Eyes of a Child

9-6-12   The prompt:  Choose something big           Universe
                                      Choose something small       baby
                                     Choose a texture                      smooth
                                      Choose something green      baby poop


The small mind wandered.  The eyes explored the confines of the room.  A rumbling down below announced the arrival of the warm smooth stinging stuff.  A small, dignified baby grunt accompanied it.  The feet kicked.  Arms waved.  The sting kicked in, and the sound came unabashed and strident.   “Waaaaaaaaa!”

Eleanor put the manuscript aside and got up for the changing.  “Motherhood surely isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”, she thought.  Lack of sleep, sore boobs, an understanding but recalcitrant husband who still gags at a changing.  And best of all, green poop every two hours.  Next kid, she’s making Bob take paternity leave and grow boobs so he can feed the little doink and she can keep on teaching.  A hormone shot here, a bit of “We must, we must” exercising there, and he would shape up just fine.

“Hello, little sweetums, have you brought mommy another present?”  She cooed down at the small, bright red face and set herself for the act of love that changing a young baby’s diaper is.  A quick tug of tabs, slip, wrap, toss, wipe, wipe again, wipe yet again, how does he do it and still gain weight?  One-handed grab for a fresh diaper, feet in the other hand, flip of the wrist, slip, sprinkle and wrapped up once again.  Like a little baby present .

“Sonny boy, you and I are going exploring today.  Out into the wide outdoors.  I need it, you need it, and we’ll both be happier for it.”  A stroll outside, baby facing out in the chest carrier like an animate, sentient growth.  Wide eyed and taking in the entire universe.

What will the child of a philosophy professor think about?  Why am I here?  Where is here?  Why does Food make those cooing noises?  Food isn’t necessary right now.  Warmth and snuggle are enough.  Happy.  Look up.  And up.  And up.  The little jaw drops, the eyes wide.  Between here and there is a lot of stuff, some seen and heard and felt, and some just sensed.  Louder noises from the wind and birds, the repetitive rush of air into and out of Food as I am borne along.  The softer noises.  The Music of the Spheres.  The background voices all around.  Calling me out.  Beckoning me forward and up.  If Food had not restrained me, I would surely go to the voices.  They can feed me, too.


Early-Onset Oldtimers (What?)

In keeping with my philosophy of writing, here’s a piece I wrote this past February.  The format at Main Street Writers is this:  Kathy, our peerless leader, gives us a prompt and a 30 minute limit, and says GO.  We get a ten minute warning, and then we all read our piece to the group, inviting positive feedback from the group.  There are usually five to nine of us, plus Kathy.  She also writes and reads.

These writings will always start with Kathy’s prompt.
What would you have written?

2-14-13    The prompt:   3-4 steps to this one

Short list of topics I want to write about
Prague, family, out west, customer service disasters I have known

Short list of things I don’t want to write about
Finances, work, old relationships

Share something from everyone’s lists
Self serve gas pumps, incest, monkey-faced dogs, love, relationships, the ocean, bananas, worms


I forgot it all.  Lists are supposed to save me from doom, embarrassment, disappointing my Sweetie, and having to go to Home Depot seven times a day.  But when the lists are so divergent, and the pressure is on, I can write one second, and forget the entire list by the time my eyes have moved down the page.  Could this be the first signs of Early Onset Old-timers Disease?  These days, that probably depends on how many Wendys Triple Deluxe Baconators I scarfed down over the past year.  I can feel the prions attaching themselves to my brain cells like little limpets and sucking my memories out one by one.         Continue reading

All intents and purposes

Well, I finally broke down and did it.  I set up this blog after a couple of years of writing memoir, fiction, and creative nonfiction.  It feels like a fitful, halting start, but I believe that confidence will come and spur me on.  My intent for this blog is to build a community of writers and wannabees to bounce ideas off each other and to share critiques, both positive and gently, helpfully negative.

A brief note here on comments, critiques and spam.  First of all, there is a setting in WordPress to filter spam, but I am certain that some will leak through.  I can control this by approving the first post from contributors.  After that, posting is generally unfiltered for that contributer.  I am fairly thick skinned, and so will allow a free-wheeling conversation when critiquing posts.  I was raised in the philosophy of Amherst Writers and Artists, which stresses the safety of the group by allowing positive comments, and discouraging criticism.  I hope to go to a bit more open format, but this is my site, and I will not allow flaming or harsh critiques.  Everyone who writes is a writer, and deserves praise and encouragement for their efforts.

This site will evolve, and I hope for growth.  In the spirit of encouraging posts, I present the memoir piece that led me to this point in life.


The Fire


What are fourteen year olds interested in?  Most of my peers in 1969 seemed to be into cars, girls, and beating me up.  Southampton, New York was a tough town for a newbie, especially a goofy looking kid like me, with an overbite and thick glasses.  I wasn’t a member of any of the cliques, and didn’t know how to wedge myself into them.


Most of my time in school was spent with my head down, trying to look small and trying to figure out why no one liked me.  I discovered the library as a sanctuary and diversion, and then discovered… witchcraft.  Here was the potential for protection.  This wasn’t Samantha and Daren twitching noses.  This was spells and robes, swords called athamès, candles and incantations so powerful that you could move stuff from across the room.  Astral projection.  Potions and talismans.  I was able to get the little short sword pretty easily from an Indian store that sold incense and brass stuff.  The sword wasn’t sharp or real pointy, but it didn’t need to be.  It was purely ceremonial.  It lived behind some books on the shelf in my bedroom.  I didn’t want Mom finding it and asking where I got it and what it was for.                 Continue reading