Friday, March 29, 2013

Paradigm Shift

          In a cloak the color of Spanish moss, she follows the path through the ancient cypresses of the swamp. The only sounds are the squish of her bare feet in the mossy mud and the call of a loon. She parts the knee-high fog, which slithers behind her to cover all traces of her passing.
          She glances back, and a long coil of dark hair falls out of her hood to rest over her shoulder and against her chest. Foggy eyes wide with worry scan the wet, dim trunks and bruised skies. Bothered, she quickens her pace, dotting the hem of her cloak with the murk splashed by her feet.
          She carries a use- and age-darkened scroll and slides her hands along it as she approaches a set of vivid red stairs. She stops -- her left foot just above the bottom step -- and inhales sharply. Around her, the trees have turned to twisted spires of metal, and a thousand head-height shafts of rebar pierce the fog, each one tipped in red.
          Her nostrils flare, and she shakes her head in disbelief.  Biting her lower lip, she rushes up the stairs and straight through me.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Spring is coming. With the warming weather comes a rapid increase in birdsong. There is one call in particular that stands out -- a mocking bird. With each song, he says, "Hey ladies. This is my tree. Come on over and check out my nest."  One long tweet followed by a lower-pitched short tweet and then a slightly higher, off-key short tweet and I am thinking of the swings and the first time I ever heard the mockingbird's song.

When I little, about once a week in late spring and all summer, my mother would pack up our giant, wooden picnic basket with the smiling sun on top, load us into the car, and take us to Memorial Park on the backside of the public swimming pool. My brother and I hung from jungle gyms, dirtied our bottoms on metal slides, got stung by yellow jackets, and (my favorite) swung on the swings. These were old-school: black plastic U-shaped sling seats that burned your legs on summer days, long just-rusting chains, and towering A-shaped pole supports.

Tweeeeet, tweet, tweet, just like the squeak of the chains as she swings. Listen! He thinks he's found a mate, but it's her on the swing. Poor, poor bird.

Back, forth, the pendulum child stretches out her legs, leans back on the chains. Higher feet, higher. She reaches, reaches and scoops the clouds with her soles.

Down she goes, knees tucked tightly. Lean forward now, but don't fall out!

Soaring, reaching, stretching, yearning, until she gets so high that the chains go slack. Weightless for a moment, her bottom leaves the sling, then she returns, the chains catch with a loud clang. Watch your fingers, honey, the chains pinch. They leave blood blisters and blood and a worried mother. Fingers safe, she wobbles wildly for a bit on the back arc.

When it's the dry, hot misery of late August, she watches as the poured concrete around the pole wiggles in the grassless dirt. She sees the earth crack, sees the pole puff out dust as it settles at her lowest point. She wishes for her brother, because if they synchronize, they can get a bit of the pole to come out of the ground. They can see how the concrete looks like a crumbly, gray mushroom. It won't come out too far though. These things are buried deep (lawsuits and all).

Tweeeet, tweet, tweet. She swings up, up. At the highest point, she leans back and lets go. Little girl, let your feet fall over your head. You will stick the landing with a smile.

Monday, March 4, 2013


          "You write books?" This is what a student asked of me today. I can't help but laugh because it's laughable. I am a math professor - not at all what most people invision a fiction author to be. Yet, I am. I am! "When does it come out?"
          "May, after final exams."
          "Well, what is it about?"
          "It's a modern-day version of Snow White."
          Her eyes bugged.  "I would read that."
          My response:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Book Update

The artist emailed me a draft of the cover for FAIREST. It's very pretty, and I only have a few things I'd like her to tweak. Overall, I am very happy with it and will be happy with it even if she doesn't make any changes.