Category Archives: writing

Canada, clutter, and prompts

Passport. CHECK. Mouth guard and meds. CHECK (but didn’t have to carefully tuck them in carry on bag in case suitcase gets lost). Sewing, reading, and writing notebooks. CHECK (you’d think I’d have an elegant handmade etui to hand, but I don’t. I just stick needles and pins in whatever swatch of fabric is handy).

Our lovely house sitter will be taking GQ-level photos of Finn again no doubt. I can’t tell you how comforted I was to learn that she’d held a piece of cheese to her forehead for some of her darling shots from last trip.

Painting by Ginny Mallon

I consolidated heaps of fabric and windexed here and there. The difference was relieving, noticeable. K said, “I’d live here,” which tells you something about his dry wit. What it perhaps doesn’t reveal as readily is how forbearing he is of my clutter.

Question to crafters: are works-in-progress demeaned by the label “clutter”?

Never mind that. What would be really hilarious if it weren’t so hypocritical is that I dare to ask him to please put his shoes away!

I spy two Jude Hill indigo moons

Traffic on 128 is bad. The trees are green. I will report back as we travel north. We may be in for some pretty foliage.

I’m excited to be going to Quebec City. Our older son went to McGill, so we’ve made many trips to Montreal in recent history, but I haven’t been to Quebec City since my French class traveled there in 1975.

WRITING PROMPT: Begin with “she said” and keep going. Whenever you get stuck, write it again, “she said.” Courtesy of Natalie Goldberg.

TWO MORE WRITING PROMPTS: Begin with “she could not get comfortable” or “so much depended on.” Both courtesy of Kathleen Olesky.

Paris Collage Collective from this week
PCC prompt
Used PicFrame to collect prompt

Lastly, I am reminded that people go through stuff and we don’t necessarily know about it. That’s as good a reason to be kind as any.

August ‘23 Haiku

Only a partial effort for August in the haiku department.

Near the super moon.
But it’s Christy’s light making
the east wall light up.

Once read that lies were
the devil’s greatest tool. I
wasn’t sure. Am now.

Motorcade obscene.
No big crowds. Just reporters.
Sad day? Not at all.

Dog gacking lately.
In my dream, he spits up one
quilting pin, then two.

A single yellow
leaf winking on the road speaks
to coming season.

Rain clip clops through trees,
back pain unspooling at hill’s
crest. What’s for breakfast?

Who do you choose to
be: a pond dimpled by rain
or the mighty oak?

We missed the exit.
But the turnpike was quicker.
Now collapse on couch.

Soaked sphagnum moss like
they said to for orchids but
for too long. It stinks!

August 11
Between the wars. She would have
been ninety today.


Missed the exit for Route 2 on the way home but the Pike was faster so it didn’t cost us, time-wise.

During the writing retreat at Stump Sprouts in Hawley, Mass (led by Maureen Buchanan Jones), we had little sun. It which hardly mattered given the indoor focus, but it did mean I didn’t get the same quality of photos as other years.

This year I walked A LOT. I finally got to use one of the many emergency ponchos I’ve purchased over the years (and for which I have taken much shit, BTW). That was a vindication of sorts.

The retreat numbers shrank for Covid and did not scale back up, probably because it’s so much nicer to bunk alone. It made a nice difference. At night, it was so quiet and so dark. Quite delicious.

It’s hard to characterize the retreat experience. People made me laugh. Some cried while reading. We were silly, intense, thoughtful, and there for each other. It’s true that when you show up for another person’s writing, you are showing up for them.

I also did Tarot readings for about half the group which added a little extra intimacy.

I “got” a couple Lucy Audubon scenes (even though I keep saying I don’t want to write about her) and interestingly, a Salem witchcraft scene. That was unexpected.

Now I’m back home and wanting to get it together. on Instagram, maybe a newsletter, etc.

QUESTION: thinking about my upcoming trip to Montgomery, Selma, Birmingham, Jackson, and maybe Memphis — any recommendations?

Another QUESTION: Are any of you interested in writing with me and others once a week starting in September? It’ll be ten weeks on zoom. Two hours a class on Wednesday mornings. The structure is simple and surprisingly productive — we write to prompts and then read around. All levels of experience welcome.

Email me ( or drop a comment if interested. First class is free to give newbies a taste. Otherwise, $30 per session. I always talk to people before enrollment.

Recent prompt

Haiku July ‘23

Nothing like a nice
baked potato with butter,
sour cream, and salt

Hello, little toad!
First spotted this century.
Oh, the things we’ve lost!

First rain, then smoke-sky.
Jays cry. A lawnmower runs.
It feels like April.

Walked the Lost Pond trails.
Lush canopy. Cool fungi.
Burgers? Kin? Flag? No.

Out-of service train
Bell-clanging, wheels ka-thunking.
Slow, slow, then fast. Whoosh!

Dismantling it
isn’t gifting others. It’s

Summer air clamps close.
Coleus curls in the heat.
Ice cream for dessert.

Who knew rhino’s top
lip comes to a point? Or that
warthogs kneel to eat?

Orchid-like flowers
fall, rust, stick to the bottom
of shoes. Catalpa.

Words I like a lot:
velocity, catapult,

7/11. Three today!

Tear downs signal wealth.
This one released a stink that
lingers still, weeks on.

Moss adorned stone walls,
dressed as royally as a
queen in purple silk

Often prickly I
sometimes push people away.
But really, so what?

Rains rage in Vermont.
Canada’s woods are burning.
In the fridge, there’s cake.

CO2’s not smog.
There’s no scrubbing it away.
Heat is here to stay.

Robin alights. Branch
waggles. Berry grabbed, eaten.
Robin vanishes.

They pecked at the lawn,
crept among the ferns, two grown
turkeys and four chicks.

Congo elephants
are smaller, more quiet than
the Savannah type.

Slow, sore down the stairs.
But the coffee pot is full!
Evidence of care.

Granite quarry full
of green water. Gulls bobbing.
Two cormorants. Us.

Midnight: waves crash and
shur near hotel’s foundation.
Mother’s lullaby.

Hajib black. Sleeves black.
Legs covered. She sits low and
lets the waves drench her.

The slavery spin:
beneficial for some. Next
up: women like rape.

My cousin’s birthday
The first without his father.
Mine gone forty years.

Tablesaw whine all
day. Hammer rat a tat tat.
Vacation’s over.

Forty mile march
to Tel Aviv. First hundreds.
Then twenty thousand.

The wind comes. Then rain.
The dog and I sit, listen.
Part cuddle, part prayer.

Single web strand holds
light. Every swag and sway makes
photons slide. Magic.

Breathless coverage.
“Reading the tea leaves” is just
guessing, but I watch.

Humidity forces
an abbreviated walk.
But coneflowers thrive!

You know it’s hot when
shade with poison ivy is
better than no shade.

Prize: rusty washer,
a perfect blue jay feather.
No. It was the breeze!

The spending! Mac D’s,
Chick-fil-a, Wendy’s. We’ve talked.
Make a sandwich! Jeez.

The Loop and Haiku

I “got” three haiku on my walk with Finn this morning. Because it isn’t raining or blisteringly hot, we could make the full loop. More time to hear my thoughts.

Rather than save these for month’s end, I’ll share today. And BTW, I had the wrong link for Robert Hubbell yesterday. Fixed it.

Moss adorned stone walls,
dressed as royally as a
queen in purple silk.

Often prickly, I
sometimes push people away.
But really, so what?

Tear-downs signal wealth.
This one released a stink that
lingers still, weeks on.

To Ohio. This makes 975 PCs for me.