Milkweed and Monarchs
Each fall, Maine’s monarch butterflies migrate two thousand miles to spend the winter in Mexico. Then the following February, the butterflies begin their trek north. It will take three to five generations—the adult monarchs laying eggs, the caterpillars growing, forming themselves into chrysalises and metamorphizing, and new butterflies...
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My love for reading started early. I traveled the world and rode dragons, fought knights, stormed castles, stole treasure with pirates and rescued kidnapped princesses. I floated down rivers in the deepest regions of unexplored lands. I climbed trees and mountains and flew on clouds.
Mom read to...
Read more: Bibliosmia
To Thwart a Wild Turkey Hen
A flock of wild turkeys has wandered in and out of my yard for years. I have a raised deck so my birdfeeders stand ten feet off the ground and the turkeys graze under them. They are timid birds, and typically when I step out onto the deck, ...
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The Style of No Style
I must be the Charlie Brown of writers because I’ve never been able to figure out what “style” is all about. What does that word, ‘style,’ mean? I’ve always had a problem with it. If there were such a thing as “styleblindness,” a disease like colorblindness, I’d be...
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The Corona virus presents new challenges. Stuck at home, and with more of us sleeping, eating and working here, and a dirtier house, I was finally going to have to figure out how to use my new vacuum cleaner. Ordered a year ago, it mostly sat in its...
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I understand a little bit about wild turkeys. They're on a constant hunt for food, drifting through the neighborhood scrounging what they can. But I don't know how it happens that a few will either be left behind by the flock or leave it. This past fall, I'd...
Read more: Occasional Neighbors
Enjoy the Ride
Get up early. You can’t ride all day if you sleep in. Braid your hair tight — you don’t want it flapping in the wind. Make sure you don’t wear the undies with the seams down the back because after a long day of riding they will make...
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Cocoa and Biscuits
Saturday mornings were special occasions at our house when we were growing up. My friends begged to spend the night so they could be part of the Saturday morning ritual.
Mom would take out her green plastic bowl and splash in a little water, a little cocoa powder, ...
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Livin’ the Dream
When I was a child, my mom and Aunt Leona would pack us six kids into our blue Chevy Belair and drive to a local mobile home dealer (they were known as trailers back then). We would walk through the new homes, just for something to do. How...
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Fall in Maine
Autumn is falling in Maine, harder this year than I remember over the last few falls. We've had two nights of close to freezing temperatures, not enough to ice over the birdfeeders or kill any of my plants yet, but cold enough to turn the furnace on. My...
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Best Laid Plans
Every year shortly before spring, the Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co. catalog shows up on my doorstep. The cover is plastered with a WARNING label in big black letters informing me that if I don’t order now, this will be my last catalog. It also has coupons: $100...
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One January Morning
Mornings, I like to have a Kindle eBook open on the dining room table so I can read and look out into the backyard to see what might be happening.
I live in a raised ranch with an attached two-car garage. My deck, which is off the kitchen...
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The Ruins and the Writing Technique of Negative Space
A book club I’m part of recently discussed The Ruinsby Scott Smith. It’s not a book I would have finished reading based on the first 50 pages, but sticking with it afforded me insight into what a narrative voice can do. The story is about a group...
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A River of Words
Go to work every day. Do your job. Do it well. Always learning, getting better every day. Soaking in the letters that become words, that lead to success.
Meetings, instructions, to-do lists, directions — the words start to drown like a river of brown muddy water rushing through...
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Canada, Marty, and The Exorcist
On our homeschool adventure today, we dreamed aloud of the places we would travel to if we could. My kids and I agree: Ireland and Scotland are our top two places to visit. We played music from Spotify and sang aloud to the merry tunes of the Irish.
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I had no idea what milkweed looked like because I'd never seen it, but I'd always wanted it to grow in my yard so I could see the monarch butterflies.
For the longest time, I've hoped the patch of wonderfully fragrant plants with pale purple flowers growing...
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A Monarch Chrysalis
The monarch caterpillar couldn't decide where to turn itself into a chrysalis. He wandered across my front stoop so many times I was afraid I'd step on it so I stopped using the front door. One time, he'd be crawling up a post of the front railing. Another...
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I am twisted, bent, and deformed on every side. Everyone trying to use me to serve their own purposes, to justify their own beliefs and actions. Their eyes constantly sliding away from my pure, unaltered form, too brilliant and painful to behold without their chosen filters to dim...
Read more: Truth
On a Monday afternoon, I carried a bucket of water outdoors to refill the birdbath. A male goldfinch jumped down from the bath’s rim, and hopped away as quickly as he could to creep beneath a nearby spruce branch. I thought how odd he was...
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Of Heroes and Holiness
What does a hero look like?
George Bailey is a hero.
George Bailey dreamed of traveling the world.
George Bailey gave up his dreams to care for his family and community.
Rudy left his family...
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Another rejection letter and I feel like a loser. Yeah, I know, I’m not trying to make a living doing this. I even claim to be “writing for myself.” Butwe all want validation and, let’s face it, us writers want readers. So here I sit, ...
Read more: My Desk
My Mobile Space
In June, I will expect to find my special place in Townsville, Queensland. Last year it was in Darwin, Northern Territory, and today my place is in Hobart, Tasmania.
We live in a truck, a 2004 Isuzu 350NPR turbo automatic...
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A Red Squirrel's Narrative
This past summer and fall upturned me. The birdfeeder, usually so generous, abdicated her job, and I had to scrounge for food during the long wet season. My mother told me it was unusual to have such a rainy August and October. She would know. I was born...
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Talk-Back, Dear Lia, on FnF
This essay is part of a Talk-Back series – I owe that title to Karen. A Talk-Back is my response to a chapter in a WVU textbook, my communication with its author.
This Talk-Back is a response to the exercise in Lia Purpura’s chapter, ‘On Miniatures,’ (Flas...
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Lina Sophia Rossi
“Why the F--- Do I want to see a F—ing alligator jump up to eat a F—ing chicken hanging on a clothesline?”
The last time I hung out with my Uncle Dan is when I dragged him to Gatorland to do something touristic. ...
Read more: Reunion