Archive for January 2011

Diddledog 2011   Leave a comment

Un otage nommé Bumpy

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To read the flash fiction Feed Me, click here.

Everyone’s got a creepy monster in the closet/ under the bed story. The fact that, as children, we all see things that aren’t there going bump in the night speaks to me of subconscious, primal fears that have been passed on from generation to generation.

With this story, I wanted to harness that fear, but also throw a little humor into it, as well as more grown up fears, (dying alone, getting fat, remaining unloved) we all develop in one way or another over time. I wanted to present a creation story for my monster, give him a weakness, define him in a way that makes him not quite as scary anymore.

What is it you fear? Today, give those fears legs, a monstrous face. Teach that monster a lesson using storytelling to give your monsters a beginning, and an end.

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Juked 2011   5 comments

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at Yor...

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To read the poem Between Meals, click here

Getting laid off is hard. Getting divorced, is hard. Put them together, you have the hell that was my 2010.

The lay off was made better, or worse, by the fact that the school system offered me another job, that I wasn’t necessarily qualified for, that I hadn’t spent years and money training for. A job that took me out of the library and into numerous classrooms, with nowhere really to safely store my purse, my lunch, no desk or shelf of my own. Coming from three years of pretty much having a giant library to myself, that was hard. I almost didn’t take it, but had to weigh in the economic needs of my family, including health insurance.

So, I took the job, and this poem is born from that experience.

Happily, another library position became available and I was able to leave that other position, with no regrets. It turns out, this is a better place for me than my old library would have been had I stayed, so the lay off was a good thing. God knows what He’s doing.

Today, write about an unhappy or uncomfortable situation. Between Meals is,  I think, one of the best poems I’ve ever written, that comes out of one of the worst situations I’ve ever been in. Use your own worst experiences to create something beautiful of your won.

Word Riot   Leave a comment

Campfire flames

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To read the poem, On Building a Campfire, click here

Word Riot is one of those places I’ve tried long and hard to get published in, and this little poem, written while camping out this summer, was the key to opening this market up to me.

If you’ve ever gone camping with me, you’ll know fire building is a skill of mine I’m willing to show off. I prefer campfires to wood stove and fireplace fires, the ability to walk around them, 180 degrees, makes it easier to build, and control. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned a well built campfire in a poem, if you’ve followed my work for awhile you might remember the poem One of the Boys, published in 2009 at Tonopah Review. But even a well built fire has its drawbacks, and while Boys gloried in the fire, Campfire sheds a little light on those drawbacks, and makes it a metaphor for other drawbacks we find in life.

A poem written shortly after my husband filed for divorce, it isn’t very hopeful in it’s outlook. But it is beautiful in its misery, and something I can look back on months later and glory in how far I personally have come.

Today, in your writing, look for a metaphor in something you do so well, you don’t give it much thought any more. Perhaps I’ll read it in Word Riot one day.

Visions and Voices   Leave a comment

Typical elementary school classroom.

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You can read and or listen to this poem here

I work, every day, with children. I have three of my own to keep me occupied, but I also work as a middle school librarian. When I wrote this poem, I was working in an elementary school, in the library but also working part time with autistic children. In a classroom setting, where everyone is autistic, you can really see what they mean by the spectrum, not one child had the same autism as any of the others. Even the ones that were related. The only way to truly understand what this disorder is, how it affects those that are diagnosed with it, as well as their families and friends, you must get to know them, more than one. People still hear the word and think Rain Man, not Temple Grandin.

So, I wrote this poem, which doesn’t mention autism, and could refer to any child left out, left behind in some way. But it was one particular autistic child who inspired me to sit down and write.

Stickman Review   Leave a comment

Soup Kitchen

Image by Frankie Roberto via Flickr

To read Thanks.Giving. click here

This is a story, based in part on an experience I had a few years ago, helping out at a local soup kitchen on Thanksgiving. It was shortly after my former spouse had gotten out of rehab, and he very strongly wanted to begin to give back to the community in some way, a common precept of AA. I agreed to go with him, so after our meal at my mother’s, we said  goodbye to our family and went down to St. Vincent’s.

Serving in a soup kitchen, working with the homeless, wasn’t something new to me, but it was to him. While he did his duty, making sure the bowls and plates were full, I took the time to sit down, and get to know some of the people there. I think we were both blessed by the experience, and I look fondly on it as one of the best times we had, together.

This very short story, Thanks. Giving. is an amalgamation of some of the stories I heard from the people we served. Names, of course, have been changed. This is also one of the rare times I use an obscenity within a written work of mine. Considering the content, and the daily, harsh lives of the homeless, I didn’t feel the use of the c word was superfluous, rather it was appropriate to jar those of us comfortably sitting in our warm homes, reading stories off the internet, make us feel a taste of what life on the streets, make us squirm.

Shortly after this Thanksgiving, I discovered I was pregnant, and so didn’t have the opportunity to go back, when the smells of my own kitchen were bad enough to send me running, I didn’t want nausea to undermine the work being done. These days I volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, both on building sites and at the local Restore. If you’re short on New Years Resolutions this year, I encourage you to find some way to volunteer, give back in even a small way, on a weekly or monthly basis, as your schedule allows. If I can do it, between three kids, two ex-husbands, and one full time job, anyone can!

New Year, Dead Mule   Leave a comment

Gosau, Upper Austria. Calvary chapel.

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Read my story, March to Sunday School in March, here

This story means a lot to me. It’s perhaps one of the most autobiographical things I’ve ever written. It’s based on a tradition I grew up with, attending church at Calvary Chapel. Every year, during the month of March, we’d go a little crazy, and have March to Sunday School in March. We’d have Bible drills, crazy hat day, relay races.  It was especially funny to watch some of the older deacons and church ladies, running around the pews, balancing an egg on a spoon, or a balloon between their knees. It reminded us that Christians don’t have to be stodgy, frowning folk, that God wanted us to have fun, too.

It was also something I missed, moving on, growing up. It was an example of the magic, the idealism of childhood, that I longed to get back, by any means possible. Especially when times get hard, and being an adult isn’t all its cracked up to be, making the hard decisions, having pain, both physical and emotional, thrust upon me.

May my story help you begin the new year on a hopeful note.  Enjoy.