Category Archives: writing

gone to the printers

I think this might be like arriving at base camp at the foot of Everest

I know its an awful lot like being 37 weeks pregnant.

maybe you dreamed of it

surely you worked for it

but as the time nears

you realize, increasingly

that you have absolutely no idea

what you’ve gotten yourself into

 

and the dark clouds form and disperse

as you reckon the size of the leap

you have made

peering at the place you think you’re going to land

readying the things you think you’ll need

asking for mentors, safety nets

realizing that when you need financial security more than ever you are sloughing it off

to pit yourself against the challenge

of doing this thing

and doing it well

aprons and layers falling

revealing the dream vulnerable to the raw air:

 

I,

Writer

terrified, quaking, tired and certain

there is no perfect draft, there is no truly ready time

the story is past due

 

and gone to the printers.

finally finished, and only just begun.

Downwind: A People’s History of the Nuclear West.  November 2014

 

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on a sunny saturday morning at the end of september

i wake up ready to write
after a rare Friday night off work
dinner out with my loving husband
and a reading by Cheryl Strayed,
a writer I respect and admire
the words are at my fingertips
and i know if i sit down, i will create

but everything seems to conspire to keep me from my writing desk
kiddo needing breakfast
the broken seal on the toilet
the mouse that refuses to leave or be killed
the overripe plums that are attracting fruit flies
the kale and chard that need planting
the laundry that needs doing after the boy peed on the bathroom floor
the chickpeas that are done soaking, and need cooking
the garden tools that are overdue @ the tool library
the diaper explosion that presents itself at the hardware store
the little old Korean man who did not show up to work today
and thus, could not fill my empty print cartridge
and these are only some of the things
I lose my patience
gather it
and lose it again

Callum is sitting in one of his emptied out toybins,
eating peanut butter pretzels
i kneel down to apologize for yelling
and kiss his forehead
when i walk away
i taste salt

it may have come from the pretzels,
onto his sweet, two year old hands,
which he then brushed across his forehead
or it may have come from the tears of rage
i shed earlier
reading a friend’s news about breast cancer.

but then i think about the way she told us,
fearless and funny as hell, like she always is
promising plenty of profanity and the kind of fierceness
that only a mother can bring to a fight

and i gather
laugh
cry
meditate
and put my hands to work again.
harvest acorn squash
write about the 1992 World Uranium Hearings
move the laundry to the dryer

wash
spin
dry
put away
clothe
pick up
repeat
Amy said the other night
and its true.

i take comfort, always
in the solidarity of mothers

acorn squash harvest and a lone Blue Hubbard

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craft

there is some work behind it:
the movement of an idea
from its origin point
in the mountains

it is no accident,
the way the words echo off the walls of the paragraphs
the way the momentum flows through the canyons of the chapters
building toward
the sea

where everyone can stand on the shores
and let their preconceptions
be washed over
by the tide

at least that’s what you’re hoping

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