Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday Shorts Challenge 1-30-16

Write a 25 word story featuring the word puzzle.

Use it in the story, springboard off of it, do whatever you want with it. Write it, post it, link up in the comments before midnight on Sunday. Read and comment on others who've linked up. I'll share your creations on Twitter.

Monday, January 25, 2016

[Poetry] Consumation

Consume me, my love,
  your secret sacrifice.
On the witch-hour altar
   I offer myself up
only for your sacred tongue.

Monday, January 18, 2016

When is a poet not a poet?

When she doesn't claim the label. 

I wouldn't call myself a poet. 

I like poetry. 

I really like poetic prose. 

I like making my own prose as musical and fluid as I can (it tends to go well with the type of descriptive writing I enjoy). That said, I do dabble in poetry. (I think a lot of writers will dabble in areas that aren't their strengths, just for the sheer joy of creating and exploring.) 

Most of my poetry never sees the light of day. Save for the few pieces I published a couple of years back and the minute stuff that might show up in my fiction.

I've decided I should change that. Particularly in light of grad school continuing to drag on, which limits both my time and creativity. (I might have had the fourth and fifth parts of The Work written and posted by now were my attention not so split.)  

So, moving forward, I'm going to be sharing past pieces from the poetry notebook and new pieces that I come up with, barring any ongoing submission/publication attempts. Because, why not? At the moment, all of these pieces are just hibernating in my archives. If someone out there in blog-land can get something out of them, I'm all for that. 

To kick off the sharing, here's a fragment of a piece. I think it was originally supposed to be the start of a longer work, never took shape. Such is writing.

A woman in a tenement cries
We’re living in blood and
Starving for grain
And the body of our lord and savior
Just ain’t enough to sustain

Monday, January 11, 2016

Music Mondays: Goodbye Spaceboy.

There's only an hour left for Monday (where I am), so I had to post. Bowie left an indelible impression on me as a teenager. I came to the body of his work by way of the movie Labyrinth (and, in fact, still have a subscription to the mostly defunct fandom email lists that started up in the mid to late 90s) and it's long been a well of inspiration that I pull from.

Thanks for the music. Thanks for the glamour. Thanks for the magic.

 What else is there?




"Ziggy Stardust"

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Snapshots: Spring or Fall?

The sky is clear and cerulean, so blue that it seems unreal.

In the field across from my balcony, the ragweed, which I've been blaming for my fatigue and sinus issues these last few days, is almost insultingly yellow.

But the trees and grasses are deep green, lush from the rain that's fallen over the last few weeks. The sun, hot as a beach sun on my skin, is made bearable by a soft breeze.

It's September. But for a certain slant of light and a peculiar--almost cloying--sweetness in the air, it could be April. The year could just as easily be turning toward summer as to the short, cold days of winter.

I'm trying my best to enjoy the pleasure of warm, sunny days while they last. It's not unlike draining a glass of your favorite drink to the dregs, savoring the taste on your lips, sure and yet unsure—as all living things—that you'll be able to have this experience again.

Spring or fall. Favorite seasons or not so favorite seasons. I'm teaching myself to find more pleasure in the small moments.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Strange Intimacies

For a while (seriously, maybe the last year; on and off for longer), I'd been wanting to get my nose pierced. Just your average nostril piercing, something different yet subtle enough for both my personality and my professional path in life (however it turns out).

I went ahead with it a few weeks ago.

We'd gone downtown to scope out a tattoo and piercing shop to do a little research and reconnaissance. So, while we were there, I thought: why not? No time like the present.

All my previous piercings, which only involve my ears, were done (and I cringe at this) by gun. The first set when I was baby; I don't remember it at all. The second set and single-third, when I was 15. This was my first time actually being pierced the proper way: with a needle.

And there is something strangely intimate about paying someone to shove a needle through your flesh, particularly the flesh of your nose. (I imagine it's an even stranger intimacy for something like nipples, labia or penis.) I'm one of those people who carefully cultivates a bubble of personal space; few people are allowed entrance (and some of them only out of medical necessity, see: yearly check ups), so for me there was a definite sense of having my personal bubble invaded. 

But the strange intimacy was worth it. I now have a pretty little faux opal (fauxpal) stud in my nose. It's my marker for getting through my first year of graduate school.

And now, I am anxiously awaiting the end of the healing process so that I can experiment with different jewelry.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Jekyll Island and 400 Year Old Oaks (Or: What I Did on My Summer Vacation)

I had a month off between the spring and summer semesters of grad school. (As I type this, I'm nearing the halfway point of the program!) So my husband I decided to take a little jaunt down to my favorite little island off the coast of south Georgia.

Jekyll Island is one of the Golden Islands of Georgia, a collection of four barrier islands off the coast of the port city of Brunswick.

It is, in many ways, a home away from home. I spent a lot of weekend summer days there as a kid, when we lived two hours west in Valdosta.

I digress. 

The shoreline of a beach, edged with tall trees.
Driftwood Beach
We stayed on the northern end of the island, in a resort next to the aptly named Driftwood Beach, which is the only portion of beach (at that resort) accessible at high tide.

And it is hauntingly lovely.

A tree graveyard.

Time and tide have eroded the soil on this part of the island, baring the gnarled roots of old oaks.

An oak tree, stripped of leaves and bark, laying on its side in the tide.
Gnarled oak in the tide
Battered by wind and rain and tides, eventually the trees topple over, revealing their amazingly intricate root systems and creating some really marvelous atmosphere.

This is the kind of beach I imagine is haunted by the memory of shipwrecks and drowned sailors.

The kind of beach on which pirates take sabbatical.

It's the kind of beach where you might nudge aside a loose piece of driftwood with your bare toe and reveal something inexplicably strange or beautiful.

Perhaps a tiny blue crab staring up at you with a peculiar cleverness about its face.

An oak tree laying on its side on the beach. The roots can be seen sticking out of the water.
Fallen oak on the beach
A doubloon crusted in a hundred years worth of sea mud.

A small white clam that, when opened, spills out more brine than it could conceivably hold, followed by a water logged letter, written in a copperplate hand and a language that doesn't exist.

Or maybe the shell of a moon snail, in all its rainbow finery, looped through a green chain of woven sea grasses.

There's a whole other world in the ocean. Under the ocean.

And the beach itself is a 'tween place. That's an "in between place" in faery lore. A place where you're in two worlds at once. The land and the water.

Who knows what might wash up?

An oak tree, with no leaves or bark, rising up from the water.
Old oak, still standing, amid the rising tide

I could wax poetic about the beach and the ocean for hours. But I won't.

We couldn't spend all day, every day playing in the water. (Well, I could, but....) So, eventually, we tore ourselves away from the tide to spend some time exploring the rest of the island, including the Historic District. 

At some point, I learned that this district is home to the island's oldest oak tree. An (at least) 350 year old majestic thing called The Plantation Oak.

On our second to last day on the island, we went searching for it. After an hour of wandering around, seeing a lot of large trees but none labeled the oldest on the island, we took a break at the island bookstore.

The bookstore is tucked inside what used to be the old infirmary. You enter through a very large and heavy wooden door that slams closed behind you if you're not careful.

There, my husband came across a book about Jekyll, with a mention of the great tree we were hunting. But even the book, with its pictures, was a little vague about the location.

Fortified by cool air and a more obvious place to look, we made our way back to Old Plantation Road. And after stubbornly canvasing the area for fifteen minutes, we found the tree.

(Astonishingly, there is only one sign for this great old tree and it's right near the trunk, tucked away in the thicket of sweeping branches.)

The Plantation Oak is between 350 and 400 years old and 112 feet high. It's trunk is massive and its limbs span the length of several cars put end-to-end. (They would be perfect for lounging. If it weren't for the bugs.)

Large oak with spanish moss and long limbs.

(Top) The Plantation Oak (Bottom)

The thick trunk and branches of an oak, layered with spanish moss.

And since I don't think such a beautiful tree is to be missed, I'll tell you where to find it.

The Plantation Tree is on Old Plantation Road in the Historic District. It's next to the Courtyard at Crane (also called Crane Cottage) in between the cottage and the old foundation of a swimming pool that is guarded by two stone lions.

I spent some minutes with the tree, taking pictures and just generally....communing. It's impressive to find something that old, especially on an island that is occasionally wracked by hurricanes (though I believe the last one to hit hard was in the late 1800s).

The rest of us could only hope for a similar longevity.

Anyway. The finding of the great tree marked the descending point for our beach trip. We spend the next day exploring a few of the nooks and crannies on St. Simon's island, before heading back to our room and then playing in the waves for one last evening.

The top portion of a moon snail shell, bleached white from the sun.
Moon Snail Shell
I brought back more shells than I needed, including a piece of a moon snail that I'd found tucked up against one of the large chunks of driftwood. (It was only on this trip that I learned what a moon snail was. I never expected to find a shell, even a piece of one.)

Also accompanying me home were a good sized whelk shell (found empty at low tide) which still has the scent of mud and sulfurous Georgia water clinging to it, and a smaller, more fragile whelk shell whose occupant had likely been pried out through an impressive hole in the exoskeleton.
A small whelk shell with a hole in the center.
Whelk Shell

And so my seaside adventures came to an end, for another year.  (Or possibly longer, as we may be on the other side of the country next summer and at least 16 hours from a coast).

On a related note, I have to confess.

I think I'm already planning my retirement location. (Not that I think I'll ever actually get to retire, the economy and world being what it is.)

But even if I spend my golden years working from home....I could think of no better place to do it than with the ocean and, maybe, the spectacular Driftwood Beach, just outside my door.


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