Saturday, July 20, 2013

Passing On

My beloved rat Phoebe is very ill. I don't think that she can get better.

She's been to the vet five times in the last two months with respiratory infections, and he is afraid that she has lung cancer. There's not much else we can do for her at this point. I'm hoping that she can let go of life on her own, in a fairly peaceful way, here in the safety of her home, with her companions around her. She hates the trips to the vet, and she suffers from the stress of it.

I know it sounds weird to people who have never had a pet rat. But she has been the most wonderful pet companion. She has such a sweet, curious, loving personality. I've only had her one short year, but I am as attached to her as I have ever been to any animal. I'd say that my best pet ever was my adorable, goofy, big ol' German Shepherd/Hound mutt who we had for 12 years. And then Phoebe is right there with him.

I've been crying on and off for the last month. But I know that I've done everything we can, and that at just over two years old, she is simply aged for such a small, fast-paced animal. I'm waiting to see how the rest of today goes...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


The vessels that sail the seas of affection, tossed by the storms of life, but always finding their way back to a true course...

Learning the Craft

After a lot of wavering back and forth, I'm in another online writing class. I looked at gaining more skills in some other ways: in person options and some workshops and some stuff through Writers Digest. It all looked intriguing. But I like the freedom of setting my own pace across each week.

I also considered continuing to pass on formal instruction and just doing my own thing. But too often my own thing gets busy with activities other than fiction writing. A structured class is the way to go for boosting production.

So the first lesson is in. Now I'm going to have to write something on topic for it. Yay?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mid-Summer Flow

It's been an unusual summer so far. While the days have been peaceful and enjoyable, I haven't had that certain summer feeling. You know the one. Where the air is heavy and hot and the whole lazy day stretches before you full of open hours. Almost boring in its possibility and languor.

But this summer, I've worked most days. I've done a lot of yoga subbing, and I've done a good bit of grant writing. And lately, my thoughts have really turned back to the other aspects of my writing career. My beloved pet rat has had three serious bouts of illness in the last three months. So far, she's responded to medication and is fine. But her age is becoming apparent. That's made me feel the ticking of the clock. I wanted to write a whole series of children's stories about her, and I've hardly started.

Also, I had another story published recently. In a small literary journal, but I'm still quite proud of it. But I haven't really made a fuss or even touted it, and perhaps I should.

So I'm in a mood to enjoy the rest of these summer days - carpe diem style- and to enter late summer and autumn in a prime mood to work. With more focus and direction.

I've been in a great mood lately, very healthy and contented. I've also had lots of pleasant news. Most of my friends seem to be doing better than they have in years. No more crises or issues, just pleasant lives. Last night, I saw an amazing documentary that a good friend helped produce. I am soooo proud of him!

I hope these good times last for a while. It's nice to be happy and productive.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I was going to write something. Trying to catch up with my thoughts about summer. But I'm hungry.

I think I'll go eat breakfast instead...

Catch ya later, alligator!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Here and Now

A few years ago, we were attending church faithfully. The pastor invited me to study more closely with him, in weekly sessions.

We met in his nice conference room, green walled with a big window and blond oval table. "I want to know more about Marie," he explained with a warm smile. "I'm curious. What do you think about all day?"

My answer was blunt. "Surviving. I think about surviving."

The harsh truth of that surprised even me. I hadn't realized before that moment just how much energy I devoted each day merely to making the day work, to making it through safely, to keeping my life as I knew it continuing.

Now years later, I realize something new. I am no longer surviving. No longer do I spend time or energy on just getting by. Over the years, protective habits and philosophies have become so ingrained that they are automatic, operating smoothly to keep life humming along.

Instead of just surviving, I am thriving.

Instead of anxiety, I feel joy, contentment, ambition, desire. I celebrate my past and I look forward to my future.

Wow. What a good feeling!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I may not be writing much, but I have been sitting at my keyboard for hours, trying.

I try to put the words together well. Some thoughts flash through my mind. I become certain, that somewhere, at a different computer, Susan Straight sits writing. I imagine her prose with a flush of admiring envy. I imagine what she would say of mine and cringe inwardly. Unacceptable. Clumsy. Dull.

Sigh. I'm sure that whatever she is writing right now is much more interesting. Fiction, with conflict and character. Or a first person essay. Filled with voice and telling detail from her life, carefully plucked like red fruit from a backyard tree.

I could be wrong of course. She might be working away on something utterly pedestrian. A course syllabus or a dull departmental memo. A convoluted academic article.

But I like to think that, somewhere in Riverside, SS is typing away. If she can do it, I can too. maybe I can even write something I would be willing to show her.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Heat from the Keys Melts into My Hands

We are in Palm Springs on vacation.

Boy, is it hot.

I am using this return to a familiar hotel to duck out of the vacation for a bit. Instead, I have sought refuge in the dark, slightly cooler lobby. I perch in a red velvet chair, surrounded by mirrors and bits of glittering crystal, and tap out a bit of income while the family swims in the sun.

The trip, while warm, has been a success. A birthday celebrated. A summer taken mid-swing.

And I, I return to some discipline and respect for my gift of words.


All of my past
And all of my moments
Rolled into a glowing
Round of Hope and seeking
Are a part of me
Even that little bit of restlessness
Even that little bit of Impatience
Even that dollop of Joy
Are a part of the stuff of
That makes me
Who I am