Photo Freewrite: Week 40/41

10/1/20 Of course the trees don’t really talk to me. Not in English. Not in cedar, maple or magnolia either. It’s just a way to fill up the awkward silence that first arises at a reunion of forgotten kin. 10/2/20 Ferns, waving me closer against all precautions. 10/3/20 I went to take a picture of... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite: Week 38/39

9/16/20 The punk rock kids across the street still sit on their front steps and smoke. The builders rebuilding the burnt down house across the street still nail and paint. But clients call and cancel, unable to step outside to get the mail. And I only duck out for thirty seconds at a time to... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite: Week 36/37

9/2/20 Mushrooms are an excuse. Going in, I didn’t care if I found any. Going out, my empty hands were free for moss and bark. 9/3/20 In the midst of all this dry and pale, red demands its due. 9/4/20 This is so much better than the picture I thought I was taking. A dahlia... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite: Week 34/35

8/21/20 With so much on fire, it’s nice to see something soft and green take over. 8/22/20 There’s a jewel in the center. But it’s not the prize. Let’s maze our way there slowly and make plenty of mistakes. 8/23/20 I picked these flowers from my yard. All the others I’ve picked have faded in... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite: Week 32/33

8/6/20 In the middle of the afternoon broil, the shadows revealed themselves as beautiful monsters licking coolness onto my feet. Overnight, they turned themselves into rain clouds. 8/7/20 I just liked the flower and didn’t see the wasp at first. Neither seemed to care For my visit. 8/8/20 The police turned into riot police a... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite- Week 30/31

7/23/20 My friend’s conservative aunt in Austin asked him how he was doing with worry in her voice. She’d seen Portland on tv. He asked her how she was doing in retort, having seen Texas on tv. 7/24/20 This tree came with a name tag it read to me. Incense cedar. And that, apparently, was... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite: Week 28/29

7/9/20 The once-hidden sweet was never shy. She just wasn’t ready. Beauty is the armored body, opening. 7/10/20 The dance goes silvery then delicate then complicated then slippery then gone. 7/11/20 There is deep satisfaction in a miniature, a diorama, a dollhouse. Not so I can be god/giant wielding tiny things with my meaty fingers,... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite: Week 26/27

6/25/20 This tree told me they had young dreams of being a cloud but it took many many years to become one. 6/26/20 Stayed up too late nursing a hunch about out a slightly different future. Followed by two heart-racing phone calls, some strange number wanting 4am FaceTime. Who is this? I texted back but... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite Week 24/25

6/11/20 No words today. Just color and light 6/12/20 I heard two gunshots in the middle of the night, close but not too close. And then I chased the guns through my dreams, one gun for each BANG. In the middle of my third dream, the guns turned into knives and the bangs turned into... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite Week 22/23

5/27/20 Some buildings look more at home in their Covid clothes than others. I can’t call this place old friend since it’s been decades since I walked through the doors. It’s more like a friendly spirit that’s lingered at the edges of my entire adult life, grumbling the same thing all along. I’ve got nothing... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite: Week 20/21

5/13/20 This would have been a block I raced by as a kid. A place where the doors don’t have handles, the stairs are more moss than concrete, and the ground cover is just waiting for its moment to devour. Why make the walls out of holes if you didn’t want everyone passing by to... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite – Week 18/19

4/29/20 This was a different neighborhood, but barely. A block I’d driven by a thousand times but never passed through on foot. And there they were, filling the front yard of an unassuming house. I nearly fell to my knees, but caught myself and simply bowed my head instead. Forgive me, I said. My worship... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite – Week 16/17

4/15/20 If you stand in just the right place, relax your eyes in their sockets, tilt back your head, unstick your tongue, remember your right twelfth rib, make friends with your knees and sink into the wide universe one inch under the cracked sidewalk, then a light appears behind a skull-sized ball of blooms and... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite – Week 14

4/1/20 This perfect friend. Someone who moved right up against me in a flagrant display of connection but didn’t need a single word of conversation. Someone made from the sun on my back. 4/2/20 Sometimes it is less unfurl and more unhinge. Less bloom and more burst. Less flower and more fever. 4/3/20 I bend... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite – Week 5

1/29/20 After driving all day, I drive some more through the perpetual winter rain and cross the blue-lit bridge over the swampy water to crowd myself into a lecture hall. Ijeoma Oluo speaks about having hard conversations and how we hurt people of color with our blind acceptance of this system. She shares ways to... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite – Week 4

1/22/20 At 5:43pm I can still make out the mess of wires running between houses and utility poles. The clouds have sunset-tinted bellies. The neighbors’ upstairs light is on but I can hear their band starting up in the basement for a second practice this week. No sweet rhythms. Everything is fast and loud and... Continue Reading →

Photo Freewrite – Week 2

1/8/20 We all have crazy ideas now and then, but not too many of us get far in the execution of them. Something interrupts, quashes or dies before we get to the turret-building stage. Not this guy. He didn’t care that he had no plans or permits, no idea really, other than that original crazy... Continue Reading →

The occasional and quiet

The story these days is that writers have to be marketers if they want to sell books. As far as I can tell, this is true. It also seems true that you can market your soul away and still not sell much. I just finished reading this very sobering article in Longreads, about a variety... Continue Reading →

Legit

This is happening. So so so so slowly, but definitely, positively surely. My hybrid book of memoir, poetry and image will be released in June! It's called I Want More. The exact date is not set, because nothing about this book has been exact and nothing about this book has been speedy. Just like me.... Continue Reading →

Writing Conference Confessions

Confession: I had no interest in AWP, the country's biggest annual writing conference that happened to be in my city this year. I went to only one amazing off-site reading, nearly fainting from the crowd. I chatted with a few nice strangers there that I was literally rubbing elbows with. I’m sure there are lots... Continue Reading →

Paper/Rock

Paper/Rock Today, the back walls of my lungs went sticky with sadness. I cried/breathed through the dead hours of the morning then woke up to a sky that felt like the dullest sheet of paper smacked down over this big old rock of a planet. On rising, I offered puffy eyes and apologetic kisses. This... Continue Reading →

week 52: exhale

This is not the thing. This is not the story of the thing. This is the story of the story of the thing. This is one whole year of new adventures large and small, written out and posted here. Now begins the pause in this particular path. For the rest of the year I'll be... Continue Reading →

week 43: one-hour essays

I have tried to be a daily writer. I have tried to be a sporadic, do-it-when-I-feel-like-it writer. I have paid lots of money to study the art/craft of writing and I've given up writing altogether, vowing to never spend a dime or an hour on it again. Has any of this worked? What does working... Continue Reading →

week 31: (over)sharing

I was going to attend four much-anticipated readings this week. I was going to dive in and bathe myself in language and the love of my community of writers, finally meeting some of the people I've only known on Facebook.

lump

I choose Before the Rain. When I start to describe the movie as Macedonian and Albanian, my partner holds up a hand, "That's all you need to say." He is history-minded and his heritage is Albanian, so he knows what this means. But it isn't that conflict I remember from the film. It's the love stories in... Continue Reading →

month nine: artsy and/or fartsy

My August challenge of completing one of Lynda Barry's daily diary exercises was probably my mildest challenge yet. It was short and fast and easy: A list of Things I Did, Things I Saw, One Thing I Heard and a 30 second drawing every day. I filled in the exercise in a composition notebook every night... Continue Reading →

month eight: Lynda Barry’s daily diary

I admit it, turning the TV off for the month of July was not entirely successful. I cheated a bunch. I'd come home from work exhausted and sit and watch Anthony Bourdain eat delicious-looking food in beautiful-looking countries. I did fairly well, however, at avoiding the useless local news. My partner was less committed to... Continue Reading →

proof

This essay originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review vol. 9.1 in the summer of 2012. It was selected as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2013.   Proof   “Touch is food. Vital food.” – Deane Juhan, Job’s Body   Ginger-scented oil slicks my fingers. A new massage client lies beneath them, his... Continue Reading →

an unknown shape

This essay was first published on this blog in April 2014. An Unknown Shape I wanted. Again and then again. I wanted my body to make the shape their bodies made: Adho Mukha Vrksasana. Downward Facing Tree. Handstand. I watched from the back of the yoga studio as they flung themselves upside down against the... Continue Reading →

jumpers

This essay originally appeared in The Clackamas Literary Review 2012 vol. XVII Jumpers I’ve been obsessed with the jumpers for months. Every day, I sit in front of my computer and watch them leap. Nineteen miles above solid ground, John Kittinger prepares. Wearing the best partial pressure suit 1960 has to offer, he stands on... Continue Reading →

month three: summary

It's good to be happy with small accomplishments. That's the size they come in where my writing is concerned. With just a few days to go, I'm confident I can reach my goal of writing every day this month. More often than not, twenty minutes flew by and I kept on, making it half an hour or... Continue Reading →

month three: aim low and write

I've been writing and avoiding writing since I was a teenager. I used to read a lot about the writing life and all the myriad ways writers kept themselves on their creative paths, hoping I'd find the perfect clue on how to make all this work. Now, barely a day goes by that I don't... Continue Reading →

week forty-one: care a little less

I struggle with what I want my writing life to be. Struggle isn't the right word, though. It's too active. Too involved. Me and my writing and my caring about my writing create a fairly passive, only slightly more than occasional dynamic. But it does come up. I've sworn off writing entirely more than once.... Continue Reading →

week twenty-eight: an unknown shape

This week's new thing is an adventure in self-publishing and vulnerability (stupidity?). I've been thinking for some time about publishing one of my personal essays here. It would have to be something not written for this blog, but something languishing in a file on my computer. It would have to be important to me, not... Continue Reading →

week twenty-seven: winning (kind of)

I never win anything. Mostly because I never try to win anything. I don't play powerball, enter contests or buy raffle tickets. I don't play sports or board games. When I get into an argument I usually give up or change my mind before ever achieving victory. So, what a surprise it was when I... Continue Reading →

week twenty-two: a brief exhibition

The Associated Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference took place in Seattle this past week. I went to the conference years ago in Chicago and decided the chaotic shmooze-fest was something I only had to do once. People attend for different reasons, but I imagine many attend to connect with other writers and pursue relationships with... Continue Reading →

week eleven: an accumulation

The weak sun starts to set around 3 these days. By 4:30 it's dark. Until the light comes back, I'll follow up my afternoon naps with nine hours of sleep. I'll avoid festive gatherings in exchange for a pile of blankets, a long movie, a good book, a lapful of cats. For me, this time... Continue Reading →

week ten: noir at the bar

Portland could have found a seedier bar for their inaugural Noir at the Bar, a literary event that's been happening in cities all over the country since 2008.  I was kind of hoping to settle into a night of readings by noir writers inside the sad, sketchy misery of The Matador on W. Burnside.  Instead,... Continue Reading →

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑