"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Take A Word And Plunge It Deep

Literature, the most seductive, the most deceiving, the most dangerous of professions.
- John Morley

The space station flew over the thumb of Michigan
at 9:25pm on August 16, 2011.
I saw it.
And they saw me.
Out of the southwest it hurtled across the sky on a diagonal path to the north,
heading for Lake Huron, the Georgian Bay, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence
like a baseball thrown from the hand of God.
Firefly, firefly, fire fly for me
Bigger than a plane but smaller than Jupiter’s smallest moon,
brighter than a star but dimmer than the camera that flashed too soon,
(we try to capture moments like fireflies in a jar)
it was gone in minutes. If you paused to draw a drink of water,
you would have missed it.

Gone, but I remember. I write it down so I will always remember.
When I am old and feeble and resentful
of modern music, youthful exuberance, and everything new, I will remember.
When all I can talk about is what it was like when I was young,
I will remember the day I saw the space station
flung across the sky, like a child’s top with lights and chimes.
Like a present under the Christmas tree, mysterious and delightful.
I will remember if I write it down.

Write like you’re dying
and live like you’re new to the world with much to learn.
Curious as a child at a peephole, I wish to be.
Firefly fly for me. Sit at my side and flare for me.

If in the dark, I can better see, then I will sit up all night to decipher the day just passed.
Write about your failures “they” say, for from them you can learn much.
If you have writer’s block, write about your failures. You might find you can’t stop.
You’ll be like Jack Kerouac with a manual typewriter and a carriage return,
reams and reams of paper on a roll that spews out failures across the floor
and out the door like the meatball that rolled off the table when somebody sneezed.

The loneliness and ungodliness of the day past
with the anticipated tomorrow on the threshold, and, well, shit…
is unholy ungodly? Unholiness. That’s the word I wanted, Mr. Word.
What does Word know as he tries to tell me what is a word and what is not a word?
He replaces my words without my say so.
But I love Word. I love words words words wordswordswordswords.
See how words become swords? We wield our swords to make a point.
We spar and pivot through the day
and into the night as we search for the perfect word to end a story on.
A word to send on. To enter on. To return the carriage and close the cover on.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Contests

I'd like to give a shout-out to a couple of contests that have come to my attention. The Literary Lab is hosting their third annual contest and anthology. You have until the end of the year to submit your short story. Click the button for details.

The Literary Lab Presents...


Lydia Kang whose blog is that of the famous Medical Mondays is having a contest to celebrate 900 followers.

Check it out. You only have until the end of the month. If you like books, you'll love her giveaway.

Now it's time to preserve a little food for winter: dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, green beans and pattypans, time to fill the pantry and then admire the clean shiny jars packed and sealed. Food for writing in the dead of winter....dill pickles for our bloody marys. Sustenance for entering some of those winter contests.

If you have a contest currently running, let me know and I'll add it to this post.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Lonely Sparrow

The sky darkened to the south across Mill Creek and the mucklands and the wind stirred the treetops with the change in the weather. Lightning forked across the sky from Lake Huron to Van Dyke. The cattle huddled under a tree for shelter. What do they know? One lonely sparrow fought the updraft above the creek and twirled across the sky, tossed and turned like a runaway kite. The rains came, gentle gentle, in contradiction to the raging heavens. This is my world. This is Boyd's world (Black River, novel in progress).

It has remained "in progress" for the summer as I am pulled into the garden: weeding, planting, and transplanting, trucking fresh produce to market, canning and harvesting and caring for the elders, and the day job hangs around my neck like an anvil. It's enough to make one wish for winter. I wish for winter and long nights at the keyboard, honing a story, nailing a query, finding an agent to be my friend, taking the anvil off from around my neck.

But then there's the pond...


Secluded and deep and, yes, full of bass and catfish and blue gill for the lone family angler. After a hot day in the garden, I like to go back and strip on the beach and jump in. There's a raft floating in the middle, the perfect spot to stop and catch your breath. I climb the ladder and stretch out on the weathered planks to admire the cloud formations. Hawks float overhead and then a vulture dares to circle to see if I'm dead.

I'm not, so beat it.

Back in the water, something nibbles my side, and I scream like the little girl the pond brings out in me. I have a definite hickey in the middle of my ribs. I was probably kissed by a blue gill. There are worse things in life.