The rain has finally stopped. While the ditches and low places are still mucky, the ponds finally drying up. Everyone is finishing planting or, if they have livestock, is making hay as fast as they can. Round bales wrapped in netting, or twine, or white plastic shrink-wrap dot the fields.
Most of the month of May, I was driving back and forth to Franklin, Indiana to help take care of my father, who had been diagnosed with cancer. It was a swift descent. And I’m still navigating those layers of memories. The funeral however, on June 24, was a great affirmation of his gifts to us.
I am reading Neil Gaiman this summer. We binged on Good Omens. And I learned the very odd, beguiling book I read years ago and loved, The Graveyard Book, was by him. I like his voice. It is utterly human. The characters own their flawed-ness.
I”m also reading Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness. I’m finding it incredibly affirming.
I hope to add to this more often this summer. But right now, some tomato plants are due to be planted before the breeze dies and the mosquitos take over for the evening.
The last week has been filled with preparations for our first Saturday Children’s Art Class (I teach Art Education full time at Ball State). I’ve been grading lesson plans, sending confirmation of registration emails to parents, and simultaneously double-checking and affirming my beginning teachers. Writing was far away.
The Saturday class went fine. The teachers were elated. Everything that said I had done a good job. But driving home, I thought about the essay I’d started four weeks ago, the short story that needed editing. They felt out of reach. Which was a little scary.
When I got home that afternoon, I found this announcement on Facebook.
“Returning in the Snow” nominated for Sundress Publication‘s 2018 Best of the Net by Atticus Review.
It was a nudge, a sign, a signal: don’t stop.
My essay, “Shoes” will be published in the Fall issue of Sport Literate Magazine.
Prince, Alan Rickman, and David Bowie all passed away around the winter of 2016. They were close to my own age of sixty and suddenly, I saw mortality as limited, finite. I used this as a motivation to start running again and, despite the work (and it was work), I found an unexpected surprise in the physical joy of it.
We are repainting the house this summer, including repairing the old double-hung wooden sash windows. Five or six have broken cords on one or both sides. Because of their construction, the only way to access the weights is by pulling off the interior woodwork—a wider facing board and the thinner glides that hold the sash in place.
It has felt a bit archeological. These spaces were nailed up in 1915 when they built the house. The wood inside the weight pockets is quite dark, giving these narrow spaces, which are purely functional, a surprising feeling of the sacred or secret.
A camping trip to northern Michigan with my teen-age daughter, a troubled mix of family memories, and the complexities of parenting, are navigated in this braided essay, which has just been accepted for publication by Juxtaprose Literary Magazine.
I will post information about the issue as soon as available.