Friday, November 30, 2012

Best Day Ever

I wish I was the kind of diarist who could draw clever cartoons or renderings of beautiful houses or hilarious sayings in the margins of my journals but I’m not.  I just write.  Sometimes I glue things in first and then write over top of that but mostly I just write.  It is the best way I know to get rid of the junk in my head.  I journal because I get to say anything I want.  Say it badly if I want.  Write the word FUCK in big fat letters or scribble all over the page or complain about friends or whine about myself and my moods and be melancholy as I want to be but lately it seems that I’ve gotten into the habit of being in the melancholy state a little too often.  I don’t do it on purpose.  I’ve just always been that way.  Being happy is one of the saddest things that can happen to a person.  Life is so good it’s goddamn scary.  I am one of those lucky people who has it pretty damn great.  I love my husband for starters.  I think he is gorgeous and kind and smart.  He is a good man.  He is a gentle man.  And those characteristics are getting harder and harder to come by.  My kids are amazing.  They’re all wonderful people.  They’re respectful and careful with people’s feelings.  We laugh together and genuinely like each other.  Not to say we haven’t had our moments we wouldn’t be normal if we hadn’t but by and large everything is A. O. K. So.  Why am I sad? 
I’m not sad all the time, but probably about half.  Like the song says I was born this way.  I don’t court melancholia.  I count my blessings.  I am grateful.  But I am keenly aware of the eventuality of it all and it’s a terrible habit.  It’s like being at the greatest party you’ve ever been to.   The music is pumping, the mood is jubilant.  People are dancing and laughing and no one is overly drunk or annoying.  You’re having so much fun you don’t want the night to end.  But you don’t stand in the corner thinking how sad it is that such a great party will be over soon.  You dance.  You laugh.  Maybe you sing some karaoke.  And you go home saying to one another “God that was great!!! We should do it more often!”  If life is a party maybe I shouldn’t be watching the clock.  Living in the moment is hard.  Why is it that it’s so much easier to look backwards or forwards instead of just enjoying the party?  Two words.  Catastrophic thought. 
Having happiness is the strange bedfellow of catastrophic thinking.  I always use the butterfly analogy.  When I talk about love to my kids I always tell them that love is like holding a butterfly.  If you hold it gently it will flutter and tickle your palms.  But if you hold it too tightly you’ll kill it.  The same is true of life in general.  Hold on too tight and you kill the joy.  I’m just holding too tight.  I don’t want it to end.  I don’t want to lose my husband or god forbid a child.  I want to live a long life with Ken.  I want our kids to live long, healthy, happy lives as well and I want them to find someone who loves them like we love each other.  I just don’t want the party to be over. 
My husband has taken up Kiteboarding.  The guys he rides with have a saying ‘best day ever’.  It doesn’t really matter if the conditions were ideal they always end the day the same way.  ‘Best day ever.’  I love that.  It’s a shift in consciousness.  And it applies to everything.  Best job ever.  Best sandwich ever.  Best nap ever.  Mind you it’s easy to say that now knowing that I’m heading to the lake tonight and that I’ll be sitting on my patio with my husband celebrating 28 years of best days ever.  It will be alot harder when I’m at work next week and people need things from me yesterday and the dog has peed on the floor.  But for right this minute, when everyone I love is safe it’s the best day ever. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Ghost Story

Somewhere in this house a child is laughing.  Footsteps run down the hall above me then stop.  Then start again followed by the laughter.  I don’t know who she is, only that she will not leave.  I have asked her to go many times.  I’ve tried to be reasonable.  I’ve asked her what she wants but it’s as if she doesn’t hear me at all.  She only stops and looks, then smiles and runs away and up the stairs to resume her game.  I don’t know what to do.   I’m afraid that she will never leave.  This used to be a peaceful house.  She doesn’t care about that.  She wants only to play and to laugh and to torment me.  There are times when I wish that I wasn’t quite so dead. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

In Dreams

Pt. 1

I walked through a forest

of naked trees

shorn of their needles

skeleton keys

left to unlock

the salted ground

with snowflakes

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The House on Dorsey Street

There is a house on Dorsey Street
I’ve passed it many times
And each time I find it weeping
Raining rivers from windows
Unused to the sun
What sadness resides
Within those walls
That it leaks so uncontrollably
I’ve heard the stories
Whispered from one ear to another
And seen the way passersby speed their steps
Looking over tweed clad shoulders and upturned collars
Lest they be recognized by what lies within
 It is after all only a house, although
Sometimes I wonder
My footsteps slow as I near the facade
And now and then I stop and grasp the iron gate
 We gaze at one another forlornly the house and I
As if we were lovers kept apart
By unrelenting parents who misunderstand our kinship
And think it something dirty and ill intended
Something frightening perhaps
 It wants me back that much is true
To walk the floors and hide behind curtains
Or in closets, safer there we thought
The house and I
And so we pine for one another
And what might have been
And what happened there once
I know that she tried to protect me
I always thought so
Offering up her secrets
And now that she is empty she cries because she couldn’t

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Lieu of Flowers

I am sorry for your loss she said
And I was unsure of my response
And so nodded as though inconsolable
Lest she see the mirth behind
The watery eyes
And she must have been convinced
Because she touched my arm and left
The casket lid was propped for viewing
A ritual insane in its design
A corpse in maquillage
Lay still while mourners and other guests
Watch for signs of decay
And comment on how good she looks
To hide their embarrassment
And still I want to laugh
I press a hankie to my face
To stem the flow
Hysteria they think
Sympathetic glances cover me in
Hives and I shake my head and sniff
Someone is singing now
Something about redemption
Atonement and that sort of thing
And suddenly I want to scream
Do you really think it matters now?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I am watching
the way the ink bleeds. 
Dripped from a pen
in hesitation.
Held by a shaking hand. 
 The grip is weak,
the words unspoken, 
 held fast in thirsty parchment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Today I saw someone
Burnt down to embers
Too cold to ignite
And in the empty grayness
Laying in the ash

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Waiting on the platform for the 10:15
She touches a hand to her hair
And checks her lipstick twice
Winds her watch
And looks impatiently down the line.
She tries to read in vain, a novel somewhat comedic.
Words slip past sliding by eyes withdrawn and thoughtful.
So much can be hidden in the act of holding a book.
The pretence frees her mind and a smile plays across her mouth
Lifting the corners slightly.
She removes a compact from the depth of her bag
 and presses powder across her cheeks to dim the pink anticipation.
The time is 10:05.
10 minutes.
Emotions skitter across her frame, chasing each other like puppies.
She turns the page of the book she isn’t reading.
She can hear the rumble in the distance and as she stands she smoothes
the creases from her skirt.
Her shoes are new and she hopes he notices.
A young woman has come out onto the platform.
She is holding the hand of a child who is jumping in place.
“Hush,” the young woman says, “it’s coming.”
Nervous now, she straightens her coat and pats her hair once more. 
And as she does the young woman with the child looks over
and the two exchange a smile.
Others drift out onto the platform, bored or expectant. 
Watches are wound.  Books returned to bags.  Hands are held or let go of.
The train thunders into view, a relief and a disappointment.
Metallic sounds shriek and hiss then stop and huff as though exhausted.
Doors sigh and stairs are lowered.  Places are exchanged with those waiting.
She sees him amidst the clouds and her heart quickens.
He takes long strides down the platform toward her.
He smiles and she responds in spite of herself. 
And as he moves beyond her, pulls the young woman
and child into a firm embrace the smile falters
then withers, then dies.
She lowers her gaze and lifts a hand to her hair,
 looks down at her shoes and boards the train.

I Am a Writer

I am a writer.
I’m a writer because
I put words on paper.
I find joy in blank pages and the
Words that appear like magic
Just because I want them to.
I’m a writer because
the thoughts in my head find relief in running free
Across unlined fields of parchment or kraft
Or sometimes canvas.
I’m writer because I read.
I take comfort in words, letters, vowels and verbs
I swim in them and sometimes they
Swallow me whole.
I’m a writer because I do so.
I write whether it’s correct or incorrect
Or jumbled
Or even very good.
I write because it’s part of who I am.
It’s how I am and because I write
I’m learning to ignore the other voices that yell at me
And scream things like
And just write anyway.
Because really, why wouldn’t I?
I am writer.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Curiosity Chronicles - Excerpt

The Curiosity Chronicles

The Gallery of the Obscure

You will need to prepare for a story like this.  Stories like this one should be read at night, long past your bedtime, preferably during a thunderstorm and by the light of a candle.  But if your parents are the overprotective type a flashlight will do. 
If you look around the room you are in right now and think about it you are probably warm.  You’ve probably had a delicious supper and possibly dessert.  And very likely as you begin this story and huddle beneath your blankets you are in your own room and you pulled this very book from your own bookshelf.  You likely have a parent or two somewhere in your house possibly making your lunch for tomorrow or folding your clothes.  Perhaps they even tucked you into bed and kissed you goodnight.  Now close your eyes for a moment and imagine that it was all gone.  Imagine that all you owned fit in the knapsack that is lounging on the chair in the corner and that your parents aren’t there at all but traipsing through the jungles of Costa Rica or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro simply because they liked the sound of the word.  And now imagine that they had forgotten you completely.  If you can picture all of this then you might be able to imagine what life was like for the Cornell children and how much they longed for what you have right now.  Pity I wouldn’t give it to them.  I couldn’t could I?  Who would want to read a story about 3 children who had everything they could have wanted and dressed in lovely clothes and had holidays at the beach with their equally lovely parents?  No one.  Not a soul.  And so the story I am about to tell you is about 3 children whose parents didn’t want them at all.  In fact they hadn’t seen their parents in so long that they had forgotten what they looked like.  Almost.   Maybe I should rephrase that.  They tried very hard to forget what their parents looked like because sometimes it is less painful to forget a thing than to remember it. 

Letting Go

Letting go today
Of false friends and
Unfulfilled promises
Of hopeless things
I thought better of
Of an image I don’t possess
Or have access to
Of ugly feelings
Alarm bells
And melancholy
And should have beens
Letting go of nothings
Of poisoned words dripping off
A willing pen
Of cold realizations
And harboured thoughts
Of rejection

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Born Again

Touched her once when she was small
Forced her up against a wall
Did things that he shouldn’t do
Kept her quiet, no one knew
Found the Lord to mend his ways
Absolution, life of praise
Took things that she can’t replace
Hail Mary full of grace
Went to church with other sinners
Said the grace at Sunday dinners
Forgiven now for what he’s done
Isn’t he the lucky one
Softly shuts the door behind them
Safe in knowing Jesus loves him


I saw a man
Waiting to cross the street
I stopped for him
And caught his eye and
He smiled at me
But as he stepped away from the curb
His smile faltered
And I realized that one of his legs
Was far shorter than the other
It seemed he had forgotten
For a moment
His affliction
But as he left the sidewalk
And made his way across the street
In jagged uncooperative steps
He raised his eyes in apology
There was no need to be sorry
I was just happy that
He smiled at me

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The It Factor

It seems that most of us go through life looking for the elusive ‘it’.  The thing that makes us who we are.  The thing that makes us tick.  We tell ourselves that if we can just find that one thing that sets us apart we'll find the missing connection.  We'll get our 'Aha!' moment, the lightbulb will go on and suddenly the world as we know it will make sense. I can't help wondering whether this is a giant recipe for disaster.  Can any of us live  up to the ideal self?  Is there such a thing or is finding yourself a karmic accident?  Are those who find it ready or just lucky? For me I always thought the answer was writing.  I have spent my life writing poetry and journaling and though I work at other things I have harbored the desire to write for a living painfully close to my heart so close that it has become harder and harder for me to act on it for fear of losing the elusive connection.  I don't get anything from writing monetarily.  I don't have a fan base, no followers on my blog or book deals.  I've thought about quitting a million times.  But I can't because worse than giving up writing would be giving up the dream of writing.   
I read once that the three ingredients to happiness were someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.  It is because of the latter that I became a fan of the perpetual dream.  Having a dream that doesn’t come to fruition can be just as beneficial to our psyches as the one that does.  It keeps us looking forward.  We continue to be engaged and striving instead of jaded and complacent.  It reminds me of the movie “That Thing You Do” about the band who made it big only to come undone.  It was the dreaming not the reality that sustained them. 
 I look at my writing like this.  I am a writer because I write.  If there comes a day when I am published then I will be a published writer but I no longer want to place the value of my self worth as a writer on a single adjective.   The way I see it, it could be a “be careful what you wish for you just might get it” scenario.   Perhaps if I were to publish I would encounter a new set of problems, deadlines, criticisms, poor sales.   Who’s to say?  In the meantime I will continue to write as the need arises or the inspiration or even the desperation.  And I’ll keep dreaming, who knows, maybe one day I’ll even add that adjective. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Yellow sat under the shade of a bearded tree watching the gator taking its time near the shoreline.  She wore a dress made of an old fabric called Dotted Swiss that she’d found in the church bin.  A party dress for a happy day.
She’d been crouched there for awhile now.  The calves in her legs were beginning to complain but she wasn’t ready to leave just yet.  A bead of sweat formed between her shoulder blades and made its way down her spine and she shivered despite the heat. 
She enjoyed watching the gator.  If he knew he was being watched he gave no indication.  He moved with a malevolent grace in the rusty water.  He was king here and it was good to be king. 
She was remembering the first time Roy Brown had called her Yellow.  He said the name suited her, “Yellow Brown, piss and shit, good for nothin’ and a relief to be rid of”.  And then he’d laughed.  But he wasn’t laughing now. 
The gator glided toward her and opened its mouth wide.   The arm floating in the shallows disappeared with a satisfying crunch. 
“My name is Grace,” she said.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


We all saw it
The shift
Before you left
The silence after the storm
And we wondered
Who would take care of us
After you had been replaced
Who would we become because of it
Someone who is misunderstood
Someone who gives up
Someone who hurts the others
But carries on as if nothing matters
And nobody knows
Someone who uses their body as
A means of escape
Someone who’s forgotten
But we are all okay
Aren’t we?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Character Sketch in Poetry

I use poems to help me in my writing.  This is a character sketch I did on a villain by the name of Silk.


Mr. Silk is slippery
Slides between your fingers
Lifts a watch
Steals a purse
Everywhere he lingers
He is called a dandy man
Dressed up in velvet cloaks
Knows his way through busy streets
Cuts his neighbours throats
Comes across a charmer
You’ll think he’s on your side
But rest assured he’s after you
You’ll run but you can’t hide

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Ahh the writing life.  I get up in the morning, pour myself some coffee write brilliant prose for awhile and carry on with my day.  Not.  My writing day goes more like this.  I get up and the first thing I see after I’ve poured my coffee is the large blue notebook I write in.  It’s actually a sketchbook with paper heavy enough to paint on.  It measures 7” x 10” and I’ve become fixated on this particular book to write in, if only I could be that committed to the stories that are in the pages.  It lies open, waiting exactly as I left it.  I drag myself to my desk in the ‘do I have to?’ way of most third graders and sit down to try and get whatever has gone awry back on the rails.   And while I’m corralling my wayward story, using the words ‘and then’ a lot and knowing I’m in a flat spin another idea will pop into my head.  “Well,” I think, “that’s the problem.  I didn’t want to write that story in the first place, I wanted to write this one.”  So I turn to a blank page and it’s as if the other story never existed.  I’m lost in the new and improved idea, the one with legs the one that has to be written.
I’m back in the zone.  Ideas flow, post-its abound and then somewhere around page 20 or so I start to slow down.  The characters are losing their lustre and I begin losing interest and if I’m losing interest, the reader will lose interest.  It’s in the bible of writing, Vonnegut ch. 3 vs. 1.   And so I start again with the next big thing.  It could be a process of elimination I suppose.  Maybe I’m just struggling to find my voice.  But I know and you probably know too.  It’s fear.  Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of spending months writing something that is garbage when you could have written something great or at least good and the ultimate fear, the fear of rejection. 
When this happens I crawl back into the safe cocoon of poetry.  Poetry fills my need to get words on the page, to get feelings out of my head and into the stratusphere.  I can use my poems to sketch out ideas or lament my expanding waistline.  It is forgiving and welcoming and expedient.  It’s entirely possible that my whole problem is a giant case of attention deficit.  Hmmm a character who has a severe case of ADD....I should write that down.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Poetic Aside

I trip on words
get tangle up
lost among the sounds
make a world
tied up with string
that always comes unbound
to write a story takes too long
I can't commit I know it
and that's why I shall always be
have always been, a poet

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chill Before Serving

Did you ever do that experiment in elementary school science where you created a tornado in a bottle?  It's basically akin to stirring up a batch of Kool-Aid but more scientific like.  My writing life is like this.  I start with an idea, which is basically like the water.  It's pure and clean and pretty much whole in my mind.  Then I add the flavoring, characters, locale, villains and give it a mighty stir.  At first everything is suspended, yet separate and crystallized.  Then as it gains momentum it begins to come together and starts to form a story.  But if I start to stir too fast a hole appears in the middle of my Kool-Aid and all the great ideas that were coming together are pushed to the side to make room for this giant nothing that threatens to take over.
I find myself writing faster trying to squeeze everything in the space that's left.  I jump around in my narrative. I'm unsure where things fit and the more I stir the greater the emptiness grows while everything I thought I had is frantically trying to become something else.   Even when I let go of the spoon the bright red concoction continues to turn.  I'm learning that the only way for it to become what I want it to is to let it.
As writers, we're hard on ourselves.  We feel bad when we have to start again or rip out pages.  But that's the beauty of it.  We can do what we want.  It's not a one off, we get to try again.
I'm there with a story I've been working on.  I'm a month in and I've been stirring too fast.  I'm at the point where I might just make a new batch, this time with sugar.  After all, Kool-Aid is a drink best served chilled.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Doubt It

My writing life has been hounding me for years.  It’s like a terrier that yaps at my feet until I pay attention to it or take it for a walk or give it a treat.  I want to ignore it but it won’t let me.
When I’m writing regularly, as I am now, I should be on top of the world.  I should be proud of myself for sitting down every day and putting words on paper.  But instead I am plagued by self doubt.  When doubt creeps in the little terrier that begs me to write something down, that whines until I have, runs away with his tail between his legs then hides under the bed until it’s safe to come out again.
 I have written reams on what a shitty, shitty writer I am and why I should close up my laptop for good and toss it.  I have tried over and over to convince myself that my writing is a hobby, one I could easily trade for knitting or ceramics.  I have tried to let it go because it is painful to hear me talk to myself like I do.  It is painful to want something so badly but feel that you may never achieve it.  It’s beyond frightening to think that what I tell myself might actually be true and that I might suck more epically than any writer that has ever put pen to paper.  And then....just as I’m about to hit the ‘delete’ key the terrier will poke his head out from the dust ruffle.  He’ll creep closer and maybe lick my ankle or nudge my leg.  He’ll look up at me with those puppy dog eyes as if to say ‘so what?’  Then he’ll start to whine a little and just to keep him quiet I’ll write a poem or two.   When he’s satisfied he’ll creep back to his bed and go to sleep.  The only way to keep him quiet is to write. Because as hurtful as all this self doubt is, it is far more distressing to think that I quit, that I gave up on something that meant so much to me.  It’s impossible not to write.   And if I’m not the greatest writer, so what?
When doubt gets really bad, when it threatens to erase an entire manuscript or clear the contents of my computer I look to my bookshelves for inspiration and pull out the worst novels I can find.  Every author should stock a few.  I pick them up in the 99 cent bin once in a while and in times of great duress I open them and curl up on the couch with my terrier and read a line or two and think the thought that keeps all would be novelists coming back to the desk, “if they can do it....”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You Can't Have One Without the Other

It seems that I am never happy in my writing practice.  When I'm writing fiction I want to be writing poetry.  When I'm writing poetry I feel the need to hammer out an essay.  If I'm writing a mystery, I want to be writing a ghost story and... well you get the picture.  So if you're reading this blog,  and Thank You if you are, you'll see that I've split off into my multiple writing personalities.

At 365-Pages I'm writing a page a day of a story called Gideon's Folly.  It's a story about a boy who lives his life behind the stone wall of a crumbling mansion called the Folly and what happens to him when he finds a way out.

Pocketwatch Poetry came about because I often try to write a poem as fast as I can without editing or censorship.  This is where I put them.

Diary of a Catastrophic Thinker is a humorous look at my issues with anxiety.

And this one, 142 books, is a mixture of poetry and essays on writing.

It's possible that this is a form of writer's attention deficit but hey, on the bright side, look at all the writing I'm getting done.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Quiet One

they called her quiet
and refined
with her downcast eyes
and covert glances
they thought her shy
withdrawn and lost
in thought
or pursuits otherwise romantic
but in the avenues
she walks
in silent regard
and thin disguise
adrift in
sympathetic crowds

Friday, May 4, 2012

Writing Without a Net

There is a question that I have asked myself time without number.  'Why do I write?'  Followed closely by the subsequent  'Why do I care?'
As I navigate the world of Twitter and try to figure out how to actually get someone to read my blog(s) I am actually beset by something close to apathy.  It is exhausting to me to think that day after day I must sell myself. I must push my words at people like an unwelcome fourth drink at a tasteful event.  I feel pressure to squeeze my words into a size 2 so that no-one will realize that I'm not 26 anymore.  Unfortunately there are no Spanx for writers, no Botox, no collagen injections.  We have to constantly expose our flaws and then stand naked in hopes that the powers that be won't notice the cellulite.  So why??? Why bother?
I don't know.  The elusive dream of the contract is not actually on my radar anymore.  I used to keep a scrapbook, kind of a bound vision board, and in it I glued my dreams together.  One of them was a VW convertible.  I promised myself that when I got published I would buy myself that car and that the license plate would read "Author".  So many years have passed since I made that book.  It seems silly.  My husband suggested I get a plate that read "Arthur" instead.  I laughed. 'Close enough,' I thought. And then it occurred to me that it really doesn't matter.  Life is good.  I write because I always have.  I write because it is a part of me.  But not every part of me has to be compensated to be legitimate.  No-one pays me to be a wife or a mother and yet those are the roles that give me the most joy.   If this means I never unearth the Holy Grail known as the  literary agent so be it.  I will continue to write simply because I don't know how not to.  If there's no one to catch me when I fall that's okay.  I'll survive.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Soft breath
tainted with leaves and cut grass
and other growing things
inhaled and
breathed deep
nights have shortened
less time to be afraid of things there
less time to wait for dawn
and the relief of seeing
sidewalks wet from an evening's rain
fresh, clean
the footfalls soft against them
in this tower it wafts toward me
even now as i wait for death
I am alive

Monday, April 30, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 30


On the night of the storm
An old woman died
And they buried her under a tree
Next to the lover she’d waited for
And clung to faithfully
And on the stones
Where they lay in repose
A message divided in two
Words to the song that she sung every night
To the portrait of her groom
‘I promise to love you for all of my days
Promise to leave you never
Promise your love and I’ll promise you mine
Forever and ever and ever’

The End

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 29


You walk among the ruins
Of lives and lovers past
Through epitaphs and poetry
The granite words held fast
The bride has stopped beside a grave
More scarred by time than most
It’s not her name that’s etched in stone
Don’t you see?
You were always the ghost

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 28

Return of the Bride

She drifts among the sleepers
Floating through the mist
And beckons you toward her
No power to resist
The years have turned the clock
Back to the time before
And as she calls you closer
You belong to her once more

Friday, April 27, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 27

Forgotten and Forgetting

Angels look to heaven
And tears run from their eyes
Forgotten and forgetting
In this garden of good-byes
Countless songs of sadness
And doubtless many more
Entwined in simple phrases
Ode to those who came before
The trees begin to whisper
As she moves among the tombs
The woman dressed in white
Begins to sing the tune

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 26

Of Things Engraved

The storm has lost its menace
And the sky is gently weeping
In the garden made of stone
A hundred souls are sleeping
As the clouds begin to thin
And the moon begins to play
Tombstones mark the place
The dead show you the way

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 25

The Garden

You run without direction
And yet know every turn
Every step that lay before you
Every leaf and every fern
When you come upon a gate
Set deep inside the stones
It offers you a welcome
To the garden full of bones

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 24

The Sad Goodbye

Fear and sadness struggle
As you stumble through the halls
Down the spiral staircase
Along the crooked walls
The house is sighing around you
And bids you a sad goodbye
You push through the door
To the garden
And run out into the night

Monday, April 23, 2012

Anatomy of a House - pt. 23

The Girl She Used to Be

The longing in her eyes
Sends you running for the door
But you can’t escape the image
Of the girl she was before
Was it only a trick of the light
That changed the recollection
Of the beauty that stood at the mirror
Lost in her own reflection

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 22

Paper Face

Gone are the auburn tresses
Replaced with shades of grey
The alabaster skin
Is showing the signs of decay
She looks towards you and smiles
Paper face with an uneven grin
And as she reaches toward you
The lightning flashes again

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 21

A Familiar Face
Confusion floods your senses
You feel as though lost in a dream
Where everything is eventual
Yet nothing as real as it seems
Outside the rain begins falling
Thunder rocks the skies
Lighting snakes into the room
And lands on the beautiful bride

Friday, April 20, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 20

The Portrait

She glides toward a photo
Taken years long past
A sepia coloured memento
Of someone she loved to the last
An image encased in silver
That time could never erase
Candlelight shifts the shadows
But you recognize the face

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 19

Upon Reflection

She stands in perfect stillness
Reflected in the glass
The candlelight becomes her
A vision from the past
She is a true born beauty
Blue eyes and auburn hair
Calmly she walks toward you
But it seems she’s forgotten you’re there

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 18

The Veil

At the end of the song
She’s beginning to cry
As she does every night without fail
She moves from your arms
And turns to the mirror 
And slowly she raises the veil

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 17

The Dance

You enter the lady’s chamber
Feel as though stuck in a trance
She reaches her arms towards you
And pulls you into a dance
You’re powerless to resist her
As you sway across the floor
And as you dance the music box plays
And she sings the song once more
“I promise to love you for all of my days
Promise to leave you never.
Promise you heart and I’ll promise you mine.
Forever and ever and ever.”

Monday, April 16, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 16

The Last Inhabitant

Standing beside the window
Is a woman dressed all in lace
A candle is burning beside her
And a veil covers her face
It seems that she’s quietly sobbing
As she’s done so often before
“Come closer.”
She turns toward you
“I’ve been waiting.”
She opens the door

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 15

The Keyhole

“Won’t you come just a little bit closer?”
Calls a voice that is papery thin
And it seems that you cannot resist it
Though you’re frightened of
What lies within
The door is the kind with a keyhole
Where the light leaks into the hall
You press your eye to the portal
To see who is making the call

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 14

The Spiral Staircase

The spiral staircase invites you to climb
To the room at the top of the stairs
The tune calls you onward
Familiar and yet
Filled with the utmost despair
Your heart pounds in time
To the musical rhyme
As you wind your way step after step
But what you find there
At the top of the stairs
Is something you didn’t expect

Friday, April 13, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt.13

The Room at the Top of the Stairs

From somewhere above you
The floor creaks
And you pick up the threads of a tune
Drifting through cracks in the ceiling
It steals its way into the room
You lay the book on the table
Closed on the final chapter
“Who’s there?” you call to the darkness
The clock in the hall chimes the answer

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Inhabitants - Anatomy of a House pt. 12

The Bride

The tortured bride
Was never the same
Kept to her room completely
Dressed in a gown that would never be seen
Singing the tune ever sweetly
“I promise to love you
For all of my days
Promise to leave you never
Promise your heart and
I’ll promise you mine
And love you forever and ever.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Inhabitants - Anatomy of a House pt. 11

The Love Letter

The bride in her room
Was singing a tune
And in a heartbeat stopped
Silence hung in the empty hall
Cut short by a single shot
The beautiful lover lay dead on the grass
With eyes staring into the blue
And in his hand a note that read
To thee I will always be true

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Inhabitants - Anatomy of a House pt. 10

‘Dear Diary’
Read the obsidian tome
‘Tonight we are to be wed
At one we will stay
For the rest of our days’
But before the first kiss
One was dead

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Inhabitants - Anatomy of House pt. 9

The Inhabitants 

A book of leather
Carved and gilded
Tells the tale of woe
Two star crossed lovers
Forbidden sweethearts
These many years ago
The story goes that one
Loved the other
Wholly and without reservation
But when the time came
To promise their lives
It ended without consummation

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt.8

The Library

You are drawn to a room
At the end of the hall
Where music is playing
And books line the walls
Stacked upon tables
At rest on the desk
Is the story of how
The house came to unrest

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt.7

The Clock

The clock in the hallway
Is the grandfather kind
With carvings and gongs
And a key that you wind
The hands reach for numbers
On opposite ends
Stuck at the time when the haunting begins

To the last of the day you open the curtain
Things will be fine
Of that you are certain
You move through the rooms
Feeling at home
No longer afraid
Though you’re never alone
But as the sun sinks
Burns down like a wick
The clock in the hall is
Beginning to tick

Friday, April 6, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 6

The Door and What’s Behind It

The door shrieks on hinges
Two hundred years old
Leads to a passage
Reeking of mold
Paintings in oils 
Usher you in
Wallpaper roses
And ceilings of tin
A breathtaking beauty
Long past her lustre
It’s love at first sight but....
Do you think you can trust her?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 5

The Skeleton Key

Tight in your grip
Is the skeleton key
That arrived with a letter
Indian ink on a parchment page
Sealed with wax from an erstwhile age
A legacy written in elegant hand
Granting the title of dwelling and land
To the one who inhabits
The house for a night
Put the key in the lock
And turn to the right

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 4

The Facade

The grey of the stones
Rises three floors
Attics and turrets
And four sets of doors
Gargoyles perch on towers of rock
Cast iron lace where widows would walk
A time-ravaged beauty
Just a house, nothing more
But how your hand trembles
When you reach for the door

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 3

The Hanging Tree

As you pass the hanging tree
It reaches for you
Brittle leaves whisper
Birds call a warning
Still the house will be yours 
If you stay until morning

Monday, April 2, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt. 2

The Gate

There is a gate
At the end of the drive
Twisted metal
Looks alive
It opens slowly
Rust on rust
Just wide enough
To earn your trust
Enter will you if you dare
But know that she is waiting there

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Anatomy of a House pt.1

The Last Inhabitant

An empty shell choked with vines
Where people danced
The wind resides
Breathless in a crowded room
No laughter
To dispel the gloom
A single shadow walks the floors
Peeps through keyholes
Opens doors
The last inhabitant
Lets you in
But will she let you out again?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Encounter at an Art Show

I met someone last night who could only be described as vile
Her gimlet eyes and waspish voice
Insulted me with their aluminum sound
Scraping on nerves already raw with fatigue
Who are you to tell me I am wrong
You who has known me for under a minute
And yet
Your words sting
You insect
Inflicting venom with your comments
Words pierce sharper than daggers and cut as deep
Would that I could squash you. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Love Note to Libraries

A love note to the book trailer of my youth

Dear Book Trailer,

I remember the way your metal sides and portable stairs winked at me in the sunshine inviting me in.  I remember the magic of stepping through the narrow door and being surrounded by colorful spines and the smell of paper.  I remember thinking the librarian the most glamorous person in the world and taking joy in the way she stamped the borrower's card inside the front cover pronouncing the book mine for a time.  I remember the sense of continuity of all the stamps that came before mine.  The shared legacy of reading.  And I remember the day I found my favourite book hidden among the titles and how it changed my life forever.  I remember falling in love with books in that small space, a fantastical world on wheels that landed in the parking lot outside the grocery store once every month and let me discover its secrets for free all the while giving me something that money could never buy.

I Must Be Crazy

It's almost spring.  For me that means looking forward to 3 months off work.  Yes, I am one of the lucky people in the world who has summers off.  I have time.  Time to putter, to hang out at the cottage, to read, to do some artwork and, of course, to write.  You would think that I'd take it easy knowing that I have all this free time coming up.  Instead I've decided to start on two projects that will catapult me into the writing habit and give me some much needed accountability.

The first is NaPoWriMo or 30 poems in 30 days.  I am a poet by nature I suppose.  I find it much easier to work through things in freeverse.  So beginning April 1st I'll be putting that to the test.  I finished NaNoWriMo last year.  I figure if I can do that I can do this.  I'm sure going to try.

The second is of my own doing.  I'm writing a novel.  Nothing so unusual in that. But this time I'm inviting people to follow along.  Beginning May 1, 2012, I'll be blogging my novel at 500 words a day for 365 days.  That is a much scarier prospect.  500 words seems do-able, it's doing it for 365 days that seems daunting.  I am known to have a small problem with boredom, not to mention the random bouts of menopausal depression that seem intent on derailing any creative energy that makes an appearance. However, I am going to do my best to kick my hormones in the ass and get some words out.  I hope you'll come with me for the ride.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Metal taste
Like blood
In the back of your throat
Bile rising in a bid for escape
Internal poison
Swallowed whole
Sinks like a stone
A shipwreck
Rusted tomb
Hidden in the murky waters
Invisible on the surface
Where everything is fine

The Wolf

It’s hiding in the dark,
Yellow eyes  watching;
Waiting for the right moment .
Until I think it’s moved on,
Until I start to relax.
I look for signs like footprints in the snow to see if it is stalking. 
I wake up and listen to the house. 
Is it too quiet?
If I stop watching, stop keeping it at bay
It will rip me open.
I want to kill the wolf. 
Hunt it down and shoot it dead.
 I want its yellow eyes to glaze over.
I want its skin to turn to paper. 
I want to walk across its grave and laugh. 
But it’s growing dark now
And somewhere the wolf is  hiding.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Working up a new story.  This is the way I do it.


Sifting through the ashes of
Someone else’s life
She finds
A Letter
An imaginary lover
Is out there somewhere
Awaiting a reply
Not knowing there is none forthcoming
In a moment she decides to be
To live a life belonging to someone else
Someone who may have died alone
Who may have hesitated a bit too long
Someone who was loved
She breaks the seal and hesitates
But only for a moment
Because she can’t bring herself to believe that it’s wrong

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Real Writer

Not long ago our neighbour, who is a teacher, asked if I would look at a short story that had been written by one of her students.  She’d been telling the class that she lived next door to a “real writer”.  She knew that I liked to write because I, like an idiot, had told her so.  I thanked her for the compliment but demurred.  I suggested she approach the well known novelist who lived around the corner.  But she was insistent.  Finally I agreed to read her student’s short story and immediately had an epic bout of impostor syndrome.
While it’s true that I write and write nearly daily, have a novel, young adult novel, various short stories and a bagful of poems under my belt, I was uncomfortable with her calling me a real writer.  There could only be one reason for these sudden feelings of inadequacy.   I haven’t been published.  Even as I write that I feel somewhat ashamed.  It’s like my writing life is a dirty little secret instead of something that I should be proud of.  Tell anyone you write and the dreaded ‘have you been published’ question is the first thing out of their mouths.  But not this time, this time I was, for the first time, dubbed a real writer.
As I read this student’s story (all 28 pages of it) I found myself mentally critiquing it.  She was too wordy, she constantly shifted tense, her characters did a lot of talking without saying much and the plot was weak.  Did I mention that the author was in fifth grade?  My neighbour told me how this child loved to write.  It was natural for her.  It reminded me of myself, as a child, excitedly writing a very dramatic and angst ridden short story for 8th grade English.  I loved to write too.  I thought that I was pretty good.  But what I needed at that age was for someone to tell me so. 
I remember approaching my teacher,  Mr. Brown,  at his desk, paper in hand, sure of the praise I was about to receive.   He had a rumpled, unkempt, scholarly look and I couldn’t wait to show him what I’d written.  I always think of that moment as pivotal to the psyche of my newly hatched writing desires.   As I got closer to the desk I remember that Mr. Brown had seemed distracted.  Perhaps he had trouble at home, maybe he’d had a bad performance review or he’d wanted ham instead of salami for lunch, I’ll never know.  But suddenly I felt hesitant sure that his mood was somehow my fault.  I should have gone back to my desk right then.  Instead I said, “Mr. Brown could you look at what I’ve written so far?”
 Now every writer knows that it was more than 2B lead on newsprint paper that I was handing over.  It was much more.  I loved my story.  I thought it was great.  But I needed to hear him say it.  I needed to hear him say “You’re a really good writer Angel.  You should keep writing.”  Only he didn’t.  All l got was a half hearted wave of the hand and a “yes, yes Angel it’s good”.  What was that supposed to mean exactly?  Did it mean ‘yes, you are a great writer but I’ve got students with real problems to deal with’? or was it a casual brush off to a mediocre writer?  I don’t even remember what mark I got on my story.   But I will always remember that dismissal and in that moment any confidence I had in my writing was waved away like so many eraser crumbs.  
 This young lady whose paper I held in my hands loved to write and she believed in herself.  I realized that what I thought didn’t matter.  It was what she thought of herself that made all the difference.  I wish I knew that then.   I wish Mr. Brown did.

When I finished her story, I stacked the paper neatly and wrote this on the front page.
“Dear Eunice, 
You are a great writer.  I loved your story and the colourful characters you’ve created.  I’m sure I will see you published one day.  Keep writing.”
I hope that she does.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


and so it is that I am me/and not who I pretend to be/ the die was cast/ the plot foretold/this wisdom came from growing old

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Running on Empty

Twitter.  It's kind of like high school.  But back then I was popular.  And young.  Now I sit in the slush pile of writing wannabes scanning tweets for writing tips and probable locales likely to feature the kind of thing I want to write.  Or should I say the kind of thing I do write.  What I do write are ideas.  I'm in love with them.  I'm addicted to  the burst of adrenaline that rivals any energy drink on the market when I get a new idea.  I smile at everyone, think the world is amazing and humans are wonderful.  It is a high that nothing else comes close to.  The thing is, just as quickly as it comes, fickle lover that it is, it evaporates.  Fireworks and then the glittery falling apart that leaves black sky and wisps of smoke in its wake. 
I've come to this conclusion.  It's very hard to be a writer when you can't fan those flames. And therein lies the rub.  I can't seem to get past it.  That's not entirely true.  If I am extremely disciplined I can do it.  I once wrote a childrens' novel just to see if I could.  I entered Nanowrimo and finished.  But have I edited either one?  Nope.
So the answer is discipline.  Cool.  But when the sink is overflowing and my full time job has me drained where is that spark then?  It's dancing with someone else.  Someone younger and more energetic. Someone with a flat stomach.  So cliche.    I mentioned in a previous post that I turn my ideas into freeverse or risk losing them completely and that works to preserve them.  It's the literary equivalent of  Botox.  But when I run across these beautiful beginnings while adding yet another best selling idea  to my ever expanding notebook and see them looking so good it literally pains me.  I gaze at them longingly willing any one of them to step forward and take my hand and lead it across the page in a waltz of words. Too much? 
To say I'm frustrated is an understatement.  It's times like this that I usually sit myself at my computer and berate myself for being such a shitty writer; a true impostor and then a curious thing happens.  While I'm telling myself I will never amount to anything and that I will die on a mattress stuffed with hardcopies of magnificent undiscovered manuscripts I will idea.  And so it goes.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Sea in Relentless Pursuit

An empty vessel
Tiny boat
Battered and cast adrift
Rolled over and righted
In a momentary sense of balance
And then
The waves crash down
Splitting it in two
Rendering it to splinters
That stab at
What’s left
And then
When the sea calms
The fragments bob
In a meandering fashion
Useless pieces swallowed whole

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Window

There is a window in her room
The one she sits at
Day after day
Watching the life she used to know
Stroll by
Hand in hand or pushing a stroller
She rubs her empty palms now and then
So that the blood will flow
Although she wonders
It wouldn’t be better to let it dry up
Her eyes mist over at remembered kisses
Forgotten moments jump to the fore
And as she drifts she dances
Eyes closed humming a tune
 The glass is fogging over
She decides that
The plant on the windowsill
Looks lonely

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Confesssion

I have not until today felt the need to tell my story.  There are no happy endings here.  In fact it may be that because you are reading this I am dead.  Dead.  There is no more.  And all of the things that I have done have ceased to matter.  I am the last you see.   The last chapter in the story is my own.    I have no expectation of forgiveness.  I ask only that you hear me and what it is I must tell you before I go. 
The house is quiet around me.  I am well and truly alone.  This house is as much a part of my story as the characters in it.  It has been my torment and my delight,  my refuge and my prison,  my guardian and my jailer.   I hate to imagine it when I’m gone.  It offers me no comfort to think of others climbing the stairs, looking from the windows, hiding in the attics. I want it inhabited by ghosts;  all of us dancing in the halls as if no time has passed at all.  As if it were all just a dream. 
  I was born a murderess and became an orphan.  I never knew my father though I lived with him the whole of his life.  He could never forgive me you see.  And I often wonder had he been given the choice would he have had ripped me from her piece by piece if it meant saving her. 
I am told she was beautiful.  There is a photograph in the hall of a rather sombre looking girl whose countenance was saved by a pair of arresting eyes.  Poets have basked in the depths of eyes like hers. Large and most certainly on the verge of tears that would remain unshed.  Neither brown nor grey nor green but some combination of the three, changing with her moods and surroundings, her eyes spoke volumes.    Had the eyes been slightly smaller in size or perhaps more brown than green she would have become unremarkable.  It is amazing how closely linked the measurement of beauty is to ugliness.  Millimetres really.   Perhaps if I had followed in her footsteps and been born a beauty everything would have turned out differently.  Perhaps, if seems I have been uttering those words my entire life.  Sometimes I wonder, had she lived, what she would have thought of her little daughter.   Would she have loved her unconditionally as mothers do or would she, as time drifted by, become less and less enamoured until one day she just forgot her altogether.  I hope not.  It would be nice to think that she would have loved me.  That someone would have.  I am sounding maudlin.  I despise myself when I slip into such a state.  It is unbecoming. 
It seems that I must go back.  Back to the beginning if you are to understand my story. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Beginning of Goodbye

The first blush over, she is tired
Beautiful in her fatigue
There is wisdom in her golden branches and faded blooms
A beauty fleeting and unequaled
Not empty promises based on
False perceptions
But a homecoming of quietness
A winding down
A slowing of the clock
The beginning of good-bye

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Other One

I'm working on a story about sibling rivalry, ghosts in the attic and revenge.  Sometimes it gets confused with another book that's been in my head for awhile.  Both contains elements of sisters, the strange bond that they share and the elements of competition and jealousy that are at the root of all female relationships.    I asked myself what lengths the sisters in these stories would go to to get what they wanted.
In one story it is unrequited love that drives the wedge between the girls, although the man that wields the sword is not a lover at all but the girls own father. It speaks to the desire we all have to be seen, to have our existence validated; to be the favourite and to the cruelty of a disinterested parent.
In the other story  the sisters are twins. A tragedy brings about a circumstance which leaves one sister with a burden of tremendous guilt and the other a perpetual child hidden from polite society.  What would happen, I thought, if somehow she were to take her sister's place.  Would the ultimate revenge be to reverse the roles?
As I have mentioned I sketch out my ideas in freeverse.  I find it's the quickest way for me to get the just of the story down without doing the outline.  Here are two versions of 'The Other One'.

The Other One

I have a sister
Who is hidden away
In that room
The one with the lock
And the rusty hinge
She is so small in her mind
Her reasoning is unreachable
She plays with dolls and reads story books
Dresses up in pretty things and
Never sees the sun for more than an hour
She is the skeleton in the closet
The ghost in the mirror and the elf that moves your treasures
And plays a game of hide and seek – cat and mouse-
But she isn’t she?

The Other One continued
The other one is singing
A nameless tune
It dances through the stairway
And floats into the room
Do you hear it?
The other one watches  from a secret place
and picks the lock while you’re sleeping
to steal a look or two
she is lost or given up for dead
a ghost that can’t be seen
a blemish
an aberration
a twisted trunk in a stunted tree
she waits
and then by chance she walks about
a shadow
 no longer content to grow
in the darkness
she hides in plain sight
The tunes begins
But who is doing the singing?