Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Extended Life Span Zombies - Trifextra

Credit: Zora Neale Hurston
“Tell them. They need to know, Zora. Tell them. This is what Extended Life Spans look like. Stop with the bean sprouts and garbanzo bean soufflĂ©’s already. Eat some red meat, dammit. ”

Weekend Trifextra: 

We want thirty three words that are somehow related to Hurston's zombie sighting.  How you structure your response is entirely up to you.

This weekend's challenge is community-judged.
  • For the 12 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.  
  • In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link.  To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • Voting is open to everyone. Encourage your friends to vote for you, if you wish, but please don't tell them to vote on a number.  The numbering of the posts changes regularly, as authors have the ability to delete their own links at any time.
  • You have 12 hours to vote.  It's not much time, so be diligent! We'll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nothing Was Always Something

It was nothing. “Nothing there,” they said, “nothing at all.” Nothing was something. Always was.

She stood in the sinister mountain mist while silence hung on the trees. The coffee in her cup had chilled and the dampness draped her cotton nightdress so that it clung to her iced body. The dog whimpered at her feet and the cats climbed the screen door desperately seeking shelter.

How long had she stood on the rickety porch? How long since the last crunch of leaves echoed? It could be a deer, a bear, a tiny squirrel but they'd not been seen in these parts for years. Not even crows dwelled in this wasted land. Bad energy, she’d said when she moved there in the spring. Yet, she’d stayed hoping to bring life back, somehow. Now, the corn hung black and the tomatoes withered on the vine. The skeletal limbs of the trees creaked and groaned with hopelessness under the vicious winds.

Finally, it was her teeth chattering that stirred her. She slowly turned and opened the door. The animals rushed, knocking her back, and disappeared under beds and in closets. The fire was mere embers now suggesting she’d been peering into the gray for hour’s maybe. Wrapping the Indian blanket around her shivering shoulders, she poured the freezing coffee down the drain and refreshed it with the steaming. She crouched before the hearth and scratched at the embers until they caught the new log and spit flames. Then, she heard it again. The crunch, the scrape, the deep sighs beyond the garden. She sat back on her haunches and listened, waiting.

It was nothing, nothing at all. Only, she knew, nothing was always something.    

This week's Trifecta Challenge:

This week's word is:

1 archaic : unfavorable, unlucky
2 archaic : fraudulent
3: singularly evil or productive of evil

Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wishing Stars - Trifecta

Wishing Stars

Hung tantalizingly from the wishing stars
Love, Happiness, Riches
Choose wisely, for all leave scars

One is rarely accompanied by the other
For certain rules apply
You are prohibited in trading for another  

The weekend challenge from Trifecta.  The Monkey's Paw, a short story by W.W. Jacobs, is about the strings that come with granted wishes.  We are asking you to write 33 words exactly about three wishes that come at a high price to the wisher.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Close The Book - Trifecta

This weeks Trifecta Challenge the third definition, which, in this case, is fairly specific.

3: dressed in black

Close The Book

Satin and lace splinters the air
a toreador’s cape, a suicidal Paso Doble,
dancing with the unseen,
alone on the hilltop – fearless and free.

Dressed in black, she closed the book. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Daily Accomplishment

What have I done with the passing day? 

I wrote one line to the Trifecta Challenge of 33 to 333 words for the prompt : BLACK
3: dressed in black

                              "Satin and lace cracks the air like the toreador’s cape in a synchronized                       Paso Doble, dancing with the unseen."

What the hell does that mean? And, where do I go from here?

I helped my daughter with her art/composition homework to choose a painting that seems silent and still, and then to question it until it speaks. We went through Dali's, Botticelli's, and DaVinci's and settled on American Gothic. How's that for some variety? 

I took Mello on an hour long "loose-leash" training walk around the neighborhood. He did well with still some more to go. 

I'm cooking spaghetti before my 7-year-old's championship football game.

After that, it's the Presidential Debate and the results of DWTS. 

Productive day? I just don't know anymore. 

Oh, and I wrote this blog post. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Death - Trifecta

This week's Trifecta challenge:

This week's word is:

3 capitalized : the destroyer of life represented usually as a skeleton with a scythe

Death, you do not scare me
No, nor your Grim Reaper projection
I see you for who you truly are:
A welcoming warmth of purity
The reflection of life’s infinity
To become one with the universe
Merging with peace and joy of eternity
No, Death you do not scare me
I will embrace your sweet kiss whenever
Until then, my lips caress Life

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Ample" Trifecta

Titian, Venus with an Organist and Cupid, 1550.
My "Ample" Trifecta 

You wonder at the reflection
            in the mirror,
and the image
            in your mind,
conflicting ever with the emotions
            in your heart


Is one so different from the other?
One so far removed from the spirit of you?

The rise and fall of
            the ample bosom
looking back is the result of
            the ample dreams
bouncing ‘round you head, and
the rejoices in the
            ample love
pounding in your chest.

Expand more, I say.
There’s ample room in the world
for the likes of us.


This week's word is:

AMPLE (adj.)

1: generous or more than adequate in size, scope, or capacity
2: generously sufficient to satisfy a requirement or need
3: buxom, portly

Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 
  • Only one entry per writer.
Have fun!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Point of View Crossroad

Every story goes through a transition, a fork in the road decision making time. Many writers, mostly newbies, park themselves at that fork and allow the weeds to engulf them. This newbie is currently in the midst of those thorny bramble bushes. 

While I've been writing for years, this is my first novel attempt, hence the newbie label. The story has gone round and round in my brain forever and the characters never cease their ramblings. Last year, yes, it's been a year, when I plunked down at the direction junction, they became silent. Now, they are screaming again. Here's is my current writing dilemma:

Novel Synopsis: "In Search of Mama" is the story of Dottie Stroebe, a 1st generation German-American girl, with an illegitimate son, who falls in love with a carny man. Clayton is a one-legged Indian half-breed, fifteen years Dottie's senior. They marry, have another child and travel the circus circuit another four years before settling into a nondescript life in Chicago. When Dottie passes in 2010, a strange elderly southern gentlewoman with the same last maiden name appears at the funeral, gives Dottie's daughter, Marie, a letter that is an invitation to visit her in NC, and saying she's known Marie's mother since she was little. Fifty-years old, with nothing holding her anywhere, Marie packs up and leaves Chicago shortly after. She finds Louise in a tidy log-cabin behind a dilapidated plantation. Even though Louise has extended the invitation, she is not happy to see Marie. As Marie tries to learn what role this mysterious woman played in the life of her mother, a family story unfolds that carries us from 19th century Appalachia to the plains of Oklahoma in the year it became territory, to 20th century railroad yards of Pennsylvania to Chicago from the 1940s to current. It tells of passion, racism and family secrets hushed through generations."

The story, some 35,000 words, is from the daughters point of view. In the middle of 2011 NaNoWriMo, this character became flat and uninteresting. I got the sense that Dottie wanted it told from her point of view. I stopped to ponder the situation and ended up mired in the muck. Do I start over as Dottie's story? Do I push through as Marie's story? Do I continue on only changing point of view? Do I work on flushing out Marie's character? Both are poking and prodding for some decision to move forward in some direction. 

In the spring I planted sunflowers around the garden, around the chicken coop, and around the begonia pot in the middle of the yard. The chicken coop sunflowers never even sprouted. The garden flowers blossomed and are now home to bees and butterflies alike. The begonia sunflowers are stunted - only a foot tall - but bright yellow blooms. They remind me of my stunted story and the beauty that lies even in the immaturity. Although, it doesn't give me an answer. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Trifextra - Triple Dipple

On to Trifextra, where this weekend we're borrowing from the musical world.  Noted blues musician, Lead Belly, was quoted in Three Uses of the Knife by David Mamet as saying:
You take a knife, you use it to cut the bread, so you'll have strength to work; you use it to shave, so you'll look nice for your lover; on discovering her with another, you use it to cut out her lying heart.
He uses one object, a knife, to flesh out a character and to tell a story in a basic three-part dramatic structure.  We want the same from you.  Give us 33 words (exactly) that tell us three different uses for one object.  But don't just tell us that a can opener can be used to 1) open cans, 2) open beer bottles and 3) break a window in case of a fire.  Tell us a story, like Lead Belly did, if you can.

Only my second time working this, I've written three different pieces:


She flicked the Bic

and the ritual releasing candle glowed before          the Bic torched his wretched belongings
in the dirt firepit. Only the red tip of a
Bic lit cigarette remained 
in the blackness.


Warm water nourished the corn and tomatoes;
warm water washed away fertile earth from beneath chipped nails,
and flowed across the bathroom floor tinged with the blood of loneliness.


Golden hair waved from windows of a red VW puttering down Ventura highway.
It transported a collage of beaming hope across miles.
In the distance, a sienna beetle cradles the wild. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ethical Wills

What is an Ethical Will?

An Ethical Will is a document of video passing wisdom, knowledge, and cultural information to the next generation. It is usually prepared by the elderly or terminally ill. It is a living, loving, spiritual statement to the future. It is your legacy.

Why is an Ethical Will important?

In today’s fast-paced world where things are changing in the moment, it’s easy to lose track of one another. It can also be difficult for the current generation to understand where their traditions and heritage comes from. A family may have lived in one geographical area for centuries, yet that same area is completely different from when a grand or great-grandparent was growing up. If someone is facing their mortality, sharing their hopes and dreams with their loved ones can be therapeutic. Consider it a love letter to your family or just to posterity—the lived experience of one helping others.

What is your legacy? What are you leaving for future generations? If you’ve lived, are at a turning point, or facing a life-changing challenge, you should document your life. It can even be done virtually with a just a bit of computer knowledge. If you have Skype, you can complete your Ethical Will workshop from anywhere in the world.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Best Movie Ever - Vertigo

The garden needs weeding
            My head is spinning
The vegetables need picking
            My head is spinning
The grass needs cutting
            My head is spinning
Round and round and round I go

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Overcoming Fear

I put all my belongings in storage, left my kitties with my daughter, got behind the wheel of an untested truck with $350 in my pocket, and struck out to sights unknown. I drove roads barely wide enough for the truck with drops of 4000 feet. I stayed with total strangers in unknown places. I traveled alone through the rural south with a hatchet for protection. I moved my entire one bedroom apartment in a 6’ trailer attached to that truck, rolling over logging roads etched in the side of a mountain at midnight. I live in on the top of a mountain where the SWAT team has arrested meth dealers, and I sleep with my windows open, and a 12” Bowie on the nightstand. I’ve loaded and unloaded two 6’ foot beds of wood, built a chicken coop, and tilled Georgia clay that’s never been touched. See the fruits of my labor?

What the hell am I afraid of.

pumpkin patch


watermelon and canteloupe patch

Saturday, July 14, 2012

City Child

The city child not as enchanted with the wild
As Nana hoped he’d be
The life of chickens, so interesting to me
Elicited a slight chuckle and nothing more
Lettuce from yard to BLT or crisp bean from the vine
To a city teen is boredom galore
The coop presented as palate for prime tagging
Still awaits his urban genius
Even the thrill of white water rafting
Does nothing to move the energy beneath
Ah, but the drive to the gym with a basketball court
Now that seems what his life is made for
Perhaps I will be that mean old grandma
Hide the Xbox cord, and kick him out the door.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Life Flutters - A Small Stone

The hummingbird visited this morning
Hovered at the window
Life flutters

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Sun Rises

The Trifecta challenge: Give us 33-333 words with this as your inspiration: The world will end in three days. 

I am impressed because this has gotten me writing. Good job. 

The Sun Rises

The cats need fed, the dog a walk
On the wild side
The chickens have yet to lay an egg
And, I scramble in the moment

Cilantro has gone to seed while
Pumpkins control the ground
A pepper here, a bean there
Sprouts galore, everywhere

The sun rises bronze and
Sets in amber waves
It all matters not what comes or goes
The world will end in three days.

Poetry manuscript scattered about
Novel started, stopped and lost
Inspiration sweats and drips
In puddles on the parched earth

The deck beckons, as does the bed
Instead, knees and fingernails caked
Cool red Georgia clay soothes the fever
Yet the willing soul bakes

The sun rises bronze and
Sets in amber waves
It all matters not what comes or goes
The world will end in three days.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Done Until Dusk

Dawn brought weeding, dungarees, and t-shirt,
flip-flopped feet, head to toe gnats, green shavings and dirt.
Mid-morning showers revived and refreshed
to a bouncy, kicky neon green hippy dress.
Mountain folks’ eyes blared the wonder,
“Is she a koo-koo?”
Other hill fellas seemed dazzled by stardom,
“Well, hello darlin’.”
A toss of coconut-shampooed hair said,
“Who cares” and then again,
“Oo-la-la to you too honey,” with a wink.
Fun, tantalizing, and thrilling little loop.
Dusk settled on dungarees, dirt and chicken poop. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

And So Begins the Day

Cilantro gone to seed
Looks a lot like Queen Anne’s Lace
Plump, dew dripped blackberries
Protected by brambles and snakes
Makes them more enticing
Coffee steam and tobacco swirls
A sign of man about
Disturbs not birdsong or cock’s crow
Earth’s morning dance
With Grandfather Sun burning
Through cool mountain mist
Mello chases bees
From nectar buffet
Rocky howls for freedom at the
Jackrabbit twitching in tall milk thistle
Air heavy with wild honeysuckle and
Sour dampness of red clay
Somewhere beyond
A deep oak fire diffuses dawn’s chill.

And so begins the day.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Writer's Block

I’ve come to realize that writer’s block is not so much a block as the internal critics shackles.

I haven’t written anything substantial all year. I’ve not worked on the novel I retired to the mountains to do; I’ve not compiled the poetry manuscript that’s been on the back burner for several years – probably burnt to a crisp by now; I’ve not written any new poetry, and I’ve written very few blog posts.

A few months ago, I thought I was getting closer to the explicit act. I’d subscribed to some writerly blogs and newsletters, and was feeling the twitch. In fact, I was twitching all over.

The Write Practice gives prompts with every newsletter, and every Sunday I get the Sunday Whirl with words to create poetry. Today, another blog posted about Using Setting as a Character by Marylu Tyndale, while the prompt from The Write Practice was to write about a road trip. There’d been another about ‘not’ being balanced, and one that listed the 22 Rules of Storytelling According to Pixar. That got printed and is hanging in front of my face this very minute. The twitch had become a burning itch.

So what did I do? Nothing. That critic shackled my hands with the question, “What does any of that have to do with your novel or your poetry? If you going to write, then write what you’re supposed to be writing. If you’re going to call yourself a writer, then do it, but since you’re not doing it…”

The itch cooled quickly and the twitching has subsided. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"What Do You Write?"

As I sit here, on the mountaintop, beneath birdsong, surrounded by lushness, with the ever present "you should be writing" voice repeating itself in my brain, the question I'm always asked whenever I say I'm a writer looms large.

"I retired to the mountains to write," I mentioned to a neighbors guest yesterday when he walked his dog by and Mello growled at the unknown presence.

"Oh, you're a writer. What do you write?"

Besides the fact that I've not written much of anything lately except blog posts about my One Women Homestead, or the fact that I'm not writing, this questions always perturbs me. Even artists must be labeled and placed in a particular box.

A painter paints landscapes or watercolors or portraits or houses. A musician plays jazz or blues or rock and roll. A dancer does ballet or ballroom or hip-hop. As though, if they chose, they couldn't do the other, or all.

Cozy goldness peeks through lush limbs
Turns to hazy heated afternoon becomes
Cool silvery midnight glow

I write poetry. I write reviews. I write short stories. I am writing a novel. I write blog posts about all kinds of 'stuff' here, and I write writerly stuff here. But to put all that in an answer to "what do you write?" I shouldn't have to. 

I am a writer. You are a dancer, musician, painter. We are artists. We create. 

Don't let them put you in a box because as sure as that cozy goldness turns to hazy heat to cool silver, they will close the flaps and seal us in. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sleeping Pill Night

A bit of a Stone:

Sleeping pill night
makes for a late 
but enjoyable 
morning light.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Inspirational Creative Advice

While this blog is primarily my personal writing, there is also listed "stuff." Presently, the stuff listed is "professional," yet, when beginning this blog I'd originally promised also writerly stuff, so I'm happy to finally offer just that. 

In “WritingInspiration,” I mentioned a few blogs that have succeeded in making my fingers itch to write again, and I added them to my blogroll: Jeff Goins and The WritePractice. I hope you take a moment, as a favor to your writer-self, to visit their sites.

Today, The Write Practice posted a piece from Pick The Brain, written by a Corey Allen. The Write Practice titled it “Stop Being So Busy.” Today was the perfect day to read it although, unfortunately, I didn’t heed it very well. It is exactly my struggle of late.

Stop being so busy.
Busy is the enemy of Art.
Busy is the avoid­ance of Pain, and Pain is the only way to grow.
Art comes from Pain.
Busy kills productivity.
You will never be happy when you are Busy. But you will never be sad either.
Busy, like all drugs, can become an escape. It will always end in failure.
Be where your butt is, where your feet are. Be with your fin­gers and in the lin­ing of your Lungs: Going in. Going out. Your shoul­ders relax­ing into the world.
This entire list is painstakingly true. Yet, how many of us continue down the same path? I know I am 100% guilty.

My plan for this Sunday was to do nothing laborious except to clean the chicken coop, sweep and mop the house, then work on blog posts, and two chapbook manuscripts to submit.

“Busy, like drugs, can become an escape.”

I fed the chickens and instead of sticking to the plan, instead of cleaning the coop, I decided to rebuild and mount the feeder. When the screw gun failed to drive the screws, I tried the hammer, then I tried to drill the holes first (but the screw gun wouldn’t drive the drill either), and then I tried nails before giving up on that. Then I decided to build the chicken run since it was a cool, breezy day – perfect for manual labor.

I tried to drive the wood posts in first, then dug a hole and tried again. Then I decided to use thinner stakes, so repeated the whole process. It’s important to unerstand that the red clay here is extremely difficult to work in and every other foot is either a tree root or shale rock. After finally getting two posts staked solidly, I began to wrap the chicken wire. Suffice it to say that the ordeal ended not in a fenced area, rather tears.

Three unintended hours later, sore muscles, aggravation and frustration, and conceding defeat, I sit here without a single desire to go on, either in the field or on the keyboard. Thankfully, I am pushing through for at least the blog posts with hope that it will help another.

Be where your butt is, where your feet are. Be with your fin­gers and in the lin­ing of your Lungs: Going in. Going out. Your shoul­ders relax­ing into the world.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Survival Homestead

Oh, the hammer, the staples, muscles unknown
So ten chicks and a rooster can have a new home

Wack and pull weeds where the mower can’t go
Build the garden beds where the food will grow

Then to till the red clay earth and plant the seeds
Dirt under nails and blisters on knees

Heave-ho the shovel to dig the fire-pit
To tired, to sore to enjoy any of it

Only to burn the scrap wood after clean up
Of time and energy, there’s never enough

Lay the stones for the walk through the yard
Soft and flabby screams to be strong and hard

City life to survival homestead
Whatever was it that got into my head??

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Early Morning Moments - AROS

Silken bowls twinkle in the sunrise
Cradle dewy imaginations

Tree limbs cocooned in stealth
Conjure Frankenstein images

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Writing Inspiration

Following my dream of moving to the Appalachian Mountains was supposed to be for the sole purpose of writing. That really hasn’t happened – much. I’ve written a few blog posts at ravings of dkchi, I’ve written some poetry here at dk’s right to write, and in November 2011 I even signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I managed 23K words and that was it.

The past few months I’ve been feeling the ember sparking a bit. Rather than pass through all the writing blog emails I subscribe to, I’ve actually been reading them. I’ve even subscribed to a few new ones. One of my favorite new ones is Jeff Goins, Writer. He is short and sweet, and makes me want to “steal lexes.”
His Writer’s Manifesto is a prime example of his brevity and encouragement.

Another is The Write Practice. The blog has prompts, contests, and simple tips. I’ve not partaken – yet – but every email from them brings me closer.

And of course, one I’ve mentioned previously, Writing Our Way Home, (WOWH).  This one I actually contribute to on a fairly regular basis and have made truly supportive, entertaining Internet friends. It was through WOWH that I found The Sunday Whirl. At one point, during those chilly winter (?) months, I at least wrote every Sunday. Now, I save them and the plan is to create an epic poem from all the Wordles.

Lately, I’ve had the desire to scratch with pen on paper. The feeling I have is that when I finally take the tablet and begin the etching this time, it will finally be that push to the finish line, if there is such a thing as a writer. I highly doubt it though, look at how many times Stephen Kings has ‘retired.’ Can you ever truly retire from your passion? Not sure, but right now I must go put nails in boards to finish a chicken coop. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012 - Small Stone

Within soft blue cotton, warm gold and black at my feet, I sip hot black, 
surrounded by brilliant Cardinal, Bluejays, Finch, and Crow 
singing home the day. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Small Stone

For the first time in a very long time, I was inspired to write first thing in the morning.

Snowball puffs on moss covered limbs
Make brilliant a gray dawn

Friday, March 30, 2012

Michelin Man -AROS

One little Michelin Man marshmallow cloud in the west
Glows brilliant among the others’ dull grayness
Chosen by a single rising sunbeam

My small stone first thing this morning. A blessing reminder that one solitary being can light up the sky. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Take Notice

My yard is not luscious green, rather rich red clay
Sprouting milkweed and dandelions, smiling at the freedom
I relish the rustic wilderness that welcomes crow and squirrel
Hummingbirds flutter with cardinals and giant bumble-bees
Buzz in the warmth, drunk on Bleeding Hearts
Wild Mountain Dogwoods bloom beside budding Blackberries
Cocks crow next door while chicks chirp in the office
Inspired by distant friends to halt the busyness and take notice

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Winter of Spring - AROS

Terrific inspiration on Writing Our Way Home this morning.

Orange blazes through the treetops that a brilliant cardinal exercises in
Throw open the sashes to welcome the warmth, the possibilities
Breakfast on the front porch while cats inspect and dog lolls
Ah, spring in winter, the winter of spring, the hope