Borrowed idea from Jennifer Pastiloff’s site: The Manifest-Station::
1: A B&W photo taken in school of me from when I was seven, next to my son’s first grade school photograph.
2: A wooden heart that sits on my messy writing desk.
3: My late mentor, Jeanne Leiby’s marked-up copy of Ron Hansen’s Mariette in Ecstasy
4: The late-evening sun coming through the canopy of the orange trees as I was picking them tonight.
5: Bark of coyote in the near distance.
I am overwhelmed by the most generous review of Blood a Cold Blue that appears in today’s edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. This is the first Sunday paper review I’ve ever had and I should cut my losses and stop there! Kevin Fenton, the reviewer, is fulsome and thoughtful in his writing about my book of what he calls, “artful almost-stories. They are small and weighted with the soul, like rosary beads.” I’ll be happy to look back on the review in those long, lonely writing days ahead as I work on the novel and other pieces to come.
The wealth of silent minutes before the lightbulb crests the corner and shakes off the night. On the door hinge a glistening orb weaver spins time backwards, his alert eyes and limbs aware of fragile movements in the offing. Time spent wondering how backhanded compliments turn into crocodile tears, and the stack of papers grows callously on the desk. A commitment to craft, the inspired words of unknown soldiers at their work in unknown trenches, fighting the battles of the day against unknown enemies. Slew of bills should be noted, filed, taken care of, but instead the whistle of red enamel and the clatter of nails on wood changes an early dynamic. Lost eyeglasses might be hidden behind long grass, lenses crushed by car tires, and the dust accumulated around the walkway of the small lighthouse goes uncleaned. Time passes, the dead slip one little bit more into the soil, the letters on the cross fade another hue lighter this year. Maybe it is time again to walk the narrow path between the headstones and bid the old man a good day. Somehow the years dwindle, the lines grow more pronounced, the same eyes which once sang so sweetly of many moments are dimmer. Childhood photographs in ancient classrooms sit beside more modern takes of similar poses. Little people, wrapped in unfolded laundry, their mischief clear, and still they sleep as the owls return from the hunt and the skunks traverse the bitumenous river of death.
We are electric, bound by atoms, shrink-wrapped in a coat of cells, straight ahead we plough for the far fields. Three stalks rise from a jar of mustard colored water, remnants of a frivolous moment. Coreopsis, violent yellow leaves, chuckles to itself in the garden. The scaviosa casts a dark shadow, its brownblack flower an odd hue in a sunny field. An unfortunate name. The dog and I channel our way through the orchard, past coyote scat, strange burrowing spiders, their glisty webs a shimmer of dewy silver. On the telephone pole a red-tailed hawk shrieks its notice across the distance, away, flap, flap, flap, then a steady glide to the top of a petrified oak. Highest point in the place. A half-ounce corpse of electric blue hummingbird rests softly on the earth. Eyes open, pin-pricks of black, the beak a knitting needle of swift revenge.