Friday, July 8, 2016

Untitled


Good morning.
Bad things happened in the world
While you were sleeping
As usual,
But this time it hit closer to home

I’m left here
Feeling hopeless, powerless
Because I can’t protect you
Never could
But now the big, bad world looms

Bares sharp teeth
And extends its razor claws
Videos, memes, likes, and shares
Not a match
Against ignorance and hate

Reason’s snuffed
By blasts of bullets and bombs
Sound bites, headlines, and rants
Let’s snuggle
A little longer before we face this day


- Theresa Milstein

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Wonder Woman?




Wonder Woman?

I think I’m making progress
But more likely I’m in regress
I digress
Unsure of what I’m working toward
I keep moving onward, forward
Or backward
This success for which I’m striving
There’s more thrashing than there's thriving
I’m depriving
This fear I’m spinning round and round
An affirmation won’t be found
It’s aground
Each passing year, I’ve become bolder
Time has made the trail much colder
I’m older
Who said I had to be the hero
Time to go on with the ebb & flow
Let it go




Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Angels, Analogies, and Anthologies



I’ve known Robyn Campbell for several years. We first met each other through blogging and then she joined my online writing support group. Over the years, I’ve learned about her son who has Sturge-Weber syndrome. He’s constantly dealing with scary symptoms, tests, more tests. And she’s constantly dealing with making decisions between something with bad side effects and something else with bad side effects, or worse. As a parent, we want to fix our children. 

What do you do when there is no fix?

Recently, Robyn decided to put together an anthology to raise $ for the foundation Sturge-Weber Foundation that provides hope for the families of children who suffer from this disease. I wanted to be a part of it. 

To find out more, read Robyn’s post HERE.

As everyone wrote and revised and shared what they wrote, I started a stressful teaching job. I felt like I wasn’t helping as much with the anthology as I could have. Even with my busy schedule, I critiqued and was impressed by quite a few authors’ pieces. The energy from everyone amazed me.

Finally the time arrived for the cover reveal.

At the same time, I began dealing with someone who had a personal crisis. I thought of Robyn and her son many times over these weeks. I, too, often felt powerless to help and felt like I had no idea if any decision I made was actually the right decision. So much of my energy was turned inward.

I missed the cover reveal.

Slowly, the personal crisis seems to be ending. So here I am.

I want to get the word out that there's a wonderful anthology for children at a reasonable price in both  Paperback and Kindle. 
There’s some nice artwork in there too. As you think about supporting charities as the year ends, please buy this anthology and/or DONATE.


The Kissed by an Angel anthology includes 10 stories and one poem featuring children who are gifted or have special powers. Some are ordinary people, others are extraordinary, and several aren’t what they seem to be. Read on and be enchanted. Wander with us onto a magical island ship, uncover an amazing secret, and solve a very fishy mystery. Discover a World War II codebreaker, captivating garden, time machine, undercover agents, bug master, plus more. And meet a special boy who was kissed by an angel. This anthology benefits the Sturge-Weber Foundation. Children who have Sturge-Weber are born with a port wine birthmark, which varies in color and size, and stays with them their whole lives. “You were kissed by an angel” is how author Robyn Campbell explained to her son Christopher, who suffers from Sturge-Weber syndrome, about his tell-tale birthmark. He is the creative genius who helped choose some of the names of the characters, and he is our inspiration.


Pssst... my story has the magical island ship!


Amazon purchase details  HERE.


Thank you for your support. 



P.S.  For a thorough post by our editor, Lynn Kelly, click  HERE.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

1972



1972

Sunday gravy
Bubbling
On the basement stove

Family gathers
Below
Clusters of cousins

Dining room for
Events
Not for family

Plastic folding
Tables           
Topped with market plates

No fine china
Set here
Who’s there to impress?

Aunts and uncles
Laughing
While Grandma serves us 

Spaghetti’s perfect
With peas
I’m on Grandpa’s knee




Saturday, October 24, 2015

Do You Come Here Often?



Do You Come Here Often?

I’ve always hated this part.
“Lift your arm. Like this. Now rest your other arm here. Sorry, my hands are a little cold.”
The doctor presses her palms on my breast while I stare at the ceiling. I’m always worried the temperature of my hands will make my nipples stand up. Then this awkward situation will become all that more mortifying.
            Seconds go by. She concentrates on one spot, just to the right of my nipple. That’s never happened before. She checks the same area on the other breast. She returns back to the spot.
The doctor says the four words no woman ever wants to hear:
“I feel a lump here.”
My body feels like its made of little particles, and each one of them has just spread along the exam table. She keeps touching the spot as she asks questions. Did I notice it? I didn’t. When had I done an exam last? "Recently," I say. That’s all I say. I used to do them more often. I mean to do them. But I forget. What if I think it wasn’t long ago, but it was months or even years? The older I get, the more time has a way of speeding by. It’s like when I thought that wedding was two or three years ago, only to find out the couple just celebrated their five-year anniversary.
 Besides, when I push down, it’s all lumps. How do I know a lump is lumpier? In the past, when I was worried something was suspicious, I’d feel around it, and it sort of seemed the same.
The doctor measures the lump. She writes the information down. She says the number three. Three millimeters? Centimeters? Inches? I don’t want to ask. I had a baseline mammogram years ago. Could it be possible a tumor has been growing in my breast for these subsequent years, and I didn’t know it?
She makes me touch the lump. First I can’t tell. Then I realize it’s slightly bigger from everything around it. No, it’s definitely bigger. Here I am, touching my breast while the doctor watches, just minutes after my biggest concern was that I’d have erect nipples. How my perspective has changed. I came to this exam dreading the pap, worried about my cholesterol, wary of my blood pressure. For a long time, I’d forgotten to fret about my breasts.
The doctor tells me to change. She says she’ll return in a few minutes.
A few minutes is all the time I need to remember the conversation we had before the breast exam. When my long overdue check up hung in the air. And she found out that I’d been regularly having eye exams and dental check ups instead. And I’d asked if I should put off a mammogram for another several years because it was controversial for people my age. She assured me that an increased likelihood of false positives was not a reason to forgo the exam. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if yearly exposure to radiation could cause problems in the long run.
A few minutes is all I need to picture my uncertain future. I might lose my hair.  A chunk of breast. A breast. Would I get so sick that I’d have to quit my new job? I would if all the cancer metastasized all over my body. It happens to people. It can happen to me. And if it has, it’s my own stupid fault. Why did my fear land me in this situation? I knew other people who put off going to the doctor only to get bad news, and I’d shake my head. I knew people who’d died. And now here’s me.
The door opens. The doctor’s laughter tinkles and dies. Would she chuckle if she thought it was serious? Did she stop because lumps in breasts are common for her, and it’s not going to stop her from joking with her coworkers in the hallway.
She must see my expression. I’ve never been good at hiding my feelings, like blind panic.
“I think it’s a cyst,” she says.
She rattles on that I need to have a mammogram and an ultrasound. And then she wants me to return when I’m in the beginning of my cycle. Am I having the ultrasound to watch out for false positives or am I having the ultrasound because there’s a possibility it is cancer. Is she trying to calm me down or is she telling the truth? I so want to ask her. I want to confess why I’ve waited too long and explain that this isn’t the person I am. I know better and I’ve made a mistake. 
But I just nod. She doesn’t know me. After all, I hardly come here.

PSA: Check early in your cycle and check often... and visit your doctor yearly.





Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Inbox



My Inbox

We’re past the time of
Return receipt requested
From slush pile to inbox
Right to spam.

I’ve initially been reviewed
While my submission’s been received
I should expect to hear back or
Not at all.

If they’re interested,
They’ll let me know
In other words, don’t call us,
We’ll call you.

Phone interview screenings
Lead to real in person views
Let’s play 20 Questions before
Mock lessons.

Like what we’ve read, so
We’re requesting pages
A partial, a full, a
Rejection.

The position’s been filled
Form rejection’s been sent,
Expiration date’s passed 
Like bad milk.

Crafted resume, cover,
Query, synopsis, pages
It’s all the same in the end
No, thank you.

I collect interview requests
Like business cards,
Third time’s the charm
Job offer.

As they like to say,
it just takes on yes 
Maybe’s an agent’s next...

One more try.