In search of story


January 19.23: Coping, but barely

If you were light

and could play on a rose,

would you slide,

do you suppose,

down velvet hill,

where shadow splash

marks your soft plop

with grinned panache?

Then would you climb back up,

find that shy frill,

and pirouette there

in lucent trill?

Would you leap tip-to-tip

with weightless toes,

like drunken sprite

in perfumed throes?

Under, behind

each vale and peak,

would you dodge and dive

in hide-and-seek?

Would you stop perhaps

and oly-oly-ocean-free

to bask in the stillness

of unfurling reverie?


There is mystery here, dear reader. Apparently some call “olly-olly-oxen-free.” I was intrigued to see that some people who were kids in the Chicago area called “oly-oly-ocean-free” because that’s where I was a kid and that was our cry. So, oxen or ocean, nobody knows, though I did like the suggestion that olly/oly came from all-ye as a call at the end of the farm day to put everything, including the oxen, away for the night.

I remember it as inviolable. Once called, nobody could be tagged. Non-negotiable.


Many thanks to Susan Rushton for the beautiful photo!



January 15.23: Coping, but barely

Writer’s Lament


I look out the window,

searching the sky,

one vast lumpy cloud

like a wakeful bed

where sleep has been sought,

demons of night manacled,


in tangles of blankets.

Just so the sky

in its tumbled, restless look.

No words there.

I search the ground,

cold sticky mud,

chevroned in black stems

cracking in a wind that crawls

on its belly through dead herbs,

pulling useless things.

No words there.

In drawers full of some-days

which become nevers,

no words.

In closets,

epaulets of dust

on heedless hollow shoulders,

I fumble in every pocket,

surprised by gloves

limp and soft, snuggled

like sleeping kittens.

But no words.

In sepulchral boxes

crowded with the mute past,

pages and faces that crumble,

where Then is more alive than Now,

longings, wonderings,

but not one word.

Others wander in this word desert

but it’s a lonesome place.



And so, dear reader, have I tried to grapple with yet another writer’s slump. I figured since I can’t find words to write about anything else, I might as well write about the slump.




January 8.23: Coping, but barely

When I write the first word of something, I have an idea what the last word will be. What a laugh. Writing has its own idea of where it’s going, and it’s rarely where I thought I was steering it.

Ten years ago, when I was 70, I promised myself I would do two things: learn how to bake biscotti, and start a blog. My writing mate Tamara graciously set up the blog for me, and I began, tentatively, intending to write mostly about caregiving, and hoping to learn how to tell a story. In August of 2015 Tamara prodded me to try photos as prompts. I was hooked.

So, as with all my writing, I did not go where I thought I would.

I’ve always been Oddment(s), but the themes have morphed from “Connections” to “Disconnections” to “Coping” to “Coping, but barely,” all reflective of my life and the life around me.

But the subtitled quest remained: In search of story. I can make biscotti, but I still can’t tell a story.

So I ask myself, “What at 80?”