My Book Release: I Left Her There — Poems and Short Fiction

I_Left_Her_There_Cover_for_Kindle

 

 

I’m pleased to say that my first book, titled I Left Her There: Poems and Short Fiction, has been published! It’s actually been fun putting the book together and sorting through my writing from the past ten years. I revisited some of my greatest joys and most difficult heartbreaks, and the journey has given me a breath of fresh air and an even greater love for writing.

My husband John has persistently encouraged and exhorted me to do this. My parents gave me the freedom as a child to search for and express my creativity. And of course, my friends — particularly my fellow writers — continue to inspire me with their dedication to the craft.

The book is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon, in paperback and for Kindle. Hope you’ll give it a read!

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Five Minute Friday: Hands

Five Minute Friday

 

I’m happy to link up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday, where we write for five minutes — no editing or second guessing. This week’s prompt is hands. Here we go…

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By this time in the afternoon, the hands begin to ache. It starts in the fingers and works its way through the palms, pounding with every key stroke. The hours go by faster than you’d think, and these hands are more grateful than it sounds, but they do ache. Days of typing, scrolling, clicking and then the same all over again.

But is the ache from the hundreds of keystrokes and clicks? Are these hands aching for their true work, the work that You created them for? Hands can serve, embrace, comfort and write verses that draw tears. You wait for these hands to reach out not only to You, but to Your people with love.

At first I keep my hands in my pockets, wondering if I can really reach these people. Then the heart speaks and the words flow from the heart as I reach for the pen and write the true words You have burned in my soul.

Five-Minute Friday: Present

Five Minute Friday

This week’s prompt is present. Just write for five minutes, no editing, no second-guessing. Then join us at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog for more Five Minute Friday!

Here I go…

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Lucky watching

My brain is still on fire from  week of writing, deadlines and more writing. It’s Friday evening and I am letting the dust settle. My husband has already gone to sleep. Sweet dreams!

Maybe I’ll watch some TV…no, maybe I’ll just read. Wait, our cat Lucky has his catnip mouse and looks at me with that “I’m just a poor kitty” expression. I feel guilty when I pretend I don’t see him. Poor kitty, I think, you don’t know what it’s like to have brain overload and need to sit still and do nothing.

Lucky finally hops onto the back of the couch and rests with his head in the space between the cushions. I can hear him sigh. I watch his eyelids close and he drifts into a nap as I quietly reach for the TV remote. Poor kitty. The catnip mouse lies on the floor, covered in kitty saliva.

I see familiar faces from sitcom reruns…a little bored, I wonder what Lucky’s doing. His eyes are half open as he watches me watch TV. He squints twice and begins to purr, and I thank him for this present!

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That’s my five-minute write. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Success: In the Eye of the Beholder

“I was never called to be successful; I was called to be faithful and in my striving to be fruitful my life will be fruitful and because it is fruitful you could say I am successful.” Mother Teresa (paraphrased in Contemplative Outreach News, June 2012)

This afternoon, my husband John read to me this description of success that really made my day. This idea of success is probably miles away from the ideas we usually hear today, but it reflects my philosophy. I tend to see the world through a spiritual lens that I know many people do not share.  I forget that my idea of an adequate paycheck does not necessarily match up with my neighbor’s idea. I am contented to have family and friends who share my spiritual and artistic passions, and who know what it’s like to have an idea burning a hole in one’s mind, eager to find life on the page.  I enjoy the comraderie of the freelance writing community, especially when a few of us are encouraging each other as we burn the midnight oil to meet our deadlines.

In many ways, my writing has become my spiritual practice. When I read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, I learned that it is possible to make a writing life a spiritual life. When I write, I find peace because I must stay “in the moment” and focus on the effect of each word, and the connection between words. I must step aside and surrender to the process. As I mentioned to my husband recently, writing and books are like oxygen for me.

So I am blessed to spend another Sunday afternoon in front of the computer, writing and reading — doing what I love to do best. I feel blessed — I know I am blessed — to have friends and family who value creativity. I feel like the richest woman in the world because I can write, and that is more of a blessing than money can hope to buy.

Five-Minute Friday: Here

Five Minute Friday

This week’s prompt for Five-Minute Friday is HERE. Join us and share your five minutes of edit-free writing! Here’s my contribution for this week:

 

Today I wrote on the razor’s edge. The delete button should be here, but I can’t find it. I want to delete my blogs, delete my poems….delete myself. I am crying out but do not even realize it until I remember that He created me. I am supposed to be here. Confusion, fear and the unknown press in, but I am here because He is here. Just can’t seem to find that delete button. Reluctantly, I start a new post and look for new titles to write.

Our cat snoozes under the desk and his ear flicks away an itch. I watch the day draw to an end and imagine how contented our cat must be, living from nap to nap, knowing that every need is met. As I watch the neighbors walk their dog in the dry, crunchy grass, I curl up in His presence and ease into the writing, contented to get out of the way and let the words flow. Evening is here and I am still writing. My dear husband sleeps in the next room after a day of too much thinking. And the One who covers us all is here. Immanuel.

5-Minute Friday: Real

Today’s prompt for 5-Minute Friday is REAL. Write for five minutes straight — no editing — from this prompt and join us at The Gypsy Mama!

Poets and artists know what’s real. My husband writes heartfelt poems about spirit and beauty and nature — the things that are the most “real” to us. Worry about our car is not as real as lyrical verses that come from the heart. These electrodes stuck on my chest for the next 24 hours? Not real compared with my God and His creation.

We poets are sometimes accused of having our heads in the clouds. But that is the only real place to be, as far as I’m concerned. Other things change and are not permanent, but our dreams, our inspiration, our faith…these things are beyond our physical grasp and therefore go on forever. That’s real.

So I’m being real today. I’m tired but full of inspiration and excitement for the days ahead. Really.

 

Five Dinner Guests — HAWMC Day 19

Day 19

5 Dinner Guests. Who are 5 people you’d love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why?

My husband and I were sitting in our living room when I read today’s Health Activist Writer’s Challenge prompt aloud. John brightened and said, “That’s easy: Meriwether Lewis, Walt Whitman, Jane Kenyon, Susun Weed and Gail Faith Edwards! I couldn’t add or subtract from that list, so here it is…a group of individuals who could share and learn from each other and teach me so much. Does my husband know me or what?

From History:

Meriwether Lewis

The early American explorer and I have a few things in common — namely, a knowledge of herbal remedies and a love for nature’s beauty. When I first read about the legendary trek across the country in search of the Northwest Passage, I was surprised to learn that Captain Lewis was well-versed in medicinal plants. He learned about herbal remedies — known as “simples” — from his mother, who was a respected wise woman in Virginia. As he traveled across the continent, Lewis wrote long, romantic passage about the mountains, plains, plants and animals around him.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman’s poetry always sets my spirits soaring. From “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” to “Come, Said My Soul” and “Song of Myself”, his poems capture the mystery and beauty of nature, the soul, and the human body. As a poet, I would be completely floored if I could share a meal with this American.

Jane Kenyon

Jane Kenyon, who passed away in 1995 at age 47, is my favorite poet. As a New Hampshire native and wife of a poet, I relate to her poems about her life in New Hampshire with her husband, poet Donald Hall. Now that I live in Texas, her poems about the inner psyche and everyday life in an old farmhouse carry me back to my ancestral home. Maybe we even knew some of the same people.

Alive and Well:

Susun Weed

Herbalist and author Susun Weed is one of the most important teachers of my life. She inspires me to take care of myself and my family with infusions and tinctures made from nourishing, healing plants. I treasure the letters I received from her as a student, and I look forward to reading every new book that she publishes. I know that I would have a list of questions if I could sit down to dinner with her.

Gail Faith Edwards

Gail Edwards wrote two of my favorite herbal books: Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs and Through the Wild Heart of Mary. She writes often about the role of the community herbalist, and the importance of studying every aspect of plants — including botany, history and medicinal properties. As a home and garden writer, I would love to hear what she has to say about the “useful plants”.

That’s my dinner guest list. Can’t wait to read yours!