Spring! We've got May flowers in March, with 80 degrees one day and 55 the next. It's not every year the flowering quince is blooming under ceilings of redbuds, magnolias, and cherry blossoms. Weird, crazy weather inspires weird, crazy stories. No telling what the tiny two-page piece I'm working on at the moment will become. One thing is sure: it is definitely surreal. Meanwhile, Chloe is eating my tulips. Chloe is a tuxedo cat, and all tuxedo cats are insane. But still, I'm telling you, weird and crazy is the way the world turns this season. I'm just watching the earth tilt a little more on its axis, and trying to enjoy the ride.
Swallowed alive by the holidays, and so in a nutshell, here are the rest of my Reverie 2011 musings. For each day’s topic, a few words of response or less.
Choice – writing
Protest – against SB5 - Ohio Workers' Rights - & for environmental awareness along the Gulf Coast
Solstice – so dark, so bright
Technology – iEverything!
Service – the Gulf Coast: wetland restoration awareness
Bizarro – miscommunications
History I – Japan and the tsunami, Gulf Coast restoration, the deaths of Liz Taylor and Amy Winehouse and Steve Jobs, violence in Arizona, revolution in Egypt, tragedy in Norway, the Brits and their Royal wedding, the end of bin Laden, U.S. troops returning home
History II – reading, writing, places to workshop and write from San Francisco to Acadia
History III – short story publications, editing work, blog posts, nearly finishing the novel, traveling on West and East coasts, children's milestone birthdays and daughter's college graduation
Dreams – teaching, traveling, finally going back home to New Orleans, writing words that others want to read and that will hopefully make a difference
Table of Contents – Chapter title for 2011 – “The Year of Seven Stories”
A Day to Delete – the day the bizarro miscommunications began
New Year’s Eve 2010 – I could’ve been home – in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl and bringing in 2011 – but I stayed alone at my desk in Columbus, writing and writing. It took an entire year for me to regret this. Serious delayed reaction. Sometimes getting-things-done at the expense of not-visiting-your-mama is just-not-worth-it. So 2012’s theme might just be, Make-Sure-There-Ain’t-No-Room-for-Regrets!
Surrounded by cool, green views and birdsong. So tranquil that it took this city girl a little while to get used to the calm factor, but I finally gave in to the quiet immersion of reading and writing and restructuring. Slowly, surely, the novel is coming together, apart, and together again.
In mid-March 2011
launched the first issue of its distinctive literary magazine,
. Publisher, Lori Gum, and editors, Tyler Yearling Hively and Laura Miller, have worked together to assemble the stories and poems of Columbus, Ohio artists, poets, and prose writers. The magazine's design is beautiful, with Gum and Christopher Brown largely responsible, and Jamarr Michael Mays' bold cover art allowing the journal its first flight.
Myth and metaphor are at work here--inspired by wings, tusks, and great gatherings of birds in silhouette. Hively introduces the inaugural issue with a piece called, "For a Parliament of Rooks," in which he retells the "obtusely poetic legend" of the thousands of rooks who listen to a fellow rook tell a story, which at end is either applauded by granting the single rook his life or rejected by attacking and killing him. Following this incredibly tongue-in-cheek introduction, whereby one hopes the magazine's readers will praise its storytellers, the writers are introduced via "a field guide to Filigree"-- a twist on the typical table of contents.
And what follows is a collection infused with wit, sentiment, revelation and lyricism--indeed, one that is worthy of much applause--or perhaps the loud, dark, breathtaking beating of wings.
To order a copy, follow this link to Periodisa Publishing:
Thunder crowds my head. Some are struck by the bright stare of lightning, but I am simply thunderstruck. By stolen thunder, sun and thunder, thunderous prose, thunder thighs, thunder road, imaginary bolts of thunder, thunderclaps, and the screen door that slams when kids hear the first crack.
I grew up in the 1960’s in the Gulf South where thunder was a big part of life. Lightning, too. Thunder stayed with me, though—a lifelong reverberation.
Back in childhood, thunderstorms wrapped around me, the air like a fine cotton blouse, brushing up, arriving each afternoon for the usual visit. Breezes came through our dusty screened windows and filled the rooms with dampness. Loose envelopes might flutter down from my grandmother’s writing desk and the house become dim. I remember the approaching darkness and the wind, at first subtle, turning over leaves and then recklessly tearing them. The orange and grapefruit trees littered the driveway with twigs, dark green foliage, and odd-sized citrus. And then in the distance, the first rumble. I always loved that first echo, far off, promising to come nearer.
Now I live in the Ohio River Valley where thunderstorms are less frequent. There is a room in this house that is windowed on three sides and surrounded by trees. Not the citrus trees of my youth, but great oaks, white pines, and a tulip tree, which in spring hosts cedar waxwings and in summer ill-kempt raccoons. The view from this room is green and lush for about half of the year, and this is the time when I wait for thunder.
The recent weeks have been rainless. Clear, cerulean September skies and a late August that felt like early autumn. The days became warmer and the sweeping blue veiled itself in white, at first thin, barely there, and gradually spun with silken clouds.
But this morning there is no colored cast to the sky at all. Instead, there’s a damp gray blanket hanging overhead and the world smells like rain. Pure, cool, impending rain. And it’s quiet. Almost too quiet. I look out at the yellowing leaves of the tulip tree and wish for thunder.