A Piece of Calm

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Fellow Friends & Writers:

Just a quick note to let you know that Finishing Line Press is publishing my chapbook, “A Piece of Calm.”  Pre-sales for poetry determine press run; you can quickly reserve copies by clicking the link below by this Friday.  The book will be released in March.   I’m honored to feature an opening poem by poet Irene Blair Honeycutt, as well as a blurb by author Ron Rash.    


 Thanks so much for all of your support and well wishes.

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BROAD RIVER REVIEW: Ron Rash Award finalists

BROAD RIVER REVIEW: Ron Rash Award finalists

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Not So Famous Last Words

This screenshot shows Sydney Greenstreet and H...

This screenshot shows Sydney Greenstreet and Humphrey Bogart in a discussion about whether Sam (Dooley Wilson) will come to work for Greenstreet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently you heard tell amongst friends,  the last words they heard from their dear old, departed loved ones, Bless Their Collective Lil Hearts.  You all chuckled to keep from boo-hooing (as Mama used to say).

1.  How Did You Know?

2. Will. You. Please. Just. Leave. Me. Alone?

3.  I Think Not.  (After a hospital Doc told 92-year old Grandma that she had to have a procedure done).

And, your all-time favorite from a southern friend who had many a tussle–mainly concerning her appearance– with her Old-School Southern M.O.M.:

4.  HoneyDid You Ever Decide What To Do About That Hair?

…If you know of others, we’d love to know!  More below:

The deathbed can lead people to speak with great honesty and, in many cases, humor. This is a list of 20 last words by famous people.

Isabella Deathbed 400W

1. Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.

Said by: Queen Marie Antoinette after she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner as she went to the guillotine.

2. I can’t sleep

Said by: J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan

3. I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.

Said by: Humphrey Bogart

4. I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.

Said by: Dominique Bouhours, famous French grammarian

5. I live!

Said by: Roman Emperor, as he was being murdered by his own soldiers.

Nap Deathbed

6. Dammit…Don’t you dare ask God to help me.

Said by: Joan Crawford to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud.

7. I am perplexed. Satan Get Out

Said by: Aleister Crowley – famous occultist

8. Now why did I do that?

Said by: General William Erskine, after he jumped from a window in Lisbon, Portugal in 1813.

9. Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!

Said by: James French, a convicted murderer, was sentenced to the electric chair. He shouted these words to members of the press who were to witness his execution.



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pale blue mercy

pale blue mercy

pale blue mercy

Dear Writers:

Some quick news:

Main Street Rag Publishing Company is publishing my book pale blue mercy as part of its Author’s Choice Chapbook Series. The book will be released February 5th.  If you’re interested in ordering, please leave a comment.  The chapbooks are $7.00 each.

Thanks for all of your support; let me know how you’re doing when you have a chance.  Happy New Year!

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Can the World Not Behave Itself for Five Minutes? Texts You Don’t Want to Get While On Vacation

Paris Sunset from the Louvre window

Paris Sunset from the Louvre window (Photo credit: Dimitry B)

Why is it when you try to embrace the empty nest, the helicopters appear instead?  Why is it, indeed, any time you try and take a vacash–the world erupts? You and your husband were just in Paris in order to hunker down in musees, window shop, eat steak frites and sip Meursault.  Tres relaxing and romantique, oui?

Oui, until…well, here are the various vacation texts and messages you have had rude awakenings to,  received from family and offspring, over the past years:

News Channel 8 helicopter fly by.

News Channel 8 helicopter fly by. (Photo credit: jokerswild1963)

2004. Mom, I knew you’d hear about it in the news (when they mention the news it’s curtains) but our neighborhood flooded and we can’t get out.  A helicopter took a picture of our babysitter paddling a canoe.

2006. Mom, I know you’ve probably already heard about it on the news (even worse, because you haven’t).  A Middle-Eastern student drove a Jeep into the quad and tried to run over people.

2011. Mom, I know you’d hear about it in the news.  (!#$?!)    We actually had an earthquake here–first one since 1897–but I’m fine.

 2012. Sis–hope your kids are okay.  I heard about the shooting–how horrible.

2012. Mom, please don’t worry, but there’s a hurricane headed here, but I’m fine.

And the most heinous ever, you can’t even put into print.  March 5, 2008.  In memory of EMC.

You swore off watching CNN while on vacash.  Now you hardly daren’t.


Can you trust the world to take care of itself, in your absence?

Can’t the world behave itself for four days?  Much less,  five minutes?

Your heart goes out to the victims of Sandy.

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first world beach problems

While enjoying the beach during your summer family vacay, your son

chuckle, then pause

finally took off his Mom’s voice-cancelling headphones.  After awhile he shook his head, gave off a grin and proclaimed:

“First world beach problems.”

What?” you reply, as usual.

“Just listen,” he said, nodding at the others hunkered down on towels and beach chairs round about us.  Soon, a slow steady stream came your way:

“The wi-fi at our house is way too slow.”

“Is my Coppertone rubbed in all the way?”

“After I went to get my spray tan I got stuck at the salon because it was raining.”

“She told me that I couldn’t get Netflix here.”

“I forgot to back up my iCloud before I left.”

“Our roof cargo box fell off of our Escalade when I pulled into the garage of our beach cottage.”

“This morning when I turned on my Xbox 360 and got nothing but the ring of fire.”

“Please don’t eat that Haagen Dazs straight out of the carton.”

“Is there a Verizon around here?  I need a new iPhone.”

“On the way down we stopped at Chick fil-A and they were out of number one combos.”

“Yesterday I didn’t have time to take a nap.”

“I have not been to Paris in two years.”

“I only read books on my iPad.”

“Last night, thank heavens I got surf n’ turf and not that blackened shrimp.”

Which you guess beats, “Are we having chicken for dinner again tonight?” Meanwhile, pass that Haagen Dasz on along and if anyone knows what the heck ring of fire is, please let me know.

Français : Zone Wi-Fi dans le parc de Bercy, Paris

Français : Zone Wi-Fi dans le parc de Bercy, Paris

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The Difference Between (Southern) Men and Women

Venus and Mars

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present.
Image via Wikipedia

1. Women like hanging out in Starbucks and drinking chai tea.  Believe it or not–men will walk straight past a Starbucks to get to a Five Guys or Firehouse sub.

2. Women like Sephora.  Men will walk right by Sephora to enter a Pro Bass Shop.

3. Women like to get their nails done.  Men like to hunt deer.

4. Women prefer wine.  Men drink beer and whiskey.

5. Women like jewelry.  Men don’t.

6.  Women like to shop.  Men like to stand outside of stores, or park themselves in big comfy chairs in the shops.

7.  Women like to go to the hairdresser and read a fresh People.  Men go to the barber shop and thumb through a crumpled old copy of Maxim with pages missing.

8.  Women like the sound and smell of Chanel.  Men like the sound and smell of Indy racecar engines.

9.  Women like go to a movie and then want to talk about it afterwards.  Men may go to a movie and then walk out of the theater and drive straight home.

10. Women collect fabric swatches; men like to hunker down on upholstered fabric.

11.  Women like to moisturize.  Men don’t.

12.  Women like to watch events–such as royal weddings–in a light and airy room, occasionally glancing out the window to catch any signs of spring.  Then talk about who looked good and who didn’t.  Men like to watch Sports Center in a basement or man cave, with curtains drawn and shutters closed.  Then later talk about which player looked good and who didn’t.

13.  Women like Oxygen, TLC and Food Network.  Men like Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Ice Road Truckers, and the Three Stooges.

14.  Women like a true chicken salad and sweet tea for lunch.  Men. so. don’t.  (see sub and burger chains above).

15.  Women like small boutiques; men like big box chain stores.

16.  Women like to share Barefoot, Giada and Paula recipes; men like to swap hunting, fishing and golfing stories.

17. Women like to dine al fresco.  Men like to dine al Longhorn.

18.  Women like cafes.  Men like cigar shops.

19.  Southern men seem to love guys named Bubba, Buddy, Junior, Sonny, and any double name involving ‘Bob,’ and think they are an. absolute. hoot.  Women think they are only half a hoot, if indeed, a hoot at all.  Maybe they ‘got the party started’ in high school, but that’s where it about ended.

20. Women love etsy, pinterest and houzz; men. just. flat. out. don’t.

side-note:  (Men and women both like Apple, the Food Court and Victoria’s Secret).

Maxim (magazine)

Image via Wikipedia

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The Super Bowl is so two days ago.  (Madonna, the 80’s called and they want their music back).  Madge pulled it off, but honestly–you’d rather watch the etrade baby.  But now that the Super Bowl is over, what are ya gonna watch?  Downton Abbey may not have enormous appeal for wing-eatin’, Bud-Lite guzzlin’ folk, but give it twenty minutes, and you may just get sucked in.  The show has garnered many emmys, as well as landed a huge young American following.  The brilliant writer, Sir Julian Fellowes, claims to have based the series on NYPD Blue.  At any rate, you haven’t been so hooked on a series since DALLAS.

You lived in London when DALLAS first debuted.

“Don’t ya love Dallas then?” Marcella–the middle-aged next sec over– whispered around the plastic partition.

“What?” you replied, Americanishly.

DALLAS!” she hissed.  “It’s all the rage here.  Don’t ya watch J.R. and all that lot then?

“J.R. who?” you asked, typing a letter using old carbon paper, while attempting to photocopy using a Thermofax machine, before your architect boss reappeared.  “We don’t have a telly in our flat, Marcella,” you replied flatly.  Nor an iron, which she pointed out every day when you entered the office–in a sweet maternal way.

You are missing out,” she singsonged, then sighed.  Once you moved back to the States, you got all entrenched in the Friday night soap.

One rainy day last summer, you hunkered down to watch the first season of DOWNTON with your husband and daughter.  While you all stared non-blinkingly at the screen   forgetting to breathe, much less eat–your son headed to the gym, ate barbecue, re-watched Bourne on his laptop and led a normal existence.  (Earlier, all you of had watched a Bourne marathon).

Last Christmas, after you presented them with the second season imported from the UK, you all grabbed your seats again for another mini-marathon.  Meanwhile, your son headed to Best Buy, Sports Authority, brought us Five Guys take-out and led some semblance of a normal life.  (Earlier, you had all watched The Office for seventeen hours straight).

Instead of sharky J.R. propping his boots up on brother Bobby’s desk and swilling bourbon and branch, you have the courageous Lord Grantham, who, dressed in finery, stands in various rooms of the 72 billion square foot manse, waiting for the next staff member to arrive breathlessly with yet another piece of unfortunate news.  Does the man possess any character flaw?  His lovely American wife, Cora, sits in various rooms worrying about their three spirited daughters.

Instead of dear Miss Ellie, you have the upper-crusty Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith.  Instead of 80’s-cute Bobby, you have dashing Matthew.  Instead of sly, swillin’ Swellen, you have gorgeous, headstrong Lady Mary, who conducts the exact opposite of speed dating.  Instead of voluptuous Pam, you have sneaky Edith, who busts out of her homeliness.  Instead of Lucy, you have Sybil–a beautiful nurse with a rebellious streak.

Then below deck, there’s the staff of the manse:  the avuncular Carson gently thundering orders, star-crossed lovers Anna and Mr. Bates trying to steal moments alone, and sweet dotty Daisy.  Then there’s the evil Thomas and O’Brien cooking up schemes as they smirk, sulk and smoke (somehow managing to do all three at once) at the back door.

Yes, there are a couple of syrupy moments, but nothing that compares to Bobby waking up and declaring the entire Dallas series had been a bad dream.  Aside from suspenseful writing and immense popularity, there any similarities end, you suppose.  You would like to see the Dallas cast when they reunite this summer–what. a. hoot.

You hear tell that Shirley McLean has been asked to join the cast as Cora’s American mum.  Think Steel Magnolias’ Weezer, pitted against Professor McGonagall’s evil twin–on steroids.  You can’t wait for Sir Julian Fellowes to finish penning Season three.  How many plotlines can he balance on the tip of his pen?  Five of which you haven’t cared for, but that still leaves about sixty others.  When it finally ends, you can always go back and rent Gosford Park …

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Pinterest for Guys: dudeboard

Snatch (film)

Image via Wikipedia

There has simply got to be a Pinterest for guys.  Hence, you propose the name, dudeboard.  Guys, next time you google, ‘where dem girls at,’ listen to this.  ‘Dem girls’ are sitting sweetly at home or in Starbucks, pinning away.  After logging some 1,748,052 hours of seriously ‘researching’ the pinterest phenom, the results are thus: at about ten p.m., even party girls turn into pumpkins and come alive on this virtual bulletin board, pinning faster than a house a ‘fire.

One night, you tried to keep up.  Honey, you didn’t have a snowball’s chance.  You kept trying to fetch items they’d be interested in, and no sooner did you give them the world, than they done snatched up your goods and repinned you into oblivion.

Snatch. repin. repeat.  Lawd. have. mercy.

The madness began after your daughter mentioned it casually, over Thanksgiving.  “Oh, looks fun,” you said.  And then the night the holidays ended you waded in, slowly, and then fell in the deep end.

The stylist at your salon whispered, “Everyone’s in the back room looking at pinterest.”  You had indeed noticed a great deal of traffic in and out of the break room.  All quite innocent.  She said ‘they were studying how to furnish an apartment on a budget.’  You know good and well they were probably pinning lil Justin photos.

So guys, face it–if you can’t beat ’em, just join ’em.  At least churn up some faux enthusiasm if a female excitedly shows you a bulletin board or two.  Or fifteen.  Even if they display that their greatest hits are ‘channeling Chiquita Banana,’ or their favorite flats from Jimmy Choo.  This does not mean that you will suddenly into one of those Village People.

You can also go so far as to venture out and create your own dudeboard, which may, for example, showcase anything from a selection of barca-loungers, to bronco bustin,’ to small batch Bourbons to microbrews, to various bungy jumping venues, to your favorite burger chains–Five Guys, WhataBurger, In-N-Out Burger, and so forth.   And, just to throw something out there, you could actually create a visually intriguing bulletin board on perhaps the two most lame Sports Center announcers, or maybe the Longhorn vs. Outback saga–you name it.  The world is at your doorstep.  Perhaps different flavors of wings, if you will.  Or, think outside the box and craft a Tebowing board, featuring your favorite different photos.  Bless his lil heart.

So, in summation, dudes–yo–what other winter solsticesque hobbies you got going, that are free.  (You would not truly appreciate the appeal of Etsy).  And yes, you can go to Costco, purchase a full-array 55″ flat screen, call the cronies over for the game, and return it the next day.  But somebody’s gotta pony up for the chips and dip, Solo cups and Jager bombs for the ladies.  

Start 2012 in style–what say ye?

…whoo hoo…gotta go–it’s your move on Words With Friends…

English: Red Pinterest logo

Image via Wikipedia


Image by stevegarfield via Flickr

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Got that ‘reindeer in the headlights’ look?

Wreath up, stockings down, set out old drippy candles that somewhat spread light around.  Tree sort of up, but listing wildly against one wall.  Boxes of lights and ornaments awaiteth, as well as rounds of signing, licking, addressing and stamping cards.

Rustle up to attic and finish bringing down the remainder of ye olde house decorations, and give them a dust and a fluff.

(Washing machine breaks; computer crashes; vacuum cleaner catches on fire; some large creature moves into a corner of your attic; AT & T takes the day off; your cable company takes the week off).

Maketh Ye Last Minute Purchases at Ye Olde Amazon.

Maketh Ye Last Minute Purchases at Ye Olde Best Buy.  Schlep big boxes from big box stores into house.

Lo and behold, the big box trucks began to arrive in ye olde cul-de-sac, to deliver ye olde Amazon goods.  Amazon needs to run the phone, cable companies and post offices.

Wrap, wrap, wrap.

Stand in line at the post office longer than you waited for the iPhone 4s, whilst juggling big boxes.

Steereth your old truck–like it’s a PT7 Cruiser–to Ye Olde Whole Food and purchaseth tenderloin and fixin’s for Christmas dinner.

Later stuck in traffic with groceries melting, visions of holiday decorations dance in your head:  use Christmas runners instead of throws, over backs of chairs.  Stuff blue juniper branches into mint julep cups to line your mantel.  Cream roses and red berries in a glass vase for foyer.  Find white Hypericum berries.  Bring in holly from the back yard  to mix with magnolia leaves from front yard for pot on top of armoire.  Get poinsettias and topiaries from Trader Joe’s for breakfast room.  Buy curly willow…did you clean up after the dog?  Did you RSVP to that thingy?  Didn’t you have a dental appointment this week?…Buy mistletoe…  

Runneth in floral boutique.  As you enter, the diminutive bespectacled owner, Weldon, pops open a can of La Croix.  “Ahh, first beer of the day,” he sighs.

There are folks drinking sparkling water like beer, people,  just to get through the retail season.

You ask him for holiday centerpiece ideas for the dining room table.

“Come on back and take a look at this,” he says, winding his way to the back.  We set off a motion-activated Rudolph on a nearby table top.  “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!” begins blaring in the tiny bungalow, and the deer begins doing the twist.

I’m gonna shoot that damn reindeer,” Weldon stops and says simply, then glances back at you.   He can see you have that hectic, haunted, hunted, daunted, reindeer in the headlights look on your face, that you can’t possibly stay ahead, or on top of it all.  December started without you.

Let’s just breathe in and out, shall we?” he asks.  “That’s my holiday mantra.”

“And perfect for Holiday ADHD,” you agree.

He shows you greenery and berries stuffed into an old French olive jar, and votives on a linen table runner.  Simple.  Done. 

On the way to your next errand, a car dressed up like a reindeer nearly runs you off the road.  Pull over.  Breathe in.  Breathe out. 

Insert “Celebrate Me Home” cd to help your blood pressure plummet.

Stop being lead reindeer and just let. yourself. go. sit. down.  Sit and  sip a hot peppermint mocha frapp, take time out to enjoy the holiday spirit.  

Whoever decided to install a Starbucks inside  Target should be knighted.

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