Tuesday, January 31, 2012


There will be times I need to name drop here, ya' know to impress you. 
Let's go ahead and consider this one of those times.

Yesterday afternoon at three o'clock I was granted an interview/photo shoot with the unofficial mayor of Como, MS. His name is Coal and the meet up was one of those things you don't tell anyone so you won't jinx it. Now it's done and we can talk about it. I can tell you what it is like to walk through Como with someone as important as Coal.

We had met before, always in passing with the typical brief introductions. He was polite, dignified, traits you would hope to befall a leader. This was to be more intimate, a get to know you we'll say and I was a bit concerned about his love or lack of for photography. Some are simply camera shy, modest maybe, and I understand. Most of all I think I was nervous about doing him justice in a feature piece. 

It helped we were meeting at one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. Coal and his assistant, Kay, have run of the space when it's not reserved by guests. He sized me up when I got there and only moments later I felt welcome. The camera, not so much. But me, I was okay.

About ten minutes after my arrival we set out on a walk Coal does most every day.

It soon became obvious this stroll was an expected and welcomed ritual in the town. Just accompanying Coal gave me a certain ticket to the internal workings of the community. Everyone knew his name, couldn't help but smile when they saw him coming. The thought occurred to me that it wouldn't be such a bad thing if we all aspired to be more like Coal in those places we call home. Well, we can't all go behind the teller's counter at the bank or take a break with the local law enforcement. Not all of us could visit the town's art gallery and check on this week's installation for the upcoming show. Coal can.

I'll definitely be writing more about the show, the gallery. my obvious envy.
All I will say now is,
What? Crazy awesome.

Coal agreed, and we spent just enough time there to catch up with one of his closest allies, a younger, more energetic version of him. Before long he joined us and Coal took a break from business to go for a run. Still, I could tell he was trying to avoid the camera so I just sat and watched. It was an uncommonly beautiful day for January, and well, what are you gonna do? Relax, that's all. That's what Coal was doing.

We had time for Kay to tell me how she had met Coal, how he was supposed to hunt ducks and her husband, Rick, had said, Now Kay, Coal is a hunter. Soon after, during those early mornings when Rick would suit to leave, Coal was hearing nothing of it. He instead opted to get in a warm, cozy bed with Kay. Scandalous, isn't it?

Since then Coal has spent his years getting to know the town he serves, taking that daily walk. Kay remembered this last Thanksgiving, how they were strolling past a row of homes. A large family had gathered together for their meal when a young child spotted Coal through the window. It wasn't long till Kay heard the child's voice. Happy Thanksgiving, Coal, the little girl shouted.

I am sure he acknowledged her greetings, did his usual stop and give attention. There's a part of me though who thinks he thought of that day like any other. As if putting a special day aside for the giving of thanks seemed silly or absurd. It seemed to me that Coal takes every day to give thanks.

Our last stop was at the Como Green Grocer. Coal got one of the homemade treats for himself and sent one home to Billy Sue who now suspects I've been cheating. Yeah, okay, I kinda was but who could blame me? I mean, it was Coal.

Yes, I am grateful.

Monday, January 30, 2012


They could bring all their empirical evidence,
show up with the sweetest smile.
They could tip their hat,
tilt their head and say,
Now, Sugar, then give it all they got.

I'd listen and want them to give it their best shot.

Maybe they could give their testimony,
tell me a time in their life when they found different.
Any time they would pause, I'd nod and repeat what they just said.
I'd smile and laugh and try my best to understand.

We would become old friends from the instant we met.
I don't know how I know this is correct.

I am only grateful it is.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

light any way

Some days are dirt roads off gravel ones, one way in and one way out. You never get out of first gear. You begin to notice things, things that have always been there maybe. Maybe they never existed before you noticed them. (they did)

Anyway,  you want to obtain it hold on return with it just a little more so you try but your mind races 'cause there is so much to capture to seize to notice to adore so you breathe in a cold wind and snap take a shot adjust again one more time then another.


Anyway, you have started the training the practice the how you get better at removing the superfluous the cream at the top the those things that don't matter anymore so you don't shoot you don't care you let it be you turn away.


Anyway, it won't be long you don't even need patience there is absolutely no wait until something else appears becomes evident demands your attention and off you go.

Anyway, it feels like a dirt road off a gravel one.
It feels good and I am grateful.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Step 1. Make sure driver puts in The Black Keys' Attack & Release CD.
Step 2. Go for ride.
Step 3. Place paw on button that makes glass go down.
Step 4. Feel wind and sun.
Step 5. Bark at ducks.
Step 6. Look for cows.
Step 7. Repeat steps.

Show gratitude.

Take nap.


After I write on Saturday mornings I think, Oh my gosh. It's Saturday morning. Jonathan. Wiretap. Yay. Then his buddy Joshua Karpati calls in and I want to call my brother Josh and I want to say, Hello in a very serious tone. Then I want to ask, Can I borrow your neckerchief? But I can't say it like that and I can't remember everything Joshua says so I end up botching it and then trying to explain to Josh about a verbal fight club. Anyway, I ruin it. I can't do it but those guys can.

Today is called wrath.

Don't even get me started on Howard.


There are five knives in one drawer. They form a bell curve in size with the longest claiming center position. They are muted silver with the blade being only slightly shinier than the handle. She opens the drawer and smiles. This space contains these items and these items only. They have order, are part of a pattern in the drawer they are contained. She removes the center knife.

I watch and she is quick using muscle memory obtained by over half a century of preparation. They say you will always miss your Mama's cooking. I am here to testify that is the truth. Each of her three children have a favorite dish. Mine is fried salmon patties with dried butter beans and cornbread. Couple that ensemble with a side order of ketchup and sweet tea and you have my childhood. Here she is chopping a red bell pepper in uniform and tiny bits. I move to the bar, sit on a stool, lean in and watch. Can I do anything? I ask though I already know the answer.

No, it's already done really. Just throwing this together. The potato salad is in the refrigerator, the black eyed peas on the stove, she points with the knife then continues chopping. The smell of boiling rutabagas sweetens the room. I think this is at least one of the forms love takes in air.

Okay. Just asking, I say, get off the stool and walk over to the fridge. I open it and do what can only be termed as take a gander. Not that I really want anything. I just want to look. There is an old but shiny silver bowl about eight inches in height. It contains pimento and cheese with Aunt Marilyn's sweet pickles all chopped in those uniform and tiny bits. She made it for Daddy's lunch tomorrow but he'll be lucky to get it with Josh, Slater and me around. You can get somebody off white bread with that stuff, just put it on wheat.

There are two pitchers of tea, a gallon and a half gallon. The most is sweet and the other one for Daddy. He pairs it with the pitcher of lemonade. I can't imagine why but just accept that about him. The sandwich drawer is full with everything but thick sliced bologna. Daddy's cholesterol. There is a gallon of white milk, two percent or ninety-eight depending on the way you look at it. The door is full of dressings and sauces and jellies and preserves and butter and something else I am sure. On the top shelf is Mom's lemon icebox pie or what's left of it. It's Daddy's favorite and he always raises an eyebrow at us when we take a slice. Mom, did you make this lemon icebox pie for me? I tease him when he walks in the room. I look at Mom and she smiles and begins mixing cornbread to go in a small black skillet.

Daddy looks homeless, a shirt torn at the elbows and dirty brown coveralls as if he has been rolling in the dirt of which he has. He is carrying a bowl of meat he has killed and dressed. What a ya want me to do with this, Patsy?

What is it? She asks.

Squirrel. Are we gonna make squirrel stew? Your Mama likes it.

I interrupt though he's trying to ignore me. Oh Daddy, I say. Don't be killing them squirrels. That stuff is nasty.

I ain't believing you, Shea. I realize this is a shame for him since I was brought up on those and now I've gotten all city on him so this is when I thank him for the cooler full of venison. He puts the bowl in the refrigerator 'cause Mom doesn't look interested in it.

Soon after Daddy and I are on the back porch looking at the deer and discussing.

We were always called in for supper at a table where we each had our own chair, unspoken assigned seating as you would have at a pew in church. Taking a sibling's chair meant you were challenging an opponent to a death match and ended in Mom saying, I'm gonna tell your Daddy when he gets home. Even writing that makes me smile.

Who's grateful? me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

written agreement

Slater and I now have a contract. He left it on my computer yesterday. I verbally agreed. Here it is.

I request permission (when you/I move away from this town and no longer need them) to burn all offensive/crappy electronics and wiring pertaining to but not limited to the use of our internet.

on the patio of a diner on a street across from a park

She says, Don't settle.
He says, Don't go a changing.

A waiter carries a large tray of heavy glasses, full. There is a loose seam in the green indoor/outdoor carpet and the waiter knows about the fray, always avoids it. Until now, he is going too fast, thinking about too many things and he forgets.

She sits leaned forward with her elbows on the table. She takes a sip of wine.
He leans back in his chair, places his right ankle over his left knee. His hands are clasped at his waist.

The tip of that waiter's shoe catches that seam in that carpet at exactly that right angle and speed. The initial impact happens in the soul, when he figures it out, when all he is hitting is air on the outside. But on the inside there is an impact. This is the worst he gets hurt.

You are a scoundrel, ya know, like a question but not really. She can't help but smile. That's at least part of the problem.
He looks out over the park finding someone better to look at.
She looks him over as if he is a specimen of a wild animal seen on some wild show when she was younger.

The glasses fall first, but leap even before then. The liquids contained within each climb the sides, push up and dance in the air before spreading and falling. Remember the waiter, he's just feeling the soul hurt right now.

It's the last time they ever sit together on the patio of a diner on a street across from a park.

It was embarrassing for Billy, the waiter. No physical damage. He got yelled at, left that job six months later and went on to a better job and a girlfriend and a cool flat closer to the water. 'Cause everyone deserves at least one happy ending.

Grateful for all those beautiful fairy tales I heard as a child.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


One thought triggers another which in turn causes another that relates to another and there you have it, the begat. Walls which rise and floors that tap, sunlight pours and fills. The table feeds and music flows. Friends gather, ideas exchanged and one takes notes. A rowdy bunch, laughter ensues. Forty three sentences in and there you have it, the one. The light flickers, eyes twinkle, everyone knows. Fingers pointed, heads turned. Assignments are made. Groans heard. One last laugh and a punch in the gut, the people scatter.

Just another day at work.

In gratitude.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Even with youth as a relative term, both mother and child could have been considered young. The naive taking the hand of the naive in which the boy had been born into some type of leadership role. He was four, she twenty-five and they were on a their first beach vacation. They had seen the ocean, played in the sand, bought the t-shirt and ate the fish. Today was the day they would visit one of the many monstrous water parks he had seen from the car. She remembered what that had been like as a child and could not deny him the pleasure.

A wave pool of chlorine, a giant slide and rubber mats filled their day. Golf in miniature form, bumper boats and race cars on a track, they did them all. Yet there was one ride in which the child eyed and begged, a roller coaster on a wooden track. The mother shook her head no, but the kid nodded yes. Unfortunately for both the giant ride could be seen from every other spot in the park.

As they floated on the waves in the pool he would say, I want to ride that, and point to the track. No, you can't ride that, she would reply.

Standing in line climbing to the top of the huge slide he would say, I want to ride that, and point to the track. No, you don't understand. You can't ride that, again she would reply.

Again and again, each place they would go he became more and more focused on the roller coaster until the end of the day when they had done everything else in the park. Finally the power struggle became too much and he threw his last ditch effort as she tried to lead him away. The dreaded fit, screaming, crying, flailing, a public outcry for help. Call it what you will but if you call it a test of wills you'll have to say he won. She grabbed his arm, knelt down to look him in the eyes and said, We'll go over there and we'll ask the people if you can ride but I assure you you are not old enough, not tall enough. They won't let you ride. To this reply he settled and took off toward the ticket stand.

A teenager sat in a booth. There were no lines. The boy looked up to the mom as she proceeded to prove her point. Hello, she said, my son wants to ride this roller coaster but I don't think he's tall enough. Doesn't he need to be bigger in order to ride this ride?

The teenager pointed to a sign off to the right, a measuring stick of sorts. Have him stand next to that.

The boy clearly three to four inches too short looked at the teenager with pleading eyes somewhat swollen from the earlier fitful cry. The mother looked at the teenager as well but with the request, See, he's too small. He doesn't measure tall enough. He can't ride this ride. Please tell him so.

He's okay. Close enough, the teenager replied.

You're kidding me, the Mom said as she shook her head and gave up the money.

The teenager smiled and the boy ran up the platform toward the ride.

They were the only ones, that mother and child, who opted to ride that ride. Put at the front in the line of carts by another grinning teenager, strapped down with a flimsy belt, now gripping onto a silver bar, the mother looked at the child. Hold on, she said. He looked up at her and smiled.

Clickety clack. The cart went slowly up the track.

Clickety clack. 

Clickety clack.

The mother knew what was to come and she told the son, Hold on, boy. It's gonna get fast. We're going up a hill and we're gonna go down.

The boy stared straight ahead.

Clickety clack.

Clickety clack.

Clickety clack.

They reached the top. The mom threw up her hands and screamed.

The boy gripped the silver bar and stared straight ahead.


And again.

The mother screamed and the boy remained silent. Motionless, gripping the silver bar.

Finally they were back where they started. The same teenager walked up to the cart. Do you want to go again? He asked before lifting the bar.

The mom looked at the son who continued in what looked to be a catatonic state, his knuckles white from gripping that silver bar, Well, son. What do you think? Do you want to go again?

All the screams he had meant to scream but couldn't due to a frozen state came out in that one moment as a resounding no. No, he did not want to go again.

That day he left that park mad at her and she couldn't help herself but smile.

Grateful she'd never have to ride another ride.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Dad would say, Why would you cheat at solitaire? You'd only be cheating yourself.

Many years later he sat across from me at a table and said, I've taught you everything you will need to know. It is up to you now. Your life is your choice.

Grateful for instruction.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


He's a lazy bastard living in a suit.

Maybe while you're waiting for those studio pictures you can take a listen to Cohen's Old Ideas. I think this means I'm going to be a little late with them. A storm is brewing tonight and Leonard feels quite appropriate.

Should I say I am grateful for your patience? I am for any you can afford me.

catching up on happy


When Slater was in second grade he asked me to never help him with his homework again. I gave him the wrong Roman Numeral for the number nineteen. It was the only one he missed on his test the next day. the. only. one. And I caught all kinds of hell for that but it got me out of homework and we both realized I'm not smarter than a second grader. It's okay. We're all good at different things. Roman numerals, not my thing.

So you can imagine how hilarious it was when last Monday I sat helping Jesse with her homework at Mom's kitchen table 'cause obviously I am so smart. she's in second grade. yes, I should have known better. She was forming contractions of words in the English language. yes, the only one I speak or write in some form every night. She was filling in blanks and under each blank would be the two words to be contracted. I had done okay on the first five although I was a little nervous starting to think about second grade and everything. She got it right. She wrote

d i d n ' t

because the two words underneath were

d i d


n o t.

Someone with more than a first grade education would have said, Good job, Jess.

Not me. Mississippi just asked me to move to Alabama.

I said, No Jesse.
She looked up at me all puzzled.
Look at it again, I said. I'm sure with my I'm so smart eyebrow raised.
She erased the correct answer, turned that pencil around and with some very neat handwriting she wrote

d i d ' n t.

I looked at it and started laughing.
She smiled and said, What, Aunt Shea?
Jesse, that cracks me up.
I really thought it was that until you wrote it. Then I remembered Slater wouldn't let me do homework after a certain point in second grade. Then I told her the story and she laughed with me. And Mom laughed. Jesse corrected my mistake and continued her homework once we settled down but I don't think she listened to a thing I said after that.

Later she made me go on a photo shoot she directed and I swear she climbed every tree but one.


Saturday, January 21, 2012


I sometimes wonder about the balance of seeking validation and living in a wilderness of no response. Something has to connect us, right? When do you realize you stepped off the cliff?




Kim and I both said when I started this that we would monitor me and check for highs and lows. She said she would be my am I alright, buddy. Somebody has to be pretty tough to tell you you're not alright, buddy. And it's got to be a sneak attack. And they have to be all I'm gonna get this shit done. And when you tell them no, I am okay and this is why and you go into your prepared defense and it's funny 'cause you deflect with humor, you make them laugh so they'll forget about you and it works until later when you walk to your cars and she says, Do whatever you wanna do. I'm just saying you're not okay.

My Dad emailed me. He said I'm worried about you and Slater.

I think this is when I have to (it is imperative) get this shit done. Because.

1. Mom says she's okay but I don't want to worry Dad.

2. If I don't move then I'll just stay.

I think right here right now is void of passion. It is a creek rather than a river. It is water flowing over rocks rather than a waterfall. It is time to feel again.

But I tell myself, beg her (the attracted to drama  me), please no drama. be easy on me.

This week I gave myself the award of being the most depressing blog ever in the history of blogdom. Yay, I won. You and me, I say we chalk this up to getting somewhere. We are taking a picture of what I have done on the studio Sunday night and I am going to bring it here and I am going to send it to my Dad. Kim will see it and it will be proof positive I am okay. And so is Slater. He's writing in java and talking to his Uncle Josh about illustrating.

Dude. What's java? don't answer that.

Yellow Dog Designs Studio,  Josh and Priscilla Miller photograph

Gratitude in the knowledge that sometimes if you have to ask the question then you already know the answer.

Friday, January 20, 2012


We'll miss you, Yogi.

Grateful for the time we had.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I trip over myself to please someone I don't even like.
This, my friends, is the hardest part.
Admitting you don't like someone you're supposed to love.

Grateful I still have so much to learn.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the monkey and the butterfly

Grateful for time spent with Jesse.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

bird's eye view

It's been crazy. insane. loads of fun.

As always, I am so very grateful.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


My body has clearly rebelled. A poison has hopped aboard and cast away within the blood stream. The white cell soldiers have been deployed in huge numbers and battles are felt as they're being fought. My face radiates heat as the rest of me chills. I wake every hour to turn and feel sorry for myself. Billy Sue lays at my feet with an unspoken pact of today she doesn't need anything. she can't. My lips are swollen, my mouth dry. My nose no longer allows an exchange of air. This hurts. I hurt. An ache here then there then everywhere until some little voice inside says you can't let this beat you.

I am not sick.

I get up to call where I am supposed to be, where I want to be, and lay on the floor beside the phone. I'll leave tomorrow morning, I say. She responds in kindness but I know I am messing with her plans so I attempt to come up with ways I can make it up to her but feel the desperation in being so far away. We get off the phone with a reprieve for today and a hope for tomorrow. Then I lay on the couch and Billy Sue snuggles against my belly. I pull the covers over my shoulders and tremble from the chill. The poison has quieted any optimistic little voice.

I am sick.

There are bouts of sleeping with horrible dreams. I wake and Slater asks, Are you going to die?

In forty two minutes, I reply.

He doesn't call an ambulance, never offers a ride to the emergency room and I tell myself this must mean he thinks I'm tough rather than he's counting down to freedom. Maybe he doesn't think I'm psychic, maybe he is and knows I'll make it. I drift back off to sleep within a chant, forty-two minutes, why did I say forty-two minutes, I am not going to die, no more horrible dreams, forty-two minutes, why.

This morning the fever broke and my first thought was always the first thought I have when coming back from an illness. I take good health for granted so today I will be especially grateful for it.



Moving forward on a Sunday morning.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


It was a summer in the late and upper nineties when we were both in our twenties. Large sheets of thick white paper lay on concrete. Charcoal and cigarettes in the warmth of a Mississippi sun. I wanted to capture it, hold on, so I bought the best camera I could. A yellow filter for black and whites because even at the time it felt nostalgic. Like one day we would look back onto that day and realize how great it was.


Friday, January 13, 2012


Remember that day it snowed and you had stayed up most of the night so you slept past several hits of the snooze and when you finally awoke it was in a run and as you passed by my room we both kinda shouted our see ya' laters.

Remember how you came home from class in the early afternoon and requested nachos for your after nap dinner and I went to the grocery while you were sleeping. No, you don't remember that because you were sleeping, a good restful long sleep which you seemed to need.

Remember how you awoke late in the night and you were happy and you ate the nachos and we played with Billy Sue and talked about physics and computer concepts and SOPA and PIPA and I was amazed at your brilliance and confidence.

Please remember no matter where you go or what you do that this was a good day. of many good days.

of which I am so very grateful.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Music: Roll Away the Stone (the entire album)
Artist: Kelly Joe Phelps

Yesterday we laughed till we cried.
Today we smile.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I love many things. I love this.


Kim uh oh she's gonna kill me

Kim has homicidal ideation. She wants to kill people. The only reason I feel like I can write about it here is that I know Kim will never kill anyone and this blog will not be called into a courtroom to provide evidence that maybe before that person died Kim who was in the room next to them still gripping a bloody knife could have killed them. I need to stop watching forensic channels obviously.

There are reasons Kim feels the way she does. First of all, she is short like an inch tall. She is a tiny person who sneezes like a chihuahua. This means that most of her life, pretty much all of it, other people towered over her. You know what she did? She became all full of I'm gonna get this shit done. And she does. She's scary and awesome like that. Just to tease her I used to sing short people have no reason to live. Dude, get off my back. Taller is the only thing I had on her. We were teenagers. I felt insecure. Okay, I suck.

She is refined fashion, appropriately her age.

She is my Mother's daughter. Seriously, she makes lists and checks them off and sometimes you're on that list so you run and hide and then she finds you and she checks you off and it wasn't so bad, the list, but her getting mad is like damn, girl. That shit is funny. You're gonna kill somebody that way.

But she's not.

Because yesterday somebody stuck sterile pins in her, two in the ear, two in one hand one in another, some on the leg and there was aromatherapy and at some point during a couple of hours she all of a sudden went all relax. She describes it as a definite moment in time.

How cool is that?

She is going to go every week for at least six weeks so maybe here on News Channel This Blog we will find out more about acupuncture. It will be our good health with only slight homicidal ideation series.

Grateful for Kim.


In town there was a home. Three bedroom, two bath, kitchen with a bay window (I think that is what a bay window is, we'll just say a big set of windows on a wall facing not a bay but a fenced in backyard). Entrance way, fancy living room, fancy dining room and a den with a fireplace, couch and a big console color TV without remote which contained Superstation WTBS and Saturday mornings.

But I think more than anything there was the backyard with the vacant lot beyond it. A vacant lot with trails and trees and kudzu and a huge ditch. Not only that but you had to cross a road with a paved drop which had to be similar to coming down Mount Everest on a skateboard. Maybe not all that but you'd fly on a bike with the wind coming through your hair like you were racing the world. At the last quarter bottom of it there was this bump, not so much a speed bump 'cause we didn't slow down for it, more like a bump to make us jump on a bike. Sorry but there wasn't a helmet. Maybe a few of us had to die before they constructed those, but none of us on that street kicked the bucket although there were many times we could have. I'm pretty sure that road is stained with blood and tears but it was worth it.

There were dogs we had. Smut was Jason's, Snoopy was mine, Smokey the cat was nobody's bitch. There was Gretchen who bit Ken Chatham and had to go but he deserved it. I think maybe there were others, it seems like there were and I am ashamed I can't recall their names right now.

We'll start with my dog Snoopy while Billy Sue is asleep in the bed. She would not approve of me typing about another dog I loved so much. Snoopy was a cocker spaniel, white with black spots. Smut was his brother, pure jet black. Then Chopper, their brother colored more like Snoopy with longer hair, was the Purvis' dog who lived behind us on the same street we raced. Smut and Snoopy were the best dogs ever. Chopper was an ass and always trying to pick a fight with Snoopy.

We'll talk more about that tonight since I slept late (yay).

And Kim, we'll talk about Kim and acupuncture.

Than we'll talk some more about other things.

And it'll be fun.

'Cause for me this place feels like home.

Who's grateful? I am.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


He was not perfect by any means. but then again he was and is. you always wanted to know so I want you to know here's what it was. the following.

he is and was strict about being good to our Mama. 
what was it that Bill Cosby said? I gave you life and I can take it away. 
was that Bill Cosby? 
well, at least I know it was Daddy about Mama.

he provided and protected. still does and every once in a while he'll say to me on the phone, ya know, Boog, if you need anything you just let me know. why hadn't you come home yet?
and I say, I don't know Daddy. I'm just here for now. Is that okay?
and he says, yes but ya' know all ya' gotta do is call me.
yes, Daddy. I know that.

that whole thing you do when you think nobody else is looking. pick your nose. fix yourself a drink. have a smoke. take a nap. piddle. try to move forward. play with Billy Sue. talk with Slater. cook. clean. take another nap. watch a movie. take a bath. brush your teeth. read. laundromat. buy groceries. write. take photographs. listen to music. Daddy was always moving, working. still does. if there was anything good his Daddy taught him it was to work hard. mule like.

even when he broke his back falling into an ocean from an oil rig he was back at work in no time, the next hitch I think. he did his own physical therapy and tried to make me do sit ups as a kid. me crying my eyes out. him counting and saying he'd start over if I didn't hush up. Mama would always save me with a, Bobby, stop harassing her. Go get cleaned up. Dinner's almost ready. He was trying to tell me to stay healthy and he still does which is good. healthy is good.

crazy as hell.
he enjoys/enjoyed life.
he is/was silly.
charitable beyond measure. 
with so much love in his heart.

Mama always said, It only takes one good person to raise a kid. I had/have many good people. And so does Slater.

and I am grateful.

the kids

Slater and I have this hall thing. I pass by his room, he's in his bed with his computer and I say, Hey babes, on my way to the bathroom.

And he says, Hey Mom.

And we smile.

That's the important part. That's when you know you're okay. when your kid is. Crazy, isn't it? And I feel bad sometimes. very bad. 'Cause as a kid you should not have to assure your mother that she's okay. So hey, you, my boy, babes, I'm okay.

But I do have to admit that the other night when I walked by on my way to the bathroom and I said, Hey babes.

And you smiled and said I'm gonna miss this.

And I stopped and stuck my head in and we both smiled at each other and I did the spastic pee pee dance.

You were beautiful and you smiled big and me too.

I never knew that your child growing up was this hard and this beautiful all at the same time.

Pity is not love but I do hate it for your Daddy that this moment was at least one of the holes in his heart and I wish for him. I really do.He's hard to love because he never loved himself and that is the most tragic story. but it ain't over yet. he's still alive. there's still time. till his last dying breath he can be a daddy.

like my daddy.

Is gratitude enough? I sure hope so.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Three weeks before now when the diet was supposed to start in a week I bought bacon. It had been over a year since I had bought bacon but what if I got on the diet and missed bacon. Thick sliced bacon. Bacon.




Then there was a pot roast with carrots and celery and onion seared and slow cooked for a day over homemade cream cheese mashed potatoes and topped with a thick creamy portabella mushroom gravy.

And what about sharp cheddar? A slice of sharp cheddar on a saltine. Then another.

Blueberry pancakes, coleslaw with Aunt Marilyn's bread and butter pickles and mayonnaise. Mayonnaise. The tart of a creamy ceasar dressing.


Butter. Did you see V for Vendetta when Natalie Portman's character tasted the butter? They will try and take the butter. Must stockpile butter.

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Whiskey and wine.

Oh sweet Jesus of how I love these things so.

Then I saw these cherries. These cherries saved my life.   for now.

And I am grateful.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


It is a crisis of self and I wake up paranoid. An early morning in only the second day of rain yet I contemplate the necessity of an ark. Part of me argues it can't be that bad but the imprint of the last downpour taught me you can never tell.

Stay here, the world whispers. Explore this is the new black.

Cold coffee is warmed and prayerful music played. A single flame and one square frame light the room but the heaviness of a deep silence darkens it. These are the moments when I am so  so   so very grateful to be alone.

Life's too short, I reply.

Saturday, January 7, 2012



It is 1978 at a roller skating rink in Meridian, MS. I have tagged along with a youth group from the big baptist church in our small town and I have on my snazziest outfit (which is sadly not snazzy at all, shout out to my Mom). I have already seen Saturday Night Fever. And it's Saturday night, people. The skating rink staff are the most efficient workers ever in the history of the universe. In no time we have our skates and are racing to get them on. I don't remember how many disco lights that place had but the light show came second only to the music.

At eight years old I was skating and shaking my ass to Wild Cherry's Play that Funky Music White Boy and Donna Summer's Hot Stuff.

Just in case you were wondering how I got so cool.

I found this CD during one of my most recent oh shit I need to reorganize my life moments.
Grateful for funky music and roller skates.

Friday, January 6, 2012


We're a finicky bunch, aren't we?

Grateful for a Friday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

list proper

We arrive at midnight after a long evening of pomp and circumstance. She parks in a well lit area and we step onto a substance reminiscent of marble. The temperature is a perfect sixty-eight degrees and a breeze blows the ocean to us. I walk over to a grouping of tall carts and pull one from it's place as she opens the trunk. We both remove and stack the luggage until I am waiting while she parks the car.

On the elevator she presses two. In the time it takes for two people to move in a box from one floor to another she turns to me and says, I'm so excited to be here. Aren't you excited?

Yes, I nod and smile. It's good to be here.

The elevator opens to a small hallway which in one right turn widens to a large porch under a sky lit by a full moon. She turns left, takes a key from her purse and opens the door. Again we begin the deconstructing and constructing, putting things in their temporary places. We work in silence until she says, It's beautiful, isn't it?

Yes. Gorgeous, I reply.

I return the tall cart to the land of tall carts, roll it into the original geometrical pattern and feel like I have done something nice for my fellow man. Then I reward myself with drags from a cigarette in a dark area under a tree on the east side of the building.

When I return to our place she is in the kitchen making a list. I watch and listen as the listmaker of all listmakers has conversations in staccato with the air around her. I look at the familiar, neat handwriting and notice she puts a line through some items as soon as she writes them. My laughter breaks her concentration and she looks at me, What?

I walk to the double glass doors and open the curtains revealing what we can see of the water under a night, It's just you're making a list at midnight. Nothing wrong with it. It's just funny to watch.

There are things we are going to need. I'll get them first thing in the morning.

Okay, I say. I think I am going to bed. See you in the morning. Good night and I love you.

Last night he told me he could see how I have her in me, and all I could think was, I hope so.

Grateful for my Mom.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


You survive quite nicely six hundred thirty two and three quarter days for that one day when you type and the words come faster than your fingers can move and it is simply your job to keep up but you can't so you just smile and try and the words pull you into a bliss, inside an imagination you don't see as your own. It is exquisite, this space when all alone you allow and realize any control you ever tried to have before was some silly little dream of a silly little girl who never knew any better.


Grateful for silly little dreams.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012


I tell him any ism is the result of a superiority complex.


That's right. If you have an ism it is because you need to feel superior. People with isms need to feel superior because at one point in their life they felt inferior. Like a rubber band snapping back.

He thinks about it.

We are confronted with whatever someone said however many years later and I repeat myself.

He thinks about it.

This happens again.

I don't know how many times.

Just I am grateful he thinks about it.

And if you, like me, like to read genius at work. Brockway, I swear.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


It is a Tuesday night off Beale. Earlier reports of impending bad weather, nothing severe, ensures we made the right decision. The place is dead. It is obvious it never planned on being too alive since all along the outer edges of the room, against the brick walls, chairs are stacked on tables. It is a slow night with only die hard fans, my favorite kind.

The band we came to see has turned the show into a practice, a private viewing of what it is like to make their music. He speaks to him as if they are in a room all to themselves and I take my camera out of the bag.

Candle on the table. Light in dark, a glowing glass, a dancing flame, graduated color of melted wax. This is love. Shot.


Check the shot. Check the ISO, change if needed. Check the shutter speed, change if needed. Feel the beat. Do my own little camera dance, what I like to call groovin' but what the youngsters may say is look at the old chic with the camera spazzing out over there. To which I would like to reply, It's okay. This is just practice.

Music is sexy this way.

And this is where I may need to clear something up. Sexy doesn't necessarily mean sex. Now that's just silly, isn't it? In the debate that is this blog where I debate myself I would say that no, sexy doesn't mean sex. Sexy means that you're doing your thing with passion. An orgasmic hobby, how nerds are born. It is intense and you wish nobody else were here so the people that are here you have to trust. When music and trust and camera and dark empty dive all get together it is insane.

Photography is sexy this way. Shot.

Got it, the candle. I turn toward the stage. There is a table, I sit near. Hands playing instruments, a slide on a finger on a guitar. Music. Shot. Check the shot. Lighting is different, adjust as needed. Shot. Again. The hand moved. Shot. Got it. Another just in case.

Drums. A beat my heart has already adjusted to. A face here but not. I recognize another place. Shot. Check. Damn. Adjust. Another. Several more. I hope I got it so I can bring it here to you.





Maybe next time.

Woodstomp now has a website.

I am grateful for practice, for music, for photography.

I am grateful for the ability to share what I love.



I think when all the years got together in the back room to tell 2012 what to expect from me then 2012 came up with some type of strict game plan. I am not going to mention any names but I wouldn't put it past two oh one one saying something about laziness. 1987 probably chimed in as well. It could be that 2001 had some nice things to say, but 1997 most likely stayed silent. That's what I'm thinking anyway 'cause let's face it our years know us. They are the map of us. They've been here all along so it was no surprise to me that 2012 would come in barking orders and holding a short list.

Grateful for a wise year.