Wednesday, July 31, 2013

boy, the

There are no big hugs, no fireworks, no popping of champagne corks, no releasing of balloons. Nobody throws confetti when he steps out of the car. I want this to be normal so I pretend this is normal.

Dinner's ready. I've made one of your favorites. Extra spicy. This time I made it from scratch.

I tell myself I'd smile like this any day of the week and I try not to need too much and he's not hungry and we'll go visit Pop and Grammie 'cause I want to show him off and he's home and I've missed him.

And I want to take a picture and there is a camera but I'd have to turn my head to pick it up.

I don't want to turn my head.

His hair is longer than I remember, curling with the day old face scruff and he looks relaxed like he's going to Florida or something but here he is pacing on a porch and telling stories and if he takes a breath I'll wait because more than anyone or anywhere else I feel connected to him and space.

Carry on, my son. Carry on.

The boy is home and I can't even begin to express how grateful I am so I'll just say this is normal and for a few days we'll pretend it is.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

because. the devil.

In his preface to Screwtape Proposes a Toast Lewis wrote, The world into which I had to project myself while I spoke through Screwtape was all dust, grit, thirst and itch. And then, It almost smothered me before I was done. It would have smothered my readers if I had prolonged it.

He writes as well it was the easiest writing he had ever done and the least enjoyable.

I am certainly not qualified to review this book. All I will say is he, as you know, was a remarkable thinker and the irony and circular motion of struggle is so incredibly personal and honest that the very conclusion of a Christian apologist putting pen to paper as the guest of honor demon, Screwtape, warning to Mr. Principal, Your Imminence, your Disgraces, my Thorns, Shadies, and Gentledevils,

All said and done, my friends, it will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by "religion" ever vanishes from the Earth.

Today I am grateful again for those who left us notes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

morning light


Today I am grateful for quiet.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

bobby with a capital b



Today I am grateful for those people who share their vision.

Friday, July 26, 2013


We don't need a grant for a business. It is offensive to me. The word feminism must mean you just don't know who you're dealing with. The southern belle long ago left the building. We now take our shoes off to feel how the ground gives and it is exquisite, a conversation with these women.

If ever there was a time in my life when my gut said you're headed in the right direction, this is it.

Today I am grateful for a group of friends.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Modena would giggle,
tell me everything was alright.
Then she'd put a Crown Royal bag on her head,
cook up some fried pies.


teaching kittens to read

Today I am grateful for a distraction, a sweet little story of three girls in a booth, how one listened intently as another talked about her fears at school. How the youngest of those children had an answer, it seemed. And yes, I get it. The simple answers are what we need.

The children are taking over, people.
This is a good thing.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


You know how you are given something which feels right and you don't want to say anything or step on any sidewalk cracks or break a mirror or walk under a ladder or even mention you are feeling this way,

because then you might jinx it?

And you realize how superstitious you are so you throw salt over your shoulder, make a wish on a star, eat black eyed peas, and never ever ever forget your gratitude. 

Which is what I did yesterday. I forgot to write it.

So I killed this rabbit and cut off his foot.

No. Not really.

Today I am grateful to have heard that luck is more likely to come with hard work.

Update: I want to change the word "hard" in my gratitude. I don't want hard. I want consistent and persistent and inspiring and challenging work. So there. The rabbit can live and everybody is happy and we're doing something here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

brown tag, raisin'

The girl, she was raised to believe in certain things. As a woman she remembers summers swimming in the creek, a breakfast every Sunday with the cousins and brothers. The whole world was a small town and a dirt road which led to a camp. There were cows and gardens, and her Mamaw raised rabbits.

Every now and again she sees a rabbit hop through the yard of the home her Mamaw once inhabited. She wonders to herself, Is that rabbit a grand baby of those that escaped?

Later she smiles when she sees her Mamaw's old black and white photo raised in a frame.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Lance did everything right. He won all the time. People praised him like you wouldn't believe.


I watched them on tv. His single Mom sat beside him on a stage, so proud of the winner he became.


That's how it went until finally he won the Tour de France, many more times than you would think.


He had done something wrong and the fall. Well. the fall.


We looked within and didn't like what we saw.

Today I am grateful to understand not one of us living today has ever reached perfection.
Whew. that's a relief.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


This is a little restaurant in Perdido Key, Florida. I call it The Restaurant Under the Bridgethough I am certain it has another name. I think the linguine wins over the grits but one must try each dish because both are hm, yeah. (new name)

This photo of hm, yeah. is part of my new writing assignment. The assignment is for writer's group though I am taking it from another writing group I joined back in the day. Stu.

Instead of his green room I am using the one above. (Cheating)
There are two characters in the story. (I have no idea who they are. In my crazy head they are going to reveal themselves to me.)
Traumatic event. (Damn, Stu.)
No more than 1000 words. (I'm not even going to count them.)
One act play. (Oh, Stu.)
Titled hm, yeah.

Audience hears the sound of high heeled shoes drumming heavy against wood floor.
Woman enters scene. Black skirt at knee. Professional looking.
Woman sits in booth. Stares blankly at upper portion of bench in front of her.
Audience hears a cell phone ring. The jingle of a belled door opening then closing.
Audience hears boots walking slowly across floor.
Man in jeans, dirty t-shirt. Cap on head. Sits in booth across from woman.

Man: We've talked about this. You knew it was coming.
Woman: Yes.
Man: So what are you going to do?
Woman: I don't know.
Man: You talked about school.
Woman: Yeah. I told you. They'd pay for it.
Man: So you're going back to school.
Woman: Yes. I have no other choice.
Man: It's going to be okay. (Man reaches across table turns his hand over, offering it to woman.)
Woman: I know. (She cries quietly. Stage darkens.)

A single screen lights. Black and white video of woman giving an oral history starting with the day she lost her job fifteen years ago and what happened after that.

The one act play is a series of dinner theaters located in a park next to an abandoned mill which once employed the woman. The dinner is picnic style hosted by a local restaurant. A musical guest follows.

Today I am grateful for the four other writers in my writer's group, how they inspire me to do like the you who comes to this blog.

'Cause otherwise I'd just be doing this for me and that's no fun.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


If you take the "w" and the "o" and the "r", drop off the "k" and add another "r" and a "y" then you could have two different words with the same meaning. Maybe sometimes we get so used to anxiety that we cling to it and we turn it into how we make money.


So it's not been a great week, not because of what's happening outside. Outside I had two assignments following one, a road trip to a place I had never been, a brick road I could turn gold,


but inside my head it wasn't going to be good enough because it was the writing and I overcompensated on the article about Othar or Other or Otha, spelled all three ways. It's tough when your editor is your friend because most times friends don't want to be hard and I have been kicking myself for nine hundred thirty-six words which shouldn't have been over eight hundred.

So you don't need to read this because who wants to read someone who always complains.

So listen to this.

The boy got a job in a place he always wanted amongst streets he loves where if need be he could walk to work and yeah. That is huge and fantastic and Go, boy. You rock.

And Kim has a story to be continued.
And I am not going to be so bummed about Othar, Other, Otha because I've still got to write about the wood stork.

photo of an unsigned photo on the wall of Tara

If you've been here for a while you already know my feelings about birds though I kinda like this guy. Doesn't he look like the nerd of bird world, like he's wise or smart or you'd call him if you had a computer glitch? I mean, if we were calling birds, that is.

Oh hell, I'll just call him Othar 'cause he looks smart.

Today I am grateful to know of joy and humor before I get back to work or worry.

Friday, July 19, 2013

the Mississippi

Vicksburg's Riverfront Murals

Today I am grateful for energy and flow and what we find along the banks of a river.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tara Wildlife

Eight miles of levee at eight miles an hour. 
This Mississippi Delta feels like a fond memory even if it is south.

Today I am grateful to get off the blacktop.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Salem, AL

Don't be particular, said Other Turner's Mama to him when he was a boy.
Source: Blow My Blues Away by George Mitchell

There's a difference between particular and peculiar, Shea.
Source: My Dad to me when I returned home.

Today I am grateful to sit at a table and laugh with my Dad. It's lovely, his laugh.

Monday, July 15, 2013

black white and blue

Rafael's attitude to art was one of serious play. His work was partly surreal, though it never properly fit into that category. It never really fit into any category, he used whatever material or mode took his liking.

Source: The Forgetting Room by Nick Bantock

Today I am grateful for mystery.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Today I am grateful for little surprises when you think there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done and you can't stop for just one moment to handle anymore world and all of a sudden someone more important shows up and you realize how silly you are.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

setting the stage

In the beginning there were four.

I go to bed in silence and pray for my brain to stop. 

Five hours later I wake to Relax, freak. You are but one quarter of a whole. 

Today I am grateful for the other three and how they help me focus.

Friday, July 12, 2013

the catcher lobbed you the ball

Here it comes. Everyone is looking at you now. You better have it done right. This could mean everything. What if this is the game changer? Your whole team is watching. They need you. Don't miss it. Don't drop it. Remember all that they taught you. Body in line with the ball, knees bent, glove out like a bucket, the other hand ready to cover the ball and do with what you need to.

It's coming. It's coming.

It's here.

You caught it.

Today I am grateful to know all moments need our preparation and all moments receive it.


Today I have a big meeting and I could be ya' know a little nervous because yeah it feels like a crucial, do my best, don't waste anyone's time, you better get this right, do not drop the ball, ball dropper meeting but yesterday Tempa and I talked about this photo and it helped me to remember what you helped me remember in that moment.

Thank you. You are so much my heart.

Aunt Shea

Thursday, July 11, 2013

sitting. watching. listening.

Blow My Blues Away by George Mitchell came in the mail yesterday. The title references a blues song which is written on the last pages of the book.

Sun go'n shine in my backdoor someday,
And the wind go'n blow my blues away.

Beautiful. Exquisite song of prayer.

And I just gave away the ending.

It is one of those books which make you want to call a friend so I show it to Josh.

He takes the book. Opens it. There's a bookmark.

Don't let it fall out. I'm in the car. He's in the window.

Cool. He says.

The foreword is exquisite, I say, if you read that you'll know. I'll let you borrow it when I get finished.

Let's just say he can tell I am excited.

Okay. He says. I'm going up to Mom's for pie.

I'm on my way for tomato sandwiches.

See ya' there.

When I finally got to the blues it was 1998. Mitchell wrote the book in the form of a thesis in 1967. It has his black and white photographs but not like the huge shiny coffee table book we grew

This one is beautiful in it's copyright is 1971 by Louisiana State Press. The pages are not glossy, they have a particular feel. The photographs, you take off your glasses and study. I am in love with a material, a thing, but at some point don't we all pick our vices.

The official moment of me coming to the blues was when I walked in a juke joint on highway four between Holly Springs and Senatobia. My husband was a drummer and playing that night. He explained to me the importance before I walked into the room. This was the most incredible music and crowd I'd ever see.

And let me tell you.

Wow. It was. I fell in love.

Today I am grateful for books and music and books about music.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

cheating on the test

Beth's Office

She tells me her favorite historical hero was Jane Addams. I look up Jane Addams, going to Wikipedia to get the information.

Of course that is her favorite historical hero.
Most likely there is some, if not all of, Jane Addams in this woman.

I have to think about it. It's hard to just pick one. I read Kafka that morning. He's cool. CS Lewis, I think was probably some kind of awesome guy. Um. Jesus. Yeah, it would've been great to be his buddy walking the earth. Mother Teresa. Is she historical yet? Martin Luther King, Jr. not forgetting the importance of Mississippi's own James Meredith, who's still alive and living in Jackson last I heard. Thoreau. I struggle with Thoreau out at Walden. I love what Harper Lee did and how she was satisfied with that. Abe Lincoln. Of course. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Yep. Adam Smith. Uh huh. John F. Kennedy. Yes. All of those women who fought for my right to vote, and that sweet Jane Addams knew it had to come. Definitely. Maya Angelou, still around and kickin' it, I know. Jereome and Rachel Lee's son from Stonewall, MS. Yes. Sarah Todd, she represents so many to me. I wished I could have held David Foster Wallace's hand.


William Faulkner
Ernest Hemingway
Mark Twain
Viktor Frankl
Etgar Keret
Eudora Welty
JD Salinger
Jimmy Rogers
RL Burnside
Jessie Mae Hemphill
Other Turner
Paul "Bear" Bryant
Theo van Gogh and his brother Vincent

There are fellow bloggers who I think make history. There are people in this town, in the next one over.

So I tell myself, Self. Now, self. (wink wink) Focus on all the beauty you see.

Narrowed down to one?
Nope. I'll be Billy Sue on the top step of this one.

There has to be three.

Historical heroes narrowed down to only three. Thomas Jefferson. John Adams. Abigail Adams.
If only I could have served that table and listened to that grand and respectful debate. Beautiful.

Today I am grateful for the great debate within us and how with it we have love. yay, us.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

one answer to the question is answers

He answers the question with, Porn. I guess.

Oh good, I say. I'm glad we got that outta the way.

He calls back, Good news. People want good news.

Huh. Okay.

I research Kafka looking for a particular story about a little girl.
Instead I find the story about the mouse, the cat.

The question remains.

Today I am grateful for exploration, for access to more information than I could ever collect on a shelf.

Monday, July 8, 2013

mornin' light

Who am I kidding? The grass is wet. Her precious paws could get dirty. The kittens are likely to attack. There are bugs out there. If I don't have the car keys she's not getting off the top step.

Nope. Not gonna do it.

And me? I don't think I'm going to be opening up a dog obedience school anytime soon.

Today I am grateful for the comedy routine which greets me every morning.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dawn's Curiosity

Dawn closed on the building in February and gave Ms Beulah Nell till June 2nd to close the five and dime known by area folks as Woody's. It was the end of an era, a history of ten different wooden bins of erasers. A child's dream, more stuff than you can fathom. Faye Smith even wrote in the local paper that she didn't know where in the world she would get her thread once Woody's closed. Mom was wondering about the silk flowers she put on everyone's graves. Tempa even thought about preordering a Christmas wreath.

That dang Dawn Early had gone and destroyed a place where everybody got everything.

I laughed at her and with her about the ruckus she was causing. The fact was that Ms. Beulah Nell knew it was time to retire, and Dawn felt like the timing was right to jump off a cliff.

Into a storefront she is calling The Curiosity Shoppe where shop is spelled in some old world we had enough time to write all the letters with some feather pen and ink.

Because Dawn likes history.

That must be why she purchased a building constructed in 1921. Eighty-two years old, over thirty her senior, Dawn has been uncovering the structure's secrets, finding treasures and notes left. Like her neighbor, Ruth, she is a giggling child at Christmas and she works.

Works, I tell ya'.

She has scraped rubber mat off of floor, taken cabinets off walls, sanded a ceiling, swept, mopped, wiped, sweated, managed, asked, begged, bought, applied. Like I said, she has worked.

She is one month into this and next week she will apply the color to these walls.
Her plan is to be ready August first. The Curiosity Shoppe will be a photography studio, a gift shop featuring two pottery lines, Mississippi Mud baby clothes, frames, candles, jewelry and an exclusive product only sold here, Dirt Dauber Designs.

She told me she would box my Christmas presents, and I told her if she put a bow on top of them she has all my business.

This is what I love. This is history. This is how we are made.

Someone like Dawn Early, photographer, artisan, entrepreneur, woman with a vision, a plan, 
becomes a shop.

Of course she would say she has some help.

Today I am grateful to know these people, to share stories, a love of photography and laughs.

Go, Dawn. This is exciting to watch.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

easy to fall, easy to walk

He tells and then pretends to question, You don't remember me. Do you?

Maybe he hopes I do and if that is the case I wish I could help him but I am now experienced in the social awkwardness of returning home. Um. No. I am so sorry. Did we go to school together?

He smiles. Nods.

Were we in a particular class together? What is your name? Did we play together as children?

He shakes his head, We were in a lotta classes together.

I am so sorry. It's senility, dementia. I'm just. I'm sorry.

This was not a problem I recognized within myself until I returned home, the inability to remember a guy in high school classes from twenty some odd years ago. Part of me feels guilt of not valuing someone's importance in a room. The other part forgives me by saying there were one hundred sixty-nine people in the graduating class.

You needed to develop a shorthand, I will say. Your brain is small. You can't know and befriend and cry with and cheer for and hang with more than three or four or ten at the most. Social media was the rotary phone on Papaw's hall wall, a football game, a fifteen minute break by two concrete benches.

High school was a grand time of labeling, categorizing. The artist, the funny one, the girl who cried so much, the cheerleaders, the jocks, the smartest, the prettiest, the guy with long fingernails who would spit like a cat whenever I looked his way. The quiet, the loud, the best dressed, the most likely to succeed. The girl who beat people up, the one who hated us. Everyone was there and some are still here, but the majority of the ones I actually knew, they are gone.

We left in a mad rush from some kind of judgement but who were we to say since we were judging others.

Being a writer/photographer/photojournalist/someone who is attempting to make a living by getting to know people and places and then quickly leaving them is a bit disconcerting if you truly love but have to move on to the next story, the next paycheck, the next getting to know someone.

The first question I will have for my next study is, How hard was it to walk away from such a love?
I mean, you know he couldn't help but fall in love with this guy.

Today I am grateful to understand we are all simply doing the best we can to honor those who cross our paths.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

fire in the sky

Because Mom and Dad know how to throw a birthday bash.

independence day

Little sleep. New project.

Today I am grateful for inspiration.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

mississippi museum of art

Remember when I had to study Monet in order to complete an article for Desoto? Here was my attempt at gathering information and trying to make early sense of it. What I knew and said at the time was that I wanted to take Jess to see Monet's work and I said so out loud and my Mom heard me and she has since asked me several times, When are you taking Jesse to the museum?

I gotta do that.




I'll figure that out.

Until Monday when Mom said, Jesse needs something to do tomorrow.

Yesterday we went. Not only did they have this exhibition, but we got to see this one as well. And we brought back finger puppets for Marlee and performed our own little show of what we learned and I realize how silly it is to put off those things we find we need most like a day with a kid who loves road trips and windows down and singing as loud as we ever could.

Today I, again, am so very grateful for that kid and her enthusiasm for life and learning and how, if we're going to be honest here, she teaches me all the important stuff.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Today I am grateful for a discovery we can share.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Today I am grateful for time to learn and the patience of others.