The 10 Things I Learned From My First Writer’s Retreat

writers retreat blog photo2I’ve been a part of a small group of writers on Facebook for more than two years now. This “writing tribe” consists of women in four states and three countries/continents, and includes both published and unpublished authors. We write in different genres and different forms, but we’re linked by our love for the written word and our desire to tell a story, whether of ourselves or a character or idea that has grabbed us and won’t let go.

Because we’re such a small group, we’ve shared more than just writing over the years. I respect and admire each and every one of them, for the lives they’ve had, the lives they live, and the lives they aspire to in the future. More than half of us recently met in real life for a long weekend of words, interspersed with wine, food, chocolate and laughter. Oh, and vodka. Continue reading

Talking About Suicide

SuicideIf you’re the parent of a teen- or tween-age kid, there’s a good chance that you’ve watched, or at least heard about, the Netflix original series, “13 Reasons Why.” Our local school system recently sent us a notification concerning the show, offering up resources like this one to help have a discussion about suicide with our children, and I’m glad that they did this.

My husband, a teacher, first heard about “13 Reasons Why” from his high school students and he’s watched a few episodes so far. I haven’t watched it yet, and I’m not sure that I will. Mainly, my time is limited and 13 hours is a big investment in a television show. But I’m also not sure that I want to see the subject matter played out in front of me. Continue reading

WOMANIFESTO

Sometimes poetry is purely primal, and the words never ring truer…

Libba Bray

Congratulations.

You have woken the witch that lives deep inside me.

You have removed the slumber chains from the giant of old.

You have handed me a box of matches and no chaperone

And a world made of lies and polyester.

Congratulations.

You have barked up the wrong bitch.

Proclaim it:

I have shucked off the good, southern lady’s cloak,

Of the homecoming court, the cheerleader,

The preacher’s daughter, hands gentled in her lap.

They tied it at my neck with a bow, a Gordian girl-knot,

When I was young and bossy and sure-footed

“For protection,” they said.

Whose protection? I wondered.

Enough.

I have sent that shit out to the dry cleaners

I will not pick it up

They can sell it for a profit from a rack on the street.

From now on,

I’m exposing the raw pink edges of my true skin to the sun.

Some things…

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Why Few Things Surprise Me Anymore

justiceToday’s confirmation of a woefully inept and unqualified Secretary of Education has left many people shaking their heads. Especially because it was revealed that DeVos had made significant financial contributions to the campaigns of many Senators who voted for her both in her confirmation hearing and then in the Senate floor vote. “How could this happen?” many people wondered. “How can this be legal?”

It is definitely a part of white privilege to be surprised by any of this, as people of color have long known that the system is rigged. And so have I, because I was once accused by a policeman of hitting him with my car. Even with my dad as a witness, I went to court and lost. Continue reading

Better You Don’t Know

my-grandparents-for-blogMy last grandparent, my paternal grandmother, died when I was 15. I miss her still. Grandma Esther was a mere slip of a thing, in her usual housedress and glasses with lenses so thick she looked like an owl. I remember her as self-effacing; never wanting anybody to make a fuss over her, content to slip into the background of any scene. If she were alive today, I’d tower over her physically, although I’m no giant myself at just 5’ 3 ¾”. But as the years roll by, I’ve come to realize that my life has been built upon her small shoulders. Continue reading

I Think You Meant to Say, ‘Thank You’

philly-marchTo those who saw the Women’s Marches around the country and — damn — around the world and didn’t “get it” — try harder. To those who called the rallies “protests” and compared us to those who willfully and criminally broke windows, attacked the police and set a car on fire in D.C. yesterday — try harder. To those who don’t understand that our individual rights and freedoms are under siege — try harder. Continue reading

My Life at 45

for-45th-blogAs a child, I never understood why adults were so dismissive of their birthdays. And then, somewhere along the way, I became an adult myself.

This year is a milestone birthday for me. Or perhaps a mid-milestone birthday, as I’m halfway between 40 and 50. I’m at the age where a birthday no longer marks the exciting steps taken away from birth. Instead, it is a step towards an eventual death.

But markers are just arbitrary placements in time; a time whose length none of us knows for certain. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned well during my life it is that time only ever moves forward. Birthday or no, every day edges us forward toward the end. Instead of apathy or anger, I’ve chosen to focus on living every day to its fullest. Continue reading