Wild Air (done)

We drank in the wild air
of our youth, the lessened heat
of August twilight. We swam
in a blueblack darkness broken
only by constellations and fireflies
the color of the sun, reaching out
to catch their flickering lights
in our cupped hands.

We gathered in folds
of clover outlined by starlight,
capturing the bright pinpricks
in mason jars to sit, shining,
beside our beds. Mothers
let the fireflies free
once children drifted off to sleep –
in the summer’s nightfall,
these fireflies seemed
the earthly equivalent of stars.

I know it isn’t terribly different from earlier drafts but, sometimes, it seems the slightest tweaks can finish a thing. Different enjambment, the changing of one word or two, the carefully considered language that you do not change, but only seems final after weighing each word.

So there it is.

Thanks, Emerson.

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Cobblestones

When I was very young, my parents moved us back to my father’s hometown. They were starting their own business, a boutique called Cobblestones that specialized in fancy things and jewelry. Given the quality of the clothing, I am amazed at how much time I and my younger sister spent there, as my sister was apt to put everything in her mouth when she was teething. I was somewhere between the ages of four and six when a woman threatened to sue my parents. I stood eye-level with the jewelry counter, too short to see over it, as I listened to my mother on the phone on the other side. It seemed that this woman’s business, located somewhere far away from Union, South Carolina, also had the name “Cobblestones.” She was adamant that my parents had imitated her. They were trying to avoid a lawsuit, my parents. I don’t know whether there ever was an actual lawsuit, and I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to hear about it the first time. Regardless, Cobblestones never really took off: it didn’t make a profit the way stores ought to do, and we didn’t have much money then because it was all being poured into the store. High end boutiques don’t do very well in dying mill towns of less than twelve thousand people.

Word Worth Repeating: Mary Oliver

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome; I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.” -Mary Oliver.

Pretty beautiful, right?

Here’s what I’ve learned about life this summer (though it isn’t even over yet)…

1. If I accept that I grow and am different than I once was, I must accept the same in others. I’ve been saying quite frequently that I have changed, that I am different. I have to accept that this is true for others as well.

2. Once you accept that people are different, you can move on so much easier. Also, I’ve realized that I’ve been using my past to keep from telling people that I’m emotionally available, just because it’s easier than dealing with the present. Now that I’ve realized this…well, I realized I moved on a long time ago and just didn’t let my mouth catch up with my heart.

3. I would rather work my ass off than have my career or my education or my life handed to me tied pretty with a bow. Before Thanksgiving break this past year, I saw a student at my university being loaded into a black SUV by a person who was clearly a chauffeur or bodyguard. It stuck with me, and I couldn’t help but think how glad I am that my life is not controlled by people hired by Mommy and Daddy. I may still be somewhat dependent on my parents, but they don’t write me blank checks, and I’m grateful that they’ve given me the ability to stand on my own feet.

4. Just when you declare that you do not have time for the possibilities of relationships, Possibility will bite you in the ass. And maybe you have to let it, and then turn around and make nice. Because, after all, life tends to happen when you least expect it.

5. The American people as a whole have no idea what good art is. Prime example: 50 Shades of Grey and the latest action flick with enormous flaws in the storyline and flat, static characters. Along these lines, if I had to make the choice to be a popular writer or a good one, I would hope to choose to be a good one.

7. I would rather be the protagonist or the antagonist than one of those static, minor characters. I’d rather be spunky, snarky, good or bad, than anything in between. I’d rather be interesting than boring.

8. We should celebrate beautiful words. They come along so infrequently nowadays.

Picking Blackberries (rough draft)

Out behind a house, in the corner
of a small-town subdivision, two sisters are picking blackberries.
The brambles, overgrown and wild, tumble
thickly, mingling with other vegetation of their ilk:
poison sumac, pokeweed, stinging nettles.

The girls, carefully avoiding thorns
of every sort, find small wounds unavoidable
in prickling bushes such as these. The sweet reward
of blackberries make minor scratches tolerable,
small badges of honor from the briars.

The in-between

I just looked at the word “between” so much that I questioned its spelling. Overthinkers Anonymous, anyone?

Have you ever felt the urge to write, yet really not wanted to at the same time? I mean, I’m working on several different pieces right now and I don’t want to work on any of them! I don’t even really want to read! Why is that? Am I too tired? Too preoccupied with other things? What’s going on?

Life has been kind of hectic – to say the least – over the past several days. Time has flown by, I’ve been so busy, and it’s not stopping. I must learn to iron before the end of the week (because I will be cleaning for someone during August and ironing is one of the things I need to do)! I have so many working gigs, and I’m grateful and thankful and so glad that I have these opportunities…but I’m getting so tired again. I don’t want to burn out on the parts that I love.

Maybe it’s just that while I need to write, I don’t want to. Who knows why (certainly not me). This isn’t even a particularly well written post, I just needed to get something down, feel the flow of typing for myself again, rather than working on a technical writing gig.

I feel very much in a time of transition. I’m in the in-between (which I feel like is Neil Gaiman thing but I’m not certain). I have all these grand ideas and plans for how the next year is going to look, more of less, but I really have no clue how it’ll all turn out. I’m excited, and nervous, and so ready for this next chapter to start.

It’s a great big world out there, and I’m gonna see it.

Words Worth Repeating: How I love Irish blessings

“May you always be blessed with walls for the wind, a roof for the rain, a warm cup of tea by the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, and all that your heart may desire.”

The Irish have a funny way of being lyrical, even in English, and I love it. Maybe that’s why I love lyrical writing so much, because it’s in my blood. Isn’t this such a beautiful blessing? In less than fifty musical words, they just about summed up happiness as I know it. Simple and true and just…there’s an honest goodness about the Irish. A hardworking simplicity, at least that’s how it’s seemed to me. As far up on a pedestal as I put this group of people, I have to be seeing it romantically, the whole nation. I want to write that way, though: simple, beautiful, honest. It just seems right to me, and right for me.

I can think of nothing better than going back. Ireland – and Galway specifically – is home in a way that nowhere else seems to be. I’m nearly counting the days.

Sometimes I wish I was just going to go back to Ireland for the semester instead of staying in London. And then I think, how first-world are my problems, really? I am so blessed to have already spent a month travelling the Emerald Isle. So I am looking forward to the whole studying in London thing.

But still…I can’t wait to be in Ireland again.

The Scarf (rough draft)

Finally have an idea where this is going…

The Scarf

The woolen scarf was so voluminous that it nearly obscured her face, wrapping round and round her neck before dangling dangerously close to the lip of a coffee mug perched rather precariously on the arm of the sofa on which she sat. It was the kind of scarf meant to hide the person behind it. Anyone walking in might see her quaint, pointed nose with simple tortoiseshell glasses in danger of sliding off the tip, but they wouldn’t see the way she seemed to nestle back in the worn red corduroy sofa as if trying to fade into the furniture of the coffee shop.

An immaculate businesswoman striding purposefully forward to order her nonfat, no-whip, barely caffeinated milk with two shots of espresso would see the haphazard bun of hair, a brown dark enough to pass for black, pushed back by a colorful tribal headband, but she wouldn’t see the worn book of poetry by William Butler Yeats lying in the young woman’s lap, nearly concealed by the folds of her scarf, or the way she slowly turned the pages as if savoring them like truffles.

A harried barista, already late for work, would be too busy tying on her apron as she walked through the door to notice the girl who regularly occupied the left cushion of the red corduroy couch, instead counting the heads bowed in attention to cell phones while standing in line for a quick cappuccino.
Other regulars at the small coffee shop would only count a familiar figure without questioning the young woman’s solitude or her lack of technological devices in a place where most conversation was tapped across a keypad rather than spoken though physical lips.
But a musician breezing through for a quick macchiato might catch a glimpse, though, of the way she soundlessly mouthed words, dipping her chin into the serpentine folds of rough wool. The fellow artist might pause and wonder, noticing the well-thumbed tome, how the young woman had acquired such a beautiful leather-bound copy of Yeats’ early works.