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