Food Group

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you need chocolate
and a flatbed-sized cracker
it’s smores for a herd


I opened that picture in Photoshop, all prepared to edit and crop it, but I decided I liked it best how it is. Either it’s very late in August, or it’s very late in the evening (it’s both). These hay bales always look like giant marshmallows to me, and I’ve even tried to convince my kids that’s what they are. My kids get a sort of … whimsical window on the world from me. Teaching them to think for themselves, I am.

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Toddler Camp

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I will not sleep
I will not eat
I will not put
Shoes on my feet

I will not go
I will not bike
I will not walk
On your dumb hike

I will scream
I will pitch a fuss
Why did you think
This was fun for us?

I’ll wander off
I will eat dirt
Just to spite you
I will get hurt

I will make you
Despair and yell
This outdoor paradise
Is toddler hell


I’ve had several occasions this week to be very glad that my kids are past the toddler stage. I can send them to the playground and assume that they will be in reasonably the same, if dirtier, condition when I retrieve them. Our camp neighbors are not having the same experience. There, but for a few years, go I. Godspeed, camp neighbors.

She Snaps Snail Shots on the Seashore

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“Did you lose something?”
Yes! My angle!
Turns out these snails
Are murder to wrangle.


I was crouched down in a rainstorm, in the dark, trying to capture a decent picture of this guy with a flashlight and my phone, and he was perturbed by my attention. As he turned to tell me off, I realized I must look mildly crazy to our campground neighbors, who were sensibly trying not to get drenched by cold rain in the middle of the night. *shrug* I do what I do.

It’s Not For Lack of a Pen

I’m looking at pajamas online
Though I don’t need any.
It’s because I’m sleep-deprived
They’ll get my pretty pennies.

I buy pens and notebooks
When I don’t have time to write.
Beautiful jars of spices arrive
For take-out every night.

Whatever I’ve no time to do–
That’s where I shop and spend.
I don’t even have time to pee?
I’ll go and buy Depends.


That’s not even all my pens in that brand. It really is ridiculous. I long for more time to create, and the reality is always going to be that life will intrude. Still–I fit enough in around the edges to make progress. And, like the traveler who buys a seashell when she can’t get to the beach, I’ll stockpile pens and pajamas until my kids are more interested in where I can take them than what I will play with them.

Ps. I don’t think WordPress actually published yesterday’s poem, Knot for Me, on the WordPress Reader. Either that, or no one who’s following me thought enough of it to even read it, which seems doubtful. I didn’t miss a day. That is very important for me to clarify. For some reason.

I’d Like to Thank My Editor, Without Whom This Would Be Amateurish Crap

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“Have you thought about this?”
Well, no. If I had,
I’d have written it that way
Instead of writing it bad.

In fact, if I’d had a thought,
I’d have done that first,
Instead of the total rewrite
With which I am cursed.

“And what about this ending?”
I guess I’m not attached.
Though it’s in the title,
That too can be scratched.

I’ll write a new ending,
And it will be better.
But I’ll mourn for the old—
Every beloved rejected letter.

“It just doesn’t work.”
I know…I mean, I knew,
But knowing is different
Than hearing it from you.

I’ll start it all over,
Or better, it’s shelved.
Thank god for my editor
Who saves me from myself.


I have two editors, one for my YA fantasy books and one for my horror stories. Both provide me with something I can’t provide myself—objectivity. They also do something that your friends and relatives are reluctant to do. They’ll tell you when something is bad. I have been told (twice, at least) that my endings need to be redone on short stories. I am sometimes heavy-handed and clumsy with The Point. I very rarely make a technical or continuity error, but I WANT TO KNOW when I have. Knowing where the errors are allows me to fix them.

I’m poking a little fun at the language they use, but I enjoy conversations with my editors, even when their suggestions feel enormous and make me grumpy. Occasionally, I decide not to apply a specific criticism for artistic reasons, but the vast majority of the time—the editor is right. Now, if you’ll excuse me while I redo the ending that ruined my latest short story.

Ps. I know that the fourth line is grammatically incorrect. No letters please. You know who you are.

Pps. That’s a version of the first chapter of my fantasy novel, The Tiny Giant. If you want to read the final version, you can get it in paperback or on Kindle here. If you want a signed copy, you can get it from my online store here.

Simple

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Running should be simple,
There’s just one thing to know.
You grab a pair of running shoes,
Strap them on, and go!


This is a dumb joke, I realize, but it’s one of those phrases that’s silly in English. Have we ever “strapped on” athletic shoes? I did an internet search, but I accidentally used Bing. I am no wiser.

This is the 20th poem in 20 days, and I nearly missed midnight (it’s only happened once in the three years I’ve had this going.) This year has been tough. I could write you 31 poems about how tired I am, and call it The Exhaustion Cycle, but I don’t know how interesting it would be to read all that whining. Thanks for being here, is what I guess I’m saying. I’ll try not to cut it so close tomorrow.

This Socks

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I folded laundry
for ten straight hours—my hands ache
no poem for you


One of the things I try to do before school starts every year is tackle the mountain of clean laundry that accumulates during the summer. Mt. Clothesmore was especially challenging this year. I am down to about half a basket of things with no homes and the socks. I’m sure I’ll get to that tomorrow.

We also had some minor excitement today when some bark dust caught on fire for miscellaneous reasons that have been identified and will not happen again. Overall, this day gets approximately a 5.32 out of 10.