A Lesson for This Sunday- Derek Walcott

For some strange reason, my latest posts have not been showing up. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the app or just some sheer craziness but I have had to start composing on my laptop again which is a bit frustrating. Today’s post is another piece by Derek Walcott that I simply fell in love with this past weekend. In light of how hot it’s been in North Carolina recently, I felt that this was the perfect time to share this piece. The image seemed perfect to accompany the poem too. Even though it’s not quite summer yet. As always, I hope you enjoy.



The growing idleness of summer grass

With its frail kites of furious butterflies

Requests the lemonade of simple praise

In scansion gentler than my hammock swings

And rituals no more upsetting than a

Black maid shaking linen as she sings

The plain notes of some Protestant hosanna—

Since I lie idling from the thought in things—


Or so they should, until I hear the cries

Of two small children hunting yellow wings,

Who break my Sabbath with the thought of sin.

Brother and sister, with a common pin,

Frowning like serious lepidopterists.

The little surgeon pierces the thin eyes.

Crouched on plump haunches, as a mantis prays

She shrieks to eviscerate its abdomen.

The lesson is the same. The maid removes

Both prodigies from their interest in science.

The girl, in lemon frock, begins to scream

As the maimed, teetering thing attempts its flight.

She is herself a thing of summery light,

Frail as a flower in this blue August air,

Not marked for some late grief that cannot speak.


The mind swings inward on itself in fear

Swayed towards nausea from each normal sign.

Heredity of cruelty everywhere,

And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,

The long look back to see where choice is born,

As summer grass sways to the scythe’s design.


Some people say they’re just words

Like words aren’t perfectly formed arrows

Shot from lips, pens and fingertips 

As if only sticks, stones and bullets are capable of inflicting pain. 

They think words don’t bruise souls or tear down self-esteem. 

They probably don’t even read since they can only see “just words.”

Words form sentences, breathe life into characters, and create worlds

Words lay the cornerstone of communication 

Tell your story, pour out your feelings all over this world cause

The world needs more storytellers. More imagination. More words. 

Some people don’t respect the power of words until they are directed towards them.

Blog Planning

I have so many ideas for the blog and for posts. Generally, I write them down on paper(see below) or make notes/write in Evernote. But that wasn’t really practical. 

I also have the blog planning sheets (see above) that I’ve shared before but I wanted something more complete so that I wasn’t always taking up space in my regular planner. So I took some tools from the lovely, amazing Leslie over at Lamberts Lately. I wanted to include the link but it wasn’t up at the time. Anyway, I combined some of her blog planning printable, the planner sheets that I already had and some cute calendars and blank note sheets to make an amazing blog planner of my own. 

I took it to a local shop and had it bound and I love the results. This thing has editorial calendars, two sections to plan out posts, sheets to take notes, to do pages, social media schedules, and pages for series ideas. It’s awesome.

I’ve still been staying pretty much on task in creating posts and planning them. Hopefully, this is going to go a long way to helping me stay on course as I continue to build the blog and my audience. 

Do any of you use blog planners? Have you been successful using them? 

Spring Poem For the Sake of Breathing, Written After a Walk to Foster Island- James Masao Mitsui

Today, I’m sharing a piece written by one of my former poetry professors. I have a volume of his poetry in my collection and coming across this piece made me decide to spend more time with his works. 

Hope you all enjoy! 

The sky wants the water to turn grey,

but if I notice how waves


play with the clumps of yellow flags,

or the way turtles share logs,


or even try to understand a friend’s decision

to walk onto a glacier


and end her life—I will be ready

for any poems that have been waiting.


The horizon opens as I walk,

escorted by swans and Canada geese.


I need to stop backpedaling into the present.

In my old life people would straighten


the truth, but the river

flows in curves.


The names of my father and my mother

rest next to each other in Greenwood Cemetery.


The distance between me and the mountains

measures an uneven thought: I feel like an orphan.


An early moon is just a piece of change

in the softening sky.


Light is such an actress. Time to seek

Hopper’s wish to simply paint sunlight


on the wooden wall of a house. I am growing

older. Maru in Japanese means


the ship

will make it back home.

Starting in the Middle

I have a bunch of story ideas. They are semi-organized; meaning that most of them have character lists and sketches and are in their own folders. Some of them are no longer viable or interesting to me and some of them will become subplots in other stories but one of them is a must write. The working title is “The Funeral” and I initially started working on it based on an observation one cool, overcast morning in D.C. in 2001/2. 

Don’t be ‘a writer.’ Be writing. 

                     -William Faulkner 

The story is a mixture of that initial observation and quite a few outrageous occurrences. Unfortunately, I have had quite a bit of experience with funerals and they have included some weird moments so I hope to insert that feeling.  One of my cousins, who’s like a sister, and I have the tendency to laugh at funerals. We’ve done it so many times that it’s probably second nature at this point. That’s another underlying theme that I want to infuse into the story; the unexpected hilarity of family gatherings. I am intrigued by the idea that outrageous things happen even in times of sorrow.

I have switched the heroine three times in drafting/working on the story but I’m convinced that I finally have the right one. The supporting characters have remained the same for the most part and they are all extremely entertaining. I have index cards with dialogue and interesting tidbits to insert But in revisiting the story I realized that I will be crafting it from scratch because I lost three to five pages in the great hard drive crash of 2012. What I do have though is the original folder: full of ideas, character sketches, and my initial observations and I’m so excited about building this story.

I’ve decided that this is one of my projects for this year and I am not waiting for November to get started. I look forward to sharing bits of it with you as it’s created. Do any of you have a story that just won’t leave you alone? One that you just have to write?

I Promise 

Today’s post is a bit different and although I have it categorized as a rant, it really isn’t one at all. Okay, so I am sure that you all have come across other bloggers and sites specifically ones that are geared towards writers. Well, I am a huge fan of those sites. Simply because I love to learn and I love seeing what else is out there in the world. 

For those reasons I am on the mailing lists of many, many,many “writing clubs.” It could also be because I am addicted to worksheets. I think it’s a product of growing up in a certain era. Pinterest allows you to find so many useful writing tools and I love to have copies on hand to use as I develop characters, plots, and scenes and that’s usually how I come across these resources. However, one negative of belonging to these “clubs” is that they often lead to the new thing which is writing courses. Some of which are very pricy. I completely get why these services are offered and I know that there are people who want/need/desire them.

Let me just say that I am not bashing them at all. I know that there is a need and everyone shouldn’t have to enroll in graduate school to learn the skills they want. So, it is great that these services and classes are out there. 

But…that is not what I’m about. At all! 

So today, I am making the solemn vow that I  promise to never offer or sell you writing courses. I know, I know “never say never” but this is a near certainty. 

Here’s why:

1.) I teach writing courses for a living at several colleges and universities. This little spot on the web is where I find my bliss. I am not trying to merge the two unless it becomes absolutely necessary. 

2.) If you ask me for tips, I’m more than happy to share any and everything that I’ve learned. 

3.) I have an MFA and a MA in Creative Writing and English respectively and I am still crafting my own lane for writing. I know many people with neither who are brilliant writers and are more qualified to offer such advice. 

4.) As I continue to build my brand, I know the direction that I want to head in. Since I’m committed to publishing I don’t want to teach courses outside of my day job and workshops. 

5.) See number one again 

Elegy for my Husband- Toi Derricotte

As a poet who often writes grief poetry, Toi Derricotte’s “Elegy for my Husband” struck a chord in me that I am still battling with. Some poets are able to craft elegies that give you glimpses into their grief but also manage to give you insight into who the person they are mourning was. They manage to convey just who and what they lost and this poem does that very well.  This poem is an amazing testament to those who work to build elegies and to mold their grief into words.




Bruce Derricotte, June 22, 1928 – June 21, 2011


What was there is no longer there:

Not the blood running its wires of flame through the whole length

Not the memories, the texts written in the language of the flat hills

No, not the memories, the porch swing and the father crying

The genteel and elegant aunt bleeding out on the highway

(Too black for the white ambulance to pick up)

Who had sent back lacquered plates from China

Who had given away her best ivory comb that one time she was angry

Not the muscles, the ones the white girls longed to touch

But must not (for your mother warned

You would be lynched in that all-white Ohio town you grew up in)

Not that same town where you were the only, the one good black boy

All that is gone

Not the muscles running, the baseball flying into your mitt

Not the hand that laid itself over my heart and saved me

Not the eyes that held the long gold tunnel I believed in

Not the restrained hand in love and in anger

Not the holding back

Not the taut holding