Tuesday, February 28, 2017


I just finished pulling together a collection of my poems for a contest that I'd really, really, really like to win.

It provided me with one heck of a learning experience. I'm by no means the first writer to be astonished by my own process, but I am. I am 100%...amazed by how my writerly brain works.

The main cause for pause? There's very little writing in my writing. I think accepting this may be the number one thing I need to do to nurture my creative side. Honestly, my Puritan work ethic equates productivity with worth. I hear my grumpy old New England forefathers grudgingly admitting I can fool around with that writing stuff as long as I can produce X pages a year and get paid.That's the American way, right?

But if I can sit with myself, if I can make peace with the fallow times, if I can accept that the bulk of my creative iceberg lies below the surface, maybe I can finally commit to writing.

So, just for fun, I made a pie chart. And then I learned something else: I am entirely mediocre at dividing up pie charts. But, for what it's worth, here's a pie chart of my writing process.

Also, please feel free to making offerings to the spirit of Emily Dickinson on my behalf between now and April 30. Thanks!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dear Bougainvillea

I've had a love-hate relationship with the bougainvillea next to our driveway since the moment we moved in. It's a thorny, sprawling bush planted TWO FEET from our driveway. It could literally grow three or four feet overnight after a rainstorm, so it needed constant trimming.

Our tree guy refuses to deal with any bougainvillea bushes after an epic battle he once had with one. So it stayed. Eventually, I got the brilliant idea to turn it into a tree. We cut back every branch below my head. During this process, I stood up, hit my head on a branch, and acquired the one-inch thorn in my scalp that stayed there all the way through the Tough Mudder. 

But it worked. Trimming the bougainvillea got much easier, it only scratched up the roof of the car after growth spurts, and it looked charming--flowers on top, bird house and flowers underneath. I could almost like the dang thing, even if it required several solid hours of attention every time I did yardwork. And do you know how hard it is to stick thorny branches in a yard bag? Oy.

Unfortunately, the trunk wasn't sound; trimming it like a tree made it a bit top-heavy, too. It toppled in a windstorm a few weeks ago. And, with profound apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda and everyone associated with the cultural phenomenon Hamilton, I could only think of this:

Dear Bougainvillea, what to say to you?
You had long thorns
You had bright magenta blooms
When we bought our little house, you grew and it broke my heart
I’ve dedicated so much time to you
Gardening work was never quite my style
But when you grew, you scratched my car up and I pruned you back
And I thought I was all done
Then you’d grow three feet after a rainstorm
I’d bleed and fight with you, I’d make it right with you
If I could cut enough long branches
Then I could stop pruning you, I could park next to you
And you could bloom all day
Someday, someday
The wind’ll blow you all away
Someday, someday

Oh, Bougie, when you bloom I am undone
My tree
Look at my tree
Pride is not the word I’m looking for
Mixed feelings fight inside me now

Oh, Bougie, you glow out in the morning sun
My tree
But when you grow, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart
Trimming you up higher (trimming you up higher)

I swear that
I’ll find a way around you
I’ll do whatever it takes
I’ll make a million mistakes

I’ll make you look pretty and taller
I’ll work with all your long thorny arms, ‘cause
I’ve bled and fought with you, I’ve tried to make it right with you

I tried to trim you so that
We could drive safely by you, we could reach the world despite you 

But the wind’ll blow you all away
Someday, someday
The wind’ll blow you all away
Someday, someday

How could I forgot the pink flowers that stuck to everyone's shoes and left stains all over the floor?