Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: Little Mercies (SPOILER ALERT)

I was unable to finish reading this book, but this is not a negative review.

How's that for confusing.

I read One Breath Away a few months ago. I picked it up because it dealt with a school shooting, and that's what I was writing about at the time. I wanted to see how other writers handled the subject. I liked Heather's writing, so I was happy to see her new book Little Mercies, offered for review. I requested and was granted an e-copy. I immediately began reading.

I knew the book would deal with a hard subject. I don't shy away from the hard stuff. Hence my latest manuscript involving a school shooting. But, I digress. The writing was wonderful. I wanted to know what would happen, how these two lives would eventually converge and change one another.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Currently: Darling Buds of May

Current Books: I am reading Lay it on my Heart by Angela Pneuman, for review with the Amazon Vine program. I like it a lot so far. I'm a sucker for coming of age books set in Kentucky. I'm also reading the Letters of Edna St. Vincent Millay. I call it research, but it's the best kind of fun research. I'm reading Barbies at Communion by Marcus Goodyear in the poetry department. I just finished a volume of Merton and have Mary Oliver by the bed. With the boys, I am finishing a read aloud of Story of the World: Early Modern Times.

Current Playlist: We have been listening to PG Comedy on Pandora. It keeps the boys laughing in the car, and that is way better that fighting.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Binge watching Mad Men. Can I have a wardrobe that's a cross between Betty and Joan?

Current Colors: Our hall bathroom is now gray and white. I love it. In the master bath, we are going with a pale sand color and a sea blue. I'm planning to channel the view of the Dead Sea from Masada. I want to frame some photos for the wall in there.

Current Food: Hubby cooked me breakfast this morning. And Daddy sent me Himalayan Sea Salt. It's pink. Of course, there are plenty of nutritional reasons to eat a complete salt versus a processed salt. Mostly, I like it because when I add salt and pepper to my food now, I think of my Dad and know he was thinking of me. I'm 32 years old and still a Daddy's girl.

Current Drink: Coffee in the morning, water all day, maybe a Starbucks Refresher in the early afternoon if I go out.

Current Favorite Favorite: Vintage. I'm sure this is due to my Mad Men obsession. I'd hate to be a woman in the 60s. I am too non-domestic for that. But I do so love their clothing.

Current Needs: To get my feet back under me since finishing the last draft of my current manuscript. I stumble around blind between writing projects.

Current Triumph: I wrote the book that scared the cuss words out of me. And it's good.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Waiting.

Current Indulgence: We've been eating out a lot lately. It's a habit that starts when I am in the throes of a book. I lose track of time and I cannot plan anything but the plot. Dinner escapes me. It's hard to shake the habit when the book is done.

Current Mood: Out of sorts. I'm happy but restless.

Current #1 Blessing: My husband. And his father. Bert drove down from TN and helped Corey put in the posts for a new privacy fence. The old one was badly constructed. They used the wrong wood for the posts and didn't even cement them in. It was falling apart left and right. Bert left on Thursday and Corey and the boys finished putting up the panels of fencing. Now, my backyard is enclosed again. The dog can no longer escape, and it looks gorgeous.

Current Outfit: I found a pair of Lucky Brand jeans at the thrift store for $5. And they're a size 4. WOOT! I'm within 10 pounds of my pre-baby weight. I haven't been this thin in almost ten years.

Current Quote: "I am like the Ancient Mariner, who had a tale in his heart he must unfold to all." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

Current Photo:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunday Poem: Chainsaw

This started as a Sunday Poem, but really
it's just the truth.

My husband taught me something new
just after the tornado ripped through Tupelo.

He taught me something new
I thought I knew,
but I only sort of
understood it as truth.

Love shows up
with a chainsaw.

Love is not soft. It does not purr
like kittens or waft over skin
like silk…

Those things are comfort, yes.
They are security and hope and joy,
but not love.

Love shows up
with a chainsaw
when the sky is still dark
and the wind is still blowing.

Love does not wait
for the clouds to calm
and the storm to settle
away from him.

Love just comes.

A voice says,
I am scared,
and Love shows up.

Love shows up in blue jeans and
tennis shoes,
with a chainsaw
and two by fours,
with blue tarps 
and sweat.

I've written an entire novel
about the aftermath of one tornado,
but sitting in my home,
experiencing another,
my husband taught me what I should have already

shows up.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Thousand Words

A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

I've heard that so many times. And I always thought it was true.

Often it is true. There are some iconic photos out there that speak volumes, images that exist as poetry for the eyes. They tell a story.

This week, I learned that it's just as often untrue. Sometimes, no picture does it justice, but words come close.

I saw a billion photos of the destruction of my town. I have looked at leveled buildings and aerial views and even videos. They did not prepare me for seeing the wreckage first hand.

Last night, I chaperoned a small group of teens serving a meal in one of the destroyed neighborhoods. Driving into the church parking lot gave me a vision I was not prepared for. I'd seen photos, photos of that exact location. I thought I knew what had happened. I thought I knew what to expect.

I was wrong.

As I turned onto Country Club Road, my whole chest heaved. I swallowed my own heart. I sobbed on my steering wheel.

Hours later, leaving that same lot, I faced the view again. And I cried again. I looked up at the skeleton of a steeple left on Saint Luke United Methodist and I thought about my book. If you're new to my blog, the novel I mean is about a tornado ripping through a small town in Mississippi. I told my sons, "I feel like I've been dropped into my own story."

That's when I realized the truth.

Words sometimes mean more than a picture. With words, I can tell you not just what I see but how I see it. A picture may capture that one demolished house or even a panoramic view of the street, but a picture doesn't tell you what memories I have there. A picture won't tell you that I stood in a driveway by that church one week ago, and I thought how cute the neighborhood is. A picture can't tell you how I considered buying in that neighborhood, three years ago, how in love with the area I was.

A picture can't tell you how it feels to see friends, church members and neighbors, trailing into the battered church gym in their work clothes, faces a mix of laughter-through-tears and utter emptiness. Even if I took a photo of those faces, do you know their hearts? Have you seen how carefree they looked three days ago?

Sometimes, it takes words, it takes stories, it takes memory and experience.

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes…

Sometimes, a thousand words will never be enough.


*Take a moment to read a friend's story from working recover in Arkansas. It's worth your time: The Joy of a Donut.

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