Friday, January 29, 2010

The Island of MisFit Characters

This morning while walking Silly Little Girl and Not Quite Fat Dog and the ghost of Fat Dog, my thoughts swirlity swirled. I figure about 80-90% of my errant flippity thoughts are tossed out as trash. The leftover 10-20% goes into different folders or whatever. There's the folder that I hate opening, the one that is marked "DO NOT OPEN!" but I open it occasionally anyway and out flies the negative crapity-doo-dah-day.

There are folders where I stick other things too . . . thoughts and people and voices and characters. I sometimes have these flashes of characters and a tiny scene—I’m sure many of us have this happen. So, here is the snippet that flashed in my head, how as I thought it as I walked:

She named the child Praline, pronounced Pray-Leen. What got his goat was how stupid a name that was—clich├ęd Southern for one thing, but the other thing was how that name could be pronounced in two ways according to where a person lived: Pray-leen could just as well be Prah-leen, and that shot to hell her theory her child would have “pray” in her name. She did other things to get a hold of his goat, things that sent his spine straight up and his fingers to curl into a fist, a fist he never used on her of course, a fist that tightened all the way up to his jaw and caused his teeth to clench before he gave it up and let go. His thoughts stomped on his brain as he pushed the bullets into his gun. “Me or her,” he said, “which it’s gonna be, me or her . . .”

I thought that scene, went, huhn, well where’d that come from?, then tossed it. Maybe one day that man’ll come back around, or maybe he’ll go to the Island of MisFit Characters. That’s where all the snippets of characters go, and they can’t get off the island—oh a few of them may have built little boats and tried and maybe even made it back to my brain, but most stay there, building little communities and living their lives without me to interfere. The ones who don’t go to the Island of MisFit Characters end up in a waiting room folder, I suppose (and here my brain imagines a woman sitting in a room that is all white—nothing around her but white—and she’s reading a magazine, waiting waiting).

There’s simply no way to keep every little thought, every little scene, every little snippet of a character. Eventually, I need to focus on one character, and that’s the one who is the loudest, or the most persuasive or endearing or...whatever—or the one who sneaks in when I put my fingers on the keys. I wish I could be the type who writes outlines and knows exactly what their plot is and the beginning-middle-end and who will be and what they look like and where they are. Instead, I open the black hole in my head, and one of the folders opens, and it feeds me what it wants me to do a bit at a time, and some things are never ever clear, even after I finish the work, even after it is published-that's right, there are some things I can't picture clearly even in TG or SG because of my weird brain.

Now, as for that Island of MisFit Characters—imagine rowing out to it and stepping onto that island and all these characters surround you and they’re clawing at you, yelling, “MEMEMEME ME! Me Next! Me Next! Write about ME ME ME!” *shudder* gives me the willies. Nope, rather stay away from there. That’s why I don’t make notes. Huhn, the notes end up mostly unread anyway.

I just have to trust my own way, my own instincts, my own writing personality. People may be surprised at what I can’t do, how my brain sometimes works against me, and what I can’t envision and can’t can’t can’t—but, if I let the way my brain works (or doesn’t work) stop me, if I concentrate on the CAN’Ts then I’d never get anything done, I’d never have Tender Graces and Secret Graces or the Sweetie novel; I’d never have my other works. Sometimes you just have to embrace who and what you are, your limitations if you will. Maybe in some way my limitations are my greatest strengths when it comes to my writing and characters.

And you? Do you have an Island of MisFit Characters? Are you organized in your writing life? Or do you pull it out your as—umm, I mean, your folders tucked somewhere in your head? Do you embrace your way of doing what you do, even if it sometimes feels frustrating, even if you wish you could do it in another way?

Open up the way, quieten the doubts, and do what you love. Find that balance. Find what feels Real to you, what feels True, and then –well, then let nothing stop you from doing what you are called to do.

Folks, we are expecting that winter storm here in the mountains of western North Carolina. GMR and I are battening down our hatches, so to speak. We have no idea what to expect, but, if we are really dumped on with snow, we could lose power—and for how long, we don’t know. So, if you don’t see me around for a few days (hope not more!) then you know why. For those of you in this storm’s path—be careful and weather-wise!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Listening to Your Own Voice (by not listening to the other voices)

"You become a champion by fighting one more round. When things are tough, you fight one more round." -- James Corbett
(sent in my inspirational quotes email today )

The other day I was looking for one thing, and came upon another—where Tiny Fey and a few other “celebrities” said they tried not to look at blogs because some of them could be hurtful. Here’s what Ms Fey said, "… I want you to really know how lucky I am to have the year I've had this year and, if you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet! You can find a lot of people there who don't like you!”

I don’t know why this surprised me, but it did. Somehow I thought what I considered to be successful people were too busy or too “out there and up there” to worry about what people were writing on blogs and other websites. They caution their children not to look at the blogs so they wouldn’t be hurt—that made me sad. I just didn’t imagine they looked or cared what people said on twitter, blogs, Facebook, "celebrity websites/shows," etc. And especially if they are doing well in their field, loved and/or admired or watched by perhaps millions—so why do they care about those who just are not that into them, or maybe don’t like them at all, or in the worse cases, detest them?

Maybe because human nature is we want people to like us, to love us, especially when we feel we are Genuine. And when we put ourselves out there in such a public way, well, it’s easier to be a target I suppose. People don’t have to look someone in the eye and say horrid things about them, for they can write about it anonymously. It's like being in a dark room and every now and then someone slaps your face--you can't see who they are, but you sure feel the sting. Further, if you are "famous" people expect you to take it, to suck it up, because after all, don't you ask for it if you are a public figure?

We’ve seen where an author writes a book, or a playwright/producer/director/actor has a blockbuster movie, or a singer has a number one hit, and they are loved and admired and put on a pedestal high—then, somewhere along the line they create something that isn’t loved, and suddenly things aren't so hot and maybe they are knocked off their pedestal high to make room for someone else. It’s going to happen, it has happened, it will always happen. Difference is whether you stay on the floor because you don't want to be knocked down again, or you get up and Try Again, even if you never are placed as high on that pedestal as you once were.

We’ve also seen those who remain on the pedestal and still there are those nipping angrily at their heels—it happens. The person on the pedestal may feel the love of thousands, but that one angry, discordant voice that doesn’t like them seems to be the loudest of all—a shame, isn’t it?

So, what keeps artists, writers, singers, entertainers, people in general who are after their dreams, from giving up? (And some do give up . . .). Maybe it’s love, or determination, or stubbornness, or an “I’ll show them!” attitude—maybe all of those and more.

Imagine you go to work each morning and hundreds, thousands, or millions of people scrutinize your work? And, they critique or analyze your work in a public way. Imagine you have a bad day and your work reflects it, and everywhere you look you read about how you are the worst person who ever laid a foot on the planet and your work stinks and you stink and you are ugly and stupid and hate hate diatribe hate. Or, imagine you do beautiful work, but there is always this one little group of people who just don’t like what you do, or who you are, or anything about you.

Public life, in any form—even small tiny corners—is not for sissies. You must coat yourself in armor, you must keep doing what you love even when someone slaps you across the face in the dark (or the light), you plunge ahead; you fight another fight. If you love it you do.

Now, some of you may be thinking I wrote this because I saw something about my work or something personal that upset me—nope, no worries!, I did not and that doesn’t mean there isn’t something out there; I’ve just been busy getting Secret Graces ready for publication and that means my head has been down and plowing. But, I just couldn’t stop thinking about Tina Fey’s comment to those who apparently had nasty things to say, how she told them to “suck it” – made me laugh, but another part of me wondered at how it affected her enough that she had to address them publicly.

Well, maybe they represented every person who’d ever knocked her back as she tried to climb to where she wanted to go because she loves what she does, even when it feels like shit. Maybe she thought of someone in school, or home, or work, or a friend, or lover, or family member, or stranger who'd told her No or You Never Will or . . . . Maybe someone she loved cried over something they read and it made her mad. That's her own to know.

Overnight successes are very rarely overnight. It’s hard work, time-consuming, sometimes all life consuming--sacrifices are made, believe me, they are, sacrifices are made for what you love. It’s sometimes what you hate because the stakes can be so high.

I will keep writing my books and stories and essays. I’ll write them when people love me, and I’ll write them when they don’t. I’ll fight the next fight and the next—because it’s that important to me, it’s what I love, it’s who I am. Even if I am never on a pedestal high.

Will you let someone else define you? Will you let negative voices keep you from what you love? Will you get up, wipe the blood off your nose, and fight again? Say Yes. Say Yes I will. Say yes I will again and again, for as long as I love doing it. What you feel in the privacy of your little corner is important—when you take away all the voices and only hear your own, that will be the Truth of what you want. Take that want in that voice and hear it the loudest, over all the other voices. Find your truth; find your want; and then Go For It.

So what is YOUR voice telling you?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Creepy Comic, Littlest Tender Graces Reader . . .

My newest reader: Little Norah Kathryn! It looks as if she can't put it down, right? *laughing*

Granny Kat bought little Norah Kathryn her first sunglasses - since I'm a sunglasses fool, I thought I'd get her started *teeheeheee*

This family circus comic creeped me out! usually this comic is so sweet and innocent and syrupy, but I still like reading it and going "awwww" -but this one made me go "eyewwww!" I mean....eyewww! creepy!

Teehee :-)

made me laugh!

I haven't been able to do my forehead butt inductoreenes in a while . . . I happen to dislike clowns--*shudder*--, but this still is kind of funny.

I have finished my trailer for Secret Graces! I asked Bellebooks if I could create the trailer myself this time, and they said, Of course. It was an interesting and very time-consuming process, but I did it.

We also have a cover. As soon as everything is for sure ready to go, I'll post it here and I hope you like it *smiling* Now I am doing a couple of tweaky things to Secret Graces - we're in the "editing and polishing and trailering and cover and all that jazz" last minute things - soon galley proofs and writing the dedication and acknowledgments (which this time my acknowledgments will not be war and peace sized *laugh* . . . I can't be thanking even the post man this time *haw*) and Secret Graces recipes, and on we go.

My good friend and literary genius Mary Ann Ledbetter is doing the Reader's Guide again - she did the Tender Graces reader's guide and I couldn't have asked for a better one - a more insightful one. If you are an author and need a Reader's Guide, Mary Ann would be a wise choice.
Now, go have a nice Monday everyone!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hello, I am Kathryn, and I am a Rockaholic....Hi Kathryn!

Walking along the road, the old log trails, the creekside, all along and among and between and beyond the mountain and the cove where I live, lay rocks that have tumbled from their hiding places and await my glance. It goes like this: I walk with head bent down, casually, la tee dahingly. I don't want Good Man Roger to notice, for he has seen the extent of the gluttony of my rock houndedness. When I see that perfect rock, it calls out to me and I must pick it up, turn it over in my hands, feel it, rub the contours, and then, I slip it into my pocket, where I feel it cold, or warm, against me, feel the weight of it, and when I return to our little log house I examine it, them.

Some have indentions where water has flowed over the rock for years upon years. Some have sparkles embedded. Some have layers of lighter or darker rock inside the mother rock. There are reddish and orangish and alabaster and green and -- oh! Rocks!

Rocks on the windowsill, rocks in bowls, rocks forgotten in pockets, rocks lining the gravel driveway, rocks on shelves, rocks rock rocks and more rocks. I try to limit my rock-taking to places where it won't insult the mountain, where the rock will not be missed. I try always to respect nature, my surroundings.

At a restaurant in another town, a rock garden! I walked with my head down, pretending to watch my fashionable boots, but I was scanning the beauties - not beautiful in the way of rubies or emeralds or diamonds, but the pocks and lines and damage of rock personality. All during lunch, I thought of those rocks and when we exited the restaurant, I quickly leaned down and plucked four of them. My friend laughed, asked, "Can you do that? Won’t they come out and arrest you or something, for rock stealing?"

I said, "Who cares? Um, hurry, get in the car!" and I sped away, the rocks heavy in my jacket pocket, and later, I spilled them out, feeling each one, placing them on the console beside me. "Ohhhh," I said, "Look at that one." Cynthia was not impressed, but she indulged me with a, "Uh huh . . .”

Another time, I stopped at a food/gas joint and yes, you know it, Rock Garden. I spy with my little eye . . . on the way out, I said, "no nono; I will not." But, I sat in the seat of my car, legs on the ground, pretending to stretch - because there before me was this little brown rock with a deep indention in it--as if water has dripped there for a thousand years. It must be mine. IT IS MINE. I pretended to stretch, for there was an employee outside, I reaaaccchhhed and plucked it up, and while I plucked it, I accidentally sorter on purpose accidentally picked up two more. Oh, addiction of mine. I hurriedly palmed them, closed the BoopMobile door and sped away, laughing and laughing and laugh laugh laughing!

One morning when I walked on the mountain with Good Man, Fat Dog when she was alive, and Not Quite Fat Dog, I came upon a place gouged by damned developers, heavy sigh. I saw where millions of years ago the earth had heaved and moaned and pushed layers of rock up up against each other. I lay my palm flat on the rock and felt the millions of years as it vibrated against my hand. I filled my pockets with the unusual beauty of them. I took them because they asked. They will end up unappreciated once the house is done - scrapped and swept away.

Once home, I put the beauties in my bathroom sink to wash them, and became mesmerized by the water cascading over and around the rock, just as if there was a natural mountain and creek right in my sink, and I began rearranging the rocks here and there, and I added some more, and rearranged them, and watched the water flow over them and I added the rock with the deep indenture and watched the water curve up and out from it, and oh, it so reminded me of that scene in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when the character sculpted his mashed potatoes and said, "this means something . . . this means SOMETHING; DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?" while his family looks at him as if he is insanity personified.

Oh Rocks! You do mean something . . .
(The length of this post should tell you something; who else writes so much about rocks? me.)

So, my friends: What passion do you have that no one understands? Or what do you love that people snicker about? Or what do you “collect” that most people would never notice? Tell me . . . Now, have a great weekend and I hope to be by to visit this weekend...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Random Thoughts on a Wednesday

Every day and/or night I: Eat an apple, drink grapefruit juice or eat a grapefruit, floss and water pick, detest loud commercials, read, drink two cups of black coffee, use moisturizer, daydream, think about my work, my books, and wonder if anyone is reading TG right now, or has it on their nightstand, or after reading it they casually look at it on their bookshelf as they select another book, or see it in the bookstore and pick it up look at it but something stops them from buying it

My youngest brother was a roadie for Pantera; they were friends when Pantera was a garage band. My oldest brother has a band called Trashbags. My slightly younger brother was in a blues band. I was never in a band.

I texted 90999 to Haiti on my cell phone and marvel at how we can do these things now while sitting on our couches.

I can't stand to touch peaches - that furred skin...if there was no one to peel my peaches, I'd never have one.

I've never had a massage because I have touch issues. I hate it when I go have my haircut and they massage my shoulders. I tense so it has the opposite affect/effect.

I miss my son and little Norah Kathryn and now have dreams about her. We all have the same color hair.

I'm not a member of but they insist on sending me emails constantly that I immediately delete.

Gratitude is important and the one thing that often is shoved aside in the blur that can be life, but it is a necessity or else we shrivel.

Right now, this moment, at 9:04 AM I watch my hands on the keyboard, my fingers flying as I type (I type very fast), the blood running through my veins, my heart beating, I am breathing without thinking but now I am thinking about the breathing and it alters that breathing so that I don't want to think about it, I am hungry and my brain and stomach work together to let me know this (what a marvel our bodies are!), my eyes are brown, my hair has a few threads of gray but I don't color it, I am surprised I have a flat stomach at 52, Jake the Black Labrador is staring at me and sometimes he disappears if the light in the house is very low--little Maggie Lou is outside teasing squirrels or it is the other way around, the creek sings loud from all the rain and the snow melt, and right here right now, I am alive and one day I won't be alive and that's the hardest thing for humans to accept or understand or imagine-that Goneness, but no matter, for right this moment, everything about me is Alive....

So, now - go do the day. But first, tell me: what are you feeling Right At This Moment? What are you Aware Of Right Now . . .

Monday, January 18, 2010

Random Memory on a Monday Morning

Hope you all had a grand weekend, and if you are off work for Martin Luther King Day, or attending any festivities or honors, then I hope it is meaningful, and/or enjoyable, for you.

While working on some book things, I thought I'd just post random memories or thoughts over the next few posts. I have a weird brain that doesn't recall things very well at all, only in snatches of color, smell, sound, flashing image, or movement, but this one is pretty solid in my head.

In the 1970's, when people hitchhiked more and all that jazz, I once sneaked out of the house by myself in the dark of night because I thought it was exciting and cool—my older brother bragged about it all the time and I wanted to see what the big deal was. I walked a long way and was tired and sleepy, and it was boring! I trudged along, farther away from home that I realized. Stupid young girl.

Here comes a car! Yay! I stupidly thought. Mike hitches all the time and he says it's cool! So, yeah…cool. The car stopped.

Then I, naive and stupid, jumped into the car. Once inside, I realized they were all male, and they were really quite shady, rumpled, and scary looking. To boot, they talked like TV Mafia, while their low-slung car slid into the night, with me in it, too late to bolt. I sat in the backseat between two of them, just running my mouth ninety miles to nowhere. I don't even remember what I was saying, but I had a bad feeling that they had thoughts to do me harm, kill me, then dump me somewhere and I really just needed to keep talking about whatever was coming out of my mouth.

After a while, I said, "Oh, look! That's where I need to be let off . . . Well, I sure appreciate the ride!" Of course, it wasn't my house, but another neighborhood where I could run between houses and high-tail it home.

And, the driver looked at me in the rearview and the car became still and quiet for just a moment and I sat there with a grin as if I was just so happy with the whole danged world and them in it.

Finally, they all turned to me, or rear-viewed at me, smiled and the driver said, "You are an okay girl! But don't be taking no more rides by yourself, girlee. You don't know what kind of men are out there - what they might have in mind for girls just like you. Right, Bocho?" . . . "Yup, that's right, Jacko. Me and Rocko was just saying that girls can't be too careful. All kind of bad guys out there looking for trouble. It ain't safe." There was one who never said a word, but he nodded, just a little. Then the driver stopped the rickety old car and they let me out, and with jaunty waves, they drove away; their car rumbling off into the mists.

I ran all the way home, jumped in my sweet bed, and kissed my pillow. Sometimes teenagers do the stupidest things with tragic circumstances; and sometimes despite their stupidity, they are given another chance.

Or, perhaps they are taught a lesson by men who may have had teenaged sisters and daughters and thought this girl out in the night alone needed a good old scare. To this day, I have no idea if my instincts were telling me the truth, or if I was just scared because I knew I'd done something really stupid; but after that, I never accepted a ride from strangers again. I certainly never hitchhiked again.

Thanks Rocko, Jacko, and Bocho, and The One Who Never Said A Word! You may have saved me from something; certainly you saved me from my own stupidity.

What about you? Do you have a story about something you did that was incredibly stupid and may have cost you something dear? . . .

And yes, I use the word "stupid" a lot - it's the best word for what I did *laugh*...lawd


(PS -
Also, Owl Who Laughs wrote such a cool post about Rose & Thorn that, well, I felt quite proud. Check it out!)

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Rose & Thorn Journal is Live; Winter Issue 2010

We did it! the Rose & Thorn Journal is now LIVE!

Newsletters announcing will soon be emailed: Sign up

Poetry, prose, and artwork. Come support the poets, prose writers, and artists who will love it if you contact them about their work. We are so proud of them, and of Rose & Thorn.
Thank you Staff!

Have a wonderful weekend!
(cover artwork by Stephen Craig Rowe )

PS! I forgot to add to my links how our own Blogger Community Friend had a story selected and published in winter's issue of Rose & Thorn

Deb Shucka's "Green Tears" -- go by, read, and then visit her and tell her what you think!
It's always fun when after The Editors select a piece, to find out it is someone you know...congrats Deb!
okay, back to your weekend - and mine too! (the Saint's won 45-14!).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rose & Thorn, blog, website, & Good Bye Osondu

One of my favorite photos of little Norah Kathryn, fresh from her bath . . .

Whew, just about have all my Rose & Thorn duties done so we can go LIVE tomorrow. Also, our newsletter will go out tomorrow, to announce the issue. If you haven't signed up for the free newsletter, I hope you will consider it. It's fast and easy. There's an interesting interview up at the R&T blog, Brian Wilkins is the editor of Scarab: a literary magazine for the iPhone, and you can also subscribe to R&T blog if you would like to!

As you can see, I also changed my blog look. I even put a thingee where you can subscribe to my blog - if you've a mind to do that or like to do that kind of thing. I also put a thingee to count down to the tentative release date of SECRET GRACES.
I fiddle dee dee'd with my website, too, and hope it's a little more organized. I can't wait to add SG's cover, trailer, and whatever else.

I leave you with a post I did over a year ago. It was before I knew Tender Graces would be published (see last line! Now I DO have that!) . . . and it was written before we all knew Osondu would be closing its doors and becoming a part of Blue Ridge Books & News. I will be going to see Osondu one last time before Margaret takes out the last box of books and locks the door. It's going to wrench my heart out, so I can only imagine Margaret's heart.
Margaret: I will miss Osondu's Booksellers on Main Street Waynesville. I will miss everything about it. I'm so glad you will be at Blue Ridge Books, but nothing and no one will ever be Osondu Booksellers.

I am sitting in a little independent bookstore in Waynesville, North Carolina: Osondu Booksellers, owned by Margaret Osondu. This isn’t a commercial for Margaret, although I gladly tout to the four-thousand winds her bookstore, and Margaret herself, whenever I have the chance. Instead this post is about our independent booksellers, and how I want to see them not only stick around, but to succeed, and succeed in a big way. Sure, the Big Guys have their charms, but it’s as if they are like the Good Looking Man in the room, the one who winks at you, whose suit fits perfectly without a pucker or a wrinkle, whose hair is fashioned in the latest cut, and who knows he owns the room; he’s also the one who doesn’t have time to say much more than a, “Hello! Okay, busy busy busy, have to run now, call me! Or rather, have my people call your people and we’ll have lunch.” We all know lunch isn’t going to come, unless it’s with his representative.

Ah, but the Independent bookseller! I come in Osondu’s and most days Margaret is here. She’s here not only because she owns the business, but because she loves books, she loves reading, she loves this community. She’s the woman in the room who smiles warmly, comes to you and says, “How are you?” and really wants to know how you are. She says, “Hey, such and so book is in; I know how you love to read so and so.” The bookstore is small and warm and inviting, with chairs in the back to sip tea while working or reading or just laughing—just what is happening as I type: I am working, another table of women is having a bite to eat with tea or coffee, and up front, Margaret is helping a customer with his book choices.

Most days, when our mountain weather is fine (and most of the time it is!) the front door is open, letting in a soft breeze, and as people walk by, they can peep in and see me working, see the women talking and laughing, see the books lining the shelves, smell teas, coffees, cookies, brownies. Even when Margaret is not here, she has chosen staff who offer up a smile and warm greeting every time I come in here. This is the face of the indie booksellers. Please, let’s support them. Let’s patronize them and keep them here. Let’s have gratitude for them. They are the strong bones of the community. And this writer will one day be proud to have her books sitting on the shelves of these locally owned bookstores!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Child's Pose ...

Once I step onto my yoga matt, I leave everything else behind but the moment. There are no racing thoughts, no worries about what task to complete next, for I must concentrate on breath, on maintaining internal silence, Antar mouna. I am careful not to overextend, such as in forward and backwards bends, or to take my body too far into the pose in those areas where I am not as flexible; I must respect my body’s abilities and its limitations. My eyes look inward as I concentrate on a spot or object, Bahiranga tratakanot, to prepare. I stand in Mountain Pose, Tadasana,—feet together, hands at my sides. I bring my hands to prayer position, then raise my arms up to the sky, feeling a gentle stretch, my balance, my focus, and from there, I fold and move into the sun salutation, Surya-namaskar:

If my back is bad, I will let yoga take me only to where I feel safe, as in a gentle cat and dog stretch, or perhaps hold downward facing dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana, a bit longer. It is just me and my matt and my heart; there is no one to tell me how much or how little I must do. I like that. I feel the freedom of making the yoga my own. Perhaps that is what is intended, but if not, I can only ask forgiveness for my ignorance.

No matter which yoga poses I do, I always include child’s pose at the end. It is hard to feel anything but peace and serenity when folded into a facing-down fetal position. My face hidden from the world, my body tucked tight to embrace my soft organs, yet my spine is vulnerable to the sky and anyone who may come near me. It at once both a trusting pose, while a very private and protective one. I breathe in and out, slowly and evenly. I stay that way until I can face the world again. Then I curl up and sit into half-lotus pose, ardha padma-asana, bring my hands to prayer position, then lower my head, close my eyes, and whisper, Namaste, which is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another, or when alone, my own acknowledgement of my heart. How can I feel anything but contentment, peace, and gratitude when in this beautiful pose? I cannot. Namaste.

(I hope you do not mind the re-posting of an old YOG post again - The Rose & Thorn goes live on the 15th, so I must keep my head down and working; as well, I am going through image after image to send my faves to Bellebooks as my thoughts for ideas for the new book cover . . . and maybe trailer images. I should be back soon with something new!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Some Announcements...!

Hi Y'all. That's me with my brother. Aren't we cuties *teehee* I just have a few things to announce and then I have to put my head down and work. I'll be back Monday or Tuesday . . . Happy weekend Everyone!

Rose & Thorn's winter issue goes live January 15. If you haven't signed up for our newsletter, go Here. Visit our R&T Blog. Rose & Thorn is on Facebook - become a Fan! Rose & Thorn is on Twitter, too . . .

OCEAN Magazine's writing contest ends January 15, so there's still time to enter! I haven't entered since I've had things published in OCEAN and I decided not to; however, I do subscribe and try to support in other ways. This magazine supports our oceans and the oceans inhabitants so your fee goes to a worthy cause!

I have a poem, "Nerissa's Lover," published in the Winter issue of OCEAN and also I have a photo from the Oregon coast (taken last year) that accompanies another writer's poem. Yay!

I changed my blog colors, because I was bored with it...hope it's easy to read, or easier. I also thought how while I was in Oregon, I'd set up my blog to automatically post every two days since I'd be without my laptop; so, I may keep that schedule (loosely? *laugh*) of posting every other day unless something comes up! I'm going to try to visit once a week, try try try as hard as I can, but as SECRET GRACES begins its process of publisher's editing, galley proofs, etc., I will be on an even stricter schedule and deadline . . . what a problem to have, right? *grin*

I'm tying to fiddle with my website at - I don't know how easy it is to read/look at, if it's too cluttered - if anyone goes by there, can you give me your opinion on whether I have too much crapadoodledoodoo on there?

Have a good weekend - stay warm if you are in the cold as we are (at least we have water now - our pipes froze for the first time in 5 years!). *muwah*
PS! I forgot one other announcement: My father will be celebrating two things this January: his 77th birthday (omg! My dad will be nearing 80? He looks 60something!) AND ...TADAH: my father will be celebrating FIFTY years of being sober...congrats and I love you Daddy.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just some thoughts . . .

I am reading your comments from the posts I had scheduled to go up whilst I was away. And, as well, I want to come visit you all-and I hope to start on that this evening while things are quiet. So, for now, just some thoughts while trying to catch up on email business, R&T business, house business, husband business, dog business, blog/twitter/facebook business, publishing business....*big deep breath* . . .

When my daughter in law (Sarah) put out her hand to touch little Norah Kathryn's sweet belly, and "Granny Kat" had her hand on little Norah Kathryn's belly, I saw our ages, saw the smoothed hand of my daughter in law compared to the more aged hand attached to my arm. Whose hand was that I first wondered? Mine. It made me smile, the differences in those hands, and below our hands was the youngest of all, the 2 month old sweet baby, fresh from her bath, smiling and kicking her little legs.

There was this incredible moment when I realized how good a father my son is, even when he thinks he is not patient and all things fatherly, he is . . . young parents can't see themselves from a distance, but I did, and I saw Norah Kathryn's parents and was proud, proud of my son - and happy for Norah Kathryn.

Five in the morning, when the house was sleeping, Granny Kat sat with Norah Kathryn in her arms and the very very young stared into the eyes of the growing older and made a connection older than time...the Little One felt safe, well-fed, cuddled. The Older One felt awed - this is important, the Older One thought. This is the most important thing in the world, right now, this Little One is everything. All the world flew away and all there was in that room was the Older One and the Little One, and nothing else in the good old world mattered, nothing else remained but that moment.
She thought, "So, this is what they were talking about. So, this is what a grandmother feels like. So, this is what all the hullaballoo is. So . . . yes . . . now I see."

Snow really does glisten.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm home!

Stopping by quickly to say hello and I am home. Will be back to my routine soon, although it will be an altered routine from before, it will still be a regular routine.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebrations.

More later about my trip and little Norah Kathryn!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tracks ancient, and new

My great great grandmother, full blood Blackfoot, watches over me, shows me how life pulses and throbs on Mother Earth. I imagine my ancestors walking softly through their woods, just as the Cherokee walk these Western North Carolina Mountains I am fortunate to live on. I step upon ground that thrums with stories ancient and true. I notice how I am walking from outside my foot to inside, a rolling motion—is this my great great grandmother’s way? I say, “Show me, Kip a ta ki, (old woman). I have lived too white!”

I tread silent, as I don’t want to break the spell. Bear tracks, kiaayo, along the road above my log house. There are feline tracks, too, and I crouch to touch one of them—a big feral house cat? Or the Bobcat, natayo, I once saw racing across my driveway and up the incline. I step off the road, and bend again to study the larger track. Bear. I know that if Bear and I meet, it could turn out wrong for me, or Bear could simply run away—same as Bobcat did that day. I have respect for wild things—the respect of care and distance, not of personification of human idealization.

I finally say aloud to GMR, “Hey, looks like bear tracks, and I’m not sure about these feline ones, maybe too small for Bobcat.” He comes over to look. The dogs sniff eagerly. The wind blows. The snow sparkles. The mountain, miistak, gives and takes away. I am filled with thanksgiving. My great great grandmother breathes warmth on my cheek, prepares to leave me, “Pookaawa, sokapii (child, be good).” I answer, “Wait! Forgive me my stumbles—on the land, on the language, on life.” She nods. Is gone. I walk home.

(repost from YOG)....

[I will see you all soon - Home to my mountain on Tuesday 1/6]