Sunday, February 28, 2010

Just Searching for a Friend

Sunday morning breakfast was heaven. But I was not yet ready to go home. Should I go right and hit the nature center for a quick walk? A little exercise would be good for me, but nah… not today. I was about to turn left and drive home when another option popped into my head. Books! There was a Barnes and Nobles close by. I really can’t afford to buy books right now, but maybe I could find something cheap in the bargain books. And even if I didn’t buy anything, it was always comforting to just be in the presence of so many books.

A favorite author becomes like an old friend. A familiar voice speaks as you open the cover and read the opening paragraph. It is a comfort as you curl up on the couch under a blanket and become reacquainted. Today I really needed to find one of my old friends. I had nothing in mind to buy, but I knew I would find something.

But as I walked up to the store I glanced at the display window, stopped short and almost left. It was filled with Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. I cringed, no friends of mine… I blocked them from my mind and went inside. I wandered about looking at the new selections. Checked out the tech books and mentally reminded myself of my plan to teach myself html coding. What was I thinking when I bought that book? *sigh*

I turned the corner and headed towards a display table. It was there I found a friend; Wally Lamb,“The Hour I First Believed.”

Many years ago I bought my first Wally Lamb book solely from the title,“She’s Come Undone.” It was reflective of me and my life at the time. I am certain it was neither the first time nor the last, that I bought a book because I liked the title. I have also bought books because I liked the cover, particularly if the cover is green. So keep that in mind should you ever want me to buy your book.

I continued to meander through the store, but nothing really caught my eye. So I planned to do a quick check of the shelves containing the bargain books. It was there that I spotted another friend, Anne LaMott. The book I found was “Grace (Eventually).”

LaMott is a relatively new friend for me. I was introduced to her last year in my creative writing class. It was one of the few bright spots in that class. I had taken the class thinking it would be my easy class. I was also taking a required math class that semester. As I have a math phobia, I needed something to balance it out. Oh was I wrong. Math was the class I enjoyed. Creative writing sucked! I have never felt more uncreative in my life.

In a way, Anne Lamott saved me in that class. LaMott’s “Bird by Bird” was required reading. I was trying too hard to be perfect. She enlightened me to the fact that “shitty first drafts” are acceptable and in fact necessary. With that in mind, I plunged forward and managed to write the required weekly “shitty first draft.” Getting through the revisions and subsequent rewrites were a little more traumatic, but I survived intact.

The LaMott book that I found was “Grace (Eventually).” The content doesn’t really matter as I trust the friend will not disappoint. I can’t wait to curl up on the couch and open the cover to the first page.

Speak to me dear friend...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Trapped by Compulsion

I greet you with a smile.

" Hello!"

You stare at me for several long seconds.

Recognition first appears in your eyes.

You suddenly see "me."

A slow smile fills your face.

"Hello Mary!"

A hug quickly follows.

"You give the best hugs!" say I.

"I miss you Mary!"

"I miss you too!"


Your day is filled with routine acts, some followed compulsively,

others not so much.

But, don't upset the routine!

I know that, but I sometimes become frustrated.

There is need to hurry you with a task that cannot wait.

But wait, it must.

Your time and mine are sometimes on different planes.


Sometimes you appear trapped by your compulsions.

I cannot break it's grip.

I left you closing your blinds before retiring.

When I return much later you are still opening, then closing the blinds.

I am at a loss.

What can I do?

Then I ask a question.

"Can I have a hug?"

My arms open wide, inviting you in.

You stare at me for several long seconds,

then turn into my outstretched arms.

I tell you again, in all honesty.

"You give the best hugs!"

You smile at me with eyes that are now bright, knowing and simply reply.


* First published September 2007 at Republished here in response to a post by Becky Sain on her blog "First Pages"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter Surprise

I have always felt that no artist can truly do justice to the beauty nature provides. Try as they might to capture the essence of the scene, they will never capture the emotion that seeing it in the flesh evokes.

After working a ten hour overnight shift, I was transfixed on my commute home. The beauty almost overwhelmed my senses. The tree limbs and branches where painted a delicate white, set against a gray sky. The sun, already high in the sky, seemed unable to break through the mist.

Tired though I was, I drove home for my camera and gave it my best effort.

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