Repost June 16, 2013: In the Redwoods – a tanka

Green tips touch blue sky
a trunk’s red-roughened bark
lean into your strength
my father’s calloused fingers
wipe the tears from my blue eyes




Foxy and I

IMG_0393Every morning Foxy and I get dressed. She watches me put on my shoes. Sometimes I will stop and look at my feet.

She will bump my hand until I continue with the chore. By the time I am ready, she twirls around twice to show her happiness. Her tail starts to wag. We are going for a walk.

After we walk out the front door, I have to tell her to sit because she wants to run to the elevator. She knows that is the way to the outside. I have to tell her to quit pulling so I can lock the door. This little dog with little legs walks faster than I do. She pulls me into a fast walk.

I’ve watched other seniors in my community walk their dogs. It is a slow meandering pace from one patch of grass to another. They keep to the slow pace of their owners. Some of these folks walk with canes and others have the black walkers with wheels. I want one of those when I need support. It gives the senior enough stability that she can walk around the complex by herself.

My dog thinks that to enjoy a walk, we need to walk fast enough that I am just at the point of running. In fact if I didn’t pull just a little I would be running. No wonder I am tired after twenty minutes of this.

Foxy has found friends here. When I first rescued her in 2014, she was not socialized to other dogs. It took a long time before she trusted me and before she listened to me. It took a lot of treats and a lot of discipline.

I am happy that she has found friends. It means she trusts me enough to keep her safe.

When I first got her, she was an accomplished escape artist. Now I can keep the door open and she will sit on my recliner and watch the outside.

Today, I let her run to another Chihuahua mix named Chance. They raced toward each other and played. It was a lot of jumping, sniffing, and running. That little girl is a runner. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with her if she ran away, but she comes back.

When I am tired, we power walk back to the apartment. She sniffs for bunnies and I wait for the elevator.

So this is how my morning starts when I am feeling well.


Feeding the Well of Dreams

Every writer has a favorite writing time. I found that my best time to write is just after the coffee is brewed, dog fed, and just before I fully wake up. I have written in the afternoon and even the early evening. To write at those times I have to do a number of rituals– turn on the music, light a candle, stare into space, tap my heels– before I can write.

When I write half-asleep, I can feel the story well instead of trickle. I type fast and I don’t second guess myself. Writing that early must turn off my critic that wants perfection.

But I can dry up. I have written without feeding the creative well. During those times I have pushed to get a novel finished. When I published it on Amazon, I felt that rush of relief. Then there is nothing. No, little bits of scenes to tantalize my imagination. No, little bits of dialog to stun me.

It’s disconcerting to lose that ability to write the next words. To type nonononononononononono and nothing else comes out of my fingers.

So I found a solution. I don’t write all day long. I don’t consider it a job that must be done eight hours a day. For some reason when I do that I lose. I discover why other writers swear at writer’s block.

My solution is I need to feed the well of dreams. In the good old days before my illness, I worked in electronics and I met people through my work. I could watch, observe, and comment on people’s idiosyncrasies.

Things have changed drastically. If I am around people for extended periods of time, I can get every virus, cold, and infectious disease. I must get my feeding other ways.

I need to do something that could fix my attention in much the same way that writing does.  I can read tons of fiction and enjoy it. I can study the structure of fiction and tear apart a story. But, I need non-fiction to feed the well.

When the critic, the logical side, is engaged in an academic treatise on mythology, it is so engrossed that it doesn’t bother me when it comes time to write. In the same way that I need to walk every day with the dog, I also need time to study new subjects. I have studied quantum mechanics, biology, and even some psychology. Any soft or hard science is fair game.

Everything I read and study is grist for the mill. Everything goes into the well.

Many years ago when I lived in a drama-filled house, I learned that to be happy, I needed “balance in all things.” So it’s the same with my life. I am not just a writer of fiction. I am also a reader of science, an observer of nature, and a seeker.

As Cold as Ice

Overlooking Carson City, NV taken by Otto Tune 2014.

Overlooking Carson City, NV taken by Otto Tune 2014.

While I was cuddled with Foxy, the house chihuahua, I heard a bang, then another crash, and then the wind moaned and yelled outside.

After that huge announcement, the prince (hard and heavy rain) banged against the windows, roofs, and doors. I ignored the noise after the first peek outside the bedroom window, by watching some show about some disappearing woman. The dog had crawled under the covers during the height of the noise, and I could hear her whimper as she pushed against my knee.

This morning, the rug in my patio area was rolled up and the huge red and white ribbon on my door had blown to the ground. There were yellow leaves carpeted on my patio and the sidewalk.

Yes, there was ice. Three cars rolled over this morning on their drive to work. The morning news was full of pictures of two cars banging into a house and one rolled and landed on its roof. The front end was crunched. That car was not going to move again without help.

While the East is enjoying record highs, we just got hit with the first of our winter storms. There has been a little snow on the peaks, but not on the valley. I won’t be surprised if we have some this year.

So Happy Holiday Season. May you have joy… and not crashing this season.

Plus if the Prince of rain knocks on your doors and windows this year, don’t let him in.

A step into the light


The sun’s rays peeped through my bedroom window. I stretched and limped into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. The normal routine is comforting. I don’t strain to hear him say “get up sleepy head” or any of the morning jokes.

I start the morning chores without crying into his shirts and pants. I have already given away most of his clothes, although I do wear his Pendleton shirts. They feel like a hug from him. Still I am a little apprehensive about the door, where I put a lot of his things. It opens sometimes by itself. Inside his his tools, his grave flag, and some of his coats. He was into Emergency preparedness. Soon I will go through his go-bag, but not yet.

I start a grocery list for me. I am still trying to figure out ways to make food for only one person. After his death, I couldn’t even look at food. It meant that we would sit down for dinner and talk. Afterwards we would watch the news and I would lean against him with his arm around me. Yes, when we fed each other, it meant more than when we said, “I love you.” Still live goes on and I must eat.

I don’t get that quick shock when I see his picture anymore. It still hurts that he is gone, but the stabs are not as intense and the heart is not as raw.

Many years ago I learned a truth. If I ignore this grief, it will hurt for far longer. I get these sudden urges to send him a joke to his email address or to tell him the newest outrage. He is gone.

There is a little light though. I am writing. I finally finished a rough draft of a story. Plus I enjoy my walks with my dog. I am not affronted by life. When I get a little stronger, I will take photos again.

He wanted me to be happy and to enjoy my life. Not today. Not tomorrow and maybe not this year. When the memories become sweet again, then I will have stepped fully into the light.

Spoon theory and writing

Writing takes an enormous amount of energy from me. The only way I can explain it is through the Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino. 

Although I have more energy now, on the days I use up too many spoons, the next day I feel sick and shaky. Yesterday was a hard day for me. I won’t go into it here.

Instead of writing too much on the blog this morning, I will be spending my spoons on my fiction.