Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Today I am grateful for all the stories out there.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Today I am grateful for the ocean.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

life on the other side

trying this again

The phone rings. It's 7am. Slater with a take on the world energy is calling between leaving work and getting to class. He just wants to tell me to have a good trip. I am attempting to focus on his words and not on the matter inside my head, the matter inside my head being the explosions of pain which can only mean my brain is finished with me and is now attempting to destroy me. That is what is happening but I don't tell my kid because there is absolutely nothing he could do about a pain of which he is familiar. Slater started having migraines when he was sixteen though now they have lessened in frequency.

This is my first. I'm not going to have them anymore.


I suck at illness. I don't do well. It's like those Friday the 13th movies which were all the rage when I was a teenager. You know how Jason would be after his next victim and he or she would be running and falling and out of breath and trying to get away and you'd hear kill, kill, kill, ha, ha, ha? No? I'm not recommending those.

I just need to tell you that I always thought those people should give up unless they were trying to give themselves a heart attack before he got them 'cause ohgoodgosh the anxiety of it all. Die already.

Hello. I am the most compassionate person on the internet. Obviously.

Yesterday I made two phone calls after talking with Slater. Those two phone calls took care of my obligations to other people so I could proceed to die between bouts of puking which Dad says is not a good word, I should use vomiting, but I say vomiting is way too mild for what that was. I went to the crossroads, sold my soul to my brain, found out it was a bad deal, got in the fetal position and prayed for an out of body experience because that body was not making it to the beach. It was all it could do to make it to the bathroom.

All that to say, Beach trip is on. Dammit.
I walked toward the light, got on the other side.
It is especially beautiful here.

Today I am grateful to see colors brighter, to go outside, to listen to music, to drive.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

gone to the birds

I could learn to accept the presence of birds in my life.

Today I am grateful for a change of scenery.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

the land of no questions remain

The cause was lost on the unsuspecting hoard of those who never could have understood anyway. Billy thought about the last words he heard the leader say as he bent down and pulled the backpack from under the bed.

Rachel opened her eldest child's door. Six months ago she had asked the group if they could take her three children but even then knew what their answer would be. Nobody under the age of thirty would be chosen. The tenets were specific. Sarah was fifteen years old, sleeping. Rachel gently pulled the door closed, walked down the hall, picked up the backpack and headed to the car.

Billy drove past CL Hunter's gas station. He worked there as a full service attendant when he was a teenager. CL had helped him fix his truck late in the evenings. Billy smiled when he thought about how what that old man had taught him helped him to be selected by the leader. The group needed him, called him an expert.

Rachel placed the directions on the passenger seat, looked again at the leader's last note and left without looking back at what she once considered her home.

Fred, known to the group as Q, lit a candle and eased back into the chair. It would be at least four hours before the first of them got there. How easy, he thought, it had been to form a religion on the internet.


Today I am grateful to be forced to write for a group of writers, to feel, even if it is incredibly minimal and shitty and full of all sorts of excuses, a sense of responsibility to those women.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Today I am grateful for a long conversation with a friend, to hear my kid laugh on the phone, to attend a party with my Mom, to feel a type of settling in my soul.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

oh hell, why not

The brilliant seven year old mentions a particular boy for the second time in a conversation we are having on the subject of how awesome her life is because her life is awesome and she is awesome and there's this boy who had a birthday and she wanted to get a group of girls to sing happy birthday to him but they kept messing with his cupcakes. So, you know, that was a problem in an otherwise awesome life.

I shouldn't speak. I shouldn't mention it. What do I know? Nothing.
But. Here it is in front of me so I ask, Aren't you a little young to be focused on a boy?

She pauses, looks at me and explains, I'm going to need a boy to help me buy a house one day.

I should've said okay. That makes total sense. Way to be forward thinking.
Seriously, I have no idea and should not be allowed to talk to children.
But. We're already having the conversation, and her Dad is sitting right there and I am not forward thinking enough to consider she might start wondering why she would need a boy so I say, You could buy a house on your own. You don't need a boy for that.

And that's when she decided to be a lesbian.

No. Don't freak out. Or yes. Do. I don't care.

It's just that maybe for some people relationships are math and who am I to say they're wrong.

Today I am grateful to once again admit I have no idea what's going on.

Recommended movie: Lost in Translation

Saturday, September 21, 2013

holy ground

I wish I would have been ready for what this was.

Today I am grateful to understand there is plenty of work to be done.

Friday, September 20, 2013


There is a solid wind with butterflies seemingly thrown about. The temp has relented but so has the passion I once felt. I consider making a t-shirt with the words Hormones are for Kids, but then think I'd rather just sit on these steps 'cause I have to fix supper and I don't need another damn t-shirt. 

How 'bout a house dress?

I tell myself it is a season, this blending where words catch in the wind before they reach ears and I realize there was no need to say them. I feel less inclined, less driven, less concerned that if I don't do something the world may end.

Today I am grateful to sit and listen.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

walk softly, forget the stick

In case you were wondering like I may have been wondering after a year of saying yes as many times as I could, it is okay, good even, to say, No. Thank you. I'd rather not.

Today I am grateful to have learned there is more than one answer to questions posed by those we love.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

the dog, the verb

His name is Dug because I dug him, he dug me and then he dug two holes. Then I had him fixed and found out he had mange and he had to stay away from the rest of the animal family which was strange since we had to go through three weeks of, No. You can't hang out with him. No, you can't hang out with them. You have to be isolated and don't touch anything and ohgoodgosh I know you want to be part of the family.

Of course there was Sue, the self proclaimed welcoming, let's all get along member of the family. Those two were hard to keep apart since Dug needed a friend and Sue is all about some friendship.

But we made it. We're on the other side of the mange and eliminating chances of babies and he's the guy, the one male in a family of five and nobody said he had to but he became the protector, the who are you stepping up on my porch, mister mister?

As for the other animals Silly is dealing with it, and Billy Sue just asks that she remain queen of the couch. At this point all of us understand the value of having a place you can call home.

Today I am grateful for what we didn't even know we needed.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


He says there has to be conflict on each page, The salt spills. His trousers are wrinkled. The laundry has piled. The bread is burnt.

She says there are fairy tale endings.

So I ask, Isn't the fact it has to end a conflict in itself?

They shake their heads and ride off into a sunset on a horse with a limp.

Today I am grateful for teachers.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Today I am grateful for change of seasons, minds, tastes, for where we were going, for where we thought we were. For how saying goodbye only means we're saying hello to something else.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Today I am grateful to be able to listen.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Maybe the best we could do that day was wake up and realize we were strangers even to ourselves.

Today I am grateful for the ability to question who I think I am.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

the Possum Holla question

Marcus Linton is allergic to the instrument he plays. He rode home the night of the Possum Holla Bluegrass Festival swollen, dark circles under his eyes. He played two sets that day, the first in the heat of a Mississippi May. There was no shade.

I never once heard him complain.

Someone messaged me the other night to ask, Are we going to have another Possum Holla Festival?

We? I asked. Who is we?

It won't be me unless the local businesses of this area get behind the people who performed that day. I stand firm in the fact that the music of this place is a natural resource and none of those musicians should have been out any money to perform for those that came.

So I guess they have a decision to make.

The Sunday after the festival I went to see my leading economic indicator to ask her how business had been the day before.

Shoooowee, she said. Glad that's over with.

I laughed. It was good to know the business benefitted and great to hear she knew why the heck someone would come to Quitman, MS.

Today I am grateful for those bands who did what they did that day.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Incident One by Gary Chapman     
Oil on Wood     
Meridian Museum of Art 2000 Best of Show

Adults Searching, image eleven of eleven here.

I need to go to the museum. It's been too long.

Today I am grateful for our capacity for intimacy.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


She sits at the bar with her head in her hands, Just how much can a girl take in this world?

The friend pulls a large silver pot from it's place on the shelf, Not a question I would ask. How 'bout we make a pot of beans? Would you like some sweet tea, water with lemon, a stiff drink?

Just water, she says and the glass is delivered.

The friend takes a ham bone from the freezer. Something she had saved for such an occasion. The ham bone is put in the pot and covered with water plus two inches. A cutting board is taken from the cabinet near the sink and placed on the counter. In the sink a bowl is filled with water and vinegar.  Two long stalks of celery, two large carrots are washed and chopped into large chunks on the board. You know, the friend says to her, I have always loved your kitchen.

She looks up, produces her first near smile of the evening, Michael told me the other day that I was in love with my place.


I said, 'Yes. I am in love with my place.'

Nothing wrong with that, huh? The friend drops the vegetables into the pot with the bone, quarters an onion and adds it to the concoction. The pot is carried to the stove, placed on a burner. A knob is turned. A flame appears.

You know he's blaming it on me. He says it's my fault.

The friend turns, walks again to the counter just below the bar where she is sitting, leans down, looks at her and says, Look at me. I'm going to tell you a secret of the universe. It's going to hurt at first, a slight sting, but then there will be um, maybe, we'll see if there is relief. 


The friend whispers, You are not the axis on which this world turns.

Note to reader: I had planned to write with a recipe. This one. I love what Mary does, and I love what a good soup and cooking it together can do for a couple of friends, but this writing found it's end before the recipe did. So there you have it. Incomplete but complete.

Today I am grateful to be able to return a favor.

Monday, September 9, 2013

divine command theory

Contains everything the aspiring alchemist requires to begin the journey toward unlocking the secrets of the universe.

The class he most despises is philosophy of religion. No homework, nothing like accounting which piles on what he considers busywork. Philosophy of religion, he contends, is an hour of listening to a professor talk incessantly about those things not worthwhile.

So I ask, What is worthwhile? Then, Maybe you could ask him.

When I return home I find a package in the mail.

The package contains a key.


A medallion.

Artifacts and wonders from the four corners of the world and beyond.

A card.

seven of clubs

Four vials.

The box is numbered A151.

A page from a Bible.

Second Samuel, 16:22 - 18:5

And you know I'm a sucker for a thank you note.

I am honored to be part of such a creative endeavor as this interactive story.
Hope this can help.

Today I am grateful for adventure and mystery and play.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

paying our respects to Grandma Mac

It has become a greediness, the time I spend with him. A fear of how picking up my camera will change something which now seems more precious if for no other reason because he left me. When you're documenting everything is there just one something so sweet, so beyond description that you can just keep it for yourself?

Sure there is.

Stroud Photography, 1994

It does read tragic but it's not because where you left off you'll pick right back up and a road trip is all that much more because of less. What I am telling you, fellow human producers of other humans, do not fear. It just gets better and better every year.

Today I am so very grateful to have spent the last couple of days with that guy all grown up.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Curiosity Shoppe

She tells me she cried, like a baby she says, and then apologizes to me. I laugh. Of course she did. This is a huge day for someone who is on the path of creating a lovely dream, who for years now has continued working at being the photographer, the leader, the entrepreneur, the everything she believed she could be. It wasn't always easy, I know, but just that fact makes her happiness resonate even more.

Today Dawn unlocked the door to a building she bought and renovated and a community rallied because she is living a story we believe for ourselves and each other.

This is one of those high five, fist pump, touchdown dance, American dream moments.
We need these in our lives.

Dawn Early, you go, girl. Thank you for such beautiful inspiration.


A beautiful book by the crazy talented Loren Long.
A story of kindness responding to need, the resulting friendship and the value of what we hold dear.
Children participating, listening.
Parents, teachers, schools, businesses, community leaders volunteering.
Artists painting tractors. Someone is bringing a calf to the event.
Videographers, photographers, kids, kids, kids.


Some folks in Mississippi pledge yes.

Today I am grateful to be part of such a loving, caring and insanely creative community.
No doubt, we'll have fun with this.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Way back in the time of phones attached to walls and big hair and The Cosby Show, back when I took advanced placement classes and tested well, I didn't much care for school. Way back then the local high school built Kim and me a darkroom. There we would develop photos for the high school yearbook. There in that room was the only reason I found I wanted to go to school.

It was Mississippi. It was 1986. They didn't have to do that but they did.

Yesterday I pulled into the faculty parking lot of that school and walked into the room of an art teacher who was kind and welcoming. We had already met the previous week in a coffee shop of a bookstore. For two hours we talked about education and students and art and I never thought I'd be teaching anything but I knew when I left there I wanted to learn as much as I could from her.

I thought I'd be more nervous. You know. Kids, young adults, inquiring minds, those faces, mouths opening to ask questions whose answers I may not know, but then life has taught me that it's okay to not know and we don't know everything and learning it.

Learning it is what brought us here.

And here is where I notice some pretty heavy connections of ideas I read in February of last year when I thought, Oh man. I do hope they do something about that. Those teachers and school administrators and all those people who are in charge of all that education and stuff.

People like my mother and my brother but not people like me. I never thought I'd go back to that school and teach.

Until I met Elisa and she suggested it and I once heard that as your energy increases you meet people with higher energy and yeah, I met Elisa.

Along with Tempa who is now taking college classes with me and threatening to throw spitballs into my hair.

And things started to become because in the last three years during the scientific experiment of following gut and passion and patience and the answer yes to questions of which nobody has ever asked me has led me here to a place I could never imagine I wasn't.

In the past two days I've read where three very different writers have written about Sir Ken Robinson and his views on creativity and education. Before now I didn't even know who Sir Ken Robinson was and now I think it's okay that it took me all this time. I wasn't ready back then but now I am.

One of the students walked up to me after class to introduce himself as the back up photographer to the local newspaper. He was serious when he said, I just wanted you to know how lucky you are to have me in your class.

Did you say I'm lucky? I asked.

Yes, he said.

I smiled and shook his hand, Nice to meet you. I look forward to this.

Today I am so grateful to know that I can teach because I discovered how to learn.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Him: You must lose yourself.

Her: But.Him: No buts.

Her: It doesn't sound like a good deal.

Him: It's the best deal you'll ever make.

Her: ............................................

Today I am grateful to have opinions and perspectives and eyes of my own.

Him: Ego.

Monday, September 2, 2013

volume one, labour

labour because they could spell things with an extra vowel back then because they had extra time. lol

Jess wants to know, Why do we celebrate Labor Day, Aunt Shea?

Um. Well. I think we're celebrating those people who labor, who toil away at a task and yeah we most likely need to find out how this became a day.

I look in the rearview mirror and she smiles. That's all I need obviously to do about four hours of research into the US Department of Labor, Wikipedia's information on Labor Day and the Knights of Labor organization and strikes and Chicago and New York and she's only nine years old but still I drove her crazy with all the answers.


She has a day off of school and the family grills drunk chickens and we eat and enjoy the time together because someone somewhere declared a holiday after many people struggled to gain rights and recognition.

What seemed most important to her today was time she spent with her Daddy.

Later I see one of my favorite American laborers tasking away at her job by smoking a cigarette outside the front door of a local convenience store. Here I should note that I love small town convenience stores because of the people who work behind the counters. I consider them an economic indicator and a welcome center to a community since as one of them told me, America runs on gasoline, caffeine and nicotine. We've got all three.

I tell her not to hurry on the cigarette. I'll just be in the store when she is finished. She hurries anyway.

At the register I ask, Been busy today?

Steady, she says. Lots of outta town folks. From Louisiana, Pensacola.

Well, that's cool. People coming here for a holiday?

Oh no. They were going to Missouri or something. I asked them, 'What the hell are you doing here?'

Priceless, I think and laugh. We need a billboard, tout an entire county on Why the hell would you come here? That's probably been done, huh?

Adam Smith destroyed most of his papers during the last days of his life.

Today I am grateful he was unable to destroy them all.