Monday, January 26, 2015

Maybe it wasn't the Me Generation after all.

If we Google Ngram the word me, we see its occurrence takes a dive right around 1970. Intrigued, we press on to study trends for the word I.  Very interesting, we say to ourselves. Is this some kind of cover-up? The power and vanity of baby-boomers working to expunge their beloved me's and I's from Google records? Or perhaps we've excavated a truth via Google Ngrams. The truth that the Me Generation was falsely labeled! Behold, the evidence!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Didn't Catch a Single Worm. Didn't Even Try.

Here's the truth. I like to sleep in. Between 7 and 8 a.m. the perfect Goldilocks temperature settles over my body. My brain swims around in the last dreams of the night. I fish for story ideas, character tics, conflict development. The day is untarnished by forgotten promises and obligations, dropped balls and time wasted. That hour in the morning contains all my greatest hopes, a sharp contrast to the hour of night that amplifies my greatest dread. Why would I spoil that one perfect hour of the day by getting up to do vertically oriented things?

Despite my lazy ways, I managed to write some pieces of short fiction and even submitted them to various literary journals. Lo and behold, a star in the east. No, wrong piece of fiction. Lo and behold, both pieces were accepted for publication and a third is forthcoming this spring.

So, maybe it's time to get back to blogging. Maybe I'm supposed to be doing other things to promote my works and the journals where they appear. I don't know. Blogging is such a relic. I don't tweet or facebook or instagram. I don't even have a smart phone. I'm not sure I'm ready to change those facts for the sake of trying to connect people to my work. I don't know where to begin. So for now, I'll get back into this and go from there.

My short fiction can be found at:

What You Don't See - Crack the Spine Issue 63

Flo's Gold - Fiction Fix (at that link, scroll down to Issue 13 and click to read.)

I'll let you know when The Safe Escape of Bears comes out in Stoneboat. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Early Birds and Catching Worms

When I opened up the mailbox today I found a letter addressed to me, from me.  Self-addressed stamped envelopes always throw me for a bit of a snail-mail loop. There's some metaphysical thing going that I'm not philosophically astute enough to analyze, but basically, it's déjà vu in a business-sized security envelope. 

I wrote the letter the morning of the last day at writer's camp, sealed it up and handed it off to a woman named Pat, who promised to mail everyone's letter out at some undisclosed point in the future. This was one of those self-check-in letters to follow-up on a week dedicated to talking about writing, thinking about writing, listening to other people's writing and even actually doing some writing, too. Toward the end of this Dear Jen letter, my back-then self asked my future-self if I was being true to the small list of personal goals I'd established to help hone my writing craft. When I read the list today, I wanted to kick my back-then self in the arse. What was I thinking? Really? That goal? Again? I shook my head and thought, "Don't I know myself better than that? Maybe I'll just never learn." 

I wish I had a tally of all the times I've said or written in a journal: "Tomorrow I vow to get up an hour earlier than normal and  ________."  At various times in my life the blank has been filled with: do yoga, meditate, go for a walk, write personal morning pages, go for a run, write fiction, revise fiction. 

Not once have I been successful at this self-improvement goal. Yes, I love worms. In 5th grade I sported stickers in the upper right corner of my desk that spelled out, "I (heart) Worms". But getting up like the proverbial early bird to catch them is just not in my constitution. Or so I tell myself. What if I could do it though? For some reason I can't seem to shake the idea that there must be magic present in the early morning hours and if only I could get my ass out of bed I might harness some of that magic for myself. It feels like a character flaw that I can't overcome the desire to push the day's beginning off as long as possible. It seems like if I could just change my night-owl into an early-bird, something would be better. But I don't really know what exactly. 

I never stop wondering what it would be like to become a morning person, to add one more hour to my day, a quiet hour. Maybe there would be magic in that daybreak hour, maybe I would come to love it, to rise from bed not with dragging feet but with an eagerness for my day to start. For many things in life I believe that we can change our behaviors with practice and persistence. I should be able to will myself into a morning person, set the clock earlier, get up out of bed and carry on. Repeat until it's a habit.  And so, here it is on my list again. Maybe this time...this time....this time...

Stay tuned....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

a run on Simple things

I worked a good day with people and at a job I love then dined on delicious food and drink with a friend for 3 hours that felt like 30 minutes, leaving us with so much more to discuss next time, next time, then drove home on congestion-free roads to my simple home where I stepped out of my car under a galaxy of stars poking pinholes in the night,  to eavesdrop on the melancholy conversation, "who cooks for you, who cooks for you",  between distant Barred Owls.

Gratitude for all the beauty that surrounds my existence.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Do you have this problem too?

Pardon me for a moment while I talk about something unbecoming to a proper lady like me (hey now, is that a guffaw I just heard from you?). Car seats and shifting underwear - it's a real problem. Is it just me or is it truly impossible to remove oneself from the driver's seat without also then needing to adjust one's underthings? Maybe it's how I get out of the car. Maybe it's my underwear. Perhaps this is the unspoken reason why people opt for the "luxury" of leather seats at some point in their lives. Or does this still happen even on the decreased friction of leather? 

Do you notice other people adjusting their underwear right after they get out of the car? I'm not sure I've noticed that, and believe me, I'm watching. Or maybe people are more tolerant of skewed underwear than I am. Maybe the popularity of thongs has made car seat wedgies a moot problem. Perhaps the perpetual wedgie given by dental floss underpants offers benefits that I've been ignoring. 

Does this happen to you? If not, what do you think accounts for your ability to remove yourself from your car without underwear disruption?  And please spare me the obvious answer. I don't want to know that about you! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Writer's Camp Fallout

Fair to middling
Mediocre amateurs,
Word, words, his, hers,
Words, words, words, blurs.
Unable to stop.
My, his, her words,

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The fall of a giant

We idle three cars back from where the road worker turns the STOP toward traffic and the SLOW toward the yellow dinosaur juttering up the narrow road on its steel caterpillar tracks. All the workers wear reflective safety orange and should look burly, out-sized, like they do on the village roads. But down here in the hushed ravine, under the soaring forest cathedral, they seem almost inconsequential, furtive even. They know how the tree will fall.

It's just one more tree in a forest jammed so full. I know there are others waiting in its shadow. But this tree is not ready. In fact, there's never been a tree less ready to meet its end. Look at it and tell me otherwise. Look at how it stands there, proud without ego, strong with no effort, a sentinel along a ribbon of road, secured to a rocky stage. Think of how its gnarled and knobby roots reach down into the earth, beyond where our eyes can see, into the soul of the forest, with depth and mass that must rival what we see above.

The backhoe's bucket has been removed. Just a cylindrical metal finger juts from the end of the jointed arm. It rises up toward the prepared tree, makes contact with the wood and taps. Once. Twice. Like it's nothing more than a friendly finger hoping for the tree's attention. That's all it takes.

The first crack of the trunk's base - so big around that three of those men couldn't encircle it with a group hug, if they did that sort of thing - sounds like no more than a chicken bone, snapped in greasy fingers. Then a pause, space just big enough to take and hold a single breath before the King's Mast of a tree rends through a ringed century of growth. Boughs that towered since before these men were born, boughs that offer gentle benediction to the beech, maple and hobble-bush below, topple, whoosh and whoomp down through the arms stretched toward it. The sound never seems as big as it should. The moss and ferns, the deep years of duff, muffle the fall.

An orange, safety vest spins the STOP to SLOW.  Another catches my eye as we pass. His lips press together, his face is grim. Like mine. He nods once and I reply.