Monday, January 30, 2012

Another Navajo Day: It's All Material

Friday January 28 on the Rez, Chinle, AZ.

Can't resist the swap meet where I find anything from jewelry, to a bale of hay, to our patio table, my cowgirl boots, that axe handle we well just about anything whether I need it or not.

Lucky to hear about this sweat. Led by Navajo traditional healer trained in the Lacota way. Pitch black, hot and steamy. I hear the hiss of water on seven hot rocks one for each of the seven grandfathers, the wind sings outside, a raven caws. Inside we honor the four directions, share and give thanks. Sage scented steam coats my body.
Finally getting that third rug off the loom. The weaving is tuff going near the top. Tiny space, fat fingers...Can't wait to warp and begin a new project using all I have learned from my mistakes.
A walk to the west on the mesa, into the sunset with my rez rescue companion.

Not much writing? It's all material.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Stuff I Collect: Earrings

Putting me in the Southwest is like putting an addict in a crack house. I have a combined 8 piercings in my two ears and I love earrings, especially ethnic style earrings, long dangling earrings, beaded, sliver, paper, shells. I even have a pair made out of stones.

I make sure I buy myself a new pair for Christmas. The perfect souvenir when traveling? A new pair of earrings. I have even been know to buy a pair I already have...can you say regift?

I have lost a single earring of more pairs than I can count. I keep the lone earring thinking the other will show up...sometimes it does. In the meantime I wear mix and match.

I cannot say that they exactly inspire but I will admit to having to have the right pair of earrings on before I say... sit down to write alone in the house by myself(I don't think the dog notices) to cook dinner(I don't think my husband notices). You get the idea: addiction.

Even with 8 holes in my ears I have more earrings than any one person would ever wear in a year. So I decorate the walls with my jewelry.

Sorting out my earrings is always on my todo list.

I cannot honestly say that my earring collection has inspired my writing yet but look what talented writer friend Leslie Davis Guccione did in her book Borrowed Baby:

He turned to the brunette who had just stepped aside to let them pass. Karen Holland. Her recognized her face, remembered the wild, naturally curly hair pulled back in barrettes at her temples. He glanced at her earrings~~handcrafted, small bits of brass.

..."Remember? We also talked about the piece I wrote on Haiti." She waved her multi-ringed left hand and laughed.

"You disappeared... I swear I tried to call you the next week."
"Malawi. Remember? I was off to Africa. Human interest stuff for Peace Corps article..."
..."Wearing more rings than ever..."
"Engaged, actually. Will Stevens one of the Pittsburgh Peace Corps doctors I went over to interview."

I am delighted to be the model with the earrings for this book...and right there in my ears ...handcrafted, small bits of brass.

Check out Leslie and her latest bestThe Chick Palace seller at : WORDS@WORK: She tucked her ribbed tee... into graffiti-design cropped pants

I can say that I was NOT the inspiration for this story but I can guess a few friends who might be. ;-). And I have actually been in the Chick Palace.

In the meantime I have to go sort earrings. OR maybe head to the local swap meet, or the driving lot of the local grocery store. A drive to the rim of Canyon de Chelly... all right outside my door and guaranteed to offer a selection of new earrings. ;-) and a great way to procrastinate. But first I have to go put on the right pair(or pairs) of earrings.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interview with the Author...ME!

Last week I reveled in connections with the ancients on canyon walls.

Today I am back to connecting in cyberspace.

Check out the interview posted at:

Thanks to Angie for giving me the opportunity.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Remembering Haiti

Thinking about Haiti and all of our friends there. Once you know Haiti you cannot forget.

This poem comes from my chapbook VOICES RISE AND FALL, HAITI POEMS, published by Students in the graduate program in creative writing at Chatham University.


The sky is blue.

The earth begins to shake,

you tremble and bounce

like brightly colored beads

in the braided hair of the girl walking

Before you can think,

your house has fallen down.

The girl has disappeared

in clouds of gray dust

you cannot breath

in the sudden dark, black like night,

your family is missing,

or trapped, or dying, or dead or gone,

your mother, your father your child.

There is no air

no food no water.

All the people

crawling over rubble.

The maggots crawl on rotting flesh,

Calling your name

your grandmother two floors below

don’t be afraid of death,

her whispers fade, to silence

a voice you do not understand,

claws the cracks with fingers

coming to get you.

Calling you.

Bon Dieu is calling you

until you can no longer hear,

until they bulldoze

you into a grave.

The earth trembles again.

Three colored beads shiver

on shattered cement.

The singing in the streets;

Praise to God and Haiti.

Singing in the streets!

Because that is all that is left,

how you will survive

this day.

Walk and sing and sing.

You sing until your throat is raw.

Until you can no longer speak.

Blood spills from your lips.

You sing and no one will hear

And still you sing.

They call it looting,

You have not eaten for two days

or maybe three. Four. Five. Six.

But you are used to that.

They shoot you in the street when you take

some water, a sack of rice.

You sleep in the street

and the earth shakes again.

And again. The earth will never.

Stop. Shaking.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More about Resolutions for a Better Writing Life

In my last blog about New Years resolutions I made it simple...
Eat less
Write more.

But in my experience it takes a few weeks into the New Year, after the holiday settles, to reflect and consider the challenges of the coming weeks and months. For example I am still eating more because we have been on vacation. Writing less with the same excuse...vacation time.

However upon further reflection I realize I forgot to add, "Read More" to my list of resolutions. BUT does reading count as writing time? Probably, if it is for research but then the definition of research can be just reading in the genre for which I am writing count as research? Possibly.

Another resolution I have considered adding to the short list is: LESS FACE BOOK time. While reading FB is well...yes...reading, it is also huge time suck thus detracting from writing time.

The only reason I joined FB in the first place, 4 years ago was to keep track of my last born who was off to India. He setup the account for me suggesting this was the best way to see his photographs. In the end he was never near an internet that allowed for him to post photographs and I ended up with...well let me check....166 friends by current count. I mean I had to friend my other three children, daughter-in-laws, real friends, distant relatives, virtual friends. After that things got out of control.

The real problem is that I spend and average of 23 1/2 minutes of valuable writing time stalking my son. Recently his posts do not automatically show up on my newsfeed. This is alarming because I suspect he may have changed his settings to eliminate his mother from his private life...or is this just the result of all the new FB formatting? Add several minutes of nervous reflection since I must consider, whether ANYONE is receiving or reading MY posts. A writer is supposed to have many friends reading and responding to posts which in theory should make said writer rich and famous.

I feel the need to check up on my youngest daily because once in a while he implies he has no friends which leads me to believe he may be unhappy or somehow I check his wall. He has 524 friends and there are 967 photos of him. This looks pretty good to me so I can relax...except there are people out there with say 1070 friends. Still in my mind there is a problem with too many friends so I'm OK with this. He must at least be average on the friends scale. He has after all more friends that his mom has.

But then I can't ignore that fact that there are many comments on FB referring to my son as Party Dad. What does THIS mean? Should I worry? I spend too much writing time trying to find out if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

On the other hand I note many pithy posts referring and sending the reader to obscure memes (I learned this word from my son... while stalking him on FB). I feel like this is a good thing putting him on the intellectual scale above much of the FB posts I see out there.

Still...I must worry about his time management skills. Would he be less anxiety ridden about the upcoming finals if he spent less time ranting about how he hates pennies and posting articles about discontinuing the penny. I might agree with this but wonder what will bring good luck if we get rid of pennies...and perhaps I should pay more attention because I do not think anyone has written a children's book or a poem about the demise of the penny. 2012 I still resolve to Eat Less and Write More. I hope to read more too. FACE BOOK? Unfriend everyone or make new friends? My son is off to New Zealand, you can bet I will have to stalk him down under..and maybe write that book about pennies. A word to all his what you post in the New Year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT -------- Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction: Many Genres One Craft Wins First Place at London Book Festival

Great news in the New Year...I have two articles in this unique guide to writing popular fiction. Just found out that Many Genres, One Craft won first place for nonfiction at the London Book Fair.

Many thanks to the editors Heidi and Mike for the concept, time and work they put into this publication. Thanks for inviting me to be a part of this project.

Bravo to Seton Hill writers and instructors!

See the link below:

MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT -------- Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction: Many Genres One Craft Wins First Place at London Book Festival