Back At It

For a lot of us, it’s hard to go back from the holidays. Whether we’re going back to school or work, we’ve not had quite enough laying off. It’s the same for me with the writing. I haven’t posted anything on here in about a month, so it’s difficult just to start. Plus, with the writing, I don’t have a schedule to keep or a boss or teacher making demands on me; I have depend on myself for most of that. So, here we go…

It really isn’t as if I’m coming back from a month without writing, although that’s pretty much what I’ve been telling folks. I’ve been telling people this because I believed it. I believed that, since I hadn’t posted on the blog or done any manuscript work, then I hadn’t written. Given a bit of downtime after the holidays–ours didn’t end until January 6–and the opportunity to collate the myriad pages scattered around in the rooms of my life, I found that I’d actually had a productive month, considering it was a month off.

I wrote three small poems–none of which do I find horrible–and have the beginnings of two more. I also made a bit of headway with my spoken word performance. And I accomplished these things while having my best holiday season ever.

The holidays were everything we could have hoped for, even if they were a bit nontraditional. We stayed in Pennsylvania throughout December, and we didn’t to make it to West Virginia to catch up with my family until our first two days off in January. We had company for four or five days over Christmas–Becky’s sister Karrie and her family were here. Becky’s brother, Tom, also crashed for a couple of days. We also had her family’s main Christmas celebration at the house, with 14 or 15 up all day and 5 children enjoying their Christmas morning at our house. I think that might have been the highlight for me; we did a lot of fun things and saw a lot of people we love, but to see five children–ages 2 years, 8 months to 9 years old–open their presents, well, that was just pretty special.

Still, while that setting may have been my favorite, overall, the best element of the holidays for me was Finnegan. If he ever experiences Christmas at an age that is readier for it than 2 years and 8 months, I will be surprised. Becky had him down at the outlets about a week before Christmas, and she said he was just walking along the sidewalk, repeating, “It’s Christmas, everybody!” over and over again.  He kept that joy and excitement throughout the season, and it was just so fun to be around him.

When we finally made it to West Virginia, we didn’t get to catch up with everybody we wanted to, but we still left town realizing that we had fit four meaningful interactions into our two days off.

We had dinner on Tuesday and then breakfast on Wednesday, allowing us to catch up a bit with Mother, two of my three sisters–Cheryl and Darla–and my brother Steve.

We spent Wednesday afternoon at Bill and Nancy Dean’s house in St. Albans. Doc and Nancy were both there, as were Bill, the younger, Amanda, Maddie, and Harrison. (Upon leaving, Finn would say we had been at Maddie’s house; he was quite smitten with little Miss Maddie, who is about 6 I think.) Nancy made a pretty banging Taco Soup for what was a late lunch for us and an early dinner for them, and we all got to hang out and catch up. Bill, the younger, the guy who was the best man at my wedding, and I took a few minutes to get away upstairs and do a couple tunes, him on acoustic guitar and me on vocals.

Afterward, we, along with my brother Tim, who had been at the Dean’s house with us, went back to Tim’s apartment on the East End of Charleston, which used to also be my apartment on the East End of Charleston. Our friends, Rhonda Fields and Paige Dalporto, met us there, and the six of us got to hang out there for about three hours, before we had to hit the snowy road. Paige played some music and we ordered pizza and we just relaxed.

The holidays were long and tiring and, as much as I hated to see them go, I was relieved when they did. I’m already looking toward and planning next year’s.

Here is the little bit of writing that I did over the holidays. Please don’t worry about me; these are dark pieces, and while I’ve felt these feelings in my life, I do not feel them now. All of these works are basically fiction, in that I felt none of these emotions or feelings at the time I was writing them. Each piece has been inspired by a line in a book, as most of my verse has been for the past three and a half years or so. “Poet’s Lies” was inspired by the C. S. Lewis novel Till We Have Faces, while “Rooms Full of Emptiness” and “Already Walkin'” were inspired by the Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King) novel Blaze.

Hope you find something interesting in them. Happy 2010.


I’ve listened to the poets’ lies

throughout my many lives.

I’ve sought the dreams and oils

they’ve carried in their bags.

I’ve tripped fantastically into pages

of soapbox saviors and weak sages

frantically grabbing the air

encircling the time they ate.

I’ve even added my own two cents

to the lexicon of written word,

equally foolishly, I don’t doubt,

and hungry for time as well.

No sage I.


We’ll get to the other two tomorrow.


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