A Blog of Writing Tips, Interviews, Thoughts on the Writing Process, Book Reviews, Blog Hops, and Things NESCBWI Conference Related.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Inside my Revision Toolbox

The 10 Most Important Tools For Revising

1.     What is the story that I am telling?
2.     How will my character change?
·      Does my character get to where s/he needs to be?
No – How do I make her change?
~  Introduce a crisis situation that makes my character  change.
Yes – Do the things that happen along the way help get my character where s/he needs to be?

3.     What does it mean to move forward?
·      Reveal something about the character.
·      Propel the plot.
·      Build a relationship that is important later in the book.

4.     Summarize the things that don’t move the story forward.
·      An example of this is Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy speaking, but the adults always sound like, “Blah, blah, blah.”
·      One sentence summary of the scene.

5.     Is my main plot a character development arc?
·      Subplots
~  Do they fit in?
~  When do they resolve?
~  How do they resolve?

6.     Characters
·      What are my character's quirks and personality traits?
·      Do my secondary/minor characters grow with each appearance they make in the book? 

7.     Dialogue
·      Do my characters have unique voices?
·      Do they reveal everything about their characters?
An example of this is sub vs grinder (sandwich) 
Their socio-economic placement
·      Does the dialogue let their relationships evolve?
·      How authentic do they sound?

8.     Setting and Description
·      Picture it then brushstroke the description. Let the reader envision it, unless it must be specific.
·      For it to be specific, it must be important later in the book. If not, take it out.

9.     Wordsmith
·      Search for commonly used, but unnecessary words.
~  Examples are just, so, next, that, but.

10.  Show, don’t tell.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas Cards Ordered

Oh Holy Night Religious Christmas Card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jumping Back In

Six weeks or so since the last blog entry! Summer must have been a success. Actually, yes it was. The entire family was busy having fun in the sun! And sun there was plenty of this year.

Week two of back to school is ending. The leaves are turning. Thor has started doggy day care twice a week and he is loving it. My husband has a new motorcycle, and me, I am revising and getting ready for my school year to start. Some of the kids are already on campus for sports camp training. I have a new office and have been organizing and decorating. This year my office has a window.

Next weekend is my 9th Writer’s Schmooze hosted by Tamra Wight at her Poland Springs Campground. This year I am tenting it. No cozy trailer for me, I have decided to be brave.  I hope my tent site has electricity so when I wake up from that unknown noise (a raccoon most likely) I can surf the web until I fall to asleep again.

Maybe, just maybe, I should bring Thor!
This is Thor

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back At It!

Vacation is winding down. The kids came home from camp yesterday. I've done seven loads of laundry and now I am catching up with blogs and email.

Dave and I had  great week in Maine!
We hung out with Ellen and Frank.

Dave swam in the ocean at Sebasco Bay.

He relaxed.

I relaxed.

We ate dinner with friends and watched the sunset.

It was glorious!

Then we repeated many of these activities for the rest of the week.

I recommend the following B&Bs for a little indulgence. Both fantastic places to stay for a little R&R (Rest and Romance). The Spouter Inn in Lincoln, ME and the Atlantic Ark Inn in Booth Bay.

It's summer, go have some fun!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Last Day of the BEST retreat ever!

As I write this, I'm looking out at Lake Champlain.

The fog glistens from a ray sun fighting it's way through the moist air. Not enough light for a rainbow today, maybe later when I'm on the ferry heading home.

Last night, shortly after midnight, I finished writing the novel I have been working on forever. I keyed in the last word. I realized that this word has a new meaning for me. Instead of running away, I run toward. I have faced all the demons of my adoption.

I want thank everyone at this retreat for their support. Go buy their books!

Jeannine Atkins

Julie Berry

Elizabeth Bluemle

Erin Dionne

Sibby Falk

Cindy Faughnan

Stephanie Gorin

Jennifer Groff

Sara Lewis Holmes

Joyce Johnson

Marjorie Light

Sarah Darer Littman

Cynthia Lord

Kate Messner

Jenny Moss

Joan Paquette

Susannah Paterson

Mona Pease

Peggy Thomas

Alyson Whatcott

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Swinger of Birches

I am so blessed to a part of this wonderful retreat for the first time. I was so nervous when I arrived on Sunday. It was like walking out of the locker room at middle school all over again. Would I get picked last for a team, or at all. 

Everyone here is amazing! I arrived later than most. the genuine welcomes from everyone were so warm and truly appreciated.

The words are flowing and I am two chapters from being completely done with my fifth and final draft of my YA novel.

The breeze from the lake is like distant applause, hedging me along to the finish line. This short break to blog is just away to step back from the raw emotion of writing some very difficult scenes. This novel takes place in numerous places in New York State. It's only fitting that I finish writing this book, sitting here in Upstate New York.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Countdown to Summer Camp for Mom!

Lately, time is not my friend. 

It refuses to slow down even though I am on summer vacation. Now that the July 4th weekend is gone, I need to have Monday back. I am scurrying to pack both kids for camp. 

I must have this done by Wednesday, even though they don’t leave until Sunday. Why? I have other commitments.

Even though I've tried very hard not to make any commitments for this summer, this one is for work, made last February when it was COLD. 

Off I must go at the crack of dawn on Thursday, then again on Friday. Spend two days of gorgeous summer weather sitting through this seminar.

Is it worth it? Yes it is.

Would I rather be sitting on beach or working in garden? 


Once I return, I have a day with my kids before they leave for summer camp. I will review their camp bins one last time and make sure each has adequate underwear for two weeks. 

Then I pack for me. I am off to four-day writing retreat on the shores of Lake Champlain.

Summer camp for mom!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Talk About Writing and You Shall Write

My writer friends get it! Just talking about writing, even for a few minutes, can light a fire under the old muse. Stimulate the words in my head and get me to the keyboard.

This poster can help!  

I spent this afternoon sitting at the lake, watching the kids have a great summer day and talking about writing. It was an impromptu conversation; neither of us knew the other would be there. Just what each of us needed; we talked about what we are working on, how it was going to be hard to find time to write this summer.

We spoke about how sometimes you just have to move forward, even though you hope to hear from or fear you never will hear from, an editor or agent about your submission. We talked about how we have to stay positive and persevere, and keep writing, rewriting, and stay open to all the possibilities. How we have to stay Focused on the craft, the story, and all the elements that make our writing stellar.

We talked about what we thought was our individual highlights from this past NESCBWI conference and what we found inspiring, helpful, insightful, even what could be improved or changed for next year. All the things we brought home that will keep us going until the next big gathering of our writing comrades. The people who encourage us, support us, and are never afraid to tell the truth using kind words and love.

I left the beach content.

Here is some great reading for this summer:

Writing Great Books for Young Adults: Everything You Need to Know, from Crafting the Idea to Landing a Publishing Deal

Writing Great Books for Young Adults: Everything You Need to Know, from Crafting the Idea to Landing a Publishing Deal

Monday, June 14, 2010

Finally, Unstuck the Stuck Part By Giving Birth.

Getting unstuck is hard! I have been trying to write a certain scene for months. Actually, longer; much, much longer.

Turns out the answer was not to face it alone.

It has one of those write what you know moments (years), but what I knew about this particular event was absolutely nothing. I was there but not in anyway I would ever remember.

This past weekend was spent in, the Catskill Mountains. The old Borscht Belt as it was known, in the early to mid part of the last century. It is where she met my birthfather and well from their monikers, I’m sure you get the picture.

My birth mother was recently diagnosed with stage-four bone cancer. Since it had been a while, I wanted the kids to see her before her hair fell out, so they had a clear picture of her in their heads to remember. Photos of this time with her will also help. What is so amazing about this woman is that she is one of the most positive people I know. Even after the hard, sad life she’s led. Giving up a baby for adoption at sixteen was something she never recovered from. It has affected her her entire life. But she tells me, “Finding you eighteen years ago was like winning the lottery.” She really is my biggest fan, my flaws and all.

So writing the scene where my MC is giving birth knowing she is supposed to give the baby up was like looking into a black hole. Dark and empty. I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a hard time. I had given birth to two children, watched numerous litters of puppies being born, seen a horse calve, I have even watched as a giraffe gave birth. Birth shouldn’t be so hard to describe.

A while back, I was at the inaugural Falling Leaves Novel Writing retreat and Sarah Shumway was speaking. Something she said triggered the reason why I could not write the scene.

DUH! Why hadn’t I seen that it was really all about me writing about me being born and then being given up – not something anyone wants to admit to themselves still hurts forty-something years later! Like I said, “Duh!”

Okay, so after that huge “AHA” moment, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the reason for my writing black hole, but knowing the big reason for the holdup wasn’t getting me to complete the fifth, and I mean thrown-it-away-four-times-prior-and-rewrite-the-entire-manuscript, because of THIS issue. Because I always got stuck here before and thought it was the writing, not the scene. So how to get through the black hole and have a completed manuscript?

Because even at forty-eight your mother’s cancer makes you feel like your are being abandoned again. The real reason for going to see her.

However, this time, writing the scene was different. That woman, the one that has the most amazing, most positive outlook on everything, she talked and loved me through it. YES SHE DID!

This morning I am cruising to the completion line.

Thanks, mom!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

90 Days to a Slimmer ME! :)

Yes I am!
Well I have been trying for a year and a half. I work out like crazy, eat just the right number of calories a day, and workout again. Not losing anything, but I can crack walnuts with my tush.

So, what now?

Well, I'm thinking online accountability. Maybe if I really write it all down, track everything, I'll get it right.

So feel free to comment on my Summer 2010 Fitness Journal and help achieve my goal: Lose 20 lbs., by September 1, 2010.

Right now I am thinking of using the Flat Belly Family Cookbook to make it easier for the whole family to support the diet. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Let me know!

Friday, June 4, 2010

To Find A Wonder - Jennifer Carson

Here in New Hampshire we have an endless supply of wonderful writers and authors. One of these is Jennifer Carson.

 Her book To Find a Wonder is masterfully crafted and weaves a sweet and powerful story about a squire discovering what it takes to be a knight. Read along as this young squire, named Mortimer, discovers the power of friendship, loyalty, and honor.

To Find A Wonder has been adapted to the stage and can be seen this summer, August 5, 2010 at the New London Barn Playhouse. You can order tickets here.

This summer Jennifer can be found at:
Grantham Library, Grantham, NH June 23rd, 7 pm

Market on the Green, New London, NH, Every Wednesday afternoons, rain or shine!
June 30- September 15th.

Hopkinton Library, Hopkinton, NH most of the Month of July & July 22nd, 6pm

Tattered Pages, Sunapee, NH Sunday, August 1 @ 1 pm

Hay Days at The Fells, Newbury, NH August 14th

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An Early Harvest

This morning turned into a lesson on how to harvest granite. I have three young fruit trees (2 apple, 1 pear) that need to be planted. I picked the perfect spot, measured the distance between each, and aligned them. All was perfect!

I began to dig!

And dig.
Then, CRACK!

Rock, Kennie yelled!
DUH! I thought.

So I widened the hole, and wider, and wide... until finally, I harvested this bad boy.

What are we going to do with it, you might be asking?

We need to replace the wooded step that leads into the mudroom. I always wanted granite!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From my yard!

I love living in New Hampshire. The mountains, lakes and wildlife calm me and keep me grounded.  Everyday, I discover hidden beauty in my yard, yesterday was no different. I went to burn the brush pile. Just as I was about to toss the match in, I look down and saw.

The brush pile will look like this for a while longer.

I decided to walk the property to see what else I had been overlooking lately. This is what I found on the pond.

In the garden.

I looked along the pond and took in the texture of the trees. I love how the birches bend over the water and the lilac bushes throw purple in amongst the fresh new greens.

But what I saw today was my dream of turning my 205 year-old barn into my writing studio/retreat edging closer to the top of my wish list.

Someday soon!

Tell me, what do you wish for?

Monday, May 17, 2010

NESCBWI 2010 - Thank You everyone!

This year’s conference was incredible. Cynthia Leitich Smith said so much and even included tidbits on her man. Marla Frazee and Allyn Johnston showed me what Santa looks like naked, rear and front. ☺

Sudipta Quallen is my girl. She just keeps knocking out some the most creative and fun picture books ever. Sudipta’s hands-on sessions shows what it takes to write incredible picture books and how to amp of your chances of writing and selling great books.

Super Kudos to Lisa Papademetriou, for jumping in and getting me all Unstuck!

I loved Erin Dionne's Hysterical Epiphanies session. On the ride home, I found myself thinking about ways to make my characters laugh for just a second in some of their darkest moments.

John Bell’s So You Want to Write a Graphic Novel? Was really just perfect! I arrived knowing nothing about this genre and left enlightened.

But most of all, the Agent Quick Query Session was a complete success all because of Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse, Lauren Macleod of The Strothman Agency, Jennifer Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Leslie Kaufmann of Kneerim & Williams, Edward Necarsulmer IV of McIntosh & Otis, and Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, because it was so apparent how much time and effort each put into the queries. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Two for Tuesday! April 6, 2010

All right, I may be flashing back or just having hot flashes, but I am still into the following quote by Jimi Hnedrix.

1. "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix

     The word peace has been on my mind a lot in the last few weeks.  Finding my inner peace, keeping my inner peace, even sharing it quietly or in silence, because that is what peace is all about. Not recognition, just being and giving and knowing who I am, and how I have changed. 

"Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." Abraham Lincoln
      This from a man who truly knew what it was like to be unhappy and depressed.

No bonus quote today. But I would like it if you would share these quotes with at least one person. Let me know what tehy say by leaving me a comment. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Two for Tuesday!

Two Quotes for Tuesday!

1)   "What do want: to be right or to be happy?" Dr. Phill. 
      I have embraced this concept completely. Truth is… being right all the time is too much work! 

2)    “There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.” Christopher Morley
      I fall in love all the time. You really can be in love with more than one at a time!

"Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were." Cherie Carter-Scott

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kendra is a poet, and I Know It!

Well it’s official, my daughter is a poet. This year has marked a major change in how Kendra’s feels about writing. A positive change, something I was sure would never happen.

Everything changed in October 2009, once she was diagnosed with Dyslexia . She hated writing, cried on the mornings she had to go into school knowing it was spelling test day.

This is what dyslexia looks like to Kendra.

I knew we had accomplished a lot when she finally wanted to read on her own.But spelling still was not something she could do. Learning to read had been a four-year struggle of me battling the school to get her tested for dyslexia, the school telling me the tests were inconclusive and she wasn’t dyslexic, and then finally being told that they (the school) would never diagnose her as dyslexic because they “Just wouldn’t.) Her teachers, the reading specialist, nobody could teach her how to read, no matter how hard they tried. And they did try! Everyone was getting frustrated, most of all Kendra.

In March of 2008, I heard about a program from a mom in town. She was like, “really, try it. It works.”
So we did.
It is called Kumon and it did work!
Does work!


Every Wednesday for a year, we drove to Norwich, VT and Kendra worked on new reading skills, made slow progress, and came home and worked 20-30 minutes of everyday, of every week, practicing and working on her worksheets. She did it when she was sure she would never be any good at reading, she was diligent, and then she hit a wall. No amount of practice sheets or repetition seemed to help her reading advance. Through the tears, she kept plugging away. She wanted to be a reader!

Suddenly, one day it all clicked. (It was amazing. I actually saw the light bulb above her head blink on!) Kendra figured out how to compensate for her dyslexia, and overcame the dyslexic obstacles preventing her from reading. To this day she can’t explain how she figured it all out, she just did. Now, two years later, she is an avid reader, who cannot spell at all. I don’t know how she does it, but it is amazing!

Kendra keeps trying though. She writes her own poetry and stories, and spell check is her pal. On most days, writing is all done with a pencil, and on these days she is still frustrated. She has to go back and read what she has written, which is hellish for her. It’s not easy to read her writing, everything looks the same to her. Phonetically spelled words are never written the same way twice. It’s hard work. But, she keeps trying and this is why I am so proud of her.

The poem below is beautiful, just like Kendra. Here it is:

What If Trees Had No Leaves
By Kendra Johnson

What if trees had no leaves?
They would look bare,
shiver in the cold,
look lonely, like all their best friends
will never come back.

And everything would darken in the snow,
Finally, the snow melts,
The leaves don’t come back.
Though it is lighter than in winter,
The trees were yearning for their leaves.

After crying a hundred tears of missing them,
the trees finally go silent.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Coming to terms with "Being at Peace!"

“Being at Peace” whether it is with a person, thing, or an emotion, is a concept I understand but had never experienced. Until recently.
I have always been open about my falling out with my mother (adoptive) several years ago. Our relationship has always been stormy to say the least. The reasons, dark and convoluted for many, and for me today, not ones I will delve into here.
But it has been two and ½ years since I’ve spoken to her. She is now 75, and I know there is always the chance that I might not speak to her ever again. I have worked out this possibility over the last few years and have come to accept the consequences. Choosing to stay away from our toxic relationship has been difficult, but has slowly faded into the background of my hectic life. I think of her at random, when a memory tickles it way to the forefront of a thought.
She’s my mother and I love her, but still…she is toxic. I remind myself when thoughts of her surface.
I was in Florida earlier this week, saying goodbye to a friend who is dying. Her children and I grew up together. I know her as well as I know my own mother. In fact, they have been close friends for almost 45 years. As different from each other as any two people can ever be. They embraced and accepted their differences, sadly something she could never do with me.
Walking through the hospital with my friend’s eldest daughter, our conversation went like this (she didn’t know my mother and I hadn’t spoken at all in 2 ½ years):
“We were all surprised that your mom and dad aren’t coming down to say good bye to mom.”
“Really,” I said. I was surprised as well.
“Well, especially after your father’s bout with cancer last year.”
“He has cancer? I didn’t know,” I said. She stops walking and looks at me.
“You didn’t know?” she asked.
“We haven’t spoken in 2 ½ years,” I reminded her.
“Oh, early last year, your mother had a mini stroke. No one told you?” she asked.
“Not until now,” I said, waiting for the tears. They didn’t come.
I realized I was at peace. Seriously, it was like getting smacked. It struck me so hard. I stammered. “I...I’m at peace with her.” I actually said the words and knew I meant them.
Over the last few years, I had worked out all of the anger and frustration and I had buried her. I had forgiven her for everything. She was old and unhealthy and would never change, never understand, and never admit her shortcomings at being an adoptive mother and a biological mother all at once. I forgave her for telling me, in front of my children, that she wished she had never adopted me. That she hated me. That I was the reason her life had been shit.
Because the truth is, I know all of these feelings are hers and probably about herself. I know that she is an angry person, one who never achieved all of her desires. I understand she has always felt trapped in a life she didn’t want. I am at peace with her, because carrying all of her around had stalled my own life; has been a burden I just could not carry any longer. So much of my energy poured into someone who was so negative, who would never see the real me, because she could not see past her own
I know, by removing her from my life, I have become the person I was always meant to be: a happy, healthy, and loving mother, wife, friend, teacher, poet, and author. I have achieved so much and worked so hard to become this person.
I no longer worry that I won’t meet her expectations, because they were always unattainable, ever-changing before my eyes.
Don’t get me wrong I miss her, but not the mother portion. I miss the educated, intelligent woman, the one that had real fire, who could convey her ideas and argue a point. The woman whose hands could form clay into sculptures, who could paint, could recommend a great book, and talk philosophy. The woman I always wanted as a mother, but never felt connected to, nor a part of.
“She’s old an walks with a cane, maybe even a walker,” The eldest daughter told me. “I can’t believe she isn’t coming to see my mom.”
I can believe it. I can even take a guess at why. But I won’t put that into words here. Instead, I’ll share a poem I wrote while working through this experience
August 2009

The mourning happens
When I most miss you,
My mother.

Each longing a small death,
Leading me through
the family crypt of dysfunction.

I break the lock, swatting cobwebs
of memory from my face, spewing angry epitaphs
etched into granite heart.

I wonder if your skin has papered thin.
Have you forgotten what you need to remember?
Preferring age as your excuse.

The sharp shards of your slated words,
“I wish,” impaling me.
The “never had,” scraping, flaying me, exposing

Gasping, I turn back to my life,
Shrugging off the mourning cloak
Of my life, of you
Locking the crypt once more.

So for now, just for a moment, I wonder if my mother can’t travel because of her health, because she can’t walk, or because coming to see her friend dying would be admitting that she is so much closer to the ending than to the beginning?
I wonder most of all, if she has made peace with herself.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Goodbye To a Friend!

Less than twenty-four hours ago, I was celebrating my daughter’s birthday with a bunch of girls. We were making necklaces and then going to a French bakery for tea and cake, to complete the festivities. In the middle of this, my cell rang.

“Yes, this is Joyce.”
“My mom is very sick, dying.”

So now, I sit at terminal B20, waiting for my flight to board to Orlando. My destination is not the ‘House of Mouse’, but a hospital in Ocala. I’ll be saying goodbye to a woman I have know since I was 5.

Peg Errico has always had a kind word, and a shoulder, and an ear for me. Childhood was spent with her six children. July fourth parades watched from their big front porch at 52 Ramapo Avenue (by the way, the house is currently for sale). Barbeques in their back yard, and an occasional elusive view of grandma Errico in the little house out back.

As we all grew up, we would visit them at the ponderosa, camp with them in the massive tent, which we could almost fit everyone from both families in.

But what I remember most, sitting in the kitchen with Mrs. Errico and talking about everything, while she cooked dinner for her brood. The years slipped away, and after they moved to upstate New York, we would visit. The old farmhouse they bought was massive, and everyone fit. We would go to the Altamont Fair and run through the cornfields playing hide-n-seek, but it wasn’t the same.

After Frank retired, they moved to Ocala, FL, I saw them rarely for a few years.

A few years later, my parents bought a summer place in Willsboro, NY and Frank and Peg Errico did shortly after. Our families were deeply, lovingly entwined, and this was the natural progression of staying close.

I would see the Erricos during summer visits and always tried to plan to see Frank and Peg. A few years back, I stopped going to the lake house. Mrs. Errico called me just before last Christmas, wanted to let me know she wanted to see me.

“I’ll come to the lake,” I said.
“I don’t think I’ll be there this summer.”
I knew what she meant.

“Call me and I’ll come to Florida.”
“You will?”

And I am. Waiting for the flight to board.
I tucked my children into bed last night after booking a flight, explaining to them why I was going and wishing it were a vacation with them, to swim in the ocean and make memories. My son tells me to tell them [Erricos] he loves them; my daughter in tears, her current struggles with mortality rampant at 10; sad that people die. Sadder still, her memories of the Erricos are fuzzy, and hard to recall.

Instead, I leave them semi-asleep in their beds at 5:30 this morning. Wishing I were home, angry with my nomadic self, at how happy a small part of me is, to be getting on a plane, even for this journey.

This trip signifies so much; with her passing, Peg Errico takes my childhood with her. Causing me, to reflect on things I would rather forget. Choices I’ve made, words I’ve tossed around. Peg always had a smile for me, and loved me unconditionally, my successes meant something to her, and she always let me know how much she appreciate who I was.

I go to say goodbye, with a light heart. To give support her children and to show her I loved her.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Decade Gone!

Today my daughter turns 10. It may not seem like a major milestone to some, but it is for me. I find it hard to believe she is changing from a little girl to an emerging teen.  

Her beauty isn’t just skin deep. At 10, she possesses much poise, has a great sense a humor, is learning the flute, is very creative and artistic, and is still young enough to dream big, which she does.

She is beautiful!

With double digits, comes more sophisticated problems; navigating the endless girl drama, the beginning of hormone changes, self image conflicts, confidence issues, and so much more. I forgot how hard this all was. Or maybe, it was so traumatic I pushed it way back into the dark recess of my mind. But either way, I hope she doesn't get to caught up in it all and forget to be true to herself.

What I do know, is that she is a gift. Unexpected, but welcomed more so than any other event in my life. I want her to always know she is loved and cherished, and never want her to question her origins, like I did. She is flesh of my flesh, not adopted like me. Therefore, she was always wanted from the very first moment when I realized she was possible.

I wrote this poem shortly after she was born, knowing my miracle had happened.

So for Kendra on your 10th birthday, here is your poem.


The spark exploded
from within.
I held you deep inside;
the suddenness of your being possessed me.
I knew you existed from that moment.
Whispered you were inside me, an untold story
the first words, the first sentence above:
The Spark.

I warmed as you ignited into a tiny flame;
I had not experienced this before.
Not with your brother
or the one I lost before him.
Only you.
Was it because you were so unexpected,
created from joy? I don’t know.
But there you were:
My Spark.

I whispered your arrival to a stunned face,
hazel eyes dipping, reaching into me.
Those words surprised me, filled me with wonder
as astonishing as you,
I felt it too! he said.
Our Spark.

Now, thousands of hours later, I look at you
and burn inside, womb clenching,
trying to hold on.
The world outside beckons, tempts you
with twigs of knowledge
once consumed by your fire,
your hunger grows.
I can only contain you for a short time longer.
Your Spark.

You are an inferno of life, a fire, a light
so bright,
my own spark pales,
but never does my joy for you,
My Inferno.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Seven Years Of Small Town Living

I love my small town!

New London, NH a NY Times Best Destination

I have for the entire time we’ve lived here. 

Seven years ago, this month to be as close to exact s I can. We came to New London for the first time when the company my husband was interviewing with invited to spend the weekend and check out area. We drove through down Main Street and fell in love. The snow was heavy that winter. We awoke to 13 inches of bright white snow. We drove all around the town, down snow covered dirt roads, looked at houses, dreamed of all the new possibilities and fell in love with New Hampshire. 

My husband moved up at the end of April, the kids and I arrived the day we closed on the sale of our home in Connecticut. We moved into a rental. A safe bet, until we found just the right home for us. 

Our first summer in New London was just wonderful. Our days were spent at the beach; sunset swims and picnics whenever we wanted. Weekends were spent exploring the state. It was the most relaxed summer we’ve ever had.

Then winter struck!

Winter can get to you. Frost heaves the size of Mt Washington, potholes you could swim in if they weren’t frozen solid, sand ground into the carpet, and road salt making jagged rings on your favorite boots. Not the wonderland we remembered from the winter trip the year before.

Now seven winters later - I still wouldn’t trade it all in. It might be February 2, and we are certain to have more snow, but try as I might to get over it all, I would miss this place. I don’t remember exactly when it became home to me. The moment that matters most, is the moment I realized I wanted to call this place my home for the remainder of my life.

Even on the winter days when the people I like the most really get under my skin like a jagged splinter from the woodpile. When words spew forth without a filter from their lips, because cabin fever has set in, and everyone is irritable and waiting for the thaw. Small scandals grow ripe for gossip and even friends get snippy.

I wrote a poem about it.


Sometimes it’s hard to stay friends 
under an umbrella for one.
Bird’s constant chirping 
about this friend, that friend. Gossip
growing old, growing cold, mean.

Frog can’t decide, stay and 
listen, go and share. Rain like tears, 
glisten as Bird prattles on. 
Talks of Duck’s tail, Squirrel’s hoarding.

Mouse takes a chance on friendship.
Robin, stop! Our friends 
are who they are. Bird you are 
flibbertigibbet. Everyone says so. 
Robin blinks, thinks and stops.

Frog smiles.

On these days I think about why we chose to live here, and, I try very hard to find something good in everyone. To come up with an excuse as to why they are acting or saying the things they are. 

I don’t always succeed!