Sunday Share

Today was a wonderfully busy day with one of my favourite people. We did some Doors Open, some gluten-free market tasting, some plant buying and a wonderful walk (and a few songs) down memory lane.

Wonderful stuff but stuff that left me behind in my blog post department.

No fear! I was introduced to this lovely/funny/chaotic poem this week in one of my classes. I loved it because I could feel myself relate on both sides of the equation – the mom thinking I knew what I needed to do to push someone out of their comfort zone ‘for their own good’ and being the child having to give something up which I was sure I was not ready to part with yet.

It’s a bit of a cheat to showcase someone else’s work perhaps – but there it is!


Self-Portrait with the Ashes of My Baby Blanket
By Diane Seuss

Ashes, because she set fire to it in the burn barrel.

Leave her alone, with your newfangledness.

I was a clingy, fearful thumb-sucker, and she knew I needed reinventing.

She tore it away and I screamed and she burned it.

Begone, soft, pale yellow. She knew if I kept it I’d stumble over it

the rest of my life, how far I would travel without it

and how many strange birds I would trap

in the story of its burning.

simple traditions

It started out simply enough – the sun was shining, a few birds were chirping.

We were getting married that day.

There was no large hall booked. No long flowing gown or tuxedo.

Six bottles of champagne were chilling and some deli trays were waiting.

We started our married life simply. It worked for us.

We wanted to get married. Beyond that, everything was just icing on the cake (there wasn’t even one of those).

This anniversary, our 36th, we’ll be 4176 km apart – hoping that the sun is shining and the birds are chirping on both ends of the country!

the dress

(this week’s assignment: write a story from the POV of the person in this painting)

This night, one that had all the markings of a triumph, now seemed destined for ruin. A girl plucked from the social margins, Charlotte had been chosen as the star of her school’s musical. She had delivered a flawless closing night performance. The arc of her narrative had captivated the entire community.

Yet, here she sat, dress torn, all alone.

Well, that’s typical, she thought.

No good comes from trying to be someone you’re not, her father always said.

Laying back on the bed, the crinoline of her designer gown scratching at her legs, Charlotte tried to ignore the urge to scream. Below her people were laughing, celebrating her success, without her.

The house was full of cast members, crew and school staff. And her mother, the woman she hadn’t seen in fifteen years.

God, what did she do to deserve this new layer of hell? That woman, whose only connection to Charlotte was her DNA, suddenly shows up.Tonight. The one time in her life when she thought, maybe it’ll be okay. Maybe I can fit in.

Her father always said, your mother is useless. A selfish bitch. A taker. Well, she definitely stole something from me, thought Charlotte.

My night. This was supposed to be my night.

Rolling onto her side, Charlotte noticed the ornate fixtures on the sink in the adjoining bathroom. One of the taps was dripping and although she could not hear the sound over the noise of the party below, she noted the rhythm of the drip and began to tap it out on the footboard.

You need to calm yourself, her father always said. Don’t be a hysterical woman like your mother.

By focusing on the drip, her breathing slowed, and her anger began to subside. She did not hear the door open, but the increased audio intensity of the party broke her meditative state.


Charlotte’s fingers stopped midair.

That’s a boy’s name, her father always said. No good comes from trying to be someone you’re not.

The woman entered the room cautiously, closed the door and leaned against it.

“I didn’t mean to upset you, and I really didn’t mean to rip your dress. It was my bracelet, it just caught…”

Charlotte stood up abruptly, placing her hands firmly on her hips. “Stop. Don’t make excuses. Father says that’s what you do.”

The woman flinched at the mention of her ex-husband.

Your mother’s the devil, she’ll scratch out your eyes if she gets close enough, her father always said. Who was he describing? Certainly not this mousey creature before her?

The older woman straightened up, trying to square her shoulders.

“Your friends are waiting for you. The hostess says there’s a sewing kit in the room next door, why don’t we see if we can fix your dress?”

Charlotte pushed her mother aside and began to open the door. “No good comes from trying to be someone you’re not.”


there is no way to do this wrong

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time – Mary Oliver

That piece of inspiration sits on my wall as a daily reminder to give the idea of writing power and time.

It’s hard – perhaps because I feel like an imposter some days.

What is a writer? Some people say a writer is someone who writes. Other people say you are a writer when you make a living as a writer. One of those definitions includes a whole whack of people, the other excludes a large swath who spend a great deal of time giving power to their writing.

I have always written – poems and stories. Even before I could write full stories, I had a storybook in my mind which I ‘flipped’ through nightly to tell myself bedtime stories (funny how now I use a meditation app for its sleep stories….).

I have always wanted to give more time and power to creative work. I think, as I go through the process of taking courses, I’ve come to realize that I feared finding out that my writing voice is not good enough, that I am not a ‘good enough’ writer (whatever that means).

That ‘aha’ moment for me was when I received the comments for my final assignment in my last course. I realized I’d been holding my breath, waiting for my instructor’s feedback. The other assignments I had submitted had not felt risky. This piece had felt like a huge leap of faith. I was not writing fiction; I was writing in my own voice, telling my own story.

The courses I am taking have a pass/fail grading system. It’s all about the comments. The instructor was incredibly supportive, while giving criticism. But, she validated the fact that I am now doing the right thing by taking time to give power to my writing.

A consistent theme with the books I’ve been reading about the writing life show that people often doubt, they always wonder, they throw their work away and start again.

That fear, that wondering if I’m getting it right, well, if nothing else has shown me I am pursuing a creative field – apparently, that’s the tell.

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong – Joseph Chilton Pearce

photo: a desktop inspiration quote from @hellowriter (the monthly subscription service from Firefly Creative Writing)