Thursday, April 30, 2015

thespian Jason

He says it's all an act. Everyone is acting. His profession does not only involve acting. It is teaching people they are acting too.

It's why I am here for the interview.

He set the time and the place and so many times in life all I have to do is show up.
So I did, and we talked.

"For the first time in my profession I am bringing a fan question. Someone told me to ask what type of shampoo you use."

He laughs. "I get that a lot. Genetics. Cuban. My wife buys me Pantene."

"I'll let your fan know."

Now the big question. What I have been wanting to ask. How do I build it? An argument maybe?

Speak on the exhale.

"I am not a big fan of your profession. I don't understand. I mean, I don't get it but someone told me your philosophy behind it and I heard you think we are all acting and I think that's interesting so can you tell me about that?"

"We are. Sometimes you are more frustrated than you show but you can't act out all of your frustration or you'd get fired or thrown in jail or you wouldn't get along in society. In my profession I can play an emotion till you feel it too. If I'm doing my job, that is."

Then we talked some more.

His mother died when he was thirteen years old.
He is dyslexic.
When he was a kid he heard people say, "He doesn't read well. He'll never graduate college."

(then something happened and I think there is some key that has the potential to unlock a door in all of us. That key in him starts with a hey. wait.)

Hey. Wait.
I know. I know those are the smartest people you know, kid.
And they are saying that you are not so smart at something.
It's okay. They can be smart, and you can show them you are too.
One does not negate the other.

Maybe we all rebel against something. The fairy tale ending somewhere in the middle of the story is that he did graduate college. Something, somewhere inside a kid looked at the people he loved and who loved him the most and he said,

"I can do it."

Today I am grateful for the people I meet.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

keeping it simple

"I am considering a trip."

"Huh. Where?"

"I've done a road map to both the Grand Canyon and Anchorage, Alaska."

"Ohmygosh. That sounds fabulous. Or the Appalachian Trail. We need to do that. Let's map it out and hike it to a certain state."

"Or the John Muir Trail. Did you ever watch that documentary?"

"Yes, and I realized I had seen it before. And I remember how much I hated it for that guy who had to give up."


"It killed me."

"Also. I'm doing this trip alone. Or Chris said a cruise."

"It kills me. But I totally get it."

If everyday could contain a sunset like today then we would consider it a grand adventure and love it for what it is. We had everything we needed today in order to make it to this point.

Today I am grateful for a phone call, for honesty and for knowing you are okay because life is a grand adventure and the freedom of a road trip is a beautiful thing. Carry on, my son. Carry on.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Now the school nurse is a person connected to a teaching hospital where heart rate and inner ear images are passed through fibers of I don't know how that stuff gets there. I just know that I watched the Jetsons when I was a kid, but I don't remember having a nurse at school.

But that was back in the day when I walked fifteen miles barefoot one-way just to get an education.

Today I am grateful for how technology answers need. I am grateful that the world is getting better for children.

(Would someone please tell Rosie to have the coffee ready at 4:30am?)

Monday, April 27, 2015


Bethanne Hill Clay County, AL Acrylic, 2003 Best of Show ~ Meridian Museum of Art

It has been thirty-one hours since I stepped out of the shower, slipped and slowly, slowly, I'm falling but it's gonna be okay, ouch my toe, why is water shooting from the floor.

A me-made geyser came from a small hole in the linoleum of the bathroom.

I blindly reached for the turn-off valve, found it, felt some instant but delusional relief because in my hand was the piece now detached from the water it was supposed to turn off. That's when I knew I had to stop the water from coming into the house, and that's when I knew I had no idea where outside the shut off valve was. That's when I called Mom, and with the urgency of the house is gonna die I said, "Send Dad."

There have been several things that have happened in the past thirty-one hours, none of which even whispers of the suffering caused by the earthquake in Nepal. How dare I even reference it when talking about my little problem of being without water for a day. Being with a guy who not only stopped the geyser but then went under the house and fixed the problem.

In my little, holy shit what do I do? moment I received the tiniest, should not even write about it experience of what it is like to have an infrastructure glitch and be without indoor plumbing or drinking water in an otherwise solid structure.

I had electricity and shelter and clothing and someone to help me and access to their water if needed. It was stupid but scary to be that vulnerable and realize how much in that instant I was lacking in being able to take care of myself. Though it is frightening to need another human in such a small way, it brings tears to my eyes when I consider how much I appreciate having that guy and that type of help in my life.

I am grateful that Aunt Dottie's heart is good, I have clean drinking water being piped into my home, and there is a relief effort going on for a people whose world has come apart.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

here now

She sings and recites everyone's lines in the upcoming play, and Dad says we scare all the turkeys away.

Today I am grateful for dirt roads and the warm biscuits waiting for us at the end of them.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Alton Fairley

"You know I don't smile in pictures, Shea."

"You do today. For me you do."

(I know this makes me some weird control freak and why would anyone smile just for me. But if he smiles for everyone all the other times why wouldn't he smile in the photo? I want to tell him, "Just be who you are," but instead I end up saying, "Put down the cigarette.")

Today I am grateful for one of the sweetest smiles I've ever had the privilege to photograph.

Friday, April 24, 2015


This is the, "What? Why? Hm. Let me tell you something. It is the law of this land that your child receive free education. We'll bus them there. You just have to get them to the end of the driveway and hold them until we can pick them up in one of our shiny buses. We'll bring them back to you in the afternoon." Keva.
This is kind Keva. This is the Keva you know if you send your child to school.

Keva is kind and informative.

Today I am grateful for the people I meet.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

mornin' glow

Today I am grateful for wet shoes and tall grass and what used to be a path. If I didn't love all those sounds which play naturally in the morning then I would hit play on Cohen's Hallelujah for this photo.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

now get to work

What I tell her is that I like the look on her face
and it's hard to take a photo of your Mom because of how much you love your Mom.
I'm just there with the camera. She nailed the photo.

The woman who organized the world and meals and schedules and still is the first call you make if you're not calling Eddie over at 911. My friend of the guy variety lost his Mom at a young age. He and his three siblings were denied the type of woman I had in my life.

And pity is not love.
And we know that.

Empathy is being tossed about now.

So maybe love is caring enough about someone to know as well as you can because you can't truly know (you didn't live it) but you do know that person is someone who was taught how to love by the people who surrounded him/her,

and you know what?

My Mom said it only takes one good person in a child's life.

That story is a fairy tale.

Like the one of Woody.

So Woody fought in World War II, and I loved him. Not while he was fighting, of course. The fighting was long gone by the time he moved out into the woods without the modern conveniences of a vehicle or electricity or the fancy which comes with such. The house was built by Native Americans but burned after Woody passed. His nephew received the property and years later built a home, a log cabin of sorts. It's to the west of where turpentine was made back in the day, but that's not either here nor there anymore.

What is is the memory of a man who would smile the biggest smile and wave the hugest wave to a young girl in the back of her Daddy's pickup truck. Now I know that I have no idea what that man looked like and I can't imagine it matters because Woody made a little girl feel loved so sometimes I still think church is down a bumpy dirt road.

And I try to go everyday.
Because there is prayer in everyone.

Today I am grateful for a turkey gobble and an owl hoot and mud and blue sky and clouds and how surely every kid can have at least one person who loves them in their life. Surely that's happening.

The only way to sleep at night is to forget that it may not be and know that your joints are tired from either walking the hills or pacing the floor trying to solve a deviously hard sudoku puzzle and thinking you're just not that smart. Or can't never could is a local favorite.

what Spring means

There's something about this time of year that needs to remain throughout the year. Somehow, someway I want to always live in Spring and I fear just saying that makes winter come. So it is this back and forth nature of my mind, a fear that at any moment it will all fall apart and have me gripping at the sides

then a friend, more than one, says, have faith.
Two words.

and that's all she has to say to help me get to the next thing,

1. Work to not lose the outsider perspective. Don't lose the magic.
2. Have faith.
3. You are your own boss. Responsibility is yours.

When will we finish this list teaching us how to remain Spring?
Maybe never. Or maybe one day.

P.S. On number one I have thought a lot about that. And thinking about outsider I've considered the insiders of this world and think of an email I received today. One that told me, Someone asked me something to ask of you. There was, of course, no way I could say, 'No.'" Because many times that someone who asks you is one of the best people you know and has done so much for you that well, they know that there will never be a, "no."

Dear you beside the door,

Light through windows.

Dear bottle of Bust Up,

Remember when at that other place you spent your day cleaning with me. Me, you, water, water hose given to me (whut? yep.) and exercise on a beautiful afternoon.

My Mom. They have that extra. You know. That one that squeezes up after you use it. Lightweight. Uh huh. You, that squeezy water hose and me. We have a date. Yep.

I know you've noticed it's Spring.


Today I am grateful for plans and place and Mom's generosity, of course.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Honeysuckle has been used as a remedy for influenza in traditional Chinese medicine. In 2014 Chinese researchers reported that MRI2911, a honeysuckle  (HS)-encoded atypical microRNA directly targets IAVs with a broad spectrum.


Today I am grateful for a morning so nice I could spend some time wandering around the medicine cabinet.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dear me (part two),

One day if you get good enough maybe you can be like these people.
Keep working on it.


Today I am grateful for a lovely start to the day.

Dear me (the spoiled tycoon),

Hike. Everyday. Hike.

You can give so much that you give your light bill away, but you had to or so you thought or your internal argument at the decision making instant was, "I'll figure it out."

And somehow you did all those million times before but now you think, "I just want that to stop."


You create a budget.
Write down what you spend.
Copy a friend who is on a spending fast.
See what happens.

Energy $350 (turn off the porch light at night, chic. the cats will be fine)
Phone $65
Internet $65
Insurance (health and car) $150
Debt   $130
Food (human, dog, cat) $180
Soap $3
Shampoo (for Billy Sue) $4
Laundry detergent $9

April extras
Gift: $40.00
Already committed: One painting  $100

Luxury: Water hose, Pants or shoes  (it's gotta be the water hose)
You should have plenty.

Extra goes to pay off debt because seriously, you're an idiot. (but you don't have to always be)


P.S. That hike yesterday was fun even if he said to you, "You sound like a city girl talking that way." What was great was when you considered how he once fell in love with a city girl and married her and had three babies. Two of whom you call your brothers.

Today I am grateful for a long hike, recent tracks of deer, turkey and coon.
The mud, wobbling like sweetie, stomping out shoes felt a little like dancing.
And I couldn't beat a day of sunshine and cleaning.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


It was Friday afternoon at about three when Eddie came through the door. And it's funny and good to have known someone as a kid and then meet them again as an adult.

Eddie asked, "Which way?"

And I mumbled and pointed, "That way then right."

And off he went. That way and then right into all he knew was a crisis, an immediate need.

I yelled, "Eddie's here. Everything is going to be alright."

Then I left with the faith that it would. Be alright. You know. It was. Still is. I hope.

Today I saw him again teaching children about fire safety and being an all around nice guy because  people don't seem to change those things no matter how long it has been. So I said, "I'm glad you were there yesterday to help her. I am useless in medical situations, and I knew once you got there it was going to be okay."

Today I am grateful to live in a place where all I have to do is dial three numbers to get a mini-hospital and trained medical professionals at my door. Sometimes I feel insanely spoiled.

when you don't have television

you listen to podcasts.

Is there something about the myth that is true?

Spoiler Alert: Partying on a Friday night means Columbia records and a story of New York and John Hammond and marketing backwoods blues

and a sound
and poisoned whiskey
and a planted seed

and a haunted preaching debut.

and I'll shut up now. Listen to the myth here.

(special thank you to Malcolm for leading me here.)

historical fiction

She is five years old and chronic. Well groomed and fed when she comes to school at 10am every morning. Late nights because Mom has a third shift personality without a third shift job. Or maybe she has one. I don't know. I didn't get that far into the story.

And I wonder about that Mom.
Does she have some really great and loving person to keep that baby at night while she takes on a job she could love? Is there a pharmacy assistant, nursing, gas station attendant, shelf stocker, floor mopper,   food fryer, what else is there position which will help her put groceries on the table and get her child to school

on time?

And there's none of your business.
And your business.
And keeping your thoughts and opinions to yourself is what people learn as they mature.

I don't know.

Remember 99.9%.

I sometimes linger here for fear I will have to take on what I see. Get busy. You know.

Today I am grateful for a place to linger and the realization of that's what I do.
(definitely a form of lazy)

Thursday, April 16, 2015


If it's coconut can it be considered a fruit serving? Don't ask Google because botany.

Yes. Tomorrow I shall have my fruit serving on an antique saucer accompanied by New Orleans coffee and music and light rushing through walls of windows and conversations and laughter and you know how you used to gather change together in order to buy something you really, really wanted like you needed so bad because that thing is the only thing that knows how much you feel like you earned a little joy in this world.

So you say, "Yes. Uh huh. Give me a piece of that, please and thank you."

Today I am grateful for an invitation, a suggestion to reward at times what felt like a tough week.
(and I know that I don't know tough.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

practice creating sound

I am by no means a brilliant success. If I tell you something you should most likely not listen to 99.9 percent. I actually had to drive home from work and change clothes because Clara (and no telling who else) saw my underwear


You missed the story today.
So I'll tell you here.

First, I think if you ask for some funny a court jester will appear. It's shakespearean, I think. The grandest of tragedies with your ass being out there for the world to see.

It was Clara who told me at about 2:00 today, "Shea, come here. Back up over here."

"Clara, what you are suggesting?"

"Get your butt over here, child. I think you have some tape on your pants." Then she whispered, "Right on your butt."

That's a true friend. Someone who'll tell you there's tape on your rear end. So of course I back up to Clara and she puts her finger on where pants were supposed to be but now there was a hole, a rip at the seam, and she said louder than normal, "Girl, I know what color your panties are."

exclamation point.

Something happens to your body at this point. An exclamation point. A sudden tightening of muscles you didn't even know you had. A quick time travel at everywhere you've been till that time from when you put on those pants until you backed up to Clara's desk.

And you do the only thing you could ever do. You start laughing with the people within a two office radius.

"ohhhh.m.g. I gotta go home and change."

"Well, yes you do child. You just go right ahead."

Fast forward through a guy named Hampton and UPS stopping the car, getting home, changing, driving back, opening my computer to write and hearing a conversation in the hall.

"Did she go home?"
"I don't know. What happened?"
"She had a hole in her pants. She said she was going home to change her pants."
That's when the giggling started.
That's when I yelled from my office, "Talking about her in third person. Hate to know I went home and am already back and here I am sitting trying to do my work and y'all out there laughing at me. Third person. Yeah, I see how you talk about me."

After that there was no holding back. Everyone started all out laughing. Even sweet Alicia.

Later when I called Mom to tell her she sealed the deal of the day with her statement.

"There's no telling how long you've been walking around like that."

Amen, Mama. Amen.

Today I am grateful to be the brunt of the joke, to hear people I love laugh.
It's never a bad day when you do that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I'm sure it's rude to ask someone if they have ever considered retirement.

"Did you ever think you may enjoy a retirement?" Obviously the previous statement was an afterthought.

Rather than answering she says I have this story you'll love.

(I love when people say I'll love their stories because I feel like they have figured me out, unlocked the key to my happiness and are about to give me a gift. Who doesn't love a good story?)

Lin was widowed early. Her husband was only forty-eight when he passed. She says, "I went through seven years of an empty nest syndrome. All my children finished college, were marrying and starting families of their own. I had a high end dress shop, but then nine eleven happened and I had to decide. You know there are times when you have to decide to give up or keep going. I decided to give up on that one."

She has just finished a day of cooking and serving and smiling and two busloads of people along with my Daddy who couldn't get a strawberry pie 'cause she had served her last piece for the day by the time he got there. It's okay. He ordered one for tomorrow. There is not a drop of sweat on her brow. She has this way of making work look like as much fun as you can have in a day. Why would she stop that?

"Of course I was painting, and I had this large canvas in my studio. One evening I came home, had a glass of wine, looked at that canvas and just started with a palette knife putting some blues and working away. Thick paint spreading across the white. It was nothing I had seen and before long I was tired and went to bed. The next morning I awoke, made me a cup of coffee and looked into that studio. Something about the morning light and what I had started the night before made me see an image of a statue of a woman who was waist deep in water. There were palmettos around her, and I just began painting her on that canvas and when I was done I looked at her and could not tell if the water was overcoming her or if she was walking out into it but I knew at that moment she was me."

I am in heaven eating crawfish étouffée and listening as the woman who prepared it continues because yes, there's more to her story and I was always a huge Paul Harvey fan.

"I took her to get her framed, and the lady from the frame shop called me to ask, 'Do you want to sell her?' And I don't know why I wanted to keep her, but I did so I told her, 'No.' The next day she called again to make sure because a lady had returned to the shop and really wanted her. It didn't make any sense that I wouldn't sell other than I didn't want to so I kept her and hung her in my home."

"After that was when a friend introduced me to Ken, and after a while he brought me from Louisiana to Mississippi to see his place. When we turned down his driveway I saw that palmettos lined it, and I knew this was where she was meant to be."

Today I am grateful for a warm plate of food on a rainy day, the Louisiana Hot Sauce on the table.
I am grateful for a woman who found her place.

Monday, April 13, 2015

wa-la. distraction provided.

Sweetie runs after them quacking with a "kak" fully appropriate for a sixteen month old. Watching a toddler run and balance and not face plant is comic relief from all those things I still haven't completed.


Sometimes I think my favorite part of the play is when the ducks first notice her. She gets at least ten swift steps in before all seven of them synchronize a sudden head turn with each beak pointing at her as if they are pulled on the same string.

Before turning to this nature channel and finding this particular show I would have assumed that one duck would have been more aware than the rest. That duck would have been on guard for the others.

But nope. All the ducks turn at once and do the equally as accurate and simultaneous calculation of speed and distance and wind and wobble and turn and trot away.

Yes, she will grow. Ducks will go. But, you and me, we'll have this memory.

Today I am grateful for a duck toddler combination so sweet I stop and think, Thank you for that distraction.

distraction needed

The other day you sold your beliefs in frames. God for money. Money for God. A collection plate, but of course, because God needs a building in order to do His work. You need a home and running water.  Food on the table. God is providing that for you because you are providing marketing for his corporation.

Or not.

Money and love.
Love and money.

Do you ever wonder if you sold out?

Today I am grateful to have an answer for the question of the sacred.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


"Can I read something to you?"

"I guess."

"It's not alright."

"I said 'yes'."

"It is the romance of the place. That's what I would focus on."

"Of course you would say that."

"Yeah but it makes sense. Love creates. Proceed with the rolling of the eyes. I understand."

"Love or lust."

"The two are not exclusive but can exist without the other."

"What do you know about either?"

"I've experienced both at the same time and each without the other."

"What if I changed it to this?"

"It is the romance of the place," I tell him. "That's what I would focus on."


"Love creates."

"I guess."

Today I am grateful for place, for a hard rain, for family and breakfast and leftover strawberry pie.
And there's nothing quite so romantic as a long afternoon nap and lighting a candle once the sun goes down. So yeah. I am grateful for romance as well.

Hey, you. She is living her make.

press play.

Coffee Pot Cafe at Creekside. The first of this chain was established in 1930 by Mr. & Mrs. JJ Caruth

This is where your Mama works after a hike.

This is where that day I told the waitress I have no idea. "History is I've had the chicken salad and grilled cheese. But I've been told the hamburger. And I definitely want the gumbo. But you just said the special. You have to order."

"The special."

"The special with water and lemon, please."

This is when your Mama gets out her keyboard and camera.

These are her notes.

Saturday at noon w/in minutes tables start to fill w/customers ranging from ages 2 years old to late eighties. People seat themselves and reseat if they see someone who may require a larger number of chairs needed. 
This is a sweet community.

A man with the greatest of hats walks in. Sits at the table behind me. His wife is with him. 

Greatest quote of the day. 
"We were not put here to make a living but to live our making and when we live our making we will make a living."
A friend once told Lin that not long after she was widowed and wondering what she would do with her life.

"Make your roux with butter. Most people try to make cooking complicated. It's not complicated. It's simple."
That one is Lin.

There's this guy who comes here every week. He says.
"Every week I try to make your gumbo. Why is your roux better than my roux?"
"It's the butter. Everyone hears oil, but it's not oil. Just put you some butter in there."

Lin is from Louisiana, and she loves to cook. She loved to paint. Food is culinary art. You'll believe it if you come here. She has just done a transference of talent. The woman is beautifully talented and smart and works as if she was born among eight children who had to make what they had work. And work nicely with flavor.

Eclectic. Legs of different tables on a painted blue concrete floor with black and white tile towards the coffee bar. Mismatched chairs and brightly colored plastic tablecloths. Order a coke and get a can to pour over ice, but the tea, sweet and unsweet, and water comes in pitchers.

You can get a little saucer of thin lemon brought to your table. Big, thick silverware for someone who loves to eat. There are plenty of napkins at the table. 

The special is the rib plate served with a side of jambalaya and a sweet little juicy corn on the cob hiding under two rightly goldened slices of French bread.

The plate is the real stuff. This is not fast food though it comes to the table quick.

The food is a meal. It is a transcendence with music falling from the ceiling onto the table and around the room of tiny lights, both colored and clear and license plates and chicken wire and burlap coffee sacks and mardi gras beads and the room is a child's I Spy book.

The waitress is good. She's got the greatest smile and the quickest of deliveries. Lin employees five people plus her husband who can certainly bus a table and talk to people. 

A stranger walks by my table. 

"What you got there is good." He points to the plate filled with what looks like I came hungry. (I did)

And he's right. The food is get your fingers dirty and suck on them even if people are looking. 
Note the size of the shrimp and ask Lin what kind of sausage is this.

Talk to Ed, Lin's husband, a retired doctor. They've been married eleven years and have seven children and thirteen grandchildren between them. He sure as heck didn't want to go into the restaurant business but they had this old mechanic's shop on a piece of property. He knew what kind of hard work it was. His maternal grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. W.R. Hatton, had a country store where they sold hoop cheese among other things.

Just like Ed and Lin do today. In here, right there, is his grandparents' antique food scales and cheese cutter.

Two years ago Lin said about this building, "Don't tear it down, Ed. Let me store my art here. Let me create a studio."

The wood on the walls came from the home place. And, you gotta give it to Ed. Like his wife he's a hard-working person. They seem to have fun together and call their customers their friends. Lin says, "The first thing I wanted in a man was a good sense of humor, and Ed came along and we have so much fun together. I just tell him when he walks into the kitchen, 'You need to get those out to table number three.'"

They married eleven years ago.

Nine years later Lin says she was averaging one good sale a week but listened and talked with her customers to find out they wanted coffees and cakes and a nice, sweet meeting place. From there it just grew but it's not finished growing yet. What has happened here in just two years…well,

The music plays as we both smile at what she and Ed and the people who come to the table have created. 

This is two words.


Perfect cup of coffee.

another four.
oh. emmm. ghee. everything.

Lin looks around the room.
Kids are smiling and running to our table. Their Mama was my waitress.

Now I am full from a meal and a dessert so good I have to buy my Mom and Dad a pie.

Those lights hanging from the ceiling are not twinkling.
It's the twinkle in Lin's eyes you see when she smiles and says again, 
"I am living my make."

Everyone is an art teacher it seems.

Today I am grateful for artists and teachers and how I get to meet them.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


not an owl


Here again.

Just, you know, seeing what you're doing because sometimes I think a story would do quite nicely right now. Dialogue with your daughter. An observation you made. Your music. What you see.

You provided the grandest of distractions.
It was unique and funny and there are a million of those, I guess.

It's just that sometimes I miss what you wrote, and I hope it wasn't me who got in your way.
(that is me pretending I could have any influence over what you do)

I won't bend. I won't break. But I will stop pretending and just enjoy what you're willing to give.
(because I loved what you did)

Friday, April 10, 2015

notes, first of three interviews

What is working? Where do we put our money? My second interview today said, "Don't come telling me something different from what the teacher says. The teacher is always right."

I interview a photographer at 8:40am.

(note here to say once upon a time having an interview once a week would have thrown me into another dimension of ohmygosh sent into the space of frantic fear. three in a day would have given me a heart attack)

This child, young lady I mean, walks into the room and sits across the table from me.
The light she carries with her is one I've seen before and time and time and again from people around me.

(there are several people like this, a whole lot, I see them all the time, they're everywhere)

She describes the creation of a piece which won first nationally, and I listen and take notes but I keep going back to what I want to see through that one which didn't win first place. It won second.

"Uh huh. Okay, okay I see. But on that other one your Dad was in a field holding a door, and there were skeleton keys hanging from it. I want to hear more about that."

(you know how they say an object is changed just by the viewing of it. what was that quote or cat?)

She has a gentle laugh which turns into words which makes sense since she has also competed in singing competitions.

"Yes m'am. You see I like vintage and I had found these skeleton keys and I find something and I connect it to a verse." She uses both her hands and eyes to speak. She references Matthew 16:19, I think. "And the door was vintage so my Dad and my Mom, we took it off the hinge and carried it into a field and I put those keys in the keyhole and I looked up at them because it had to be that angle with heaven all around. The grass, the sky, the light."

"Okay. So listen. I'm trying to figure out if there is a connection with you fifteen. Your Dad. Your Mom. Your sister and friends and people at Church, they are always happy to help you. I mean, nobody rolls their eyes or acts like it's a chore. You tell them one of your ideas and they just do whatever you say. They're all, 'Okay, you.'"

She smiles and nods and is light. She is way past any light lesson in photography. Light goes without saying. This child, young lady I mean, has studied light so much she is beaming it.

"Well. Yeah." She sounds like Jess's guitar strings. "You know it takes several shots to get it and there is this one girl who is all, 'Again? How many times are we going to do this?' but I just laugh. You know it takes a lot of shots."

"Yeah so I guess what I'm gonna ask you is do you want to take a shot like we've been doing for everyone else or would you like to feature one of your photographs with the article. I would, of course, give you credit and it's up to you."

"That's interesting. I don't know. Maybe. I mean I don't have a camera other than my phone."

"I have an extra camera."

"Oh wait. I do. Emily's. I still have it. I can use it."

"Okay. You just let me know. We have all of next week. Here is my email address."

(it would be so cool to feature her work)

Today I am grateful for a job which allows me to listen to and see light from a young, award winning photographer's perspective.

(ohgoodgosh, it's crazy out here.)

Friday's plan

I am grateful for the choice of slower. Today I think I'll opt for it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dear you,

There is practice and there is avoidance of practice until whatever you love to do becomes your life. I think. Anyway, right now we are doing this guitar thing and it may take and it may not and there is no way I am denying the fact that you learning how to play the guitar and write your songs and sing them is not at least partly me living life through you. (is that a triple negative?)

which I guess is not, you know, the greatest thing ever thought but

is that not at least part of what we all do. (drink a sip of water when you read the word not)

you like basketball.
you're gonna share basketball with your kid.

you like to read.
you're gonna share reading with your kid and possibly other kids until all the children like reading as much as you.

you like to garden.
you and that kid may grow watermelons together.

you like music but can't play or sing a lick. (or wait, that's me. not you.)
you are going to force a young child to do it for you and hope beyond all hope that they like it so much more than you

that they do it.
or not.
but no matter what

you have to tell yourself, "Yo, you. You've introduced the concept. Now just listen."

Today I am grateful for car conversations and singing to the radio and questions and answers and windows down and seat belts on and you, kid. I am grateful for how you see the world around you.


P.S. Someone said you can be more than one thing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015



"Work to not lose the outsider perspective. Don't lose the magic."


She sits in a chair placed against a window and says, "I have the first one on your list."

I scramble for the mouse, the notepad, the keyboard. "Okay. Go."


I am grateful for a chair, a window and the generosity of a woman.

until someone else makes you a list you have to make your own.

This is how you got back to the office. It was cloudy and you didn't know how far you were going to go. You were just walking because walking is incredibly easy to do.


1. Breathe. What were the numbers? Take for four? Hold for eight? Let out for nine?
2. Water through a straw. Pretend the straw is the cigarette. Water is good for you.
3. Walk.
4. Music.
5. Camera.
6. Listen. Talk.
7. Smile with people.
8. One article about a woman who is a teacher, a teacher who has to continue to be a teacher

because of what she does with those students who want to be a teacher one day.


She also rocks the world of business management while handling a grant to fund extra help in the afternoons and before school and before long you're all


The woman who will hopefully make me a list is going to leave a list
which hopefully has something
which says
document what our people are doing.

1. Students.
2. Teachers.
3. Programs.

So. Today.

Today you must

1. Write an article.
2. Two photos.
3. Breathe.
4. Go for a walk. (it doesn't always have to be the same path)
5. Drink water.
6. Listen to a kid practice guitar.
7. Vegetables.
8. Read.
9. Listen.
10. Write an article.

One day just blends into the next if you'll simply follow the list.

Today I am grateful for a guy who says it's okay to call and is okay if I don't. That all we ever had to do was be okay with each other. Maybe that's love and love just needs to

drink water through a straw.

make a list.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Wayne Lynch


crumbling under expectation, a sunrise on Easter

Dear Son,

You wanted a sunrise on Easter, and Yeah. 
How could anyone say no to that?

It means getting up forty-five minutes before and making our way to the beach in the dark. 
It means throwing fruit and water and your bagel with cream cheese in a bag and driving to some public access.

I love that you have a watch.
I never know what time it is, but you conducted a countdown and there were a couple of windows when we didn't know if it would show and you said the internet said we have twenty more minutes so we conducted a Does the internet know what it is talking about? test.

And that was fun because yes, even you couldn't believe how accurate the internet was.
Still I don't feel like I got the perfect photo for you so that means that one day we'll have to do it again.
Just let me know when you can.


Today I am grateful for some time with my son.


He uses sand fleas, and Shelbs saves one from a bird who is not but acts like a vulture.

"Where are you from?" He asks.

"Mississippi," we say not necessarily in unison but kinda that way.

"Oh. Mississippi. Casinos," he smiles and nods.

"Oh no," I say. "Not casinos. Music. Blues, ya' know."

Slater laughs.

The guy looks at me like why? He was simply being kind and trying to connect and it's ridiculous why I would care how he sees Mississippi and why I would want to change what was an honest answer.

Who am I trying to impress and who do I miss in these grand feats? Why do we need to convince anyone of anything?

Something I would most likely ask Annie Ford in Ruleville, MS.

Today I am grateful for a long walk,
a lucky guy who prompted a conversation about kindness,
a nice meal,
and photos so we could remember this.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

the why

jack handey deep thoughts (shout out to Phil Hartman)

You were given a clothesline and are trying to use it as a flagpole.

Tonight I am grateful for some funny people.