In memory of the upcoming tenth anniversary of my father's death, I thought I'd take a moment to remember the poet Richard Moore, 1927-2009.
During the last months of his life, Richard wrote the following fragment. What better person to share his accomplishments than himself.
"Throughout a long life, Richard Moore has won through to the belief that the only real reward in the art of writing is the writing itself. The first of his nineteen books was published and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize when he was forty-four. The books that followed have brought the total to a novel, a book of literary essays, translations of a Greek tragedy and a Roman comedy and fifteen books of poetry, which include a sequence of fifty-eight Petrarchian sonnets, an epic of American history and an epic whose hero is a mouse born and raised in a sewer."
A pilot in the Air Force, a university professor, a poet and fierce seeker of truth, to me he was my father. I loved and admired him deeply. Ours was a complicated relationship, one that has found its way into a number of stories over the years. I've reprinted the short memoir I wrote for a tribute issue of Light Quarterly published shortly after Richard's death.
This past weekend I had the privilege of participating in the USTA Eastern 18+ Sectionals in Schenectady, NY with an awesome group of women. Every member of our team played with grit, heart and amazing support for one another in a tournament that was about so much more than winning or losing. It was about supporting one another as we faced tough decisions and showed up with fierce determination, fairness and generosity for our team, our fellow competitors and ourselves.
I’ve been busy scribbling away, writing the last chapters of Traveling Light, when I knew it couldn’t wait any longer. I had to visit the horses!
I drove up to Montrose, NY on a drizzly Tuesday to visit my friend Will, his wife Beth, and their menagerie of chickens, horses, dogs, birds and soon goats. When I turned off the highway I passed rolling hills covered in apple orchards, the stunted trees like coral in a desiccated ocean sky. Now, two weeks later, I’m sure the trees are bursting in bloom.
I pulled into the driveway of Will and Beth’s charming farmhouse to find Will deshedding his quarter horse with long strokes of a metal curry comb, flaxen tufts of Merlin’s winter coat lifting in the breeze like milkweed pods. Over the next couple hours Merlin and I became acquainted as he looked at me with his wise, gentle eyes and let me bury my fingers in his mane. I pressed my nose to his side and breathed in the smell of hay and wind and soil. Merlin, apparently, likes to roll around in the dirt. When I held out my hand, he delicately plucked radishes from my palm, the satisfied crunch of his chewing reverberating from deep in his skull. Horses, Will told me, have two sets of teeth. Out in the pasture, I learned about a horse’s different gaits, and how a sound they can’t see, like dried leaves rattling over the grass, can spook them. It was a wonderful visit, and I was grateful to Will and Beth for their generosity.
Best of all, when I got home from my adventure June was ready for her big riding scene! She returned to discover…Whoops. No spoilers;-)
Now, back to the garret…
I’m honored and thrilled that my short story, “West 256th Street and Valles Avenue” has been published in the 2018 empathy-themed issue of The McNeese Review.
I couldn’t be more pleased that my story has found a home within this collection of startling, edgy, and boundary-pushing pieces. Because now, more than ever, we need our writers to drop a plumb line down to the core, to draw up what is true…
I’m honored and delighted that The McNeese Review has accepted my short story, “West 256th Street and Valles Avenue” for publication in their spring issue!
Founded in 1948, The McNeese Review is an annual publication of the MFA program in Creative Writing at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Nestled in Cajun country, Lake Charles is located on the banks of the Calcasieu River. Contraband Bayou, Henderson Bayou, and English Bayou flow through the city. With such rich history and geography I look forward to some tantalizing literary contraband coming off the press this spring;-)
My short story, “The Day the Linden Fell,” is live and online at Menda City Review!
In the disembodied world of small press publishing, there is a fresh, subversive, forward-looking retro-hip beauty and audacity to Menda City Review that I’ve always wanted to be a part of. The photos by Nils-Erik Larson featured in the current issue capture this spirit – a magnificent old man reading the paper through the glass, his eyes fiercely alive. I’m honored to have my story included with the startling, resonant pieces in Issue 31.
Perhaps because I’ve just returned from the Hebrides in Scotland, there’s something of Menda City Review that reminds me of the Ardalanish Farm and Weaving Mill on the Isle of Mull, population 2,667. The mill is housed in a rustic stone building, and the wool is spun from the black Hebridean sheep, once endangered, that graze the hills surrounding the farm. The whole enterprise operates off the grid, power generated from wind and the memory, or dreaming, of sun. During the waulking of the cloth in times past, runes were chanted and songs were sung, and traces of similar wool have been found in ancient Island burial chambers.
So here’s to the eyes-wide-open, radically brave small folk, the weavers of wool and the spinners of yarn(s).
Read “The Day the Linden Fell” here.