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…
After the Rain
Beryl green moss spackles slick asphalt —
and the birds. The birds are awake this morning!
They strew berries — no barberry bushes near, myriad flurries —
the dart and swoop and rise
a loft of wings, twitter and caw,
drenched grass, sodden leaves —
a puddle quivers sky
soft as rabbit’s fur;
blue streaks tear the horizon, rent with light.
Molten pewter heaves distant through trees. The river
after rain. Air eddies
over cheek, lashes, hand
to this new day.
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;-)
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.
“Fairway,” has been launched! Huge thanks to riverbabble, an imprint of Pandemonium Press, for publishing my flash fiction in their Seeing and Looking themed issue. I’m honored to be included with this talented group of writers, and what better place for “Fairway” than riverbabble, as it inspires us to look and see, and see some more.
I remember my mother, not unkindly (well, maybe not exactly kindly), telling me to stop staring at people with my mouth hanging open. Taking this good advice to heart, I learned to keep my mouth closed (not really, alas…) and my eyes and ears wide open so as not to miss a second of that crazy jumble of humanity that is our world.
See it here. Take a look! Enjoy.
The cherry blossoms have whisked away, the forsythia have had their fun. Spring rollicks into summer, and I’ve left a gray street and passionate darkness on the front page of my blog. This cannot stand. And who better to usher in the pleasures of summer than the rollicker himself, Sir Geoffrey?
How acutely I recall standing in the office of the Head of the English Department at Yale reciting the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. I’d climbed and climbed the stone steps to the top floor of Linsly-Chittenden Hall to find…was the door open? The scene cuts to a book-lined garret, burnished wood and lancet windows, and there the Head, an ex-hockey player, waited, not old enough to be not confusing, and altogether too good looking, in a jock-y (Chaucer-toting?) way. Did I stumble through my recitation? Or maybe I had fun. That pesky thing, memory. So acute, but a trickster at heart, much like our friend, Geoffrey.
So here we are, ready to embark on summer’s next adventure. When read a few times out loud, the rhythm, even without footnotes, of Chaucer’s Prologue transports like Zephirus’ sweet breath or the prick of longing to go on a pilgrimage somewhere. Tally ho!
The Prologue to THE CANTERBURY TALES
By Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400)
Here bygynneth the Book of the tales of Caunterbury
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye,
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
The blog is taking a hiatus from publication news to work on a longer project, but not before giving a nod to March, that fickle-bad-witch of budding trees, chopped ice, transcendent light and mud.
From “Time”by Dragana Tripković
“…I cannot promise you much but a gray street
and passionate darkness in the Ides of March.
Spring always brings a pile of survived decay,
undreamt winter loves
that shudder to melt into summer, white wine,
So take your time…”
P.S. Did you know that horse sweat smells of jasmine, orange blossom and Tide fabric softener? Or so I’ve learned courtesy of June Colter, equestrienne star of the fictitious Byrd Family Circus from the soon-to-be (soon being a relative term) novel…