Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The virus creeps into my bones and I surrender to the couch; unusual for me to give in but I am not up for the battle.

“Mom, I need some help with my homework.” Cadence begins from the blue swivel chair behind me.

“Okay.” I mutter, head deeply embedded in the soft pillow that hugs my throbbing temples. She begins to read a story, not prepping me for the kind of help needed. I pull the blanket up to my chin, assuming that there will be questions to answer at the end of the story and I tune my radar to the details.

“…Deep into the realms of Platipucia, a “forest” lies. Like a Venus Fly Trap, it waits for a victim to swallow up;. A rain forest, so people think, with a hidden, evil world that contains the most horrible, dreadful fairies in the history

I allow myself to drift into the enchanted, but dangerous forest as the suspense builds.

“…I follow the trail of black magic in the air when I stumble upon a cave. I hear echoing of shouts, almost like the screeching of nails across a chalk board. I hesitate as I take a step into the abyss-like darkness. As I keep walking, I see a light. There at the end of the cave, I see the two phoenixes being led straight toward a wall of fire, shackles around their feet. As I creep closer, I see the evil fairies

“Um…oh, sorry, I wrote kind of sloppy there. I was in a hurry…” she continues, “My eyes widen at first glance of those evil creatures…”

I lift my throbbing head to look over my shoulder at her long skinny legs dangling over the side of the swivel bucket chair, brown Uggs bouncing up and down. She is holding a composition notebook and for the first time I am aware that the story is hers. I tell her that I honestly thought she was reading a book, not her own writing and compliment her eleven-year-old vocabulary.

“How do you know the word, abyss?” I ask.

“TV.” She answers. “I sort of took some ideas from the movie “Enchanted” and some from the book Falcon and the Carosel of Time. And people say TV doesn’t make you smart!” she challenges.

We talk about what can be drawn from TV and from listening to people and how even more can come from reading, as the examples of writing structure are modeled.

“I really don’t like reading,” she explains, “but I LOVE to write.”

“I think of it like this,” she says, enthusiasm bubbling as she swings her long legs over to the front and sits forward, hands clasped before her.

“Its like I take my brain like a sponge and squeeze it out until everything drips out, all the thoughts and words till it is bloody dry. Then I stir the words all around into ideas. I LOVE words she says,” eyes sparkling and locked on mine. “I love using every metaphor and simile and adjective I can think of taking it right to the rim, but not so it spills over the top. Not so it’s too much but just before that.”

“Someday,” she says with certain understanding, “I want to write an adult book and then, my dream is to have it made into a movie.” Her eyes lift off to one side seeing it on screen.

She is my kindred spirit with a dash of something more. She is me, cranked up with a notch of confidence and determination. I will be the first in line for the book signing and at the movie theater.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It’s amazing how time can create physical space that moves the familiar to the foreign; small steps become broad leaps; innocent cracks, deep chasms. Things that once extended our very selves can move so far away that we question our ability to re-connect.

Writing has always been a bodily function for me, a routine part of daily life.

Thoughts stir and swell and blend into words and phrases that land on paper; a process as regular and predictable as the ebb and flow of the tide; rolling in, easing out. Breathing in, breathing out. Thinking in, writing out.

It has been this way for as long as I can remember, but six months ago, I watched my muse wash out with the tide and drift far away. I called to her, searched for her but I could not hear her; could not see her.

A part of me was lost.

Life began erecting structures on the horizon that was once reserved for writing: continuing education classes and deadlines; teenagers and college searches; financial struggles and endless running.

The rhythm of the tide changed; demands in, solutions out.

I surrendered to the new normal, void of thought and voice; functional but empty.

Recently, I caught a glimpse of my muse in the distance. I tried frantically to get her attention. I came to the horizon of my keyboard, but she was too far out; the water cold and deep and too far to swim. I have been longing for her, missing her, but ever so fearful of the waters that churned between us.

Finally, this morning, the waves relaxed and she washed up on shore and I find myself standing with my feet wet to greet her as we tentatively reacquaint.