Category Archives: Writing



Writing is hard

Bringing characters you love

Into the world and creating their story

And then sending them out into

The world to be judged

And when the feedback is

Tough it feels like



Giving up

On the characters

And their story

And the kids who you

Pictured reading the story



And then deciding

If you’re brave enough

To try again

And again

And again

Like your characters do

Like the kids who will read

Your story do

And you decide that you


Brave enough

And begin to write




Reading the Sky


It’s year two of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for me. This guy had this crazy idea of writing a novel in one month, fifty thousand words. And now it’s grown into a worldwide event. People carve out time each day in November to write, write and then write some more. As of this morning Austin WriMos are getting close to the million word mark. Is that awesome or what? It’s freeing to be told to just write. As much as you can. And not worry about what you’re writing. Seventeen thousand words in and my story has totally gone off the rails. There’s a twenty something year old who was paralyzed in an accident and a monkey helper (think service dog but monkey). There’s a fantasy thread about a two foot high Dragonfly Girl whose best friend is a hawk. All of a sudden I have a photojournalist at a hospice in Zululand South Africa. I have no idea where this story is going, but it’s going. And that’s what matters for NaNoWriMo.

When I get stuck and think, ‘I really don’t have any words left in me,’ it helps to think of all of the other people doing NaNoWriMo. Sitting at home, in coffee shops or sneaking a little time at work (not me of course!). I picture all of those words filling the sky like stars. At night I can lie down on the grass and read the sky. And maybe borrow some of those words others have written when I get stuck. Shining up there in the dark I see salty, depressed, eggplant, serendipitous, great grandpa, overthrown, purpose, dignified, dangerous, flying, baby, violent, soul, create, mine, officer, persnickety, birthday, dragon, leaves, tender, spaghetti, options.

Thank you for letting me find inspiration in all of your words, writers. Now I must go because I just realized I have written three hundred words that will not count toward my NaNoWriMo word count!

Words Fly Free


“Your feelings really shine through when you’re sleeping,” is what I think I just heard a woman say. I’m not sure whom she was talking to. I’m sitting in a big comfy, if ugly and worn, chair in a bookstore. Someone has pulled it up to the window and I sit, my large coffee perched on the windowsill. Out the window I have a view of a parking lot full of cars and people heading into stores to do a little holiday shopping. A big wreath and little lights decorate the plaza. I wonder if my chair will be in the way of fellow bookstore shoppers. I look behind me to the nearest shelves, which are labeled Engineering and Mathematics. I feel like this might not be the busiest section unless you’re looking for The Art of Welding or Linear Algebra for Dummies. I kick off my shoes and tuck my feet up under me. Quiet music is playing in the background and I make myself at home. Now time to write. What should I write about? I will these books to share their author’s creativity with me. I wonder how many words sit on all of these shelves. And are they trapped in their book until someone opens it and begins to read. I picture people in the store opening a book and a swirl of words floating out to make the air fill like a freak snowstorm. But instead of flakes–the, and, cathedral, ubiquitous, serenity, freakish, beyond, catnip, lost, grand, understood, rare, shine, develop, braise, forest– words fly free.

Found Words


I’m an urban anthropologist. I love to find scraps and letters and notes that have been dropped or discarded. I wonder about the people who dropped them and think about their lives.

In a rain soaked Dunkin Donuts parking lot, I saw a lined piece of paper with crayon writing. My hands were full of coffee and donuts and I didn’t pick it up. I wonder if it was a note from a little boy to his mom, “Love you mommy, have a good day.” Or it could have been a note from an angry driver who after noticing someone parked too close to him, found a broken crayon under his seat and wrote, “Hey jerk, learn to park!” and left it under the offenders windshield wiper.

I found a TECh service desk job description for a school. Did this person just get the job or did they go to the interview and it didn’t go well?

A found report card makes me wonder if the child “lost” it on purpose.

I have similar questions and make up stories about all of these:

Hospital cleaning checklist

Housemate add

Mental health clinic appointment card

The most recent note I found was on a post-it with purple marker writing. It said, “Show everyone my awesome braces.”

These found words that represent a moment of life ignite my imagination.


Purple Peeps and Danielle Steel


Am I the only one who constantly makes up stories about people? I feel like Steve Carell and Tina Fey in the movie Date Night when they sit in a restaurant and make up wacky conversation for the other couples dining out. I drive my husband crazy sometimes when we’re out to dinner because he’ll be talking to me and I’m totally distracted because I’m eavesdropping and coming up with a whole made up scenario about people. And it’s not just at restaurants. I recently saw a woman checking out at the grocery store with purple Peeps and a Danielle Steel book. My imagination ran away…


Esther, that was what I decided her name was, lives alone with her cat Frank. Her children are all grown and off in the world leading their own lives as are her many grandchildren. She has had a busy life raising her family on her own and working as a Vegas Showgirl. Now she likes to curl up in front of her fire with Frank and a cup of tea and read Danielle Steel while eating purple Peeps. She lets them get a little bit stale first because they taste better that way when she dips them in her tea. Esther is in her 70’s but still remembers her showgirl days fondly and still has the legs to prove it, if she does say so herself. When I saw her at the grocery store, her family had just left after a long visit and she was so excited to stock up and enjoy her guilty pleasures in peace and quiet.


So you never know when I might be lurking, making up stories about you and your dinner conversation or shopping purchases. I hope you don’t mind, because I just can’t help myself.

Shared Images 2


In the middle of January, my mom and I were both feeling a bit tired of winter. We decided to do a shared project about Bleak Midwinter and make it as depressing as we could, just revel in the bleakness! So I wrote, she painted and here are our results. Somehow a little sneaky hopeful light seeped in to both of them though. You just never know what will happen when you start to explore an image. So feel free to share your Bleak Midwinter project in your own creative spirit of dance, photography, music, sculpture or any other path your muse may lead you down!


Bleak Midwinter


Dismal grey sky, so ugly

Dirty snow, full of germs

Smell of someone’s fireplace, I don’t have one

Dogs pulling me on the icy sidewalk, undoubtedly fall

Black crows, poop all over

Lost mitten, frostbit fingers

Behind stupid salt truck, late for work

Kids sledding, probably get a concussion


Sun comes out, feels kind of nice

Hot cup of coffee, tastes pretty good

Lit Christmas tree, I suppose it’s festive

Soft blanket, I guess it’s cozy

Lit candles, a bit relaxing

A little-less-dreary Midwinter?





Shared Images


I recently saw an image that has stuck with me and I wished I could draw it. Then I realized I could write it. Then my brain started thinking about all of the way images can be represented and shared. Through paining, drawing, writing, music, acting, dancing and others. And I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to take one image and ask people to represent it in their own creative way?’ So I would like to share this image with you in my writing and invite you to illustrate it  through your own creative spirit, in whatever form that may take.


My car is waiting

At a red light


Across the city street

A brick building


Through a bottom window

The glow of a TV


Sending out a hopeful light

Onto the dark street


Where a woman

Is illuminated


As she waits at the bus stop

Looking in at the TV


And now there are

Strangers who are


Sharing an experience

They don’t even realize


A moment of light

Connecting them in the darkness