My local bookstore is the best place to write mainly because it has great coffee and quiet corners. However, my absolute favorite thing about it is the fact that I’m surrounded by millions upon millions of words.  Recently, I’ve been paying a little more attention to those words and so has my muse. Instead of just looking at book titles and magazine covers, I’m beginning to see poetry from wherever I sit.

Hence, my new little project, “Poeticals.”  I’ve heard of book title poetry in the past, but its only now that I’m truly inspired to try my hand at creating poetry fragments from random words.  Whenever they change the end caps around the coffee cafe, I pull out my pen and start scribbling different combinations until I end up with something interesting.  The only rule is I can’t use a word unless I see it on a book cover.

I am already fascinated by how each set of words comes together in such a magical way.  Never have I been more convinced that inspiration really is everywhere if we are brave enough to see it.

– – –


Clearing shadow
new sight
Indigo quest
human revenge
Hurdles gall
God’s secret


White landscape,
covered mountain
Above wisdom,
focus unguarded
Changed world,
blown brick
Box icons,
behind life


Private harbor
before poison
Lullaby house,
unwanted grave
Jaguar heart,
lion’s game
Beastly night,
war nocturne

– – –

c.b.w. 2012


Wreck This Journal: Traveling Light


I’ve never truly understood why women carry huge purses or mass quantities of baggage wherever they go.  There seems to be an obsession with the idea that we should always have everything we (might) need with us at all times.  I know multiple people that carry a purse, a work bag, a gym bag, and a food bag (lunch and snacks) every single day to and from home.  What do they need the gym bag for when they’re hauling around all this stuff?

I am seriously befuddled by this concept of packing purses with everything from make-up to flashlights.  Have you ever lifted a large purse pack to the brim with all that crap? It’s so heavy, I’m surprised more women aren’t walking around lopsided with one shoulder lower than the other.

Perhaps, I’m confused because I don’t go out as often as other people nor do I have grave concerns about being able to reapply my lipstick later in the day.  Incidentally, I don’t worry about being trapped in a dark tunnel, either. Am I weird because I’ve never felt the need to carry loads of stuff with me all the time? Probably.

I have three modes of “packing” for when I leave the house, all of which are pretty minimalist compared to what I observe on a daily basis.

Mode #1: Work

  • 1 tote bag that carries Lesson plan calendar, keys, wristlet (that holds iPod and cell phone), water, apple

Mode #2: Writing shift at the bookstore

  • 1 tote bag or messenger bag that carries laptop, reading book or journal, (depending on writing goals for that day), wristlet, pencil pouch, keys

Mode #3: Anywhere else

  • 1 wristlet or small purse  that carries wallet (unless carrying wristlet), cell phone, iPod, keys

Now, I’m sure most men would consider these modes with the same confusion as I regard women with large purses.  Everything a man needs or want fits nicely into his pants pockets, but I must argue that the pockets in women’s clothing are about four times smaller than those in men’s clothing.

Blame Wreck This Journal for my little rant on this subject. One of the pages gave instructions to trace the contents of my bag or pockets.  I did this page a while ago, but everything I “need” to have with me on an outing has essentially stayed the same.

Keeping it simple.

For the record, I have a waaaay better cell phone these days, (no more flip-phone for this girl)!

If anything, carrying less makes me a little more careful and creative when I venture outside of the house. Whatever situation befalls me, I’m confident I’ve got the right equipment with me.  And should I feel the need to run from danger, I won’t be weighed down by thirty pounds of clutter in my bag.

– – –

c.b.w. 2012

Blueberry Hunt


This story was submitted to the Write it Your Way Competition in July, (for the theme of “summer”), but unfortunately it did not make the final cut.  Rather than view it as a failure, I’m choosing instead to see it as another step I’ve taken towards my 2012 writing goals.  I like how his story turned out, so I thought I’d share it with my readers as you have all given me so much encouragement and support.  Thanks for always reading and I hope you enjoy my little snapshot of summer in Northern Wisconsin.

– – –

Blueberry Hunt

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

I grab my blue metal cup and race outside. The gravel crunches beneath my feat and I can hear Addie isn’t far behind.

“I’m going to get more than you!” she calls.

“No you won’t. You’ll eat all of them on the way back.”

“So what! I’ll still pick the most.”

“If they’re not in the cup, they don’t count.”


We disappear into the trees. Oak, maple, and pine surround us on all sides, green leaves rustle overhead. The forest is so thick the sun barely punches through to the ground. Whippoorwills call in the distance and chipmunks scurry as our clunky steps rattle the thick blanket of leaves from last fall.

“They gotta be around here somewhere,” Addie says.

“I hope the bears didn’t get them, first.”

We scan the ground for smooth oval-shaped leaves and a speck of blue. I look around the base of stones and large trees. Berries like to hide in cool, damp places. My mouth waters at the thought of eating summer’s first blueberry!

Horse flies buzz in circles and I see Addie waving her hands around her head. Those things drive her crazy and I hope she doesn’t go running back inside. What’s the fun of a blueberry-picking contest if I’m the only one playing?

“I hate flies!” she yells.

“Just put your hood on and hold your breathe for a few seconds so they can’t smell ya!” I holler back.

I start to get excited when I see juneberries hanging from a small tree. If a bear had come through, he wouldn’t have left a single edible thing behind. That means there must be blueberries, too!

I pick a few juneberries just for the heck of it, but then decide there’s something much more fun to do with them. Addie isn’t too far away, so I take aim and throw them at her.


“What?  I saw a fly on your shoulder and I tried to hit it.”

“You better run!”

She comes tearing towards me armed with acorns and I take off. Small tree branches hit us as we run and ferns wrap around our legs. We’re laughing so hard we can hardly breathe, but we keep running wild and free.

The ground goes from flat to a steep hill and we come to a stop. Addie drops the acorns and sucker punches me in the arm.

“Ow!” It doesn’t really hurt and I know I deserve it, but little sisters aren’t allowed to win.

She sticks her tongue out at me and I laugh. We plop down on the ground to catch our breath. Who cares if we get a little mud on our jeans! I can tell by the way the trees have thinned out that we’ve ended up in a spot near the lake. Sure enough, I can see blue water peeking through baby popple and pine trees. Last year, this was a great spot for blueberries!

Both of us get up and bolt to an area thick with ferns. I lift the feathery leaves, hoping to find blueberry goodness. Small patches of bushes dot the ground and the leaves are the right shape!

“I see green ones!” Addie squeals.

“Me, too!”

Where there are pale green berries, there are ripe blueberries waiting to be picked! As I move leaves and tiny branches, I spot green, green, green and then a little shade of blue!

“C’mon!  This way.” I motion to Addie to follow me a little further down the hill. Sticks snap under her feet as she heads my way.

My eyes stay glued to the ground. I see the red berries I know are poisonous, little white flowers, the leaves that make me itchy, and then . . . BLUE!

My fingers lightly pinch the plump blueberry and I snap it off the bush. “I got one!”

My sister dashes over and squeals, “It’s huge!”

“I know!” My blueberry makes a very satisfying ping as it hits the bottom of my metal cup.

“You’re not going to eat it?” Addie asks.

“No!  Not until I have a few more.”

Pretty soon both of our cups are pinging back and forth as we find more and more blueberries. The further we explore, the faster we fill our cups.

When the berries start rolling over the rim, I decide I can eat one or two and still win the game. I grab the biggest one and pop it into my mouth. Juicy and plump, sweet and sour, it’s like we’re out here to pick candy!

Addie is on her knees, still picking berries. I run over to her to see what she’s got and I’m not surprised to see her cup is only half full. A blob of blueberry juice stains the corner of her mouth and I know she’s eaten most of her haul.

“You dork,” I laugh.

“They’re so good,” she says.

I don’t need to rub in the fact that I beat her fair and square, so I join her on the ground and pick berries to fill her cup. Every third berry or so, I catch her sneaking another one into her mouth.

With our cups overflowing, we hold the berries in with our hands and take off towards the house. Grandma put a big bowl on the back stairs so we’d have a place to dump our cups. Empty cups in hand, we go back to the sweet spot and pick more berries. We scour the ground from the lakeshore all the way to the neighbor’s house.

Many trips later, Grandma’s bowl is full of beautiful blueberries. My sister giggles as she swipes a handful and stuffs them into her mouth.

“You’re going to get sick!”

“Worth it,” she says, while still chewing.

“Ewww! Your teeth are purple.”

“Really?  Cool!”

The next day, Grandma sets up the kitchen with freshly cleaned mason jars, a large stew pot, wooden spoons, and our bowl of blueberries. We picked so many, the only thing to do is make jam! She gives me the job of rinsing the blueberries, while Addie is in charge of telling us when the “magic mixture” starts to boil.

Grandma and I pick out the shriveled and green berries that somehow got into the bowl until only the best berries remain. We eat a few along the way and laugh every time my sister doesn’t notice.

“The bubbles are here!” Addie announces.

Grandma hands the bowl to Addie and I so we can pour it into the pot. Just as we put the lid in place, a knock sounds at the door. We keep watch over the bubbling blueberries, while Grandma goes to see who it is.

“Hi, Terry. What brings you by?” Grandma asks.

“I was just out berry picking and thought I’d stop and say hello.”

“Well, I’m glad you did. How goes the picking?”

“You know, I can’t seem to find a single berry.”

– – –

c.b.w. 2012

Tags, Awards, and Thanks


During the course of my blogging “career” I’ve been fortunate enough to receive a number of wonderful blog awards from my fellow bloggers.  No matter how many times I see one pop up in my e-mail or in a comment on a post, I’m always so excited to know someone enjoys my blog.

Over the last few weeks, more bloggers have been kind enough to include me on nomination lists. Due to my new shorter blogging schedule, I’ve fallen a bit behind on accepting and passing along blog awards.  I’ve decided my delay has just given me a little longer to be excited about the fact that my blog has made someone smile.

Thanks so much to everyone who has stuck with me as I follow my muse wherever she goes.  You are all amazing and I’m so lucky to count you as readers and fellow bloggers!  Thanks to each of you for passing these awards my way.  To accept my awards, I will be bending the rules a bit (shocker, I know), but I’m still putting the original requirements for anyone who wants to follow the guidelines.

I am so late on accepting this, but many, many thanks to Paula Acton for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Her blog is full of beautiful artwork, musings, and fantastic posts about writing.  My favorite thing about her blog, however, is her quirky sense of humor.

  • Thank and link the individual who nominated you
  • List 7 interesting facts about yourself.
  • Nominate some blogs you love and let them know.

– – –

The Lovely Blogger Award from Debbie Rea Johnston.  I’ve just recently started following Debbie’s blog and its turned out to be a wonderful reading experience!  Be sure to stop by and see what she’s up to.

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
  • Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.
  • Tell them seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
  • Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.

– – –

Liebster Award from Wings of Wonder. This is one of the first blogs I ever followed and it’s still among my favorites.  Between beautiful artwork and posts of creative exploration, I am always inspired by wings of wonder.

  • Thank and link back to the blogger who nominated you
  • List 11 interesting things about yourself
  • Nominate 11 blogs and let them know!

The Very Inspiring Blog Award from The Madame’s Tea Party. A blog full of stories and poems that inhabit a world unlike any other.  I visit daily for a walk on the wild side and a wicked sense of humor.

Seeing as all the above rewards essentially require a list of interesting facts about myself, I’ll combine them with one list of 10 things.

1) Currently, one of my favorite television shows is Grimm.

2) When I grade papers, I use magic markers instead of the traditional red pen.

3) During the Olympics I watched gymnastics, rowing, beach volleyball, swimming, springboard/platform diving, table tennis, badminton, soccer, fencing, and archery.

4) I hate shopping for clothes.

5) I love foreign and independent films.

6) I have five pairs of Converse sneakers (black, gray, blue, green, and pink) and I wear them more than a woman my age should.  They are my favorite kind of shoe!

7) I save all my movie ticket stubs.  They are all pinned to a giant bulletin board in my classroom.

8) I’m letting my hair grow long and I like it better than I thought I would.

9) My favorite non-chocolate snack is crackers with cream cheese.

10) I love the smell of a new box of crayons.

– – –

Blog Tag – Vicki from The View Outside. Techinically I wasn’t tagged (although she did invite), but I thought these questions were so much fun, I had to play along!

1. If you could re-live a moment in your life when would you choose and why?

I would love to relive the day I drank my first Cafe Mocha, mainly because I don’t remember it!  It’s my favorite coffee drink and sometimes I wonder what made me fall in love with it so completely.

2. What is your first happiest memory?

Swimming in the lake at my grandparent’s house in Northern Wisconsin.

3. If you could have dinner with 3 dead historical figures who would you choose?

Jane Austen – I would love to just sit down and talk to her about her stories and what inspired them.

Cleopatra – This woman beguiled everyone around her and continues to cast a spell on historians.  A feisty woman like her would make for interesting conversation.

Frances Willard – I wrote a major research paper on this lesser known suffragist and I admire her greatly.  I would love to experience her personality and learn from her strength.

4. After a long, difficult day, what is your favourite way to unwind?

Either watching a movie off my DVD shelf or spending a few hours in my favorite bookshop with a cup of coffee.

5. What is your favourite singer/band to listen to while writing?

It depends!  Every piece I write has a separate soundtrack.  At the moment, I’m working on Novel #2,which means a mix of Muse, Delerium, and Junip are coming from my iPod.

6. If you sold your novel for 100,000 (dollar/Euro/Pound/etc.) what would you do with your advance?

Pay off my house.

7. What did you want to be when you were little?

I was too busy hanging out in my imaginary worlds to think about anything so serious!  I was 17 years old before I thought about what I wanted to do with my life!

8. What is one thing that you need with you when you write (on your desk, on your body, etc.)?

My iPod.  I can’t write without my playlists.

9. Would you rather write using a computer, typewriter or pen and paper and why?

Both.  When I’m writing longer pieces, I prefer my laptop.  Poetry, however, always starts with pen and paper.

10. What are 3 things that invariably make you smile?

My family, coffee, and being creative.

11. What does your favourite colour remind you of?

My favorite color is green and I think I love it so much because it reminds of the trees in Northern Wisconsin.

– – –

As for nominees, this is where I’m really going to break the rules.  Over the summer, I scattered blog awards to almost every blog I follow on  regular basis.  Aside from the fact that I’ve accepted most of these awards previously, there’s the reality that If I tag all of them again, I might be classified as a blog stalker! Therefore, in honor of the London Olympics coming to an end last week, I’ve decided anyone who has commented on a Sunday in London post is nominated for any all awards listed above.  Thanks so much to all of you for following and commenting on a series that means so much to me.

– – –

c.b.w. 2012