Sex Ed

desire blurI struggle with scenes where protagonists flirt or flush with desire. But I want to capture those moments in my writing. This one story has been haunting me since I was ten years old. Ten fucking years old. When I wrote it then, it had a lot of breast kissing and ended in “the rest, I will leave to your imagination”.  I’m still mortified by that phrase. I was obsessed with sex but had not the first clue about what took place under the covers.

It was five years after that failure before the idea crept back into my mind. This time, it stayed.… Read the rest

Trifecta Meet N Greet


photo copyright Tara R. at the Thin Spiral Notebook. On the left, Lisa, then Tara, then me, then Scott. Caroline is tucked into his armpit, and Sam is celebrating black power at the end.
On the right, you see Lance, then Deana, then their adorable kids, one with golden hair and soulful eyes, the other with dark hair and gentle poise.

This is a quick post to say how much FUN I had this weekend at the Trifecta Meetup. Our whole family loved getting to meet Lisa, Tara, Deana, and Lance. The Burson kiddos clicked instantly with Caroline and Sam, and Caroline kidnapped Deana for a walk down the beach collecting seashells.… Read the rest

Hoarders Anon

My grandmother was a hoarder. The real shit. Her parents had enough money for more than mere survival during her depression era adolescence, and she lived the rest of her life with terminal guilt. She came through that and WWII with a deep sense of the value of material things. Not a desire to have them so much as a recognition of how precious they could be.

She never threw anything away.

Not food.

Not magazines.

Not newspapers.

Not trash.

Recycled, yes. GAVE away, yes. Donated to charity, rarely. But never outright pitched. In fact, she went to yard sales and dragged in MORE SHIT every week.… Read the rest

Blackberries in June


I pelted into the house with one mowing glove tucked under my arm.“Sam, the blackberries are finally ripe!”

Scott laughed. “They going to rot before we can get out there?”

“No… but … come on.”  In the five years since we moved to Alabama, I have not once plucked our bushes. They grow out of sight, along a tree line, and I always check at the wrong time. Fruits and vegetables ripen a month earlier in the South than in the Midwest. By the time I remember to look in July, everything except the peach tree has long since withered.

“I want a big bucket.” Sam, at least, understood my urgency.… Read the rest

The House of Many Clocks


“What time did the ghost appear?” The spectrologist adjusted his laptop.

“Midnight.”  Dana, the large woman sitting beside him on the couch, edged closer, looking over her shoulder.

“But…” The smaller woman, Beth, fidgeted in her chair. “That means it wasn’t… wasn’t midnight. If it’s twelve o’clock in here, it’s already twelve oh five in the bedroom and nearly …”

“But midnight exactly in this room.” Again, Dana edged closer.

The sisters contradicted each other this way throughout the interview. What time did they eat dinner?  (Five, five oh five, quarter past five.) Go to bed? (Nine, nine oh five, nine fifteen).… Read the rest


J650HeadshotSome random facts for a Monday.

1)      Sandra Tyler from A Writer Weaves A Tale puts together an ezine called Woven Tale Press. She did me the honor of including my prose poem Hope Is in the second issue. I’m touched and honored by her recognition. The other pieces in the ‘zine are all excellent, and each one has a link back to the blogger’s homepage. This is not the same as reblogging , which I abhor.  Sandra has edited these pieces (with the permission of and collaboration from their authors) and enhanced them with illustrations. She’s formatted pages and created an amazing publication.… Read the rest

Bandha UP

bandha“The mirrors are a distraction. Focus on what you feel.” MJ lay back on her mat.

I did not. “I feel a lot of things. I can’t tell which is right until I see how I look.”

My Yoga teacher tucked her ass up and hoisted her back towards the ceiling. “Try for that.”

“How will I know I look like what you look like if I can’t see what I look like?”

She sat up and pushed me into a reclining pose. “Concentrate on your Mula Bandha. Tilt your pelvis to make that flat back. Then lock it into your Uddiyana Bandha.… Read the rest

Screaming in small caps

Because I’m an academic, I learned the importance of conferences the back alley way. It’s a habit I built in relationship to my job. A couple of years ago, I realized that people do this for writing, too. I was a little slow on the uptake.

Killer Nashville pretty much jumped out of my computer screen as the perfect place for me, since I was shopping a murder mystery. I signed up to talk to editors and agents, and I sent a couple of short story manuscripts for critique by published authors.

The authors were fabulous. All of the editors and agents were awesome, but one really stood out.… Read the rest

Hope Was


I shut down the computer twice, but the e-mail didn’t vanish. It’s been four days now, and it still hasn’t gone away. My world is aslant. The editor wrote; she wants my book.


For the voting public, that last compound sentence probably invalidates the 33 words of first person narrative. Although I am still technically writing in the first person, I have stepped slightly outside to make generic observations. Possibly, it’s still considered appropriate or close enough for country, since the two third person statements (“The editor wrote; she wants…”) are actually my observations. But it’s too esoteric. I think it’s fair game to enter, but vote for someone else, someone who isn’t blowing their own horn, K?… Read the rest

Sharp. Hope is sharp.


It’s the worst emotion for someone like me. It’s intricately bound up with expectations and desires, and I don’t handle disappointment well. Can I tell you something? I finished a novel two years ago. I’ve talked with a potential publisher twice. The editor at the publishing house is really interested, and yet every time I’ve gotten ready to send, I’ve stopped.

I thought for awhile that I had submission terrors. That I suffered from an internal certainty that once the piece was out there it would turn out to be shit when someone else judged it. But then I realized I’ve been sending other, less polished things out, short stories, nonfiction pieces, and some have been accepted and others rejected, and I’ve been fine with it.… Read the rest