
On The Come Up
Simon Vs. The Homosapien Agenda
A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Twilight
Hunger Games
Anything by David Sedaris 
Most Ardently 
Merry March Mysteries 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Water

Water flows and cascades,
Cleansing and calming me,
And clearing a path to be free. 

Water settles and smooths,
Moving from glass to tongue,
And fueling me for the day to come. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

So busy in a slow life

The schedule is packed but we never go anywhere, so many things to do just in this house: emails, Zoom, social distancing virtual happy hours, dinner to cook, bathrooms to clean and books that won’t write themselves. 

Social media requires attention, as do our dying plants and the garage that suddenly can’t go another day looking such a wreck,
Research must be done, online shopping has begun. If I had a day planner it would be full or all the things I do now that I have no where else to go! 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Craft life

Pencils, cardstock, scissors, glue sticks, shredded paper in a bag,
Pastels, paints, felt, envelopes and colored pencils in a box, 

What will they become when their transformation, reformation, amalgamation is complete? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The shortest commute

The alarm goes off thirty minutes before I must be in my chair on a conference call,
That’s ten minutes to shower, ten to get dressed and ten to eat,
Sometimes I just eat later. 

My commute from work in my office to the kitchen is oddly short,
Thus the number of chocolate chips consumed per day has gone up and up.