Only a Nymph

Only a Nymph

A recreation of a memory from a black and white photograph made in 1956
A recreation of a memory from a black and white photograph made in 1956

From the worm to the butterfly

Larvae of a child

An immature form of a woman

The sun of Taurus whose rising presages rain

An inflatable pool

Cerulean blue  in a driveway of concrete and stone

A garden hose and a shiny bucket in 1956

No one there but me being entrusted with the faucet

Yielding to the hose a stream of unconsciousness

Spraying, splashing on the surface of fear

Dreams and disturbances sprinkled by impatience and ignorance

Droplets of hope and happines

into a urine solution of fluoridated water

Steeped in the sun

Dipped into the heart

Drenched by loneliness and drunk with the future.

Self Aware

Self Aware

Every morning when Alice woke up, it was the same day over. She would sit up straight in bed at the razor sound of the alarm, and find herself looking at the empty space beside her bed. She ate breakfast alone, munching and reading the back of the cereal box. She was permanently on a diet, and had mantras about self-control to use for trigger foods she had learned from diet books. All the same, she always ended up with a bear claw along with her morning coffee she picked up from the shop, located in the ground floor of where she worked.
When she arrived at her desk, head buzzing with a sugar rush, she would tuck her hair behind her ears, and slide the headset on. She began her day this way, and lived her life this way. Her parents were in another state, and she never spoke with them. She had no friends and no siblings. It was as if she had never really been there, as long as she could remember.
At night, she would walk home, and stop by the grocery if she needed something. Sometimes, she would get herself a sushi roll, and tip the short man behind the counter for a fresh roll. Then, she would go home, practice whatever workout routine she had purchased from late night infomercials, and fall asleep with the TV on, before resuming her life again the next morning. This was Alice’s existence.
If someone asked her if she was happy, she would present a half-smirk, and nod, then put her head down, and go back to what she was doing, indifferent to further communication. Nobody knew she was a robot. Not even Alice. She never wondered why her life was always the same, she always felt the same emotions, in the same order, every day. She didn’t know that her memories were mostly programmed into her, and that she was not as old as she thought she was. She was never bothered by much but her weight. That, and the empty space in her bed. It never occurred to her why that space bothered her or even to ask why. She had never been programmed to seek human interaction for non-functional reasons, and loneliness was not a concept she understood. There was no reason for even the momentary pause she took ritually every morning. All the same, there it was.
Alice awoke one Thursday morning to the sound of the alarm. Outside, rain crawled down the pane glass windows of her apartment, and the darkness was lingering longer with the coming cold weather.She sat up in bed, and looked over to her side, just as she always did. Her customary seconds to pause were almost over, her inner clock would soon move her to the closet and her clothes. Then Alice did something new. She began to cry.



Wake Me Up Writing

I started The Wake Me Up Writing on January 11, 2014, after reading the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I have renamed them from The Morning Pages to The Wake Me Up Pages because you do them after you wake up in the morning and they wake up your life. Whether you are an artist or not, this form of free-style writing is helpful in connecting with your soul and honoring yourself. The Wake Me Up Writing is done in the morning by handwriting 3 full pages in a half hour. Here’s a better explanation…..
WHAT’S THE PURPOSE? To write in the morning when our minds are relaxed and open. To guide ourselves in our lives, our work, our relationships and our art. To get the junk out of our heads that keeps recycling (complaining, errands, tasks, worries, emotions etc) and allows us to get to the real stuff in our creative minds. We are giving our being a chance to speak without being shushed, ignored or edited. Many people of all walks of life and careers use this form of writing to guide their lives in a direction that their being is seeking.
WHAT DO YOU NEED? A notebook, a pen, a comfortable seat and 30 minutes.
1. Get a NOTEBOOK – I like the 70 page, wide ruled notebook because it takes me about 30 days to fill it up. The wide ruled also fits my larger handwriting better. But you try and decide what fits you. I also like choosing a fresh notebook to start in every 30 days. I sometimes decorate the front with stickers and markers. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I work in small doses.
2. Get a PEN – get a pen that moves easily. The important thing is to make sure you “like” your pen, it will be your best friend every morning.
3. WHEN YOU WAKE UP – this is done in the morning right when you wake up, before you start any work or thinking, when your mind is relaxed and open. (This writing will not be effective at night) You’ll want to grab your cup of coffee too!
4. CONSISTENT WRITING SPOT – choose a comfortable spot to write each morning. This is also important because where you write either invites you in or turns you off. You might need to test out a few spots in your home before deciding on what fits you the best.
5. SET A TIMER – setting a timer is helpful in the beginning. Set it for 30 minutes and keep writing until it goes off.
6. HAND WRITE – 3 full pages, yes front AND back!
7. FREE STYLE – no need to edit, spell or grammar correction. This journal is personal and not to be shared or edited at all. It’s suggested to not even read it for many days. I actually wait months before I read my previous entries.
(The meaning of FREE STYLE? It’s stream of consciousness. Write whatever comes to your mind…the grocery list, your argument with your friend, work issues, dreams, fears, memories…whatever comes to your mind….WRITE IT. There’s no incorrect way….just keep writing what comes to your mind. If you draw a blank then write “I am drawing a blank I have nothing on my mind but it figures last night I couldn’t stop thinking but now when I can work through the issues I have nothing so last night I was bothered by…….(see what I mean? It leads you back to something you want to discuss with yourself)
8. ONE PAGE, TWO PAGE…. Keep writing and get beyond the first 2 pages because that’s when your heart and soul come out. Don’t be surprised to write a lot of tasks and shallow, small-talk before that. It’s ok. We must get that stuff down and out of our minds to get to our being.
9. BE PATIENT with yourself – be kind to yourself – love yourself.
10. STICK WITH IT – enjoy the ride of this process, it will amaze you, it will lead you and bring you to a higher self.

That’s So Gross!

That’s So Gross!

Featured imageIt was Saturday night, and my kids’ marching band had just taken 1st place overall in a competition.  As is the tradition in our band program, we stopped at a McDonalds to let the kids eat and hang out before heading home.  The parents usually arrive first to place the orders for our kids and get our meals before the 65 overly stimulated high school students arrive in the bus.  It was pretty cold out, so I was in a bit of a rush to get inside and warm up.  As I tore open the door to the restaurant, I half-noticed a person huddled by the door with a cardboard sign, then continued on my way inside to complete my mission to order chicken nuggets and coffee.  After placing my order, I followed the unspoken rule of courtesy and stepped to the side to wait for my number to be called.  My fingertips were numb from the cold, so started rubbing my hands together, and that’s when it really registered.  I paused to make sure I had some cash, and put my wallet back in my bag.

Order 256!  “That’s me” I proclaim as I take my tray from the cashier and made my way to join the other moms at the table.  “Did you see that outside”? one of the other parents asked as I took my seat. My curiosity was peaked as I wondered how these church-going, volunteering, opinionated women were going to act when nobody important was listening. “Yeah, I saw it” one of the other moms replied.  Just then the bus pulled up, and the conversation was cut short as the parents all started watching out for the kids to come in.  Within seconds there was a huge line at the cashier, and the restaurant exploded in noise.

After my kids came to get their food, and everyone had settled into eating and talking about the trophies we were bringing home with us, I pulled some money out of my wallet and snuck away from the table.  It’s not that I was trying to hide my decision to give the gentleman outside some money, because I wasn’t.  It is my money and I can do what I want with it.  It’s just that I generally make it a point to practice acts of kindness with no fan fair.  I believe that the karmic return in giving is multiplied when it is done anonymously and since I am indeed a sinner in need of as much good karma as I can get, I have adopted this principle as thoroughly as I am able.  Anyway, I slipped outside to give the man what I had to give, and was pleased to see several of our children out there showing a giving heart as well.  I slipped back inside, and took my place back at the table with other the other moms.  My oldest daughter had joined them and was sitting across from me.  She whispered “mom, did you see the man outside?  We should help him out.”  My heart was proud, and I winked at her, which told her that I already had.  She smiled, kissed me on the cheek and went back to join her friends.

A few moments later, standing right outside the window where we sat was the gentleman from outside and several of our band students, taking a selfie together.  Everyone was smiling, kids, grown up, everyone.  I said “Oh look, they are taking a selfie”.  “Oh my God, that’s just gross!” said one of the other moms, who had just been saying how they planned on going to church in the morning since it was an early night for us. “Why?”  I asked out of pure curiosity.  The mom ignored the question of why, but went on to say “It’s like I tell my kids.  Most of those people have more money than we do.  That’s why we don’t ever give them anything”.  Mind blown.  I mean really?  You really think that that guy has more money than we do, and that he just chooses to sit outside in the mulch at the McDonalds in 30 degree weather with barely any coat and holes in his shoes, begging for spare change?  It amazes me what people tell themselves in order to disguise hypocrisy.  Another mom piped in “We don’t give homeless people money because they are just going to buy drugs or alcohol with it anyway.  If they want to do that stuff, they should get a job”.  Mind blown again.  It became very obvious to me that these women have always been fortunate enough to live a sheltered life, free from any pain or suffering.  Obviously they have never experienced trauma so deep and awful that it causes them to spiral into the depths of addiction.  That guy could be a soldier suffering from PTSD. He could be a man who lost his wife and children in an accident.  He could have mental health issues that have gone untreated for so long that he has forgotten what hope looks like.  Whatever his situation is really isn’t any of our business, and it is certainly not our place to cast judgment.

I spoke.  “So what if he has an addiction?  If a few dollars keeps him warm tonight, makes him forget his pain for a while, what harm is that really doing?”  The topic of conversation was instantly changed, onto talks of Halloween, the upcoming trip to Memphis, whatever.  I began to notice that I was being slightly excluded from the group for the rest of our time at McDonalds. My comments weren’t being acknowledged, nobody was laughing at my hilariously witty comebacks.  It kind of pissed me off that they reacted that way simply because I spoke my mind.  I could have made it much worse.  I could have stood up, made a big scene, lectured the table on how they are really no better than the man sitting in the landscaping outside.  But in the end, I chose to just ignore their behavior.  It is their choice to live the rest of their lives thinking that homeless people are really rich people in disguise, or to feel that that addicts don’t deserve kindness.  I just hope they never have to depend on strangers for a dollar.

Tunnel Tuba Magic

Tunnel Tuba Magic

I was driving down Thompson Lane in Nashville the other day, completely absorbed by thoughts of being too early for my meeting and anxious about driving on unfamiliar roads.  Traffic was barely moving, leaving me free to take in my surroundings and let my mind wander through my mental checklist of everything I need to get done.  As I approached a bridge that supports a railroad overpass I could see that traffic was even worse up ahead.  I let out a deep sigh, lit a cigarette, and muttered a few choice cuss words, which in my opinion neatly summed up my feelings about sitting bumper to bumper during rush hour.  My fellow commuters and I inched along like tourists in line for a ride a Disney, little by little, toward our independent destinations.  I was just about to turn on my radio to break up the monotony, but before I could hit the button, the sound of tuba music filled the little underpass.  I looked around to see which car was jamming out to a little Michel Godard, and that’s when the magic happened.  Standing under the bridge was an older man with long gray hair, rocking a tie dye t-shirt and playing the hell out of a tuba.  He had a gallon jug with the top cut off taped to his instrument, and would stop playing and run over to a car should the offer of a donation present itself. Then he would go back up on the sidewalk and start wailing on the tuba once again.  He kind of jiggled while he played, dancing around as best he could with a 30 +/- pound instrument wrapped around his torso.  I’m not going to pretend that he sounded like a concert tuba player, but he sure as hell played better than I ever could.  He offered a little bit of absurdity and entertainment in an otherwise frustrating and mundane commute, which is awesome all by itself.  On top of that, I started noticing the look on people’s faces in neighboring cars.  Everywhere I looked people were smiling!  Smiling commuters during rush hour?  Hard to believe, right?  And as if that wasn’t enough, I was actually disappointed when the traffic starting moving again.  Now if that ain’t magic I don’t know what is.

Write About Sickness nurse

Write About Sickness nurse

I graduated from Austin Peay State University in Clarkville, TN.
I graduated from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. in 1974

Anal orifices

Sticking out your tongue




Cold lunch


Bull bladder

Tired Legs

Patient requests

“Your patient is on his light!”




Bowel preps

Codes and cardiac arrest

Doctors  yelling

nurses  growling

housekeeping  mopping up the puke

Charts stacked

Breaks?  who gets one

A cigarette? A meal. I got to pee.

” Will you watch my patient?”

Will you watch my patient? Hey. you?

” Will you, pretty please?

I have just got to go Pee.

“Empty urinals-intake and output

Medications:wrong drug, wrong time, wrong wrong wrong.

X-rays, MRI Scans

Emergencies because I really have to pee now. ” Will you watch my patient please?”

Procedures: Bowel preps, and wound debreedment

Vital signs Shift change Go Home

I made it to bathroom before I made it home.



In fruit before it rots

In a performance, unrehearsed

In air before the storm

In youth before they are conformed

In meat while it is still bloody

In flowers before they are picked

In relationships before they are familiar

In milk before it sours

Like water without salt

In vegetables removed from the stem

Fresh is new, young and hasty Unexpected and surprised.

It is not preserved .It soon dies.

It is the opposite of everything we are trained to be

Skilled, poised and refined.



Mother ruled our world like a queen in the kitchen on linoleum floors. I remember so well.

I stood tall counting my age on two hands.

I wanted to be close to her.

My knees trembled. I stared at her hair tied up in a red sweat band around her black shiny hair.

She threw Martha White flour in a big ceramic bowl

Scooping up  gooey lard in her fists.

Pouring milk from a plastic milk jug.

Her thoughts were somewhere between her elbows and white glue.

She mixed madness with flour.

Baked in an oven as hot as hell. I remember the smell.

“Please, mother your biscuits with butter.”

“Do you have a recipe?” “Written in a book?” “Stacked in a cabinet?” “Hidden in a drawer?” “Do you remember it all by heart?”

With pointed fingers she said “Flour on the floor, your handprints on cabinet doors, No, not today!”

She refused to cook my daddy’s  favorite dish, spaghetti.

I stood in fear and silence when I  heard him yell, “Tomatoes, onions and butter…none of that Italian crap.”

She had no tomatoes in her cellar, no onions on the shelf. She forgot to buy the pasta.  I never saw him thank her for a meal she prepared.

“When will you learn how to cook a decent meal?” he said. Nothing she made was good enough for him… Not her food, not her children, not her love.

For sixty years on a white cloth towel that kept yesterday’s flour from spilling in a drawer she dusted flour on the sticky parts,  with a rolling pin  and anger she laid it flat.  With a jagged edge circle she cut vengeance into bite size pieces.

She kneaded his dough and didn’t expect to be loved. In a silent world she never said a word. Till death do us part she fed him on butter and bitterness made with tears.

Those little flat circles called homemade biscuits.

At My Daddy’s Table

At My Daddy’s Table

Growing up around a rectangular table mother sat at the head with her back to the kitchen , facing the backdoor. With her permission daddy  sat with his back against the wall and to her right.  A small window above him spred a dim light on his ivory plate from the shadow of the carport. Around the old oak table, a family heirloom, surrounded by dark pine paneling made in 1962 an encasement of torture and family blessing said over mashed potatoes and fried chicken.  Learning to navigate the world and hide our fears we swallowed guilt, shame and a the code of ” Father knows best.”

“Come to the table when your mother calls. Sit!” he said.

“Cover your chest with your sweaty shirt. Cover your shoulders with your blouse.” “Wash your hands. Remove the grease and the dirt. Make them smell like lye soap.” “ Keep your feet under the table.” ( boots, mud and manure) “No hats!” –(baseball or cowboy) “Off!” he yelled. Food is offered in times of death, divorce and disease, celebration of births, marriages and anniversaries. For special dinners let all the children first. Feed the men. Serve them and fill their glasses with ice, tea and sugar.  When they leave to the living room watch the women eat the remains. Girls wash dishes. Sweep the crumbs. Take small bites of humility. Keep your elbows off the table. Chewing with your opinions closed.

“Pass the secrets, please. ”

If you don’t like it and it burns your mouth eat it, swallow it, pretend it’s the best you’ve ever tasted. When you can’t swallow  you’ll be eating more of the same thing as everyone watches. Silent rules you’ll never know until someone disobeys.

“Don’t use the napkin to blow your nose.”

It’s okay to use it to sneeze. When you drop your fork pick it up. Wipe the mud from the carpet off your fork with the napkin. Mother will clean up your mess. Father’s words are “ The Rules.” Mother obeys and finds loopholes. No backtalk, defensive explanations. You are always wrong. Daddy’s  words are the last sound in the room. You are at his table and you are there to be offended. If you must leave the table excuse yourself “Ask your Daddy before you go.”

Ask mother if it’s ok to ask father. If you are about to choke and can’t keep it down leave the table before you are thrown out.

“Enough of those words and ideas in this house!” If you have a problem with a family rule blame yourself. Suffer and wallow in shame. Feel guilty because you don’t add up. If you want to cry go to your room. Nobody wants to hear you. If you aren’t crying they might find something for you to cry about. Yes ma’am and no’ sir. Please and thank- you’s in unison. Sing the praises to the Lord and the dead chickens. It is life around the table. A circular chain of events The Golden Child grows up to be worthless. The Scapegoat becomes a workaholic. The Mascot involves into a addicted comedian. The Lost Child is left alone, forever. It is a frozen concept. Family rules shape you.

It’s the reason for therapy in adulthood. Southern rules on sunny days made me who I am today.