The Flight Between Worlds

Two low-flying owls hurtled toward us, so white they glittered in the fog. We heard the susurrus of their wings before talons shattered our windshield. Stunned, all we could do was let them shuttle us— faster than lightning— into our next lives.

An Anniversary

Once upon a time, there was a writer with low self-esteem. (ha! like there’re writers with high self-esteem!) After a talk with a friend, the writer decided to start a blog to keep track of the stories he uncovered researching genealogy.

But the writer was scared of anyone passing judgement on things that he wrote. He was also a bit of a perfectionist (this was before i realized perfection is boring). The writer was determined not to let negative thoughts stop him from doing something he liked.  After a week of futzing, he surrendered his first post to the blogosphere just before bedtime on February 14, 2014. (at this point, i’d like to formally apologize for writing about myself in the third person— i promise to never do it again)

Posting was both exhilarating and petrifying. He couldn’t sleep that night worrying about causing an international incident with an unfortunate typo or offending his relatives with a dangling participle. As the night progressed, he flirted with taking the post down several times, but he didn’t. (um, because i finally took nyquil that night and konked out) In the morning, he got up and checked his blog. A few of his friends and family members encouraged him by leaving comments, so he followed up with more posts.

Soon he decided his mind worked better without words clogging things up. He wanted to get back into the habit of writing again, so he promised himself he would publish twice a week for a year barring a vacation. (two postings every week but three, plus a post every day in november: I’d say I accomplished my goal)

After a few months, the writer noticed that blogging was taking time away from genealogy (and, you know, life). The writer was losing steam on both fronts and it was only a few months into his goal. He decided to ignore the issue by signing up for a blogging course.

The course introduced him to a gaggle of kindred writers. Interacting with them, he realized the benefits of socializing and getting inspiration from a diverse crowd of funny, smart, writerly people. (thanks meg, claudette,  hugh, karuna, and kat among many others!)

One of the lessons in the course was to participate in a blogging event. The writer saw an event, hosted by a writing community called yeah write, that required bloggers to write and post a 42-word answer to a question. After the posting deadline, everyone read the submissions and voted for their favorites. The writer entered his first piece to yeah write with this post.

The community left positive comments, and the entry did well in the vote. The writer tried other yeah write contests: nonfiction and fiction/poetry. He found motivation in having a deadline and an active audience. He churned out entries every week, some of them were even pretty good, such as his favorite genealogy post and his favorite fiction post. (ok, switching out of third person)

Blogging has opened me up to so many new experiences (which is surprising because it’s literally sitting at a computer alone for hours). I’ve been interviewed. Twice. I’ve participated in several blogging and writing courses. I’ve won a few awards. A month ago, I was asked to be a yeah write editor. The other yeah write editors are another group of honest and funny and smart people; I’m honored to join their ranks. They and the larger community inspire me every week to sit down and just do the work. Their comments and instruction have made me a better and more confident writer. Case in point: here’s the first fiction piece I posted, and here’s the one I submitted last week. (so. much. better.)

So, thanks everybody, for the encouragement and support. Because of it, I have accomplished my goal and feel good about where I’m at. My goal for this year is 52 posts (but, because I hate feeling left out, it will probably be more than that). I will participate in a non-blogging writing contest and I will try my hardest to get Freshly Pressed.

The Real Drama Happens Backstage

Last night, that asshole playing Don Lockwood screamed at me: “Your stupid rain machine’s drowning out my song!”

So tonight, as he sang in the rain, I cranked the water pump to full blast and walked out. Let him turn it off.


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Truth Perches

truth perches
on shoulders
like myna birds
proudly repeating
for all to hear

when you’re quiet
they sing without care

lies struggle
above heads
like flecked pigeons
tied with fishing line
around an ear

I know from the
droppings in your hair

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Daphne and Apollo

Screen shot 2014-09-16 at 3.36.21 PM

I’ve come to love the silence. When I was human, noise always meant Apollo was around. With him, silence was in short supply. Even his smile was loud.

We met in the pool. That’s not a euphemism or anything: I was a competitive swimmer. He claimed he was training with Coach Gattis, but I wouldn’t have put it past him to have nabbed an extra pair of swim trunks from an open locker.

When I finished my laps, I put my hands up to my forehead and wiped the chlorinated water back from my face. I opened my eyes and his white teeth gleamed in front of me, like glare reflecting off the sea.

“You’re Daphne. Hi,” he said, offering me his hand to shake. I’ll admit I was attracted to him at first. The shadow of beard that circled his full lips. The sheen of his dry hair— he obviously hadn’t been swimming. The oyster shell necklace that perfectly set off his olive complexion.

I ignored his hand. “You’re in my way.”

“That is unfortunate. I suppose my best course of action, then, is to extricate myself from your path.” He turned away from me. A midday sun shone bright between his shoulder blades. He grabbed the ladder with both hands and flexed his biceps, then he slowly stepped up, revealing a slick, black Speedo with a small thunderbolt pattern. He turned his head to the side, slant of nose, jut of chin. “You didn’t ask, but I’m Apollo. I’ll see you around, girl.” His laughter filled the natatorium like someone playing a vibraphone.

I know. Ridiculous.

For the next few weeks, he’d catch up with me either in the pool or in the parking lot of the gym. He always started with flattery. Lame stuff that still felt good, even though the lines were obviously practiced. One day he said “I’m going to start calling you Sharpie, ‘cuz you extra fine.”

“Dude. If that’s the best you got, you need to recalibrate your suavé.”

“I can’t help it, luscious, that swimmer’s body of yours drives me wild.”

“You have to know by now that I’m training for Rio.”


“The Olympics. You know, 2016? The only relationship I’m looking for right now is with a gold medal.”

After that he wouldn’t let up. I guess he thought I’d challenged him and he wasn’t the type not to accept. Every time he saw me he’d tell me about some new girl he was seeing. Then he’d say something like, “You know, I wouldn’t have to bore you with these stories if you’d just give me a chance. I’d treat you like a goddess.” Why couldn’t he just accept that I wasn’t interested? After about a month of that syrupy crap, I asked my dad to step in.

Dad came to the gym and cornered him in the locker room. Told him to leave me alone. Most guys would step off after that. My dad’s pecs stick out in front of him like the prow of a ship. Plus he has this goatee that flows from his chin like a river, biker-style. But Apollo just shook his head and said, “I can’t. She’s the only one that got away.”

The next time I saw Apollo he convinced me to go down to the basement for a steam. Once inside, he gave me a laurel branch made of gold. Told me it was his promise to quit playing games. He seemed sincere when he slipped out of the wood-tiled room, so I didn’t listen for the click of the lock.

Dinnertime Showdown

The only thing between Dad and his post-shift nap was the gelatinous mush on my plate. Mom tried distracting him, but his attention soon returned to me in my Oscar-the-Grouch bib.

“Nathan, I want those peas ate!”

“Well I want them six.”

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As I spread my work over the duvet, the fan begins its hum. The curious Manx sniffs around, then eases onto my chest. His purring vibrates through me. A feather of a nap floats in with the breeze, then I’m far away.


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