Dear Armstrong Family

Dear Jon Armstrong and Heather Armstrong:

Don’t worry, I’m not one of those assholes who feels the need to jump Heather’s shit and turn what you are both terming “Recent Events” into a hate fest. I do not blame either of you for the current state of your union, and I do not, in fact, feel like your marriage is any of my goddamned business at all.

But that’s why I’m writing you. Naturally.

I want to talk about this from a fan’s perspective. I follow blurbomat and dooce.com. I feel (although the feeling is false) that I am included in some of your most intimate moments.… Read the rest

Wolf’s bane

“Wednesday Washday,” Mam always said.

She had sayings like that for every day of the week. The only other one I remember is “Monday morning do the darning”, probably because it rhymed. But she died when I was small. Everybody in town says Daddy should have given her at least a month in the ground before he started poking around in other women’s holes. But if he had waited, I wouldn’t have gotten Ona for my new mam, and we’d not have Ruby for our baby. Of course, she isn’t really a baby any longer. She’s got five summers on her, and she can do more every washday.… Read the rest

The Story of The Three Little Pigs

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Those crafty Trifecta editors are at it again, asking us for a retold story in 33 words. Here’s mine. NB: “w/” is one word unconnected with “expertise”. There’s a space.

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Old Friend


Grad school exacerbated my bipolar. I’ve mentioned that before. And it took away my writing completely for four horrible years. And what’s worse was that I felt it going away. I took some creative writing classes and suddenly had nothing at all to say. Each piece was a struggle, and as I finished the final story, I realized that there simply were no more ideas. None at all.

It wasn’t just a matter of writer’s block. Writer’s block implies a hurdle that one can overcome. There was nothing at all in my way. I was still sitting down regularly, trying every trick I knew, and there was just nothing there.… Read the rest

Blurry

It’s just an old grain elevator.

Grain Elevator

But at the right angle, blurry  behind the trees, it might be a castle,

becomes castle

the winter-dead trees the entrance to some forbidden forest,

Beware the trailing fingers

 

the rusting hulk of a barge the last vestige of a sunken navy

 

barge becomes navy

the hidden railroad bridge a lowered drawbridge

Raise the bridge sire! Lower the portcullis!

 

whose struts become the scaffolding upon the battlements

Defend the keep!

 

above a river that leads to  a long forgotten realm,

And long lost that battle

 

a place where fantasies are born.

Long lost the defenders

 

And also nightmares.

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I shot these pictures along the Rails to Trails Riverwalk in Columbus, Georgia this past January (2012), and I posted them in early February.… Read the rest

And so I write

I knew what I wanted.

I’ve been a writer since age ten. Initially, I just wanted a career (yes, I was thinking seriously of my future career then) where I could use the old Remington Rand manual typewriter. I loved the way it felt under my fingers, and I savored the letter-arm’s whack against the paper. Even now when I’m feeling completely empty, I type just to hear the clickity-clack of my keyboard.

My parents supported me. My dad is a musician, so they kind of had to by default. “Write,” they told me. “But have a backup.”

That advice has haunted me, still haunts me.… Read the rest

Publication

Writing is a business for me. It is my passion. It is the thing above all other things that I must do to remain sane. It is the guidepost I use to measure my bipolar, because when the crazy gets too bad, the writing goes away and I have to Do Something Else Pharmaceutical About It. So when I’m not grading, doing other things for my paying job, getting obsessive-compulsive about the state of my house, or being a Mom, I write. Sometimes, often, I throw over those other things to write, because the writing, in addition to being my bipolar barometer, is also my therapy.… Read the rest

Dear Santa Clas [sic]

Dear Santa Clas [sic].

Damn, that's adorableI hope you enjoy the cookies. I hope the reindeer are doing whell [sic]. How are you doing? My name is Caroline Bradshaw Merriman. How is Mrs. Clas [sic] doing? How are the reindeer doing? Our house has a beautiful Chrismis tree Love Caroline

PS How is Rudolph Doing?

 

 

 

 

Dear Caroline and Sam,

Less so, but she was still thrilledHo ho ho! I do believe this is my longest letter from a child. Keep writing. You are very good at it. Your cookies were lovely. I am taking the chocolate one home to Mrs. Claus. I’m sure she is doing well and will love it.… Read the rest

Dear Lady Gaga

Dear Lady Gaga,

I really like your song “On The Edge of Glory”. It’s got a strong dance rhythm, a memorable tune, and catchy lyrics. The video is also pretty cool. It’s a little different from the large scale dance productions you did for songs like “Bad Romance” and “Alejandro”. I loved the contrast of seeing just you, and I it allowed you to showcase your talents in a much different way.  (And let me say, I had no idea there were so many things one could do all alone on a fire escape.)

But let me get to the meat of my discussion here.… Read the rest