Thomas Aubrey Hill Prewitt: A Found Poem

When all of my friends and loved ones exuberated at the birth of my grandbaby, I saved their words and found a poem. The words are now tucked in a handmade book to be delivered tomorrow. Here they are: Thomas Aubrey Hill Prewitt: A Found Poem Babies take their own time coming into our world wander around New Orleans, people pretend not to notice holding...

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They Say Things Don’t Matter

Bigmama was there, because I used the dessert plates she gave me. Washing up afterwards, I turned them over and there on the tape on the back was her cursive: “Ellen.” Hers, too, were the ice cream dishes that held cranberry sauce, pickles, and jam; we had jam because Bigmama always had jelly or jam for any formal meal. My younger...

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Creative Synthesis: The Guards and Compassion

I was upset, because my friend had been admitted—not his idea—to a mental health facility for evaluation. I was nervous because I’d never been to a mental hospital before. (Yes, I’d painted the lobby at Whitfield for the Junior League, but this was a whole different ballgame.) Finally, I was frightened because it was two days after Halloween...

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Creative Synthesis: Slop and New Life

Anyone who thinks loving the earth is beautiful has never kept a compost bucket. Squishy pumpkin guts. Black coffee grounds. Gobs of gooey matter whose origin as food is no longer discernible. We load the bucket into the back of the pickup truck and ride to Binghampton where we lift the lid of this paint bucket that we’ve fancied-up by calling...

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Creative Synthesis: Mummies and Ginkgos

I went for the mummies hanging in the trees. What I found were the ginkgos. The yard had won “Best Overall” for its eerie bodies wrapped in spidery cocoons swaying from tree branches. I wanted my husband to see it, simply because it was spectacular. I’m more a fool for Halloween than he is, but those upside-down bodies! When we turned and left...

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i.e., What would a Writer Do?

I am now doing an exercise I can’t spell. Pilates, I think, which sounds so exotic (another word I can’t spell). No big deal, except, as a writer, I’d like to know the word for what I’m doing. “As a writer”—same reason it galls me when I end up pawing through my pocketbook searching for the nonexistent pen....

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The Order of Our Universe

My husband thought I was going to leave him because I learned how to turn on the TV. Friday night, he was late coming home from work, and the seventh game of the World Series was starting—I was motivated. Two controls is one more than I can handle (I’ve learned not to look for an “on” button) but when he came through the door, there I was, watching...

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Odd Creatures in Your House

The Table My cousin, a psychologist, was visiting me in Memphis. He walked from room to room. Finally, he turned to me and said, “You have all these odd creatures in your house.” Wonder what he’d think of me now? But Halloween demands a certain amount of dementedness, don’t you think? This eyeball walks. That’s Elvis...

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You Will Offend Everyone but Terrorists

Give people a story that echoes with familiarity yet rings brand new. I had that thought several days ago, which was followed yesterday by this quote from Harding Davis courtesy of A.Word.A.Day (which I love): “The secret of good writing is to say an old thing in a new way or a new thing in an old way.” I love the old echo. I also...

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