Sunday, June 30, 2013


Seven women meet. 
One stands and tells herstory. 
There is laughter, 
a future, 
a date, 
a plan,
a where do we go next,
how does this happen,
when do we begin.

A yes then calm.

This is how it all started.

Today I am grateful to know these women and be a part of this story. 

Friday, June 28, 2013


Hey you. You princess descended from a king. You seven who tells everyone you are eight since you will be this year. You who looks like your Aunt Kimbo. You in the dress which sparkles when you twirl. You who reads with your eyes closed because you have memorized the book. You who responds, I am just so excited to see you, when someone asks, Do you remember me? 

You brilliant, brilliant, beautiful girl.

Your Papa once told me, Don't ever bet on another man's game.

He had just gotten off work, still in the uniform from the tire shop. He was small. I was tall for my age and arrogant enough at fifteen to think I could take him. How much we bettin'? He asked.

Hundred dollars, I replied.

Hundred dollars, he confirmed.

No, I said. A dollar, after seeing the grin on his face.

Okay, a dollar, he laughed.

It was quick. I don't think anyone had ever taken me so cleanly in a game of basketball. I was stunned.

He told me I didn't owe him anything. Then he said it, Don't ever bet on another man's game.

How was I supposed to know basketball was your game? I asked.

He laughed, threw me the ball and walked inside.

Today I am grateful for that little piece of him which has and always will linger in my heart.
Maybe I was supposed to tell you.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

soul of a man

The moment between before and after when we stop to listen, when what happens doesn't happen so fast and we are not so important, that's when. When it's still and quiet and we never knew we could breathe like that. That's when we get the call.

Today I am grateful that he doesn't fear death anymore and peace comes to those who wait and there is no more pain and God love him. We did.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

chant in your head, an ode to my friend

"I say, 'Self. Now self.'"      by Jesse

Self, you need to hear this.
You have made some incredible friends, have a roof over your head. Your boy, he is doing good, says great even. It all seems to be working one way or another. Who knew you weren't turning the world?

Everyone else?

You're funny, self, which is good because it is fun to laugh.

Today I am grateful for my funny friends who love to laugh and do so frequently.
They make life so much easier.

I am going to add something here before asking my friend if I can. If she calls or emails me today and says/writes, Yo, crazy. Take my very personal self talk off of the internet. Remove.

Then I will remove it. But. This is good and this is why I love her and if there was a reason I believe I'm not turning this world it is because this writer's group just simply happened, fell in my lap, was not even in my vision. Then it was there.

Seriously. I bow to her genius.

Dear reader,

The following is written by my friend.


A Conversation of Self

1.Well, they’re gone.

2.Gosh, the house seems so empty.

1.I know, right?

2.Do you think they enjoyed it?  I mean, should I have left the house dirty…you know, not stayed up until midnight cleaning it?

1.Sure, if you wanted them to trip over toys and get grit on their feet.

2.Yeah, Shea did take her shoes off…

1.Probably still got grit on her feet.

2.Do you think she minded?

1.Hey, who stacked the dishes in the sink

2.Shea – Gosh, when did she take the scraps out?  Freaky – Do you think she thinks I’m OCD

1.Aren’t you?

2.Maybe I made them uncomfortable…clean house, weird tendencies, ya know I am perfectly capable of accepting people

1.Give it a rest—it’s who you are

2.K…what about the food—gosh, maybe I should have cooked something else…they probably hated it…I don’t know if it even tasted good…the chicken was kind of dry

1it wasn’t at 5:30…

2you’re right….whose fault was that anyway

1you know

2yeah…I think I’ll drink the rest of this coffee…sit on the couch, start this book…oh, gosh, we forgot to get that picture of tempa…and we didn’t help her with her computer!  I feel so awful…I’m the worst friend…
1yeah…what else did she have in her hand when she left…

2hmmmm….don’t know…gosh, I should have asked her….what was that…hate we didn’t get the picture…should have been a group picture…I’d like to have one on my bedside table….

1yeah, that’d be great, then you could think about them even more…

2hey, didn’t Tempa say she walked everyday…we could do that…I mean, exercise…you know the walking writer’s group…then we could see each other EVERY week

1you mean, another group…yeah, but what if Shea has to “go”…

2well,I probably will have to go,too…no coffee and fried eggs…maybe we’ll do it in the afternoon

1yeah, probably better for Amanda…

2gosh, do you think she has to “go”…she didn’t say anything about it…oh, gosh, neither did Tempa, maybe they don’t “go”

1Pretty sure they do---I meant probably better for Amanda in the afternoon

2oh – yeah – okay, I’ll mention it to them

1they’ll hate it


Monday, June 24, 2013


One hour plus thirty-one talented artists plus a bar plus a supportive community multiplied by 3.14 equals a successful charity function for South Mississippi Children's Center.

Today I am grateful for communities which thrive and give.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Christy's, notes

In a town named after Stonewall Jackson, a mill closed. The mill, Burlington Industries, was more than a century old. Back in 2002 the population was not much more than a thousand if that. The mill employed eight hundred, they say. As you would imagine a certain emptiness was felt.

As always happens when you confront such a blow you may need the perspective of people who can see more. Many times those people have dealt with loss.

Chris was Carol's son and Christy's brother.

When Carol lost Chris she needed to learn how to walk again, how to rise from what must have felt like complete destruction. If there was one reason she had to smile it was for Christy.

But Carol did more. She teamed up with her daughter and a chef they met to create a restaurant, the kind of place where Chris had worked.

Rather than building something new they took something empty and filled it.

They filled an old mill office with delicious and locally grown foods and customers and they're not employing eight hundred yet, but they've provided eight jobs for people who may not have had work. And they're dreaming more and adding on and thinking that Stonewall, MS with all those sweet little mill homes can start housing other dreamers as well.

Carol sees an artist hub with murals on brick and summer art camps for kids. A dinner theater? Carol says, Of course.

When asked what she loves most about the restaurant and it's sweet shop, Carol answers, Family and community. We've got the most loyal customers around.

Again, I'm sold.

Today I am grateful for those whose lives serve as an example.

Saturday, June 22, 2013



"You're one-ninth in control so someone might come in and paint something that basically completely changes the way you fit."


Today I am grateful for how he sets the mood.

Friday, June 21, 2013

diary of a carnivore

My theory is that if you want something for long enough then you should have it. 
This is not a proven theory. 
Nobody has done any controlled experiments.

In fact, this is an out of control experience, and ummm.

Those are my favorite.

So I have this article to do, and it's for that fabulous food magazine who has been so kind as to offer to pay me to eat and love. 

Yep. Thank you, JJ.

So I have this craving. Crazy, crazy, insane craving. A romance with food. 

I think about it. Sometimes I'll even dream about it. Most of the time I just eat nuts and fruit and vegetables but sometimes I allow myself long enough for it to become part of a dream.

Where I think, ya' know, I am going to imagine ways to love this, what it would be like to consume this. How it would feel to hold it, to have it close.

And once it has been long enough I'll just do it.
I'll say it.
I'll go after it.
I mean, if other people can have it every now and then, why can't I?

Why would I deprive myself?


I know. It was once a cow and I used to be a part of a family who raised cows and we showed cows and we sent the cow with the name to the butcher and that was some tasty absolute love.

Maybe this is where I am supposed to admit in some whisper.

I am a carnivore.

I told John, I want that cheesburger with a fried green tomato on top. I will pay for it. I want it. I have to have it. Please, please make me one of those.

He did.

Today I am so very grateful for someone who said, I gotta get in there and make that woman a burger.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

before you took yourself out of the story

Paulette Getting Ready for Work, Clarksdale   Color Photograph   Milly Moorhead   Meridian Museum of Art

Paulette was getting ready for work. Mokie looked up from his book. 

Hey, baby.

Whatchu need, Mokie?

Do I gotta need something to say hey to you?

I don't guess so, Paulette turned and faced him. She never knew what Mokie was up to.

Mokie closed the book, took his reading glasses off, set them on the nightstand, looked again at Paulette and smiled. 

Paulette giggled then declared as serious as she could muster, Mokie, you know I gotta get to work.

Oh baby. You know I ain't trying to keep you. I just like watching.

Today I am grateful for inspiration.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


When Joe takes a photo I look and when he writes I read. 'Cause well, you'll see.

importance of self

In the not good enough you will always find evidence in the case you're pleading.

Maybe it works the other way too.

It is Wednesday the 19th. My hours are earlier and more scattered and alone and fighting with each other. This is only the second story of five, and that first one got rewritten at least three or four times.

Not good enough. not good enough. not good enough.
oh yeah. not good enough.

He sent me forty-seven pages of genius, a study of a plan in a place where huge movement happens. It was beautiful and detailed and I even said to my editor, I just want to put chunks of what he said in there. 

She laughed.

No. I'm serious. How do I follow that?

Again she laughed at me because she is awesome and throwing work my way.

Crazy. How lucky I am to have the friends I do. I told her she could always fire me if she needed to. Every time I turn something in I think.

Well, that's it. I'm not a writer anymore.

Dear you,
I turned in the Delta Bluff Scenic Byway, Desoto July article yesterday. I am not a writer. Thank you for reading three years of complete garbage while someone, namely me, attempted to put words together to form coherent sentences and take away some weird meaning. You are incredibly patient and kind and generous and I'm sure there is a medal in heaven for what you did.

You saw the evidence of me playing in the rain instead of sitting in a desk chair until the story was done.

Something happens.
I talk to a friend.
Talk about the next article.

She says, I cried when I saw the brick streets.

Now I have to go.
Of course I have to see.
Might as well try to write about it, I guess.
Plus. I have something to prove to nobody but myself.
I am good enough. I am good enough to write about this.

Today I am grateful for a consistent and persistent goal, for the knowledge I will always find evidence in the case I am pleading.

and maybe, just maybe, if it's good enough we're looking for then it's simple. of course, you and me, we're good enough. but better than could definitely cause some problems.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It was just that.
It was raining.
And we needed the rain.
And I needed to play.

Slater called. We made plans.
Billy Sue was safely under the desk. The kittens under the house.
The kitchen clean.
Laundry done.


I wanted to laugh, to celebrate a good hard rain and that's exactly what I did as I hugged the side of the house, jumped to the carport, walked the deserted porch and played.

Today I am grateful to still be able to play.

I know. I know.
Get to work, me.

Monday, June 17, 2013

crop circles in my rock garden

I know. I know.

I have articles due.

It's just.

You know.

flowers in her hair

A quarter of a century ago I graduated high school. It was in the late eighties.

Twenty-five years later this past Saturday the phone rang. It was Patsy.

Girl, I know you're going to the high school reunion.

I told you I would. When is it?

Today. It started at twelve. 

I check the clock on the wall. Patsy. It's twelve fifteen.

I'm on my way. You better go. You told me you would.

Thanks for the notice.

Oh. You're not going.

I'm supposed to be going to Meridian to buy a father's day gift and grocery shop.

That's what I figured.

Where is it? Dammit.

What I will say is that when I moved back to town I asked around about Patsy. Patsy who I played basketball with, who was smart and hilarious and who I had often wondered where in the world did she go. And she was here with her masters in social work and a good husband and a teenage son. Suddenly here I am back in a community with an old friend.

The reunion? It was great.

Today I am grateful to be a part of the class of eighty-eight.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

his girl

When Slater was a teenager his Dad sat next to me and said, I need for you to tell me how to be a Dad.

It's not calculus, I said. Just show up. If you tell him you're gonna do something. Do it.

It was almost as if that answer was too frustratingly simple for him.

Still. He is my son's Dad and as long as he's breathing it's never too late.

I don't know how to tell you how hard my Dad works. I think you would have to see it for yourself. It's hot here already and he never stops some pretty extreme manual labor of busting beaver dams and cutting grass and trimming and clearing and planting and fixing and checking off a list and being right there to jump in the pool with my nephew.

And I am in awe of who my Daddy is.
And I'd like to take a moment to say that there are some great, great men of this world and every one of them showed up and out for the people who needed them.

Today I am grateful for my Dad, my brothers, my friends' husbands, my friends, all those men who if you ask them who they are at least one of their answers is, I am a father/dad/daddy/pop.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Just so you know. I wear my bra to the convenience store.

There is a sweet adorable little elderly lady standing to the right of the cash register at the convenience store. It's confusing. She is on the customer side of the counter but rather than standing in a single file line with the rest of us she is facing us.

She says to the cute young lady in front of me, Oh you are so pretty. You have such beautiful eyes.

The young lady says, Thank you.

We all smile. It is a moment of someone receiving a compliment and giving gratitude and nobody died.

Then the sweet adorable little elderly lady looks at me. Is this your daughter?

Actually she's my sister. Only two years younger than me. I didn't know I looked so old.

Today I am grateful for laughter and a touch on the arm and a sweet adorable little elderly lady who walked with me out of the convenience store.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Today I am grateful to get past all those things we were supposed to do.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

study of still

Today I am grateful for a certain stillness, an intimacy, how I became to know this was what I needed.

And then, of course, there is music.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

fathom of a nine year old

Hey, Jess. Wouldn't this be a cool restaurant? We could have bands in that back building, a respectful little place where people could come and listen to music.

Who would we get to play music?

Oh. I know people.

She smiles.

But in the restaurant what would we serve?

Daddy could make steaks.

Yeah. What else?

Pop could make gumbo.

Yeah but we'd have to put a warning label on the menu.


'Causa them bones. You know.

Daddy can make gumbo too.

What would Grammie make?

Cornbread.     Chocolate lasagna.         And a sundae bar. We'd have a sundae bar. All the kids could make their sundaes.

I don't know if we could let 'em. Health department regulations and stuff. You'd have to work the sundae bar.

There it is.
She's working it.
Her eyes light up and she is dreaming all the open of what appeared to be closed.

Yeahh, she says.

Today I am grateful to know the potential of something can be contained in our view of it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

not an expert, only experienced

The question you asked by email. You know, the one of which I gave a pat answer because it seemed such a personal move and neutral is all I can do.

What is a person to do during the two months between filing for divorce and it being final?

Go to counseling, I said.

but you asked me a personal question so I need to get personal.

1. Consider what attracted you two in the first place, what repels you now.
2. Practice being alone. Embrace it. Love it. Know no matter where you are happiness is a choice.
3. Freak out thinking nobody will ever even pretend to want you again.
4. Know this is a crack, a hardening. It is your heart and something you will have to repair.
5. Repair it before you ever think marriage again.
6. Prepare to never consider marriage again.

Know there will be moments when you miss a slow dance in the kitchen, your feet in his lap, the way he smiled, the knowing looks, how everything could blow up, fall apart and you could hold it together in front of everyone else but see him and fall into his arms like a child crying. That feeling you're feeling that he's no longer there, he will never be.

It is a surgical amputation without anesthesia unless you drink heavily or take prescription drugs.
There is phantom pain.

The children are watching.

Today I am grateful for questions introduced as too personal.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


We either take what we are given or we make it something new. These friends of mine.

We can either look at this as one of the calmest Sunday mornings we've ever witnessed or be frustrated by all those things still left unsaid, all those things we know need to be done.

This morning we'll sit on the porch and choose the former.

Today I am grateful to know of something other than struggle.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Barry still checked the mail but never opened it anymore. He dropped it in the garbage to the right of the door. It never seemed to be good news and those who wanted to tell him something had started leaving notices on the door. Two more days he thought.

Then he would start walking.

Odd, he said to the cat, when you consider all the planning I did. Nothing is certain and nobody cares.

Today I am grateful for direction.

Friday, June 7, 2013

repetitive themes on a boom

Nobody ever accused me of being patient.

He will be here at noon thirty. He is seven hours and nine minutes away. I have learned to wait.

Like that song says, Good thing I am accident prone, because I will tell you right here and right now that I had nothing to do with this. This thing that happened when I received the call and I looked at my friend, my Mom, and we just stared at each other and I'm pretty sure I held my breath.

Then exhaled. Then explained.

It's just that I don't think I asked for it. It's just that it came, and right now, more than anything ever has, it feels like an answer to a prayer I never dreamed to pray.

The next sentence I know.
If I need to I will let go.

Today I am grateful for tides, for ebb and flow, for be like water, for all the teaching beyond math and science and english.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

future us

Whether it was by choice or some predisposition there was one thing we became to know. If something carried on it would be that we gave a shit about those who were left when we were gone. What is the best way we wondered and we found many things and some of us were right and some of us were wrong.

But most agreed you were going to need a safe place of love, to love.
No matter where you were we wanted you to believe in love.

So thus and therefore we created as many of those places as possible. We never could have done it without trusting that when you got there those little pockets of love had grown because we taught you how to plant them.

We hope you remember. In case you were wondering.

Today I am grateful for inspiration and motivation and music and all those ways we became to know.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

rumored to be true

A little hellhound never stopped the bravest of soldiers.

Today I am grateful for courage, for faith.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Her: What am I supposed to do?

Me: I don't know.

Her: Seriously?

Me: Yeah. I'm pretty sure you know you better than I ever would.

Her: Is this good?

Me: My only hope is that I can honor who you are.

Today I am grateful to realize that I walked around forever telling people what they should do disguised in the form of some kind of smothering crazy caring when allowing them to be who they were was the only thing I should have done.

Also, yes. I am well aware of the fact that when Slater eventually attempts to have me committed this will be used in evidence as she talked to photographs.