the bleeding

there’s a distant sorta ‘I’m still sleepy even though I been up for 6 hours’ kinda look on the faces of four or five generations in photos

I’m here but just barely

eyes sort of lazy, floating around

hair a mess

few pounds too many

I’m getting by

getting by

and I ache because I know I’m just as guilty as the first one

zoning out, just existing

getting by

we’re not supposed to just get by

but we’re grateful to do so

done with one and on to the next


they start with the booze at about 12

it’s funny

and it’s for now

until it’s routine

and it’s a vehicle

and it’s a one-car crash into a brick wall

the bricks are made from crushed and condensed too-late-Saturday-night and income tax times and ‘if I can just make it to pay day’

the dentist

and groceries

and how overdue can the car be before they actually pick it up and take it away?

how many times do we have to have this conversation over the course of 20 years before someone finally calls a spade a spade?

resistance is rueful


I can’t look at old pictures

I see the girl in baggy clothes

bad dye job



sitting in a crowded room, smiling, laughing, joking



in so much pain



help me!


knows how to please everyone except herself

she won at life and she’s still losing because yesterday’s unwanted visitors keep hanging around the house, even when its empty and there’s nothing to do but pace or sit on the spare bedroom floor until that becomes boring so she gets up and moves to the other bedroom floor, shuts the door, home alone, knees tucked up, just staring

half the time she’s still waiting for the monster to plow through the door and start wailing on her

she sobbed the first time someone called her a ‘bitch’, completely and totally heartbroken


help me help you so we can both stop drowning

I can’t help you because I’m the drowning anchor


drowning trying to save you

I cannot save myself


every time I see a pretty smile plastered over the mouth of a sad-eyed person,

I start spitting out cheesy knock-knock jokes and antidotes



another cliche

the cute clown

court jester

I promise to say the right thing if you promise to say anything

please don’t be sad

at least not in quiet

be sad out loud

I promise I won’t ask you to not to

I’ll be sad with you if I have to

just don’t do it in quiet


you can not make me stop knowing what I know


5 in the morning and the roof still needs fixing

I hate the water stains

and the buckets and pots

and reminder that there’s something else in line to be done


at least a dozen times in two years I’ve sat in a chair in the dark, listening to the drip hit the bucket, thinking, the first time it rains after we finally get that thing fixed, I’ll break down and sob


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NoChips Earns her Name

Ever open a bag of chips and look in and there’s exactly two whole chips and one broken one and the rest of the bag is empty, and you can’t even be mad because it’s just so ridiculously funny, so you double of laughing like a mad woman, in traffic, brakes squealing, exhaust swirling, speakers booming, peopling gawking until they double-check their door locks and go back to staring straight ahead, stiff posture, eyes wide?

Me either.

Just asking.

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Our Sum Total is Greater Than Our Parts

I’ve been studying up on Zelda Fitzgerald for about a week now. I’m watching “Z, the Beginning of Everything” on Amazon. Yesterday, I started listening to Zelda’s book Save me the Waltz, too.

What a mess her relationship with her husband was. They were both writers, but he was supposed to be the ‘real’ one. She was the flake of a failure in Scott’s own words, ‘third-rate ballet dancer, third-rate writer’. And BTW, ouch, if that’s how your number one fan in life describes you, who needs enemies?!

Did she plagiarize his idea of plagiarizing her life? He USED HER JOURNAL for Pete’s sake! And after all those years of being his muse, she got her own book published and he couldn’t even be happy for her? Why couldn’t he just let her have her book? Warts and all, at least it was a success in her own right. The reviews from the critics were harsh, but something tells me if just her own husband would have been happy for her…

Index card notes, so far? She spent too much money. They were both vain and messy. Partied to the point of destruction. Caused mayhem everyplace they went. Had affairs and then possibly made up affairs for conflict and drama. Oh, and Zelda hated Hemingway because she was dead-set he was homosexual and having a secret affair with her husband. :O

I’m 6 episodes in with the TV series. One entire paperback. Half of an audiobook. And through with the planning of a visit to the museum in Montgomery…and I still can’t decide if these ridiculous people are worthy of my attention or not. What a mess. 🙂


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I fought with a screw for ten minutes before I realized the drill wasn’t in reverse.Not the first time. Won’t be the last. 😉

My pawpaw used to let me help him take old junk apart for scrap. One afternoon, in particular, I remember like a picture-perfect postcard.

I squinted down with wobbly noodle arms, parked the bit just about in place and squeezed the trigger for dear life. He had the mild heartburn expression thing going on.  “Don’t strip the–” Too late.

Hey, in my defense, if you know I can’t handle and harness all the power of the power tool, why pass it to me in the first place? Huh? 😉

Sidebar, if you’ve never been a homeowner and you’re thinking about making your first home out of a foreclosure that’s been sitting empty for quite a few years and ‘oh how fun, we’ll make it pretty’, just settle in for a rest-of-your-life kinda project. It ain’t pretty and it keeps you busy…and sometimes it seems like there’s never any real progress. But back to the ‘it keeps you busy’ part.

I was working on my painting this afternoon, thinking about just how much I hate painting walls and just how much of my adult life I’ve spent doing just that sort of thing. I like doing around the house things, really. Cleaning. Patching up. I even got my own little tool bag so I don’t have to use my husband’s.

As corny as it sounds, for all of the complaining I’ve done over the years, about this dumpy place and trashy neighborhood, I’m grateful to my core for it. Besides all that roof over my head, keeps me warm, a place of my own stuff, taking care of this place has kept me busy and focused when otherwise, I might have had enough free time to become bored. I am of the understanding that bored people sometimes do destructive things. Who am I kidding? Bored people exasperate me–but that’s a whole other post.

My point? I don’t have one.

For the record, though, I would like to say (I have found)  sometimes the best medicine for what ails (depending of course on the affliction)  a person is to just find something helpful and useful to do and simply do it, as best you can. Work your way out of a funk. Work your way out of your head. Work your way out of your own way. Work your way out of the past and into the future. Just work…toward something better and nicer and…something.

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the blade

painting my living room at 3 in the morning

perhaps the cold medicine worked too well

Bree was my favorite Desperate Housewife

she was prim and proper and so completely composed that even when she lost her mind she did so with a certain sort of poise and grace, calmly coming undone, politely telling someone to go fly a kite, ranting and raving about what an ungrateful brat Freud must have been toward his own mother, while she sewed her marriage counselor’s button back on his jacket–when she was done, the therapist looked a bit uneasy and mentioned that some of Freud’s findings had been proven somewhat faulty

 it’s hard not to love someone when her biggest flaw is that she cares and loves, sometimes, a bit too much

sad that when we’re children there’s no such thing as too nice to each other, but as adults, the second we’re overly warm or friendly, no matter if for the purest of all reasons, other people scramble to make something twisted, ugly, or perverted out of it

no matter

I do it anyway

I won’t live a life plagued by ulterior motives and paranoia

a few months back, I was on the phone with my younger cousin

20ish now

she was always full of giggles and big ideas

when she was a toddler, she couldn’t say my name and somehow Nicole became N.E. Code.

It was precious

she is grown up and we are not as close anymore

we were texting

I’m sad for no reason, she said

it has been my experience that there’s always a reason whether you know what it is or not…sometimes we decide it is ‘no reason’ when really, we know the reason but we also know that the reason isn’t reason enough for other people to accept it

I’m not Dr. Phil

I just think, to kill the time

I love you, she said

I think about this conversation now and then

about when she was too little to pronounce my name

about one time when she was 10 and she thought I was mad at her and she actually cried because of it and then I cried because I felt like I had broken her little heart, even on accident

girls are kind of silly in the way that we care too much sometimes, I think, but I would rather care too much than too little, I have decided

I was painting the living room earlier and I thought about her and our text conversation

it was good enough because it ended on an ‘I love you’

and I sometimes think about one day when she gets the call or text or reads the newspaper obit. that says that I’m gone, when she scales back through her memories of me and of our conversations, will she remember that one especially, the one which ended in ‘I love you’

I hope so

I hope she remembers I love her and that she mentioned she was in some sort of pain and that I told her to call or message me anytime if she wanted to talk and that I did not make light of or question whether or not her pain was legit–I say this because I hope she surrounds herself with people who say things like ‘i love you’ and ‘i care that you’re sad’ and that they mean it

she deserves that

I’m sad to say it feels odd to say, but I want to say that all people deserve that

 I guess it’s weird to just love people by default

but it feels so much easier than the alternative

and when did it become so okay to flip someone the preverbal bird and laugh at their struggle, suck it up, grow up, blah blah blah and pass the clicker?!

when I worked at Sonic, back when they played old school music, there was this song, Peter & Gordon, my friend Nicki, a college student and go-go dancer would walk around blissfully singing…

I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay in a world without love

so random but so entertaining

and to this day, that’s the only line (of the song) I even know

here endeth the sermon, for now

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don’t happen twice

I sat on the floor of my little box of a childhood bedroom writing stories and listening to the same Kenny Chesney album on repeat for a month of July Sundays. Sticky-hot. Noise outside. Slamming doors. Ink-peppered fingers.

I knew every word to every single song. Each one told its own story. They played out in my head while I made up my tales.

A couple of years later, I got to go to the concert. Big deal? HUGE deal.

Speakers the size of buildings thumping. Giant air-filled balls bouncing in the air, off fingertips and heads. Flashing lights. Thousands of people, swaying, screaming, singing every word.

My ears were ringing the next day. I felt the speaker vibrations in my toes and fingers. Cigarette smoke. Parking lot bootleg souvenir T-shirt. Too overwhelmingly life-altering to describe.

I hate concerts. Too many people in too-close proximity. A headache. Too expensive. Parking lot traffic jam. Drunk people. Next day hoarse voice. You have to drive way too far to get to the venue…

But the memory, what it was like, going from sitting in my little bedroom all alone with that CD to being at the amphitheater packed full with blissfully excited, alike-in-at-least-one-way people. Hearing all my favorite songs, live and in-person. Every single lyric amplified. Was awesome. Is forever.

#kennychesney #donthappentwice #nowplaying

#kennychesney #thatswhyimhere #nowplaying

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family matters

It was almost midnight

and he was drinking

she left and he can’t believe she’s really staying gone this time

he is funny and goofy and everyone loves to love him until the rage takes over

day and night, Easter Sunday and severe weather please take cover NOW

there is the drinking and then there is the next day

it all loops like a stupid rerun of your least favorite episode of your least favorite show on the only channel you can pick up in most weather

when cutting the television off isn’t enough, you get up and go outside and stand in the rain, thunder and flash lightning, even the dog and cat are hiding away somewhere,  nervously waiting it out


he does this

same woman different weekend

until jail time or divine intervention interrupts

everyone else stands by

when the phone rings and it’s late and you haven’t heard from him for a while, you know

this isn’t how you love someone, I say, my voice tiny and mousy, in between ‘that bitch’ and ‘I just don’t understand’, deaf ears

they think I’m crazy, he says, everyone

you’re not crazy, you’re hurt and in a bad place, I whimper

but I can’t help him


he’s done everything humanly possible to inspire me to not want to love him…and I love him anyhow

he speaks about our least common factor

I hate him, I feel sorry for him, he says

I do not know him, I say

he doesn’t hear me

I do not save my breath

it is a lost effort, not a lost cause

I insist

I still insist

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things that people say

Gulf Shores, November 2017

First off, I would like to apologize for saying an ugly word. It’s not that I never say ugly words. It’s just that taking the time to put one in print feels a bit ruder than just blurting it out in casual conversation. I mean, in casual conversation, there’s no backspace or fingers dancing over the keyboard while you do the back and forth in your head trying to decide. When you put it on paper even after you’ve had ample opportunity to not to, saying the word seems a lot more like an actual decision you’ve made than just something that sort of happened, right? All this fuss and it’s only introductory…

I would like to officially state that I am of the belief that ‘shit happens’ isn’t actually a rite and true explanation for things–for anything. Like you can’t just wap a guy over the head with a cast iron skillet and shrug and explain it away with, “You know. Shit happens.” Right? If an interstate overpass collapses and people die and it’s all over the news, people want answers. They demand answers! Right?! Imagine Diane Sawyer with her pretty blond bob just sitting behind the big wooden desk in her blazer and big rose broach just smiling all pleasant and proper and slinging her head back and laughing, “Well. Shit happens, I guess.”

I’m already realizing this isn’t my most eloquent posting, but the less I blog the more I realize that casual blogging is very good (no pressure) exercise for the important stuff (to come later), and the less I write for exercise, the worse the important writing turns out, if that makes sense. So, you know what this means, dear reader? You (sir or madam) are my guinea pig.

I’m sure I had a point when I started this post.


Maybe not.

Week two of my at home vacation officially kicks off in two hours.

Until next time.

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this mix could burn a hole in anyone

photo taken at Fort Morgan, last week of November 2017

Beware and Be Warned! This is a long and winding post with no point. I am out of practice and out of my mind (hehe). So forge ahead if you dare, but you might want to pop a Dramamine and some Advil right quick. Here goes!

This week, Dawson Leery popped out of the archives and whopped me over the head with the truth. I would share the episode, but honestly, it wasn’t a good episode at all. It’s just that there were moments. Two things.

  1. Dawson’s father had just passed and he was desperately wishing for things to go back to ‘normal’ again. So he decides to direct a film he’s been offered to help with. First off, he really dislikes the writer and the script. The actors are all wrong and the ending is terrible. Anyhow, they make the movie and he makes the most of it. When the time comes to show the film to a small group of family, friends, and a single local professional movie critic, Dawson is apprehensive. They have a quick conversation pre-screening. “I don’t think it’s ready,” he tells the critic. “The film’s ready,” she says. “You’re not ready.” Anyhow, she explains how she thinks the reason he feels the film is ‘not done’ is because he is ‘not done’ and he maybe never will be–because that’s life and he’s growing up and just getting started making and sharing his art. He will make hundreds of other movies and each one will be a little better and a little better and that’s how it works…
  2. So Dawson gets up before the picture starts rolling to give a little speech. He quickly lists, in an all-too-familiar way (disclaimer time), everything he can think of that’s not right with the movie. Then he thanks everyone for their hard work and says that it’s all okay because the movie will serve as a snapshot of who and what and where they all were at that particular time in their lives, for all of them for the rest of their lives.

So, not that I described the two points above very well, but…I would like to point out, in plain English, no doubt, several things I loved about what was going on in this episode.

  • Dawson was in pain and struggling with devastatingly sober reality  (his happy place was too far away to visit) so what does he do? He reaches for his art. He accepts the chance to get active creatively, even though the project he’s offered isn’t exactly super appealing to him. I relate. I get it. I smiled.
  • Also, the thing about how his movie wasn’t going to be the be-all, end-all of his movie career yet it was time to just show it and let it be…and move on to the next, is exactly how I feel about writing and sharing stories. They are exactly as Dawson described his film–a snapshot of who and where and how right now. Nothing more. Nothing less. And I think that’s okay. If we spent our entire creative lives making and remaking the same book, we’d never ever make it past the first one and that’s a shame when as our own lives change we discover and invent so many other tales and imaginary friends with their new adventures…

Moving on…

I read this quote by Chris Stapleton and it made me smile!

  • I moved to Nashville to be a songwriter. I found out that was a job, that someone would pay you to sit in a room with a guitar and make up songs! It is the greatest job in the world. I wrote three or four songs a day. That’s what I lived for.

I was thinking of the first time I saw him at an awards show. It was the year his big debut album came out and he was getting a lot of press for being so good. Generally, at country music awards all of the other artists go way out of their way to praise and support other artists, but when it came to Chris, everyone was just going insane. I think it was because they all knew him from behind the scenes writing music for other people for so long, they were really excited to see him step into the spotlight and have his talent recognized. Plus, to look at him, he doesn’t look like a typical clean-shaven, skinny jeans wearing cowboy rapper which sadly are the types who get the most attention. He just looks like a cool guy, a normal guy. Then he starts to play and sing and it’s like he’s a hero. Not a shock that people like that. I certainly do.

Chris reminds me of that line in that old George Strait movie, Pure Country. Something like, Just stand there and sing? You think anybody’d buy that? I feel like when guys like Chris just stand there and sing, you have no choice but to hear it. I find that admirable. Scratch that. Magical.

Just words in ink on paper. You think anybody’d read that? 😉

In closing…

My last trip to the gulf was at the end of November. Unplanned. Impromptu. We only had a couple of days, but we haven’t had a proper vacation in years and our little house was feeling even tinier, so we got the cameras and a change of clothes and went south. Funny thing about roadtrips, I almost always decide to just sit at home instead when as it turns out, I really, really, really need a trip more than ever.

Fun thing is, I spent some time with a proof copy of one of my books, a fancy evening clutch filled with budget markers and highlighters and sticky notes…and my friend (Jane). And it was nice! More than nice. Memorable. It was almost as if she was there (sharing my fun and relaxing adventure)  too, which is really cool, considering. This is why I don’t understand why we’ve stopped writing postcards and snailmail letters, most of us (humans). I mean, my penmanship is nothing to brag about, but it was so fun carrying my things around in my tote bag, randomly jotting down notes in between bites at dinner or at traffic lights in the backseat, sitting on the balcony at night in my fuzzy pink grandma socks listening to the waves crash, looking a wreck but feeling all blissed out and brave and peaceful.

So I’ve decided I’m going to start journaling–travel journaling. And next time I send my friend or any of my friends a handwritten letter or scrapbook or what-have-you, I’ll send printed out photos as well! Just like people used to do back when they had the time and money to pay for an envelope and stamp and wait four and a half ages for the carriers to deliver the mail. 🙂 So no matter how far away geographically the person is, I can still spend time with them in spirit, even if they aren’t sitting across the table or in the backseat. It’s a nice thought anyway.

So to wind this thing up, I haven’t been writing much or living in fast-forward, but my heart’s kind of on fire from this crazy cocktail of if not happy place, at least alive place things.

I was thinking. I’m always making nods toward my happy place, but I never thought much about an alive place. And what better way is there to feel, as a human who is alive, than alive? If you ask this girl, I’ve squandered too many alive hours feeling and behaving like a zombie. Enough of that. This is why it’s okay to still binge watch silly teen dramas from the 90’s,  to find that one song that touches your heart and put that sucker on repeat until you simply just don’t want to hear it anymore, or to take to doing old school things that don’t make a lot of sense given technological advances and what not. Whatever feeds that little fire goblin who lives in the middle of your person, I say–feed it, as often as possible, as much as possible.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Works for now anyhow. It’ll do for a rainy Saturday afternoon.


post scriptum: No, I’m not on drugs. 😉 Also, is post scriptum one word or two?

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