Writing the collage one shard at a time: messages along the road

“Collage is pieces of other things. Their edges don’t meet.”
“… the many becoming one, with the one never fully resolved because of the many that continue to impinge upon it.”
“Story seems to say that everything happens for a reason, and I want to say,
No, it doesn’t.” 
“A mosaic, made out of broken dishes, makes no attempt to hide the fact that it’s made out of broken dishes, in fact flaunts it.”
 “The question is not What do you look at? but What do you see?”

David Shields, Reality Hunger

See what happens when shards — found objects — aPottery shardsre slowly added:


Here:   I read this somewhere recently–“Times Square must be an extraordinary place to visit if you can’t read.”



Continue reading

“Clear!” has found a home at PASSAGES NORTH

“Hefty literary magazine will keep you entertained through the winter.”
The Review Review

pelican“Clear! Seven Theories of Space” now appears in Bonus Content of PASSAGES NORTH, Northern Michigan University’s literary magazine.  Here’s the link: http://passagesnorth.com/2014/12/clear-seven-theories/

“Clear!” is essay — an experimental piece that looks for the connection between lyric, meditative, and personal essay. The seven sections, each a prose poem, touch at their edges, but only just.

It’s about Cessnas and spaceships, pelicans and thrushes and hawks, whelks and waves, pots and pens, and chatty storytellers. It’s a journey inward.

And check out this link for an excellent review of PASSAGES NORTH:


Jam them together, theme arises

I want powerful, I want lyrical, I want the unexpected,
I want under-the-surface, dive-beneath subtext.

The new essay baffles and delights.whelk

It’s not like fiction:  cause and effect, narrative arc, character development. Or like journalism: who, what, how, where, when. Both want answers.

Essay circles, questions, sometimes doesn’t know and–how refreshing!–admits it. And then the braided essay can run along two tracks at once, each unrelated. Or so it seems.

Continue reading

“LuLu” has found a home at Prick of the Spindle

Gathering Storm“Your story is so well written, I really felt it deserves this honor.” Cynthia Reeser, editor, Prick of the Spindle

A favorite online literary journal — Prick of the Spindle — has accepted a story I completed this winter.  It’s about my paternal grandmother, who was a piece of work.

“LuLu’s Southern Beach House School for Wily Deceivers” has been chosen to appear, exclusively, in the journal’s Kindle quarterly issue.

It’s been said that grandmother stories don’t make it into print.  It’s been said that creative writing instructors’ and literary journal editors’ eyes roll back in their heads when presented with one of these sentimental relics to read. But this story is fun … and perhaps a little disturbing.  LuLu’s a memorable character. We should all be tutored by a grand dame with an agenda. You can’t make this stuff up.

Check out the story if you have the time. An excerpt is included on About My Stories — Published. And if you have comments, I’d enjoy hearing them.

Making do along the natural path

A natural wildlife corridor crosses our land, a sometimes-grassy space, open and sunny, a sometimes-woodsy space, protected and dark.  It begins we-do-not-know-where, over that hill past the vineyard, perhaps near the deer thicket, the fox den, the coyote camp, the possum hole.  It comes at us along a steep grade, within sight of the sunroom, and disappears down the hill, ending we-do-not-know-where.  I imagine it circling a corn source, a meat market, the reservoir.

When I look out the sunroom window, I see a path from a vague beginning to a vague ending.  Like a life. We’re all distributed along it.

The deer pick a careful path along the corridor – the four does, the eight-point buck that covers them, and their spotted fauns.  The fox plays along the corridor as if it is his, cat-like, sweet-faced.  The coyote sniffs his way in stealth, and he is thin and leggy.  The possum scampers from rock shelter to an overhang under the rhododendrom.

Only the lame doe stays close.

I saw her last year along the corridor, keeping up with the small herd, limping along, always last in the watchful line.  When alerted, the herd would leap logs and rustle through the bushes along the path, leaving the lame doe to make her own way.  I’d watch her from the sunroom, viewing her as almost human, and wish her courage and tolerance of pain, as I would wish myself.

I see her as resilient and brave, taking to her life alone, compensating, without complaint.

This year, I see her more often.  She is alone, favoring the woodsy space, protected and dark, within sight of the sunroom.  And the patch of grassy backyard where the rhododendrons grow tall and wide and lush.

It’s her front left leg.  Caught in an unseen hole?  Shot by a careless hunter?  Wounded by a hungry coyote?  It doesn’t matter:  she limps.  If she could travel with the herd, she would.  If she could cry out, she might.  But she seems to be making do – her coat is smooth, her bones do not stick out, her eyes are alert, those ears work, and that white tail.  I see her as resilient and brave, taking to her life alone, compensating, without complaint.

It’s winter again, and we are older.  The berries are gone, and the leaves from the deciduous trees.  My husband looks out into the yard.  “It’s time to hang Irish Spring on the rhododendrons again,” he says.   Let’s back up a moment:  that strong-smelling soap protects our rhodys from deer that would otherwise strip them of leaves as far up as they can reach, leaving bare limbs with leafy crowns.

Last week, late at night, we pulled up into the driveway, the headlights shining across the backyard.  There she was at the rhodys, alone, her head up and still, her eyes reflecting her silent attention, but unafraid.  Up off the ground she held her left front leg.  She limped away slowly, favoring the woodsy space, protected and dark.

Over time, nature may favor the fit, but I’m a sucker for the isolated and brave.  I postpone the soap project.



photo credit: mary k. baird