Monday, November 26, 2012

This is where I fail

This is the year I flunk out of Nano. Yes, it's true. I like the idea of winning, of pushing through those fifty thousand words and putting them up on the website. There's something so satisfying about seeing the little word counter fill up.
But that won't be happening this year. I've accepted it. I could give excuses. I have work, I have family, and family and family.....  But that's not it.
No, it's that my story wants to do something else. It wants to be more than the simple if A happens, then B will happen and that will cause C story. It wants to require more thinking, and more careful writing. Sigh. Damn it. Careful writing is hard. So I've slowed down. I've added characters. I have even been thinking about putting some of it on this blog for you all to tell me what you think.

Narin unlocked his door and sat down on the couch, reaching for his acoustic guitar. He chorded it softly, fingers just ghosting whispers from the strings. He didn't want this, especially not now.
His fingers wandered to minor chords when he thought of James. He had a darkness all his own that Narin couldn't help wanting to save him from.
He barely noticed his fingers slowing, growing heavy. His eyelids began to close, despite his struggle to keep them open, and the paralysis in his fingers crept through his arms to the rest of his body til he felt as though he was made of stone. No, he thought, just barely able to keep his eyes slitted. The guitar was gently teased from his hands, and his narrow strip of sight was filled with his Lord's razor cut glass features.
It wore a beautiful human glamour. Somewhere in Narin's mind he thought that made perfect sense. It had dressed for the occasion. Narin tried to raise his arm to defend himself, but he couldn’t move now. “Don't.” he forced it out.
It spoke, voice like honey against Narin's skin. “Don't what? Don't hurt you? Don't retrieve my property? Special boy, cleverest pet, I can't do either of these things now.”
Narin saw the colors of it's words change from clover honey to thousand year old amber. His Lord leaned close enough to feel it's breath on his face. Narin tried to struggle, but he couldn't even scream.

So, Nano this year gave e stuff like that. I guess I can't really complain. Let me know what you think.

Monday, November 5, 2012


It's November, and I think we all know what that means. Yes, it's the beginning of the holiday retail season, and Nanowrimo. Two things that I don't really look forward to.

Why not? Well, holiday shopping makes me feel, as Charles De Lint says, "Laid low by an ill will." All I can really do is try not to make it my ill will. This year is my twentieth Christmas at the bookstore and the last few have been killers. But a day job's a day job, right? And if I had to sell shoes, or pet food, how much more awful would it be? At least this way I get to touch books.

And Nano? Well, it's November, isn't it? It's dark when you get up at four am to get your pages in. And cold, actually. So why do it? Because I need to finish things.  Because I need to get stuff done and moving out of my hard drive. Nano makes me crazy because of the pressure of a fake deadline, but it also gives me a goal that's out side of my head.

So let me tell you about my Nano project. Iron Moon. Werewolves and fairies. More later on that.  Because I should really get some words in....  Right?

Monday, October 22, 2012

First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys.

The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm. He came along the street of Green Town, Illinois, in the late cloudy October day, sneaking glances over his shoulder. Somewhere not so far back, vast lightnings stomped the earth. Somewhere, a storm like a great beast with terrible teeth could not be denied.
I just realized that this will be the first Halloween without Ray Bradbury, who died earlier this year. I have been thinking about him, because this autumn has been very much like the autumns we used to have. The leave began to flame as soon as October came. I wasn't prepared. Global warming, or climate shift, or both has me almost used to ninety degree temperatures in September, and made snow in winter a rarity.

This fall is different. It's been cold enough, of and on so that I've considered turning the heat on. Yes, you heard me. Heat. We've days and days of leaden skies and cold rains. The wind has knocked the color off the trees and made the front hall of my house moan at night.

At least I hope it's the wind.

We've had a Something Wicked This Way Comes autumn. In the book, Bradbury describes what a mid-western autumn looks like, smells like and feels like perfectly. Fall in this part of the country has a particular kind of light, low and slanted somehow, that makes everything look out of kilter, slightly dangerous. The small town that I grew up in always decorates its block-long Main Street for holidays. This year they tied corn stalks to the street lamps. And to the corn stalks, they tied scarecrows. I parked in front of the coffee shop, and looked up into the eyes of a scarecrow with a potato sack mask painted with a leering jack-o-lantern face, his arms spread wide. I found myself stepping as far out of his reach as I could. It just seemed like good sense.

In that low light, under the overcast sky, I had, just for a second,the feeling that the town was holding its breath, waiting for the storm. Waiting for Mister Dark to come strolling around the corner, carnival in tow.

It was like meeting up with an old friend, anticipation tinged with unease. So, of course, I thought of Ray Bradbury. I always picture him from the beginning of the old Ray Bradbury Theater TV show, in an office full of oddities; Martians and mummies lurking, sitting behind his desk, typing on an actual typewriter. And that's when I remembered, wait, oh no....

So I can't help thinking that this perfect, surreal, creepy fall is entirely for him, just to remind us, to say goodbye.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Just an update.

The reading went well. We had a small audience, but a good one. Each member of the workshop read well too. We had four vastly different stories which was great. There was a piece about knowing that there is something there in the dark that isn't in the light and going there anyway. Patricia read one about a woman who finds out what she must do to protect her child. Nancy's story was about being a child learning to be alone, and then not.
Mine? Well, you already know what mine was about.  Is about....  For the moment, anyway.  The big surprise there is that I am becoming fond of the story, which makes me feel a little good.
But, as I said, the reading, though small, was a success.  I hope that the next time (I'm still trying to decide if I want to do a next time), but the next time, there will be more people.  When I talk to other writers, I'm always surprised to hear that, yes, they're married, but no, their spouses (husbands, I've not really talked to many men who've said this) have never read anything they've written.  Maybe surprised is the wrong word. It makes me sad. How do you marry someone that you haven't met.  Because really? If you haven't read my work, you don't know me. 
But before you think I'm bashing men, let me say, that I don't believe that all husbands/partners are left out because they choose to be. I think that we, as writers are afraid of sharing, because what if the partner hates it?
I say it doesn't matter. I say you have to realize that your partner is not your editor, and thank him (okay, or her) for the effort. And keep asking them to make the effort. I don't think it's important for your partner/family/best friend to love your work to keep loving you. It's important that they appreciate it and support it. 
End of rant.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fiction Workshop Writer's reading

I didn't get as much done as I would have hoped on the Workshop story as I would have liked this last week, but I did have the privilege of having everyone in the Workshop edit the new stuff for me. That was very nice. We are going to give a reading of our works in progress next Tuesday. This should be interesting. When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for this thing, I tried to hit all the high points of short story writing. Well, all the ones I know about. I think we talked about most of them. We talked all the reasons to write short fiction, we talked about some of the approaches we can use to tell a story, point of view, character--even a little bit about plot. Then we talked about editing, and even a bit about publishing.

The very bottom of my list of things to talk about was readings. Everybody knows that in order to sell your words, occasionally, you have to read them in public. I think most writers have a love-hate relationship with preforming. On paper, sitting in the booth at your diner with your headphones in? Yeah, sure, that's the best. For me, that's when the writing sounds exactly how I want it to. In my head, each character has her own voice, and even the right soundtrack behind them.

Now, standing in front of group of people, with my story in my hand? That's completely different. I can't shake the feeling that I'm going to fail the story because I know I can't make it sound like it does in my head-like it does when people read in for themselves. I know it's just going to be me, standing in front of a bunch of people, and who wants to see that?

So why did I insist on the reading at the end of the Workshop? Because I know that it's important. As important as posting a blog each week, or advertising your latest publications on Facebook. Maybe even more. It's important to read your words to people, to build you audience. And, like everything, it's important to start where you're starting. So, if you're so inclined, come and give us a listen, okay?

Saturday, September 29, 2012


This is a new short story, or the beginning of a new short story that I'm working on for my workshop. It's a little bit out of my comfort zone.....  But not as far as I'd like. Oh well.  So, tell me what you think. I'm hoping that something happens in the story to explain the title, which I like, but don't know why yet.


I light a fresh cigarette off the butt of the dying one before crushing into the tray set in the door of the car. My companion's sigh is so complex at this that I don't bother with an attempt to divine it's true meaning. I simply take a long, cleansing drag and exhale the smoke out the window. I mask the sodden desperate air of the ruins we've left with the taste of nicotine, but it is only temporary. Since the war, every corner of Europe smells and feels like the sodden aftermath of a fire. The air is heavy with drown smoke, land with charred dirt.

As usual, Marcella begins the conversation in the middle. “He's such a reputation, you know, Albrecht. They say he's the devil.”

“If I was the devil, I wouldn't be holed up in a drafty old mansion in Scotland.” I murmur. I suppose I should be cheered by the breathtaking green of the rolling land we travel through. Perhaps not every corner of Europe has been blacked after all. But it is still bone cold. My hands ache from it, and it is as though I'm still in winter, no matter the season around me. Scotland could be no different.

Marcella smiles her cat-sharp smile and says, “I'm curious to see what you make of him.”

My eyebrow raises at her tone. “Is that all?”

“Herr Christian, whatever can you mean?” Behind her lilting teasing tone hides a bully. 

“I'm not your escort, Marcella, not really. I know that. I want you to stop playing with me and tell me what my task will be once we arrive.”

“You're no fun at all, Albrecht, are you? I told you, we were invited. To watch you puzzle him out, what more could I want?”

She snuggles against me, and I feel my own body steal warmth from hers. Warmth, and nothing more. I shan't ever dare feed from Marcella, the only being alive that knows my secret. She is as precious to me as she is repulsive. 

Our relationship started as business. I was cast adrift by war, my family's fortune had crumbled, and I was on the street as a young man. Marcella was a seller of such young men.

In time, as I became aware of my special talent, she also became aware. And she saw an opportunity where I only saw a monster. 

Yes. I am the monster in this tale. I was the Prince, when I was very young, but survival made me a monster. 

Macella gives another sigh, this one more contented. “You may as well close your eyes, Leibling, it's a bit farther.”

But I don't. I don't need sleep, not when I'm well fed, and the boy I had in the hotel last night was sufficient to see me through. I can feel him in my blood, my skin, but I can not remember what he looked like now. Sometimes they come back to me, angry, or still in love, or pitiful and sad, but he did not seem so sorry to give me his life. Perhaps he was looking for darkness. 

He had nothing in his pockets for Marcella, which did not please her. I feel the rhythms of her body slow, her muscles slacken and I smoke my cigarette to the filter, and then another, and another, watching the beautiful, lush green of the countryside spin by. I play my favorite game with myself, wondering what I would have been if it had been this land that had shaped me, and not the ravaged fortunes of Austria. It is a useless endeavor, since I am the hard and dark creature I am, and will never be changed, but it passes the time. 

“Your first time to the Loch, then?” 

I start, and it takes me a split second to realize the driver is speaking to me. I take my eyes from the scenery. “Yes. First time. It's beautiful here.”

He gives a snort. “It's an evil place.”

“Because of Herr-Mr. Crowley's activities?” I prompt. For all I pretend indifference, I'm a bit interested after all. It's so rare to find evil instilled in another. Most evil I've found is imposed upon men. I begin to allow myself to wonder if this “Devil” could be....

“What? Him? Playin' dress up and buggerin' anything that wanders by?” Another snort. “Faker, that one is. No, sir. The real evil's in the land, in the water. It's black as pitch.”

My scalp prickles, the sunlight outside fails, curtained by a thick gray cloud. “Everyone has heard the story of the monster in the Loch, yes.” I smile, just a fraction. “But no one truly believes such things in this day and age, surely.”

“Have it your own way.” the man retorts. 

Rain begins to spatter the windshield and I roll up my window. We take a turn off the main road to a narrower one, that is barely wide enough for the car. The ruts jounce Marcella awake again and she stretches prettily. “Goodness, that was a lovely nap.” She leans forward to speak close to the driver's ear. “We're nearly there, then?”
“Yes, Miss.”

She grins at me now. “Perhaps we'll go straight down to the Loch. They say it's ever so much more likely to see the monster in the rain.”

Despite everything, I begin to relax. Was the monster her real interest? Was that too much to hope? I feel myself leaning in that direction anyway. I let my smile become less guarded. “Marcella, won't you ruin your dress?”

“Be adventurous, Albrecht.” She giggles and it's such a foreign sound from Marcella that I start a bit. She is still playing with me, and I steel myself, determined not to fall into the game. If she would only stop using me as a tool, I think, before I can stop it. To wish Marcella different is as useless as wishing it for myself. 

We turn into a graveled courtyard. There is a fountain in the middle that only holds rain water, and the house, a lodge of sorts, sprawls around the drive.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday's regrets

The workshop went really well, last night, and we had more writers, which was exciting. I love the different things each writer brings to the table. I am excited to see their stories take shape as we talk and write.  The only thing I wish I could have done better was to explain the difference between description that only describes and description that evokes. I thought I had all the words down in my mind, but I'm pretty sure I didn't do a good enough job of it. I'm hoping we can talk about it again in the next session. Using words to describe things that have no words? Arrg.  You see what I mean. It's not really an exact science. I'll obviously have to think about this more.

Anyway, as promised, here's my ten minute timed writing from last night.  This one's a little more guided than the last one, and you may recognize the characters. Yes, I've decided to take the plunge. The story I'll be working on is a Ziggy story.

The sweat collected under the guitar strap across Asia's back as they waited. Even poor Gilli's Flock of Seagulls hair had melted into a sodden pile on his head. What was it, a hundred and five out here?

Weird and Ziggy were unaffected. Weird was propped against a wall, eyes closed, hands on his guitar, light, waiting, like he was in cryo-freeze. Not far from t he truth, Asia thought. And Ziggy stood behind the thin curtain. Bone white against his black jeans and the dark curtain. He looked like ice, his face as perfect as a Nagel girl, like a music video that hadn't been made yet.

Yep, sorry. We picked a painting from the gallery and wrote down three words we got from looking at it.  Mine were Patrick Nagel, girlfriend and heat.  yeah, I'm still working on the girlfriend part.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award!

 Wow, really. Thank you to Cemetery Travel: Adventures in Graveyards Around The World for nominating me for this award. And look, I managed to actually put the link in and everything. Does that get me extra points for being all tech savvy? I didn't think so.  Anyway, for those of you who don't know, Cemetery Travel is Loren Rhoads' blog. In addition to being one of my best and oldest friends, Loren knows pretty much everything about graveyards. I always find her blog fascinating.  You all should check it out..
Now, as for the Sunshine Award, here are the rules:
Include the award logo in a blog post.
Answer the 10 questions about yourself.
Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers. Link your nominees to this post and comment on their blogs, letting them know about the award. (I will nominate everyone I can think of, but I'm not sure that will equal 10!)
Share the love and link the person that nominated you.
10 Questions
1. What would you most like to change about yourself?
I'd like to feel that I was more of a grown up. I would like not to feel like I'm faking it all the time.
2. What's your theme song?
 Oh, easy. Life On Mars? This video is from the Serious Moonlight tour--where I most likely heard it the first time.

3. What are you passionate about?
Fiction. I know, that sounds sort of...  pretentious. but it's honest. Fiction is my religion. I think we can explain and understand anything through a good story. I know it's the only way my life's made any sense at all.
4. What generation do you wish you had been a part of?
Of course, I wish it was still the '80's, but I'm not sure I'd want to live in an earlier time. Possibly the Victorian era, but only if I could be a pretty boy.
5. What was your favorite childhood toy?
Maybe this shouldn't be difficult, but it is....  I did love my dolls. I liked the ones with big dresses and lots of hair the best.
6. What is your favorite household chore?
Humm.  None. Well, if I had to choice, dishes.  There's something calming about dishes.  And I always think I can feel the ghost of my first cat Ziggy sitting on my foot when I stand at the sink.
7. Do you twitter?
No. I mean, I try periodically, but I'm not good at it.
8. Any goals?
I've got a lot of goals, but... Well, I'm teaching a writing workshop now, I'd like that to become a regular thing. Also, I'd like to get some damn books published.
9. What is your favorite time of year?
Fall. I love the smell.
10. What is your favorite day?
I like Sunday mornings. Usually I'm not working, so I get to write. I like to get up early and sit on my back porch with my notebook.
My Nominations:
Echoes from the Depths
The Snarky Chickpea
Kacey Vanderkarr
Philip Brewer

So, I didn't get to ten.  That just means I need to read more blogs, right? The Internet is a new and amazing place. I'm still learning.



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ten minutes

As promised, here's my ten minute timed writing from the first session of the writing workshop I'm doing. Remember the rules. It's ten minutes of continuous writing of whatever falls out of your head. You're not allowed to pick up your pen, and if you get stumped, you repeat the prompt.  Our prompt was "I remember." The only thing I asked was that it not be an actual memory.  Here's mine.

I remember the purple of his eyes. Like forget-me-nots. Are forget-me-nots even purple? I don't really know. But when I see him, when I close my eyes, that's what his eyes are for me. Purple, pleading forget-me-nots.

And I haven't. Can't. Usually it's a dream and usually my dream is ultra-sharp image of reality--a tape loop in my head.

It's Sean, looking back at me, over one alley-cat shoulder, eyes saying don't.

Wish I hadn't, I guess I wish there had been some way out of it, but he made his mistakes and I had learned from him.

After I pulled the trigger, my ears rang--the room was too small to contain the sound. And when he fell, he spun, landed face up, and one purple eye left, staring forget-me-nots at me.

I remember thinking how long? Have they left me here on purpose, as I waited. Am I for the cops? Just when I had made peace with that, with a trial, a prison term, or maybe not, maybe becoming a loose thread to cut, they came for my.

Yep. Doesn't make a lick of sense, but there it is.  Part of the deal is that you read it after you write it, so I thought I'd inflict mine on everybody. Look for whatever escapes my head after next week's session.
So, again, my friend Kacey Vandercarr, who is just now waiting for her first book, Antithisis, to come out (very exciting, no?), has tricked me into this game thingie.  This time you're supposed to answer these questions about what you're working on.  Sigh. Oh---kay. Following Kacey's example, I won't tag anybody.  I'll just suggest they join in.....
What is the working title of your book?
Iron Moon
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Two places, probably more, actually, but I'll share two. This is a piece that fits into the history of a family living in a pack of werewolves, so the wolves are all characters I've met before. And the inspiration for my version of faerie comes from one of my favorite authors, John Connelly. In one of his books, he talks about this world being a honey comb world, the ground we walk on is only the crust, and beneath our feet is hollow.  Sorry, Mr Connelly, you're stuff is too good.  It wouldn't get out of my head.
What Genre?.
Contemporary Fantasy
Who would play your characters in a movie?
Yeah, I'm old, you know, and I have no TV, so I'm pretty clueless about that. My best guesses won't include pictures because I can't figure out how to make them stick.  But Gary Dourdan (I think that's how you spell it) for Narin--but a bit younger, and Tom Hiddleston for James, but older, and without the dark contacts from Loki.  If anybody else has any suggestions, I'm open. 
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Right now? It's a story about what happens when you can't run anymore.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither, that's my guess.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I predict it will take about 8 months, all told.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I recommend this novella to anyone who enjoys Holly Black, Charles De Lint, or Christopher Rice.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Oh, Wait, didn't we already talk about this?  Well, as I said, John Connelly. But also, one of the things I keep coming back to in my writing, is living a hidden life, and the consequences of that. 
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There's plenty of werewolf smackdown action, evil fairy intrigue, and, oh yes, romance.  
Okay, that was pretty hard. But a good exercise, I think. And seriously, I can use some help with the casting......

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Short Stories

So, I'm about to start teaching a workshop on short fiction. (Tuesday, Sept 11th is the first session, by the way, if you find yourself interested in short stories).

What was I saying? Oh, short stories. I love short stories. To read, certainly, but especially to write.  No, nobody ever gets rich writing them, but there is an elegance to a peice that is under twenty pages, a control that most  of us never get in a novel. You can watch every word, make sure that they're all perfect. It's also a place to take chances. To paraphrase David Bowie, who was, I think paraphrasing Brian Eno, short stories are the place you can crash your plan and walk away from it. Take those chances, write the unwriteable story, talk about things that scare you, try on new styles, and perspectives. Go on. You've got twenty pages to work with.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Game Kacey Made Me Play

Okay, so here's the thing.  My friend Kacey dragged me into this.  She tagged me in a game called "Look". Yep, so you search for the word Look in your wip and stick that and the surrounding paragraphs onto your blog. Okay, well, my paragraphs can be kinda short so here's a hunk of stuff. And yep, it's from Iron Moon, just for you Kacey. 

“James, c'mon.” Narin leaned his forehead against the glass. “You don't know me. You don't even know what I look like.”

James saw the glow of green eyes in Narin's reflection. He saw the twist of the black chain appear at the nape of his neck.

“I know what you look like exactly.” James joined him at the window. “I can see you right now. And you've seen me. What did you tell me when I tried to use that as an excuse to stop this?”

“It's not the same.” Narin insisted. 

“No.” James admitted. “No. I'm a monster. I'm just the wolf you need to protect you.”

Narin turned, eyes flashing. “Don't get in it's way when it comes. Promise me that.”

James kissed him again instead. Because it was better than lying.

Okay, there you go.  I am supposed to tag other people in the game, There are two things wrong with this. One: I don't know how to tag people, and also, I don't know many other people.  So...  um, Hey, Loren?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Writing Workshop!

Yes, it's really going to happen.  I'm going to teach a workshop on writing fiction this fall.  I will be concentrating on short stories, but I welcome people who have only worked with long fiction as well. Using short stories as a learning experience is certainly a way to increase the writing skills you have in your tool box. Charles DeLint talks about the short story as the perfect place for experimentation, or as Brian Eno once said of music "It's the only place you can crash your plane with out getting hurt." Or something like that.

Over the course of six Tuesdays beginning the second Tuesday of September, we will cover:
     The anatomy of a short story, how long, how short, etc.
     How to grow your idea into a story with a beginning, middle and an end,
     Plot, character, setting.
     Point of view
     Writing exercises to get your pen moving.
     A reading at the end for friends and family to hear your very best parts.  I'll even bring the  humus      and tea!

So there you have it. I will be holding all this at the Elms Gallery in Flushing (see the flier above, and be impressed that I actually got it onto the blog).  There are ten spots available as of now.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A little catch up

So far it's been a pretty busy summer. In May we went to Wiscon, which, after missing it for three years, was great. I learned so much and collected so many story ideas it's hard for me to concentrate on what i'm supposed to be working on! It was also great to get out of my life for five days. It was hot, the food was amazing, and the panels were non stop. 

This fall I will be doing a writing workshop at the Elms Gallery in Flushing. It will start on the second Tueseday of September and run for 6 weeks. I will post all the details as I have them, but I really looking forward to it!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I belong to a writer's group that has been in existence, in one for or another for more than seventy years. It's true. It started, as a group of women, meeting in living rooms. They read and critiqued, all aloud. 

In the eighties, when I joined, meetings were being held in a church. They were still reading to each other.  I thought all the stories were amazing, and I couldn't understand how they all found things to critique. Everything each member read sounded so perfect. Except when it came to reading my work. As a teenager everything I wrote was, well.. Teen aged. I loved every word of my Warriors meets Diamond Dogs meets Time Square influenced short stories. Stories that no grown up should have to suffer through.

They did, though. Suffered through all of the awkward adolence-ness of my beginning writing, and made them into lessons for me. They taught me how to set a scene up, taught me how to describe things. (you can't have him open a refrigerator before you tell me it's there). They showed me the importance of verb choice. And, most importantly, they let me develop a critical ear.

It took time, but eventually, I began to hear what they heard.  All those little burrs, and big ones, in the rough drafts we dealt with. I could pick them out of my work, as well as other's. Because the truth is, there's a rhythm to fiction, a rhythm that you can't see with the eye.

The ladies that welcomed me into the group are gone now. The group itself was in danger of completely dissolving. It was hard for me, because I've been spoiled. It doesn't do me any good to read to an empty room.  No, now, after twenty-odd years, I need to hear my words up against an audience. I need to feel the moment I lose them before I can fix it.

Then one day, another member of the group called me. She and I are the last of the old breed, really, the only ones that remember the "originals", or at least the ladies that were there when I started. She said she was writing, and that she wanted to get together again. I was eager to agree. I didn't know how much I missed it until she said, "I miss hearing the stories."

Me too.  Now we meet at Baker College. We are small, but steady. We are a handful of diehards, and some new members. I'm excited at the prospect of new stories, and new rhythms.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Look outside

It's finally really truly winter. I had very little hope for snow on New Years day--it was forty three degrees and rainy. In Michigan, that's wrong.  I'm not really a fan of the cold, but I do love snow.  There's a fierceness to the sunlight in January and February that you just don't find in warm places.  When there's snow on the ground it's not even dark at night. 

Last year the snow was heavy and plentiful.  There was so much snow that my back yard was nearly filled up to the top step of the porch. Last year was the first year since I moved out of my parent's house that my Mother didn't call me to tell me to "Look outside." I used to look forward that little tradition, even though the older you get, I'd discovered, the less you really like snow. 

The morning after that first snow, I waited, but she didn't call.  I watched the flakes cover my neighborhood all morning from my kitchen, but she didn't call.  Finally, I called her, and said, "Look outside."

"Oh," she said. "It's snowing.  Now everything will be harder."
In hindsight, I probably should have known what she meant by that. When I think of the last few months of my Mom's life, there are a million things that I probably should have known.  She passed on her love of winter to me, and of snow, but she'd forgotten it this last year.  She only thought about how much harder it would be to get around in the snow, and the cold. I tried to talk her out of it, because I didn't want to think things would change. "You love winter. Just look at the snow.  It's beautiful this morning."

So I took this picture, and some others for her, so she didn't have to go outside to see it. 

I miss my Mom, which I know is to be expected. I suspect she was ready to go when she did, but that didn't mean I was.  It didn't mean that this morning when woke up I didn't wait for her to call me.