Posts Tagged ‘piker press’

candleDo not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you. (L. R. Knost)

My granddaughter and I play Doc McStuffins. I wear a plastic bandage across my hand for three days over my make-believe injury. The plastic remains tight with my Ella’s protection, however imaginary.

Snow, rain, sun, and storm appear within twenty-four hours, atmospheric battles. I have a coat to protect my body and a voice to promote climate change. Limited resources, but nevertheless tools.

I have a friend named Ann. She is blind, but she is more than her blindness. I wrote about her. The story appears in Piker Press this week. Next week the article will go to the magazine’s archives. Saved, not gone.

All things end or break. Moments for play. Day, artificial light, and darkness.

Sometimes a plastic bandage becomes a three-day reminder of a little girl’s presence.

A spark, a light, and a beginning.


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Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos… to celebrate a world that lies spread out around us like a bewildering and stupendous dream. (John Cheever)

My husband asks me where I would like to go on vacation.

“I have fond memories of Michigan,” I answer. “We went there when I was in grade school.”

He decides on Ontario, but knows I won’t complain. Vacation decisions are in his corner. Not only can’t I read a map that leads to our local grocery store, world exploration isn’t on my radar. Sure I had a fantastic time in Norway and Bavaria. I have a fantastic time walking in the woods, entertaining friends and family, or singing karaoke, even though I’m a soprano and the crowd is made up of half-drunk folk who would rather hear Willie Nelson. Okay, I’m not crazy about being around the inebriated. Change that scene to a senior center filled with the hearing impaired.

I am peculiar and know it. Capturing the world by visiting each place isn’t as important to me as capturing the words that explain the world. I write regularly for Piker Press. Three of my poems will appear in FOR A BETTER WORLD 2015. I have been involved with their mission for the past five years. My first novel, a middle-grade fantasy, should come out before school starts. It is being published through Post Mortem Press, a small but mighty independent publisher. The press specializes in horror, but has branches that include other works such as cozy mysteries by Patricia Gligor. Her fourth book, “Mistaken Identity,” will be coming out in about two weeks. Pat and I are in the same critique group; she is an excellent resource and a superb writer.

I will be talking more about my chapter book later.

For now I simply want to say that everyone floats a different boat. And that is okay. Sometimes, as I drive I wonder how to describe what I see—from diverse points of view. How would this roadway look to someone with a serious illness? To a man on his way to settle an important deal, or lost? I can wake up at two in the morning and be aware of a story notion before I notice that my bladder is overfull. Peculiar is probably not an adequate description. And yes, if you want to feel sorry for my husband, I understand.

“Sweetheart, I recorded a show you will really like,” he says.” Josh Groban should be on any second.”

“Okay,” I answer. “I just need to write one more line.” Always just one more line.

Who knows? Maybe one of these days I will follow every word when he explains a sports play. Stranger things have happened. He and my sons were my mentors in the first portion of my chapter book. Thanks, guys.

What makes you wake up and feel more alive?

weird writers from screenwriting u


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You cannot create experience. You must undergo it. (Albert Camus)

As I get into the car to pick up my number-one granddaughter from school I wonder how much energy I have left in this sixty-eight-year-old body. Hopefully, I’ll last through the hour and a half before Kate’s music lesson. However, Kate’s enthusiasm is contagious. She continues in high gear to tell me about school events, and she doesn’t soften the blow about the difficult moments. I am grateful for my new hearing aids and for a restaurant that isn’t exceptionally noisy as she tells me about unfair situations that affect other kids and how she discerns her part in helping. Her wisdom shows restraint as well as concern, the ability to know when to jump in and when to wait for a safer, more effective moment.

Every freckle on her face glows and I revel in her fresh beauty.

I am now awake, aware; chances to learn surround me. Sometimes those moments are pure gift, the opportunity to simply say thank you. My most recent short story at Piker Press, Return of the Goldfinch, was published one day before a long-time friend’s brother died. Judy had taken care of her brother in her home during his final days. The story comforted her. While I can be grateful for that, the greater gift is my awareness of a friend who gave her home to a brother who could give nothing of material value back. Judy gives because she is Judy. I am blessed because I know her. My spirit awakens as I think about her. She gave her brother the opportunity to fly from a weakened body. In peace.

My youngest granddaughter, Ella, has led me toward the narrower, higher path since the day she was born. I had the notion that I would spend my day writing to my heart’s content. Page upon page would pour from my spirit because I had just retired. Time could now be mine! A divine higher power had other plans. Ella was born seven weeks early, with Down syndrome; she would need two surgeries before leaving the hospital. A giraffe bed in an intensive care unit was her first home. Since her parents needed to return to work I was among the chosen caregivers. Not only did my spirit deepen so that I could write on a more effective level, I made a new friend—an infant who would become my teacher.

In fact, when Ella was barely crawling, my husband was watching a movie too violent for me. One scene came painfully close to my own experience. That long-ago incident does not need to be relayed  here, but as the drama unfolded I gasped as if I were the young woman on the screen, as if time had removed almost fifty years of my life in the flash of a movie frame. Ella climbed into my lap. She looked directly into my eyes as if to say, Look at me, not into the past. And I saw such beauty and compassion in my granddaughter’s eyes that I knew wisdom lived inside this child. I felt blessed to be in her world.

Yes, the narrow road ahead that involved her care would be difficult. Not everyone would understand that a child with special needs gives more than the cost entails.

Easy isn’t always better.

I suspect that if I had taken a nap instead of spent time with my oldest granddaughter on this ordinary Wednesday afternoon, I would have awakened groggier than ever. And this train of thought would have never begun.

I wonder what opportunities tomorrow will bring. But that is on tomorrow’s agenda.

conquer fear beginning of wisdom narrow bridge

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“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” (Walt Streightiff)

Sometimes the imaginative play of my two older grandchildren makes me laugh out loud. I’m their quintessential audience. They know it; so do I.

Rebe’s doll-under-the-T-shirt-motherhood game expands as she decides she is a mama who gives birth to a new baby every day for ten days in a row. Every doll and stuffed animal comes off the toy shelf: dog, rabbit, cow, even Barney the dinosaur. Rebe glories in her perpetual-motion image. Her ten-year-old big sister, Kate, recognizes the impossibility of it all and expands on the scenario. She decides that she is among the newborn lineup. Not only is she the product of a mob birth, she can talk, crawl, and create mischief.

Naturally, Kate notes, this phenomenon would draw the attention of paparazzi. As soon as a fantasy crowd appears she says, “goo.” After they leave, her antics return.

I write fiction and have been publishing frequently with http://pikerpress.com. However, my stories need a basis in reality. Rebe mimics a rooster to announce morning and then moves the day into evening thirty seconds later. Characters change places midstream.

For a child an empty plastic teacup holds coffee, tea, or a magic potion that turns a bird into a frog or a chicken into a dinosaur. Possibilities are endless. A youngster’s chi embraces the sky and has arm room left to grasp more.

I am in no hurry for my granddaughters to grow up. Sure, I’m tired by the end of the day after trying to keep up with individuals who move with hummingbird-wing speed. My own chores remain untouched. I have written nothing. All tasks have been put off for tomorrow, maybe the day after. But, not many people have been in the presence of a woman who gave birth to ten babies—almost simultaneously.

Besides, there’s something priceless about sitting in front of the television between two girls who both want dibs on Grandma. Actually, I’m not owned by either girl, just temporarily transported into their world where anything can happen. A zombie may suddenly appear and eat us alive. Yet, we can laugh through the experience and leap into the next one, without losing any of the fun.

save the kid in you


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Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it, but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance. (Charles A. Lindbergh, aviator and author, 1902-1974) 

Another inch of snow falls on top of the ice we already have. I can walk across it in boots without making more than a crunchy dent in the surface. Winter has moved in to stay—at least it feels that way. I remember grass as a distant memory. My ’97 Toyota is iced to the curb with almost a car length of solidified snow behind it. I have a medical appointment this week. Mother Nature does not care whether I make it out of my petrified spot or not. At least, I am grateful to be retired. When I worked in a hospital pharmacy, business didn’t close. If this were a few years ago I would need to take a bus in sub-zero temperatures at six o’clock in the morning. Okay, imagining that landscape possibility is one heck of a lot worse.

Yesterday I tried to slam the snow shovel into the offending space behind my car. I could have been attempting to break a prison wall with a marshmallow stick. Nothing. When I went back inside the house to get a spade, the look on my husband’s face irritated me, mostly because I knew he was right. My back already had a few twinges in it, and I sometimes walk with the stiffness of an old metal toy soldier left in the rain too long. So far I have been managing a back problem with heat and exercise. Pushing it may not be a good idea.

So, Terry, consider what you have been able to do: take care of your husband as he recovers from minor surgery; cook some wonderful meals for him; thoroughly clean-out the refrigerator; re-vamp three stories published in 1998 in a local magazine known as “Dream Weaver,” and then have them accepted by http://www.pikerpress.com/. The pending dates are listed on the web page. At least one of those stories you were able to illustrate. So far this has been a good year for poetry and short-story publishing. You remain free of the burden of wealth, but being internationally unknown has its benefits.

How the whole looks in the future is beyond my reckoning. I look at the bird feeder in our blue spruce tree and watch as a red-bellied woodpecker intimidates his fellow feeders. They fly away from his pointed beak. But they come back. Again and again. For as long as the birdseed remains available.

Okay, sun, I know you are out there! Patience? Sure, I’ve heard of the virtue. That doesn’t mean I’m crazy enough to ask for it.

Then, thirty minutes before my younger son, Steve, is due to arrive at our house I rush outside to shovel enough space for him to get his car into our driveway. I can handle the softer additional inch in that time without breaking my back. My eyes widen when I reach the street. Some unseen elf has removed the igloo material from behind my car. I figure out who he could be within seconds and call our neighbor, Brian, to ask if he performed this minor miracle. With what I hear as a heaven-accent soft voice he says that he did. My thanks are honest; I feel warmed by his kindness.

Steve widens the driveway path and finds the road under my car. A peninsula-shaped remnant of the ice remains in the street, but every car battles that one.

My thanksgiving should be complete. I’ve just received a get-out-of-jail-free card. However, a neighbor arrives. Our older son, Greg, and a passing stranger helped her out of her driveway last week with the help of our snow shovel, spade, and a rug that should have been discarded years ago.  She gives us a loaf of homemade banana bread.

I guess I owe Greg a loaf of banana bread…Then maybe I should provide another kindness to the next person I see, to keep the blessings flowing.

(pic not taken from our area; the snow just feels this high)

high snow

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