Showing posts from July, 2012

Looking Through Windows

"Looking through Windows" is the title of my short story collection. No it's not published yet, but writers have to reward and brag about the steps taken toward completing a project. I'm almost there. Two stories to revise and send out. They claim you should have 30 to 40 percent of the stories in a collection already published in jounrals so I'm close. Two more acceptances and I will have four out of ten published. In the meantime I have commited to getting this done.

Over the past five years I have worked on and abandoned this project--back and forth and getting nowhere. Now I've promised myself to do no other writing but what I need to do until I can start querying agents and publishers about a collection.

The title is symbolic of what I, and other writers, do when we create settings, plots, characters and dialogues. We pretend we are looking through the nightime windows of other people's homes. Backlit against the warm golden lamp light we watch sil…


Writing is just something I have to do, like eating, sleeping, breathing. When art journals, collage and paint distract me, when I want to hide inside a new novel, or just stare at the television, writing calls me. I suppose it's the voice of my muse and her gentle hand, that pushes me to the desk. I can't get away from it. It can be morning pages, an idea for a new short story, a prompt for a flash fiction piece or some line of poetry that latches on, whatever--it calls and I must answer.

I ask myself often, perhaps daily, why I write. Why does the feel of a pen in my fingers and the slick smooth surface of a blank page on the heel of my hand make my heart beat faster? why can I never ignore it. And not just writing itself, but things related to writing--classes, conferences, books on writing, lists of writing prompts, articles online about how to put together a chapbook or a short story collection. They sing like the robins and sparrows whose lilting warbles wake me in the m…


It was the hum of your voice That etched the first smile on my face. The beat of your heart Against my own That made me feel safe. The touch of your cool hand On my fevered brow That let me know I was loved. And the release of your hand Setting me free in the world That let me grow.


I walk across the quilt of glistening snow. The dying sun casts blue, white and yellow gems on the crust beneath my booted feet. The air crackles with cold. My breath billows, furls in the air, then disintegrates before my eyes. Miles and miles of white marble headstones line up in straight rows. I turn and they all sift into diagonal arrangement. I search for Mom’s grave and hope I’m not too late. Years have passed. I was away from home, trying to find myself. I didn’t know my womanhood, my selfhood, lived in the stories I didn’t stay around to hear. I find the headstone. Margaret Leah Peters 1918-2009 Beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister
I kneel and trace the carved letters of my mother’s name. I press my ear to the frigid earth. Silence. All the stories are gone.



The sparkling July sunshine mocked the somber funeral participants. A semicircle of mourners curled around the open grave and watched as a smooth ebony coffin was lowered into the damp earth. Away from the crowd, huddled beneath the shade of a maple tree, three women looked over the proceedings. Tears studded their flushed cheeks and sweat bloomed beneath their black dresses.

“It’s so sad,” Lenore muttered. “Celia was so healthy and then this heart attack out of nowhere.”

“I know, “Paula agreed. ”And look at Warner he looks so lost and bereft.”

“And handsome too,” Corinne whispered. “He’s still a hunk. Celia was lucky to have him.”

“For sure. She was a wonderful, big hearted woman, but not so hot looking.” Corinne wiped her face with the back of her hand blending tears and perspiration. “Even in college she was the least good looking of the four of us.”

“Well,” Lenore said. “Age sure levels the playing field. Now in our sixties I think we are equally hot looking.”


Never one to completely give up I am giving myself a new challenge. I have just completed two five week long online writing classes. One in poetry and one in flash fiction. These are my preferred genres as I love the intensity and brevity of the pieces. These writings are small but make a huge impact on the reader. I also like being able to work with each poem or story as a whole unit rather than bits of scenes in a continuous long stream that I have to handle when penning a novel.

My new challenge involves posting a poem or the opening of a flash story each day for the rest of this month. Let's see how this goes!