Scratches, hisses, and crickets. These three words define my writing routine. I teach full time and again, I serve as a department head(I am still not sure how that happened). Consequently, Monday through Friday, my writing is comprised of many starts and stops. I write on my phone, on the back of my grocery list, in between classes, in the middle of the night, and sometimes at traffic lights. I am a prolific writer in spurts. I may write 30 poems in 30 days and then not write for 30 days. In the quiet times, I edit, keep up my author page, submit to magazines, read other poets, and try to appreciate the down time, the time of the crickets.I take writing classes at the Muse in Norfolk several times a year.
On the weekend, I am able to focus more on my writing. The House on Greenbrier has an amazing office. My sister, Kelly, gifted me with the vanity the two of us shared when we were young. The office has floor to ceiling windows on two sides, so I sit at the vanity surrounded by nature as I work my craft. This past week, I composed a fanpost about my love of Clemson football for SB Nation’s Shakin’ the Southland. And I received word that Dead Eyes Lit Mag(which includes two of my poems) was released and ready for purchase. My current lifestyle does not allow for a focus on my writing seven days a week from sun-up to sun-down. It is instead a series of scratches, hisses, and long spells of crickets. Below you will find a poem written in the office in the House on Greenbrier ( originally published in Contemporary Haibun Online in July of 2018).
The Song of the Red Fox
We moved to Virginia in late summer. Each season in this old Cape Cod home was a mystery to unfold. I swiftly learned the pattern of the Cardinal’s path, to recognize the Elderberry, Hawthorn, and Bee Balm, and experienced the zip and sting of a Commonwealth mosquito. As autumn approached, so did the brisk breezes from the Elizabeth River Estuary. I opened the windows, aired out the blinds, and swept the river sand from the wide slat floors. A volunteer pumpkin vine unfurled candy of burnt oranges and deep ambers. We carved and candled them. Wearing scarves and mittens, I saw green go to brown. Leaves, grass, and buds curl up like kittens, and freefall to carpet the fraying yard. The first substantial snow came in February. It was not light nor kind, but a boisterous blizzard with bountiful snow and an angry river wind. At that time I learned the song and the search for survival of the red fox.
Surround the oak
Dog bowl empty
As I swept and polished the wood floors in the living room this morning, I noticed no two planks were alike and some showed a great deal of wear. There is a dark stain smack-dab in the middle of the room. One board near the piano sings to me every time I step on it. All of these imperfections and signs of age are a large piece of what pushed me to select this home. It has character, has withstood the test of time, and parts of it are bent and almost broken. This house is me. Still standing despite set-backs, loss, and a profession wrought with stress. I am the 1938 Cape Cod on Greenbrier.
In July of 2017, I purchased the 1938 Cape Cod home in Virginia. This blog will recount how this home has helped me to deal with loss, to handle stress, to become a better me, and how moving here inspired me to begin writing again.. Shout