The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!

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Growing up in the 60’s, every time I heard a plane fly over, I cowered. Had the Russians finally crossed into our skies? My paranoia soared. Was this the first time I’d heard some fake news.

The Russians are Coming! ” is a phrase from 1949 attributed to United States Secretary of Defense James Forrestal who added, “The Russians are Coming! They’re right around. I’ve seen Russian soldiers.” Forrestal allegedly uttered those words while suffering from mental illness, not long before “allegedly” falling out a 16thstory window of the Bethesda Naval hospital.

The nations nerves were just as mentally frazzled for over a decade.

And then in 1966, as the anti-communism crusade subsided in the early 1960s, the Hollywood blacklist was slowly discontinued and Norman Jewison put out the comedy “The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!” starring Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin and Brian Keith. But to a kid growing up with a father who’d already put the fear of the Russians (and the Japanese) into me , there was nothing funny about this Russian proclamation. The phrase only added to my anxiety.

My generation had grownup hiding under tiny wooden desks. I remember my Girl Scout leader’s family had an underground bomb shelter, a bunker to hunker down in, but they lived across the boulevard. I’d never make it in he event of a nuclear attack.

Bunker
A 1950’s Family Fallout Shelter – (Smithsonian)

“These apocalypse-ready rooms were engineered to fit cozily beneath lawns and patio furniture, and their sales fueled a cottage industry catering to the midcentury Boy Scout mentality. The Federal Civil Defense Administration (later the Office of Civil Defense), which was formed in 1950 to prepare civilians for nuclear attack, dispersed information for a mostly suburban audience (it was assumed cities would be toast), initially emphasizing evacuation before settling on fallout shelters as a viable recourse for survival.

In a letter published in the September 1961 issue of Life magazine, President Kennedy even urged Americans to install personal fallout shelters.” Rian Dundon, 2017 Medium (For more photos, check out https://timeline.com/pictures-nuclear-fallout-shelters-e524e17bce14— 

I also remember being terrified when the Emergency Broadcast System would interrupt my Bugs Bunny cartoons. After the shrill, heart-stopping warning, the announcer would conclude with “This is only a test.”

EBSBut, the initial scripted announcement was: “We interrupt this program. This is a national emergency. The President of the United States or his designated representative will appear shortly over the Emergency Broadcast System.”

When I was a teenager, I became a born-again-Christian, eagerly anticipating the second coming of Christ that was talked about in the Bible. But more ominous was my fear of the Armageddon described in the Book of Revelations. I feared the bear as described in  Daniel 7:5. I feared the Russia (Gog) described in Ezekiel chapter 38 — “And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog (Russia) shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that My fury shall come up in My face — ”

But even though I’d been saved, how was I to survive a nuclear attack? Where were all the modern-day bomb shelters? And what about all the Jews and the Australian pygmies who hadn’t yet been reached by missionaries to hear the word of the Lord. And what about my loved ones who’d not yet been saved?

By 1991, the Wall came down, the iron curtain was lifted and the Cold War came to an end.  Disappearance of superpower tensions and the prospect of nuclear escalation greatly diminished. And as time slipped by, as if we’d swallowed some sort of anti-anxiety pill, numbness, apathy and complacency seemed to seep into our blood stream.

Russian bear
Photo from Discovery World

And so now Russia — long described as the  bear of the north —  is coming out of hibernation. She is awakening and hungry to devour much flesh as predicted by the Prophet Daniel. And now, as tensions between Washington, Moscow, and even Beijing have heated up, those concerns have resurfaced.

Just yesterday, Reuters reported that at a news conference when asked about the reports that Turkish F-16 warplanes flew over the country’s capital Ankara on Monday to test its new Russian S-400 system, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo replied, “Yes it is concerning.”

Oh Lord, help us now!

WARNING! The following is FAKE NEWS, but could be used for later. Listen at your own risk.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lHMYCPlT_Q

Did My Poem Influence Costner’s Career?

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A writer posted this morning she didn’t write poetry. Hopefully, at the very least, she reads it.

A few years ago as I was working on my novel “Curse of the Ninth” (coming soon! WiDo Publishing) I was taking a class with Liz Gonzales “Writing as a Witness to Life” when she suggested I take a poetry class to help me. “Poetry Noir” – perfect, my novel is noirish — was being offered at the time by Suzanne Lummis. I signed up.

During the first class, my first poetry class ever, Lummis asked us to name poets we were familiar with.

“Shakespeare,” I answered, already sensing I was in the wrong class.

“Listen sister,” she might have responded. “There’ve been a lot of poets since old Bill.”

My mind was blank. Sure I’d read plenty of poets and since I was 13, I’d even written some bad, sad rhymey stuff. I wondered if there was still time to get my money back, still time to take the beginner poetry class.

Years after Lummis’ class and even with a couple of published poems under my belt, I’m still mostly a fan of the art, but I prefer fiction novel writing for which I earned a writers’ certificate from UCLA. And then shortly after receiving my certificate, my mother sent me a poem I’d written as a freshman in college.  How/why she still had it I have no idea other than she kept everything, every note, letter, story, post card, report card, etc. (was she my biggest fan?) So now I had proof I’d written poetry. Holding the yellowed, 3-holed piece of paper with my Catholic school-girl penmanship conjured a memory of the evening I performed my first reading on stage at a banquet held at the Fullerton Holiday Inn before a room full of Delta Chi frat boys during their initiation ceremony.

As a little sister, a GDI (god dammed independent) to the frat house, I dressed in a flowery, purple kimono over a long, lavender jersey maxi dress, I wore my hair up with a couple of plastic ivory chopsticks pierced through a pun (hey, it was a style). During dessert, I took to the stage to read my opus – really more of a roast of the misogynistic frat house. I was nervous but thanks to some smuggled-in pink André Cold Duck and the low lighting, I couldn’t focus on my audience, consisting of at least 100 frat boys, girlfriends, sorority sisters, pledges and their parents. Standing up there, I felt like the frat’s whistleblower. I got a load of laughs, like you might during a hazing.

After the reading, a young, shy frat boy named Kevin Costner walked up to me. “That was so good!” He just kept gazing at me like I was some sort of star – like I was Madonna, like he was a bigger fan than my mother. Had I known how big a star he’d go on to be, I’d have been even more honored.

As yesteryear slips by, I know what my writing has done for me and my hope is that it will inspire others. I’d like to think my frat poem was what inspired Kevin to take the stage that next year when he took up acting. I’d like to think I had something to do with “Field of Dreams” or “Dances With Wolves.” Oh, it’s so nice perchance to dream, to create, to write stories — whether to rhyme or not, that is the question.  (I can hear Lummis now. This could be a poem!)

ANGELS GATE

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Los Angeles Harbor’s Angels Gate Lighthouse 

 

 

 

 

I used to look for signs, beg for signs. I talked to the moon, the stars, the setting sun. I looked for green flashes on the horizon. I listened to cooing doves, watched lingering hummingbirds, marveled at dancing dolphins. Looked for all of life’s metaphors.

When I hear that during surgery a cancer cell is found in my husband’s throat, I feel like I’ve gone blind. My world spins faster and as I try to hang on, I start to pull out my eyebrows. And then when I make the mistake of Googling to find it’s the deadliest kind of all, my mind goes to the end of the rainbow of hope’s spectrum. I become paralyzed. My thoughts wrap around the axle in my head so tight that I’m immobilized.  Stay in the moment, all we have is now, don’t get ahead of yourself, I repeat, but all I can imagine is the worst. I need more time with this man, my captain, my soulmate! I try to reel myself back in but that little fish sloshing around in my noggin squirms away.  I can pray, ask for a miracle, but suddenly even the idea of looking for a sign seems like hogwash.

Two of my of my greatest character defects are that I worry and that I like to take control, so after daily haranguing of the UCLA radiology department, Abel got us (I use us/we because my husband Jeff and I are suddenly one person) in on Friday for a PET scan (four days earlier than scheduled. I couldn’t imagine having any eyebrows left had I waited until after the Memorial holiday weekend.) After the PET scan, we leave feeling like we’ve done all we can. As first mate, I’ve done all I can do. I feel I can finally turn things over. Jeff says, he’d already turned things over from the beginning. As a retired Coast Guard Veteran with 31 years of service, I suppose he’s better at this life or death stuff than I am. Now we just have to wait.

They say when you get busy you get better.  “Do some writing,” a friend suggests. I know she’s right, but the idea of writing about what’s going on seems so cliché, like I’m taking advantage of this real-life, real-time writing opportunity. But isn’t that what all writers look for – these sorts of tear-jerking, gut-wrenching stories? I don’t wanna.

Instead, I turn to some editing for my upcoming novel (is this a good place to plug it?) and my editor has highlighted the overuse of phrases like “It’s going to be all right. Everything is going to be all right. Will everything be all right? It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be fine. He’s going to be all right.” Is my novel speaking to me? Do I dare take this as a sign?

It isn’t until until Monday night as I lay in my husband’s arms that I ask if I can share something with him. I hadn’t wanted to worry him about my worrying – as if he couldn’t tell. I hadn’t wanted to say anything except that I love him so, so much. “I just want you to know that I’m not afraid anymore. I have hope. I truly believe everything is going to be all right. Everything is going to be fine.” “Good,” he says. “That makes me feel better. Now try to sleep.” I know he’s more concerned about me than anything.

So how have I come to feel this peace – this hope? Exhaustion? (We had the grandkids over the Memorial weekend.) Drugs? (I’ve been taking Xanax at night. I’d called in for a prescription for anti-depressants, but it would take too long to go into effect. So Xanax.) The peace I’ve begun to feel I suppose comes over time. The love, prayers and support of family and friends lift me up.  My friend with cancer knows the walk. One step at a time, she says. Do the next indicated thing.

So back to signs and slogans. Stay busy. We wake up to a 5:30 alarm and then Uber to Newport to bring a client’s 66-foot yacht back home to Marina Del Rey. Semper paratus-style, we are prepared with our Starbucks and breakfast sandwiches (we plan to be home for lunch), boat fueled, etc. It’s a gorgeous, sunny day as we cruise at 20 knots up the coast. Sipping on our cooled coffee, we notice we’ve missed the doctor’s call. We try him back and the nurse confirms that the results of Friday’s PET scan are in and that Doc will call by the end of the day. Not soon enough! I ask the nurse to please have him paged. We wait. I stick my head up to kiss the sun.

Just off the coast of Long Beach, the motion is very relaxing. So peaceful, I curl up and start to doze when all of a sudden an alarm sounds. I think nothing of it because this stupid boat always has alarms going off. Quietly and calmly my husband asks me to take the wheel so that he can go down to the engine room to check things out. “Sure,” I respond without even whining about the interruption of my nap.

At the helm, I see all the little flashing red lights. Jeff returns to the flybridge and, again calmly, announces the bilge is flooding and taking on water. He tells me to steer the yacht toward the harbor and then he grabs the radio. “Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles, this is the Yacht Anonymous,” he says into the mic. Adrenaline now rushes through my body. Portside, dolphins are dancing and flipping. They cross our bow toward starboard and as we slow, they surround us, wanting to play in our wake. Now is not the time to play! In the meanwhile, Jeff and the Coast Guard Command Center are communicating back and forth. Jeff hands me the radio and tells me to standby as he goes back down to assess things. The Coastie asks questions and wants confirmation. I can’t understand the codes, besides I forget which button to push. I remain silent.  Jeff comes back up to cut an engine. We then limp into the harbor and within moments we’re surrounded by rescue units from the Coast Guard Station Los Angeles and a Long Beach Life Guard rescue boat. IMG_6343

A lifeguard comes aboard to see if he can help. He gives Jeff a hose clamp that’s too big, but Jeff – masterful at taking control — is still able to make repairs and then determines we can get back on one engine. A couple of Coasties do a routine boarding and Jeff shares his info. They thank him for his service before escorting us through Angels’ Gate back into the ocean where we chug home at 8 knots on one engine. It takes an extra 4 bumpy hours to get home, but we have no other plans for the day, other than to hurry up and wait for the doc to call.

 

I’m finally getting that nap in when Jeff yells, “whale,” and sure enough crossing our bow is a whale — unusual for this time of year.  Another sign? I wonder, hoping it isn’t like a black cat or some bad omen. And then more dolphins frolic around our boat as we slow down to play with them.

Finally, we make it to the safety of homeport. We dock the boat and our supernatural fix-it-guy arrives to do his magic. The boat will be ready to sail again before the next adventure.

So has this all been one big sign? Is Jeff like a boat that won’t sink? Are we just cruising along peacefully, semper paratus, responding calm as we can to life’s alarms? Are the dolphins like angels reminding us to take time out to play? The safe harbor is like the hospital, the rescue units are the doctors and nurses taking care of us. And then to be escorted out of Angels’ Gate back into the ocean – is that a sign that God’s not ready for us yet? We’ve limped back on one engine. All we needed was one — just took it a little slower. Making it back to safe harbor is like coming home to take care of the next indicated thing. I dare to hope this is like one giant metaphor, mixed or otherwise!

In the meanwhile, it’s close to 5:00 p.m., and still no call from the doctor. We phone the office which is now closed. But even after no news (no news is good news, right?), I’m able to go to sleep with no medication — my third drug-free night except for the wine on Memorial Day. So the peace must come in knowing there’s still hope. I’ve had signs.  There’s still time for God to reverse things or clear things up, or for the doctors to realize they made mistakes or they just don’t have the answers, or it’s a miracle, everything is clean and clear and there’s nothing left for them to do but keep doing check ups. As I’m saying this, I feel my Doubting Thomas stomach twist a little (TMI, I’ve had diarrhea.)

It’s now the next day at 9:20 a.m., and still no call from the doc. I feel a pinch in my gut. I can’t imagine how busy the doctor must be. I can’t imagine why he hasn’t called. I can only hope they didn’t find anything else and there’s no urgency in getting ahold of us.  Is the doctor treating this like some sort of Triage – placing the more important cases at the forefront? Why the hell had I pushed for an earlier PET scan only to get the news around the same time, after all? More will be revealed. All in God’s time, not yours.

So it’s business as usual. Keep busy. Wait for the delivery of a new stove and dishwasher. Do some writing, pay some bills, go for a walk. 11:00 a.m., the phone rings. It’s the delivery guy. Damn it! It’s 2:30 and still no call from Doc. Don’t waste your time being angry, a friend says. Finally, Mama calls the doctor and the doctor’s assistant says, “He’s in clinic.” “That’s what you said yesterday.” “Yesterday, he had surgery.” “He never called us back.” “He’ll call by the end of the day.” “When’s the end of his day?” “ 5:00.” “Fine.” I try not to lose my serenity.

Five o’clock comes and goes. Next indicated thing.  Since it’s 5:00, it must be Happy Hour somewhere. Jeff opens a bottle of wine and we step out into a lovely evening on the porch. We toast to our love, our life forever more. The phone rings, the texts beep, emails buzz — all from anxious loved ones. But no doctor’s call.

Finally at 6:30, the phone sounds again and this time we can see on the screen it’s him. I set down my glass and wrap my trembling arms around my husband. He puts Doc on speaker and all I can hear is that they didn’t find anything else. Several radiologists studied the scan and determined there’s no more cancer and there’s no need to do anything else and I thank him and the tears roll down my cheeks and I feel like I’ve just won the lottery!

Hallelujah and we’re ready for the next adventure! Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! I still have more chapters to write! While I’ve never taken this wonderful life for granted, I am even more grateful than ever and will continue to cherish every moment of our voyage together across this giant ocean called life until the time (at least many, many years from now) we’re escorted back through the Angels’ Gate.

Oh, and by the way I Googled the symbolism of the whale. Whales are associated with things such as knowledge of life and death. Whales seen swimming are a sign of good luck for many peoples (beached whales, not so good).

And then, as far as metaphors go, one of the greatest metaphors in literature was the whale in Moby Dick, a representation of God and his tremendous power.  Hoorah!

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Remodeling or Watercolored Blues

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Remodeling. This is where the surf almost literally meets the sand – where the east coast meets the west coast. This is what will test the Jersey Boy/California Girl solid-as-granite marriage.

Eight years ago, after the hot water tank flooded our place with an ocean of water, we moved into this space-challenged condo. As small as it was, like some crews’ quarters below deck, it did have almost everything I’d prayed for. It came with a two-car garage, a fireplace, two bedrooms, and hardwood floors. But alas, there were no granite counter tops. (Had I forgotten to pray for granite counter tops? Would it have been too much to ask God for them?)

While I love the ocean almost as much as my husband (does) – he’s a surfer and a Retired Coast Guard Veteran, 31 years — I’ve had to draw a line in the sand when it comes to his taste in décor. Not that I’m so evolved, but until now, I’ve tried to keep my mouth shut about certain knickknacks and such because we were “only renting.” Items like conch shells, ship wheels, lighthouse memorabilia, hula skirt lamp shades, brass signs pointing sayings like To The Life Boats or This Way To The Beach are all ways for him to feel like it’s home. But some of it is really a little much, especially the spray-painted masterpiece he purchased in Rosarito Beach. “The artist is a genius,” he says of the picture of two silhouetted dolphins leaping over a lighthouse under the light of a silvery moon.  As a compromise, I let him hang it in the bathroom as long as I can keep Hippolyte Flandrin’s framed poster of the  “Young Man By The Sea” hanging over our bed.

And then finally last year after an almost a nine-year engagement, we got married and this year we were able to buy the little condo. This modest love nest is officially “our home.”  Will I finally get my granite counter-tops?

We both love nostalgia and antiques and each of us had even brought some of our collections into our new relationship. But seriously, I’m ready to purge all the old junk; stuff like my ornate engraved Chinese furniture and furnishings, a huge French oak writing desk where I don’t write, gold-gilded mirrors and my collection of Lladros. Not only his gear, but even my crap, he’s having a hard time letting go. “But those chairs are solid wood and that’s a really expensive Persian rug.” “We can put it in your storage unit,” I reply having recently discovered that he rents a storage unit nearby for all of his surfboards, other nautical possessions, and God-knows-what else. No more secrets and now that we’re married I’ll have a say in getting rid of that, too. More money for my granite counter tops!

In addition to simplification, our small condo needs illumination. It has no light, only a couple of windows in the bedrooms and one sliding glass door toward the back. Now when it comes to the flooring, he wants hardwood, knotty pine, mahogany-stained teak or a dark oak. Finally, after convincing him that his floor choices are something you’d find in a 50’s bowling alley, a 70’s disco club, or the Love Boat, he seems to be coming around to a whiter flooring.  “Just not marble!” he says. “We’re not living in a castle.” But then, a knock on the door, on a whim he’s made a purchase. “Surprise, you’re gonna love it.” He rolls out a new nine-foot by twelve-foot area rug. “I know how you love sea turtles and see, it has all the colors.” (Storage unit?)

And then there are the kitchen countertops. Have I mentioned I want granite? Unfortunately, there aren’t many white types of granite out there and so the only answer seems to be some sort of quartz or new Formica like what’s peeling in the galley. As for the backsplash in the kitchen, I’ve found something a little bolder — an abalone glass tile off which the light might ricochet. But is it because I love it?  Or is it because I’m doing it out of some sort of maritime compromise after I’ve harpooned his suggestion for some rattan furniture with big red hibiscus flowers and orange birds-of-paradise seat cushions straight out of the Golden Girls Florida retirement home. I know he’s trying to meet me in the middle, but seriously, I’m not ready for Cocoon.

When I close my eyes at night, I can’t help but see strips and swatches and swathes of color and miles of tiles and wood variations on the back of my eyelids. During the day, I see shapes and colors everywhere like yesterday out on the water when I worked as my husband’s first-mate during the transport of a client’s 66-foot Azimut from Newport to Marina Del Rey.  As we cruised along, I couldn’t help but notice our rippling Pacific Ocean’s glittering shades of blues and greens.  Above, the sky was an ominous grey — not a good sign for a sailor. At that moment, even though it’s currently one of the more popular colors, I decide I don’t want the “Watery Grey” by Behr after all. For the living room walls, I’ll narrow my choices to either “Key Largo Bay,” “Sea Spray” or “Tropical Surf.”

Home after a day at sea, we settle in to watch a movie. Too many movie choices — more than paint colors – but we decide on a flick I’ve already seen at least three times. At least it’s not “The Finest Hour” for the umpteenth time or another episode of “Deadliest Catch.” All caught up in the intrigue and corruption as we watch the “Departed” (I’m half watching, half surfing the net for tile/wood samples) but I can’t help except to notice the shades of blue on the walls in DiCaprio’s upgraded pad (before the splatter of blood red). And then in the next scene, in the psychiatrist’s apartment, my husband asks, “What do you think of the yellow on her walls?”

Finally, a visit to the granite warehouse. The next morning, as we walk through what seems like a green mile toward the back of the shipyard-sized warehouse, we see it. Splashed across a white rock canvas are iridescent shades of turquoise and teal, like waves crashing down somewhere along a sandy golden Pacific island shore. Not quartz, not marble, not granite, but quartzite – a material even stronger than granite (more expensive, too).  It’s called Aquarela. We look at each other, both smiling now, and then we buy it – our first purchase for the remodel– our first solid compromise.

In the end, we’ve settled on the abalone-looking glass tile backsplash for the kitchen, the “Sea Spray” for the accent walls and for the floors, a Pergo Timber Craft, “Ocean View Oak.” I break down and purchase some new Tommy Bahama style wicker club chairs that I think will be a nice touch in the dining room where we’ve also agreed to hang onto a small glass table with a white Mediterranean marble base.

Now we can sail along this ocean called life, floating above the gentle waves, we’ve learned that we don’t have to drown in the sea of life’s many choices. After all, we now have a marriage as solid as quartzite and if we can pick out a paint color together, then we can ride out any tempest that might be lurking on the horizon or better yet, take shelter in our newly decorated little port in the storm.

Paper Whites

 

Writing? What writing? As I stare at this white paper, empty and yet pregnant with doubts about being a writer, I can only think about my recent past and how I’ve made that my excuse for not writing. Another new year and it seems I’ve lost all seeds of inspiration.

If not for pictures, I may forget more than just the words, so as I go through the photos on my iPhone trying to recapture the year, I will try to recreate my life. But I cannot see the forest through the trees. Recently, my life has been as full as a house jam-packed with clutter — just don’t light a match. (Forgive the metaphors, at least I’m writing shit down!) Life isn’t the simple life I thought I wanted — the life of a writer — but I wouldn’t change anything, really.

The wait for something to happen with my writing has been like a ten-month pregnancy. And just as I should be blistering over with new fodder for story ideas, the writing seems to stop, as it did the year before last when I found myself expecting my first grandchild (our Esperanza/Hope). Out of wedlock, I finally got married a couple of months later to my Coast Guard (don’t even get me started on life savior metaphors or how my ship finally came in). And then, not even nine months later, I had another grandchild so I put my writing on hold to hold my grandbabies. My writing life has altered faster than a diaper change.

But at least my ailing mom was happy to meet her two great-grandchildren. She was even happier to know that I was married (even though it wasn’t in the church and he was a Gringo) and not living in sin anymore. She did a little Mexican Hat Dance at our wedding reception — the best one (of my three) she’d ever attended, she told me. She could now die happy. A few months later she did die, but it wasn’t a very happy transition, especially amongst my siblings. All kinds of shit from the past came to the clogged toilet’s surface.

And then a couple of months after Mom passed, my sister’s Malibu home has burned to the ground in the Woolsey fire. Only the scorched foundation is left under the ashes. Not to sound cliché, but it really does put things into perspective about what’s important in life and yet I ask myself, what’s it all about, Alfie? Past sins also seem to have been gutted in the fire, if not just temporarily, but any seeds of motivation have also burned away. Being a writer doesn’t seem so important anymore. Life is so precious and I’m paralyzed by the thoughts of it all sizzling away faster than a Woolsey Wildfire — especially before having become a smoking red-hot writer myself.

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Scrolling through my smart phone, I now notice the photo I took while visiting my sister’s fire-ravaged property a few days after the fire. Three little flowers — paper whites — have miraculously pushed up through the charred soil, tiny faces beaming toward the sun. Standing tall in the shadow of the ruins, like the three Marys under the three crosses on Mount Calvary, the white-capped mini saints seem to be shouting at me, “Hey, look at us, nothing can keep us down — not a little fire, not even the crucifixion of our Lord! Pick up your pen and write, you big whiner!”

Three days later, I shall rise from the dead. The seeds of inspiration have been sown: babies, new life, new growth, death, changes, love, forgiveness, and hope.

But for now, my husband is asking me to join him down at the marina to check on our boats (this Coastie and writer don’t own boats, we manage and care for them). What can I tell him? No, I’m a writer not a boat cleaner. Leave me alone. 

Actually, I will use this as another excuse not to write, but I do see a story here and at least I’ve written this all down before grabbing, unfortunately not a pen, but my cleaning supplies.

Tomorrow…

Words Don’t Fail Me Now!

I just read an interesting article in “Medium” by Brian Kurian entitled “3 of the Most Effective Ways to Fail as a Writer. https://writingcooperative.com/3-of-the-most-effective-ways-to-fail-as-a-writer-11eb7ea6a048

Well, so far, I’m able to check all three boxes that would qualify me as writing a failure, I used to love writing. Right now I don’t know what’s going on with me, except that here are the 3 sure-fire ways I’m killing my writing career:

#1 — Be Insecure About The Quality Of Your Writing

Just because I’ve received probably over a hundred rejection letters (more like impersonal form rejection notices) that don’t give any reasons/feedback whatsoever. What else can I think but that it’s because of the quality of my writing? (To be honest, I do have a novel coming out “Curse of the Ninth” sometime soon, but it’s still with the editor, and I do have other writing just floating around out there in the ether!)

#2 — Don’t Absorb High-Quality Content

I guess Facebook and “Potty Time With Elmo” don’t count.

#3 — Don’t Make Writing A High-Priority

Okay, so this morning 12/17/18, I’m setting aside some time to write some content. Now that the frenzy of funerals and fires are over, the house hunting, taxes, banking, Christmas shopping, grand-babysitting, and husband will just have to wait because I am a writer who doesn’t want to fail. Just putting it out there! (But how can I resist these two little loves of my life, who when they call, I go running!)0729f684-54e9-4e3b-84ae-1dd213a3d7b7

 

Milky Way Hope

Nighttime and behind my eyes it’s dark

but the stars still twinkle and spark across

the Milky Way backdrop of my eyelids

heavy as titanium.

 

I wake to the words: “At first there was light.”

As the sun bleeds through the windows of my soul

I imagine an asteroid blasting me clear

out of this solar system into another.

It gives me hope. I get out of bed.

Scary Times for Men

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Christine woke up from a nightmare in an Alaskan

Best Western, before realizing she wasn’t dreaming.

“This is a very scary time for young men in America,” the man in the t.v. blasted.

 

She hadn’t come far enough north.

So she unplugged, strapped on her big

red hiking boots (the better to kick with)

and escaped into the woods

like Little Red Riding Hood or

Hansel and Gretel,

leaving no bread crumbs

for there was no turning back.

 

Christine knew that throughout history and fairytales,

women and children had never been safe

in the forest. But now was an especially scary time

in America for #MenToo.

 

Wandering like Thoreau (a young man in America) through the woods,

she wondered whether Henry’d ever encountered

a big bad wolf or a creepy Grimm witch along the pond.

They used to hunt witches in Massachusetts, she shuddered

to think. Falsely accused, they were hung after trial.

 

She hurried along her way north until after a time,

through a curtain of dazzling snowflakes,

Christine came upon a nice-looking igloo where

she entered quietly, hoping everything would be

just right.

OCTOBER IN ALASKA: WHERE’S THE SNOW? OR, IS THIS GLOBAL WARMING?

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Just above the melting Godwin Glacier, over

The seaport of Seward,

The sun explodes like a ball of fire.

Wakey, wakey! It shouts, splashing a

bucket of icy crystals down the

Kenai Fjords and out across the anchorage.

 

Yesterday the water was calm,

The surface smooth as pine-colored glass.

Not even a raindrop for a rippling effect.

Today, a slight northern wind causes the water

to sparkle and wrinkle like corrugated steel.

Beyond, small waves break as a pod

of orcas perhaps search for silver salmon

and fishermen return to Resurrection Bay.