Week 7 – Fire #2

Creative Fire

It’s cold.

I’m cold.

It’s early.

I stand in place and shiver for a moment.

Then I sit down, lean in, and begin rubbing two ideas together.

The ideas begin to warm.

I begin to warm.

And as I rub furiously,

The paper catches aflame with the pinpoint focus of a magnifying lens.

I don’t have time to bask in the glow of my creative fire.

I have to constantly stoke it,

Nurture it,

Baby it.

I have to feed it more ideas, for like a human baby, it is always hungry.

And it can always run cold.

At every moment, I have a decision to make:

Keep stoking?

Or let it cool?

Anything can cause the flame to die.

Anything can cause the fire to temporarily burn out.

But anything can cause it to reignite –

As long as I can be open to it.

Week 7 – Fire #1

Thanksgiving Fire

The little fingers

Shimmy in the air.



The dancing flames of the post-Thanksgiving dinner fire move to the cracklin’ music it makes.

Our eyes follow this flame, then that. Then this. Then that.

The coziness of the warmth, dulling our senses like a coffee tinged with whiskey. Or a hot cocoa tinged with peppermint schnaaps. Or a cup of egg nog tinged with cool, Jamaican rum.

The delightful smell of smoke contenting us, making us dreamy memories.

Combined with the tryptophan of the turkey, we are ready to nap and live happily in our dreams, if only for an hour or less…

Week 6 – Roast #2

Hanging with Celebs

We wandered the town, looking for something to do.

There was a small building with a small parking lot, and a large door.

We stepped inside, only to see faces and faces of people we knew.

Well, we didn’t really know them, but we did.

Somehow, they let us in.

We sat at the bar and ordered drinks.

I had an Old Fashioned.


Everyone was laughing. Laughing. Laughing.

My side hurt.

I looked up on stage. There was

Freddie Prinze (Sr.)

Redd Foxx

Barry Williams

Sean Connery

Shaun Cassidy

Sonny Bono

Steve Martin


And the guy from Rocky Horror Picture Show.

No, not him, the other one.

So there we were, in 1976, in the middle of town, at the celebrity roast of Eddie Albert.


Week 6 – Roast #1

Summer Cool

The mid-summer day was predictable so far…

The fresh breeze lazied in from the West,

The trees provided shelter from the heat,

While the flowers roasted in the toasty sun.

I laid in the middle of the knee-high grass,

Staring straight up at the puffy, fluffy white clouds.

The painfully blue sky provided an azurian background for the atmospheric cotton balls.

There was a moment or two – or three – when I felt that I was moving with the clouds.

I quieted my thoughts, and relished the serenity.

Off in the distance, I could hear kids playing outside.

I focused on my non-focus,

Considering no considerations at all.

I chose to be right here, right now, and it felt, well, right.

Week 5 – Wellness #2


“Wellness,” she said, “is the be all, end all.”

I excused myself. Feeling sick and disoriented, I found the nearest toilet and barfed.

“Sickness,” I heard her say, “is all in your head.”

My head pounded, the result of no caffeine for 48 hours.

“Callousness,” she droned on, “is disconnection of the heart and mind.”

When THE FUCK would this end?

“Calmness,” her annoying voice creaked, “is desired.”

I had hoped the speakers in the bathroom would be playing music instead of this crap!

“Dryness,” she whispered, “is from a lack of moisture.”

Wow! She nailed that one – what other inane thing could she come up with?

“Death,” she wheezed, “is inevitable.”

I whimpered, lying on the bathroom floor.

Week 5 – Wellness #1


I laid down to meditate, throwing a blanket over me to ensure I was comfortable.

Slowly, the breaths got deeper, and I began to count to five, feeling a calmness flow over me.

It was through meditation that I learned to face the day,

I learned to deal with stress,

I learned wellness.

Within moments, I was in that place –

The place between my eyes, that some call the third eye.

I hovered in that space, barely above my body.

Here, I realized that I could talk to the spirits, the angels, the ones who watch over me.

Somewhere in my body, I was still counting.


And somewhere my soul was stirring.

The best part of my day comes from meditation, and as soon as the alarm went off –

A sweet peal of a Tibetan bowl –

I found myself looking forward to the next time.

Week 10 – Storm #2


The conference room was tense –

The coffee pot was empty, there was paper on the floor, and 7 of the 12 people had their heads in their hands.

Not a single sticky idea had yet been presented, and they knew the fervor beyond the conference room was ready to yield a shitstorm.

Surely, there was something they could do…

“I have an idea,” said the idea man.

Heads, shoulders, and spines stood straight with anticipation.

As a team, they fleshed out the idea, while someone took notes.

The talked about risk, they talked about budget, they talked about timelines.

Someone brought in another pot of coffee, which was devoured in moments as team members paired off to plan their parts.

As they all came together, it was 7pm.

It had been a long day, but they all felt accomplished, excited, eager.

They felt as if they had been re-energized.

Leaving the conference room with to-do lists, the team went back to their cubicles and offices.

They ordered pizza and kept working.

It was time to turn this place around.

Week 4 – Train #2


I wander, my mind moves, I count

Breath, anda 1. Breath anda 2. Breath anda 3. Breath anda 4. Breath anda 5…

Her lips move, but I don’t hear her. Rather, I hear multiple other things simultaneously:

My heartbeat. Nine Inch Nails. Breath anda 12 (breath anda 13, breath anda 14…)

I don’t know how many breath andas I count, but there are a lot.

It doesn’t matter though, like they say, I’m just putting in my time.

I move, my mind wanders, I count

I don’t know why I count, but I do, and it sets my mindset for the day.

1, pause, 2, pause, 3, pause, 4, pause, 5…

I check myself out in the mirror. Damn hot, if I do say so myself!

That woman is looking at me again and talking.

What would I do without TV?

18, pause, 19, pause, and 20.


I train to plateau, and then change things up a bit.

Until I plateau again.

As I walk out into the blinding sunrise, sweat blinds my eyes,

And I crave salt.

Week 4 – Train #1

Freight Train Lullaby

Shuttling past icons of history, and cities of wonder,

I fidget a bit in my seat, knowing that after the sun sets on this crazy day,

The world will turn black for a number of hours, and only occasionally will the firefly lights of metropolitan communities shoot past the windows.

Thus is my life on the train during non-daylight savings hours.

My haunted past of bouncy planes and cramped rental cars still fresh in my mind.

Yes, YES, this is the true way to travel.

Despite hurtling at a speed of nearly 100 miles per hour, it feels that time slows down.

I live in the moment the best that I can. I stare out the window, and catch myself daydreaming – thinking about the fantasies I had as a child, watching the lumbering trains go by.

“Where are they going to?” I wondered, creating their story for my own amusement.

For instance, there was that long freight train running parallel to us in the Mojave Desert when we went to visit my grandparents.

In the middle of nothing, in the middle of nowhere, there was this train!

I decided that it, too, was coming from the Midwest to the West coast – perhaps to visit their own family: Uncle Pete the artist, Uncle Fred alcoholic, Grandma Engineer, who always had almond cookies and a hard candy dish…

These momentary daydreams allow me to live multiple lives at the same time.

The light fades from the sky, and the lightning bugs awake…

In Nashville, Memphis, Tulsa, Amarillo…

By the time we cross into New Mexico, I’ve been asleep for a while,

Sung to the tune of a long forgotten freight train lullaby.

Week 10 – Storm #1

The Storm

There was no denying the air was electric, you could taste it in your mouth.

Every April was like this – emergency sirens were as commonplace as the sounds of traffic on I-35.

We sat on the porch, sipping on sweaty Mason jars filled with bourbon and lemonade.

The heat was bearable – the tension was not.

We kept the horizon within our sight – in every breath and every moment.

We chatted. We talked about what we’d do with our harvest later in the year.

We talked about flowers we had yet to plant.

We talked about the forecasted temperatures.

We talked to keep from saying the obvious:

The storm was coming.


Moments from now, we’d see lightning crackle the sky – both vertically and horizontally.

Thunder would boom and grumble, and dogs would howl.

Trees would stir from their lazy day of rest, chittering like excited or nervous children.


Soon, the trees would stretch in the air – this way and that, like some crazy balloon man welcoming us to the car dealership.

The rain would come.

First, as a barely noticeable spit, then as a downpour so hard you could hardly see the road from 20 feet.

The lightning would threaten our barn,

The thunder would clap our ears and make them tingle,

And when it was over, the world would smell fresh and new.