Lost in the Weeds

Growing up, a point of pride to my parents existed in the empty lot next door to our house. It made our half acre into a whole and to us kids, provided a flat open space to play baseball. A gray boulder, about the size of a breadbox, made up home plate. We spent many summer days playing impromptu games, often with only a pitcher, batter and an infielder. I loved pitching and batting but not so much fielding.

The love of baseball carried on into my adult years and morphed into the idea I could play for our bank employee coed team.  Despite the pressure to hit and the terror of not being able to outrun a ball to first plate, I discovered a new terror on the field.  Being lost in the weeds. Yep. Our brilliant ex-marine captain took one look at me and declared left field. Left field is lonely. It also happened to be choked with thigh-high weeds. Taller people might have overcome and sprinted around like a gazelle leaping away from a pursuing lion. Not me. Those weeds were determined to tie up my feet, take my shoes and pull me down. Fly balls flew by as I landed on my face, spit weed stalks and hoped to disappear in humiliation. The catch-phrase of the game became, “Hit it her way, she can’t get it.” Continue reading


Upside Downside



If there is an upside to downsizing, it is finding little treasures that you had long since forgotten you had. Thus, rummaging through a box of memories one day, I found a tiny book that had completely slipped my mind. (Not a hard thing to do nowadays!). Its has generated many laughs and much conversation.

Insults and Comebacks somehow made it into my box of cards from grandchildren and embroidered hankies from my grandmother. Don’s ask me why. I picked it up, gingerly opened the first page and didn’t stop laughing until I got to the end of the book. I normally do not like insults, and I really don’t like saying nasty things to people, but this was in the anonymity of my home and with no one personal in mind, so I figured it wasn’t hurting anyone. Continue reading

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Beware. The light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. Isn’t that a shame, and here I thought writing the last chapter of my book would be reason for celebration. Seven years have gone into writing the first draft and I’ve given myself until the end of the year to have all the editing done and ready to upload the beast onto Create Space. I am nothing if not optimistic. Continue reading

Is This Cow Porn?

Back when my children were small, I would never have thought to ask this question. We may have been unconscious parents. We did not preview everything we let the girls watch. Then again, media was not the morass it has become. Our parents and we, as parents, had the good old television censorship and politically un-correct guarding our airwaves. Continue reading

Courage—More Than A Seven Letter Word

If you’ve stopped by Paddlecreek before, you know it is the collaboration of four writers. Four very different people who have grown close as they have struggled with the in’s and out’s of this thing we love and, at times, don’t love—writing.

We started out over ten years ago. Over coffee, we  compared styles, asked questions, laughed (alot), and put hundreds of words down on paper. We wrote a “Prompt” each time we got together (back then, we were the Bowler Road Writers) and read it OUT LOUD. That took courage, because writing as fast as we could for 30 minutes and then sharing our thoughts with each other wasn’t always pretty. Continue reading

The Three-Bucket System

Recently I listened to Jeff Goins speak for a Self-Publishing summit. If you don’t know Jeff Goins, he has a blog called Goinswriter.com and is the author of The Art of Work and other books. During the summit, he gave a great idea to keep the cycle of writing moving along.

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Discussing Dialogue

Often we, the Paddle Creek Writers Group, meet at St. Louis Bread Co (called Panera Bread in other areas) to write and chat and eat and pretend we are writing.

This was the case on a recent Thursday afternoon/evening.

Behind me were two young men having a conversation. I could not tear my ears away. Continue reading

7 Things You Should Know About Writers’ Retreats

Here are some things you might not (but should) know about writer’s retreats:

  • Someone (or someones) always forgets something. It is usually a food item. It is usually a food item they committed to bringing for the meal plan for the weekend.
  • The Wi-Fi never works perfectly. Never. It is a rule. Apparently.
  • Something strange happens at the hotel: the staff asks to use the laundry machines in your cabin for someone else’s sheets; you ask for a basic thing like a chair and it takes a half day (if ever) to arrive; there are never enough wash cloths for three women; a creature of one variety or another pays a call; and so on.
  • Non-stop snacking is part of the retreat agenda, albeit unwritten. Clearly writing so long is calorie depleting.
It's embarrassing, really.

It’s embarrassing, really.

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Nothing is impossible

This week I was reading along in Genesis and found this verse, chapter 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” It was asked rhetorically of Sarah when she laughed at the absurd notion of having a baby at her age.

We are familiar with the New Testament version:

But it is not just a New Testament thing. It is a Bible thing. Continue reading