Monday, February 19, 2018

Home by dark...

The Main Muse and I went over to Transylvania County yesterday afternoon to hear Angela Massey play her flute and Annie Brooks play the piano. It was an hour's drive, but we made it home before dark. Ian Clarke's Orange Dawn would have been worth the trip all by itself.

Thanks, Stephen, for the heads up.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The longer things stay the same, the more they change...

Saluda looks remarkably the same as it looked when I first lived here over forty years ago. There have been a lot of changes since then, though. The building in the photo housed my sculpture studio during that former life. It was an abandoned service station. The grease rack was still in place.

My neighbor, Walter dropped in one day to see what I was up to, and sat for a few moments while I did a little portrait sketch. I remember his hat and his mustache. Later, I carved a mask from the sketch. Walter said it didn't look anything at all like him, and it didn't, but a lady from Pennsylvania who didn't know Walter from Adam bought it. She must have liked it okay because she hasn't brought it back yet.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Think spring...

When crocus bloom, it's close enough to spring to grab a spade and dig a few rows ready to embrace asparagus and spring onions, prepare flats to sow for transplants, check the seed inventory and order what may have been overlooked, or what new varieties might be tried, decide where to expand the garden this year (it's never quite big enough). One forgets over the frozen days just how lively fresh-turned earth smells when it meets the air.

It helps, of course, if you have a good supervisor.

Friday, February 16, 2018

I know a place...

I know a place where the lights are still on,
where they leave the door open after dark
and welcome the stranger home.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Of all the places...

It doesn't seem possible that two years have gone by since we came back up the mountain to stay. Some days, it seems like two weeks, and some days it seems we've always been right here.

Of all the places we've ever lived, Saluda feels most like home. Of all the places I ever left, this is the one I wanted most to come back to. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lovers' quarrel...

… when you’ve written your way thirty thousand words into a story that keeps drawing you in and pulling you on, though you have yet no idea of where it is going or even any clear notion of what it is about, and you’re dreading all the re-writing you know is in your future, but you are stuck with a couple of characters you can’t bear to abandon or kill off. You want them to have their say, whether they sell any books or not.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Blue skies...

On those days when writing is not going well (and some days, it doesn't), the sky can settle me and keep me on task.

It is impossible to look long into that Saluda Blue and not feel hopeful, that if I just pay attention, something real will appear.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Some days...

Some days, I'd as soon be left alone. Other days, walking home on the edge of night, I'm comforted to see that I have neighbors. If they were suddenly gone away, I'd miss their talk when we met on the street. I'd crave the smell of their chimney smoke on the winter air.

I don't hear well enough or see fast enough ever to relish a crowd. Neither would I want to dwell alone in the midst of the earth. There are no stories without people. None to tell or tell about, and none to hear them told.

My little garden is enough for me to answer for, but I'm too curious not to pay attention to my neighbor's plot, and pray her a good yield for her labors 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Ryan and Tiger - a parable...

Everybody warned Ryan not to keep the tiger in his house. He answered,
"Oh, Tiger's just a pet. He's harmless enough. Besides, he'll keep salesmen and panhandlers away."

Every day, when Ryan came home from work, his little dog, Nameless met him at the door, jumped into his arms and licked his face. One day Ryan came home and his son, Fred opened he door. "Where's Nameless? Ryan asked.

"Tiger ate him," Fred said.

"Be careful around Tiger." Ryan said.

"Don't worry, Dad," Fred answered, "Tiger likes me."

After that, Fred met Ryan at the door with a big hug every day when he came home. Then one day, Ryan's wife, Lula opened the door. "Where's Fred?" he asked.

"Oh, Tiger ate Fred," She said. "It took me all afternoon to clean up the mess. Dinner will be late."

"We can eat out," Ryan said, But maybe we should get rid of Tiger,"

"Oh, we're taller than Tiger," Lula said, "I think he'll respect us."

Every day after that, Lula met Ryan at the door until one day he came home, opened the door, and there stood Tiger, waiting for him.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

...the snarky novelist weighs in on poetry.

Photo by David Longley

I'm not a poet, I suppose,
a few do call me one of those,
and I pretend from time to time,
a lilting line, a rippling rhyme,
it's fun, and helps me to compose
my mind for writing serious prose.

Friday, February 9, 2018


Hello, Sister Moon;

You’re not so bright as noon,

But day will be here soon

Enough, and Brother Sun,

Out on his dragon run,

His face too bright for sight,

Will drown us in the light;

Let your shadowed night pass slow,

Wash us in your creamy glow;

We are content to rest and dream,

Awhile here by your gentler gleam.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


Admittedly, from time to time, I entertain substantial doubts regarding the God I read about in the Bible, but the Christ who meets me every day right here at our little notch in the mountains wins my heart and captures my mind.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Getting up...

When we finally came to Saluda to stay, we arrived in the dark of night, during a winter storm. We slept on the floor for three nights before the truck carrying all our furniture was able to make it up the mountain.

Now, two years later, we are right back where we started, except now, we have a luxurious futon the Main Muse ordered from Japan. We sleep warm at nights, and my back doesn't hurt any more. 

Sleeping on the floor isn't for everybody perhaps, but I'd recommend it for old folks like me.
Getting up from the floor in the morning requires a solid intention. You get some exercise right off. By the time you're on your feet, you are awake and scared, as you should be, confronting your unknown future. 

If you slept on the floor, you don't begin your bright new day out of habit.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Monday, February 5, 2018


The forecast said snow.
It never did show,
but we got plenteous ice,
and that did suffice
to lure and entice
us out once or twice.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Faith will...

Hope comes easy in April,

June convinces even skeptics,

But only faith will green

in February.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

There are reasons...

There are reasons my knees hurt and keep me awake at nights. Most of them are very good ones. When I can't sleep, I play them back in my head, and I'm happy to be awake.

Friday, February 2, 2018

I'm done...

Just saying, to Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, or anybody else who doesn't give a damn what I think - I'm done with voting for old white men.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Remembering Fowler...

Old Fowler didn’t talk a lot.

He’d never been to school at all.

He knew his numbers, though;

Upon a road, meeting a sign,

He could readily read how far,

But he couldn’t tell where to

Unless he knew the way.

Fowler was a simple man,

Gentle with hurt animals,

Kind to broken children,

Silent before grief; he was

Ever grateful for small joys,

Shirked no humble task,

Left no work half done.

Fowler looked down on none

Because they were poor,

And reverenced not a one

Because they were rich.

He never sought attention,

Any praise embarrassed,

His only eloquence, his life.