• blog,  Journal

    The Ghost Town Trail

    I took a vacation last week.  My intention was to take the week off of work while my kids were at summer camp and devote every waking moment to writing. At the last minute, I changed my plans. I haven’t had a vacation without kids or work in decades. My vacations with kids are often as hectic as the daily grind of school, work, dinner, chores, errands, activities, repeat. With family hundreds of miles away, we’ve traveled to see them or they have traveled to see us.  It’s a whirlwind of fun that ends in exhaustion while trying to catch up with everything that I neglected while “taking a break.”…

  • Fiction,  Outskirts of Heaven

    Flowers for Sarah

    “Have you heard…?” Jesse Plain asked on Friday afternoon, picking up flowers for his wife on his way home from work. It was her birthday. Jesse bought her flowers for every occasion. His wife had never once been in Awesome Blossom herself so Chelsea didn’t have any idea if they were appreciated but she supposed they were since he kept coming back and buying more. “Yes, of course, I’ve heard,” Chelsea said. “Well, I didn’t want to assume you had, and I thought you’d want to know.  Even if just to steer clear.” “He’s barely a memory to me,” Chelsea said. To an extent that was true.  She remembered Honor…

  • Journal,  News

    Off Grid August – Take Two

    Last year I went “off grid” for the month of August.  I wasn’t really off-grid. I had access to WiFi and all the luxuries of modern life, but I deleted my social media apps from my phone and tried to restrain myself from going on social media.  Last February, I did the same thing, except in February, I deactivated all my social media accounts.  I had hoped to go off social media for good.  While I was off, life was great.  I had more clarity and better focus. I was writing more, sleeping better, feeling better. That desire to connect with others as well as the desire to share what…

  • Fiction,  Outskirts of Heaven

    Chelsea Gold – Outskirts of Heaven

    News that Honor Caswell was back in town had been swirling for weeks like the outer bands of a hurricane lifting the interest of those who knew him.  Of those who knew him, there were two groups, the ones who knew him all his life and through high school until he joined the marines and those who knew him through Granny Rose who talked about him all the time and put him on the prayer list every Sunday for some reason or another or no reason at all except that he was so far away, living in California and she hadn’t seen him in years. Granny Rose raised Honor and…

  • blog,  Morning Journal

    When I’m on the Bret Easton Ellis Podcast

    I already know how I will answer the question, “Who is better? The Eagles or Fleetwood Mac” when I’m on the Bret Easton Ellis podcast. I’ve been listening to every episode since August and since then, my goal as a writer has shifted from “Write a Best Seller” to “Be in The New Yorker” to “Be invited to the Bret Easton Ellis Podcast.” Of course, a few things have to happen before I go on the show, primary among those, I need to finish writing my book Penny Bomb. “Set a reward for yourself,” is common advice for people taking on a daunting challenge. “Buy something you’ve always wanted,” or…

  • blog

    Lydia and Maude

    Do you have favorite characters that have shaped your life?  I have two. One is a seventy-nine-year-old Holocaust survivor who seduces a twenty-year-old boy before taking her own life. And the other is a crazed lover to a dirty old man. To me, these women are two of the most authentic, honest women characters in art. The first, Maude, is from the movie “Harold and Maude” by Hal Ashby, I discovered this movie when I was seventeen. I watched it at Vassar College during my summer as a playwriting student at the New York Stage and Film’s summer program called “Powerhouse Theatre.”  The program was made up of actors, playwrights…

  • blog,  Creativity,  On Writing

    Author Reading: Mesha Maren Reading Sugar Run

    Tonight I went to an author’s reading in town.  I used to go to these all the time when I lived in Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Now I live in a smaller town that doesn’t have many and to get to the readings I have to drive 45 minutes.  Going into town for a reading or anything else for that matter was nearly impossible for many years.  Now that my kids are getting older and have busy social lives of their own, going to something like an author’s reading is possible with some extra planning. Tonight, Wiley Cash, author of A Land More Kind Than Home, was…

  • blog,  Going Offline,  Journal,  Private Journal

    Twenty One Days Offline

    It takes three weeks to form a habit and it must take three weeks to break a habit too because I no longer miss social media. I no longer wonder what’s going on out there on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook.  I am not curious about what happened with whatever new viral drama because I have no idea what the current viral drama might be and this doesn’t bother me at all.  There is no FOMO with social media anymore.  There is no Fear Of Missing Out on the online world. There IS a Fear of Missing Out on my actual life now and some sadness that I already…