The Dogwood Pin.

October 28, 2011 § 11 Comments

Claudia, Chris, our mother and the family Studebaker.

Early memory, at least for me, is an archipelago.

Small islands of perfect memory rise out of the watery depths of time and forgetfulness as clear as this photo shot with my first camera (a Baby Brownie).

What follows is my memory of the first piece of jewelry I ever owned. It begins with me squatting in our gravel driveway holding the pin in my hand. « Read the rest of this entry »

Car songs.

October 21, 2011 § 11 Comments

I write all my songs from the driver’s seat of a 2002 Toyota Echo.

Perhaps you’ve seen me at a stoplight, a scrap of paper pressed against my knee, furiously writing–feel free to honk if I blow the light change.

It may not be the safest practice, but when you think about it, a car is as close as modern man gets to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude.

Some of you sing while in that Fortress, others devise mental grocery lists or daydream. Since my song writing does not require a guitar or piano, I invent tunes while in my Japanese stronghold.

When I’m not writing songs behind the wheel, I sometimes think about how songs work. After cogitation spanning many miles of road I’ve come to the conclusion that songs are always about evoking emotion.

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Through Ray’s eyes.

October 13, 2011 § 11 Comments

I visit Bluebird, our 10 acres of rural land in Wakulla County, Florida, about twice a week, and always with a purpose.

Today I’ll plant snow peas.

Dig up a patch for the Vidalia onions.

Thin the lettuce.

Pick blueberries.

Even though no one will ask, I feel the need to justify getting up from this chair where I work all day writing stories, or arranging my next school author visit, or answering email from young readers.

My husband, Ray, goes out to our land every single day.

He sometimes splits firewood or waters the garden, but he doesn’t feel the need to explain.

He goes because he loves the place.

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The Monsignor’s socks.

October 5, 2011 § 8 Comments

We already had two strikes against us. The week before we had missed mass and catechism class because I was sick.

Now we were in danger of repeating because the bug I’d brought home from school was making its way through the family. With three kids an illness could take a while to run out of potential victims.

Still, two Sundays of complete failure to worship seemed risky to my mother.

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