Thursday, February 19, 2015


I have been avoiding my thesis for two years.

It was two years ago next month - I had a block of time marked on my calendar for every day of spring break. I was going to sink my teeth back into my thesis and figure out how to make it into a manuscript.

Then my father was dying and we spent all of spring break preparing a studio apartment in our home for my parents. Then he was worse and then he died. All during spring break.

I am saying this like it was some kind of imposition.


He died a good death and I am a lucky lucky lucky and blessed daughter to have held him while he died. I would not trade that for a thousand manuscripts.

We held his funeral a week later, and a month after that my mother moved in with us.
It was several months before we understood that her confusion and grief were actually dementia settling in and making itself right at home in her brain.

There's a dandy excuse. I'm not avoiding writing. I'm being a dutiful daughter. Right.

For two years my thesis has been sitting on my writing desk, acting like it's the next priority I have as a writer, and for two years I have allowed it to block me from writing because I am scared to death of the damned thing.

It is a mountain of tangled yarn that I do not know how to unravel.

I am ready to attach it to a balloon and let it fly away, landing where it will, like the pink butterfly mylar balloon we found on Mark's birthday--on his 60th birthday in the wilderness!--in the wilderness of the John Day River. Let it land in someone's backyard maple tree, someone who can read it and find something useful--or not--to drink into the cup of their day or send to the recycle bin.

I am ready to cut it into bits, paragraph by paragraph, and let them fall like confetti.

How do you feel about confetti? Does it make you want to laugh and leap?
Or do you groan and think about the mess there will be. The way confetti lurks behind the sofa and evades the vacuum cleaner for months at a time, bits and pieces of it winking and sparkling from the corner of the room until you don't know whether to be annoyed or turn on loud music and dance.

I know what I will do.

I will send you this tome, this tomb of my thoughts. A page a day, for nearly a year. The pages will not be numbered and they will not arrive in order. That will be a better story, a truer story, than the one I wrote. That will give you something to think about.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I call myself a writer.

          I cannot even find the words to say what I really mean.

I say I am telling the truth.

          I have deceived even myself.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mackerel Sky

The sky, like a great fish
swims west toward sunset--

the mottled clouds
silver-gray fading into blush
the color of salmon swimming home to spawn
impossible sequins stitched across the great arc

There is no wind, and yet:

the great belly of sky
turns and wraps itself
around the far horizon,
swimming to blue hills--

seeking secret meadows,
dark tarns--