Tuesday, December 8, 2020


image of two thoughtful silhouette heads

Fighting back tears, again,

for the thousandth time in this pandemic world--
I think of all the mental health ads I see on a daily basis.
Mostly for meds that have a long list of insidious side effects.
But I’ve cried more this year than in the ten years prior.
The void is still there.

And how hard it was to find someone last year for
my 15-year-old who thought
her being gone forever might be less of a burden
than simply asking for help.
How many weeks and weeks of unreturned phone calls
and searching just to find a doctor, and finally the one we found
sees every conversation through a lens that doesn’t quite fit her…
who seems poised to cause the very problem he strives to fight…
I tell him he has a hammer,
and all of his problems are body-image nails,
but how many won’t argue?
How often does he shove someone into HIS narrow box?

I can say that I’m
really okay. But
everything is balanced on this sharp edge
and some days it cuts and I have to take a moment to collect myself…
maybe more than a moment,
and I think of others who always walk that razor,
who have a darkness inside of them that they fight,
long, exhausted battles that end in a draw, most days.

And I think of 290,000 families in the US alone
who now have an empty place where love should be.
How many more will there be before the year is over?
It is already enough.

How many deep, cleansing breaths can we really take?
How many times do I have to watch a strong woman
be berated for her honest admissions of sorrow, of weariness,
by someone who barely knows her but feels entitled to scold?
Yes, she’s capable of defending herself but why should she have to?

We are all of us breathing, pausing,
in this world, this place that tries to
shove us into the darkness with every hand
and we are holding that breath and fighting back sharp tears.
Always walking that razor edge.  

I want to yell: “stop” and
hold out my hands to pull you up.
But there is no time. No place.
And my heart just hurts.

The poet once wrote “ah love, let us be true to one another!
And yet we still falter, still lie, still reach out to find no help.

When will it be really enough?

KAW Dec 2020

*Image by Benjavisa Ruangvaree, licensed by Adobe Stock, Standard License. Do not reuse. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

What Rough Beast....

I'm slowly dragging myself towards creative writing again... one small slouch at a time. It's gonna take a while, I think, so bear with me. 

I've been thinking about feminist sexytime romance... so much of what we see is humorless, as though feminists are truly not interested in romance. This is letting others define it for us. Which is not good, nope. A lot of the time if you look up "romance" it either shows stereotypical images of woman's likes and dislikes as though we still only dig housework (the idea that feminist love stories are men washing dishes, because sure, that's the only frame of reference we have). I was thinking also about how many women flooded the theaters when Magic Mike (both 1 & 2) came out-- and the types of imagery those very sexy guys used to appeal to women. In the 70s, there was the great debate about sexuality and feminism where a lot of folks argued that heteronormative sexuality and romance was inherently oppressive to women. 

And I disagree. It is if only men write it for us. It is if we write it using the old tropes that were defined hundreds of years ago, only. It doesn't have to be, though. 

I think there's a place for romantic stories that have feminist protagonists-- both male and female. There have been some strides made in popular culture, but it's still the same old romcom tropes of the "ugly girl" who takes off her glasses and suddenly is hot, suddenly loves the difficult guy that she kind of hates, too. (I see you, all Sandra Bullock and Katherine Heigel movies). 

What does feminist romance of a sexy sort look like to you? It's definitely not poorly researched 50 Shades style work, but might include elements that appealed to the people who ate that series up with a spoon. 

I dunno. But I'm thinking a lot about this issue right now, and want to get back to my undead cyborg story. It's just hard shifting from academic teacher-y stuff back to the fun, "for me" stuff.  

Monday, June 29, 2020

Coming Soon

Well the bad news is that the gig I've been doing for the last four years (teaching at a high school in Texas) is over. I loved teaching there and I learned SO MUCH about a lot of things. It was very much a growth opportunity and I am not at all sad to have done it and to have moved on. 

The good news is: this means I have freed up a ton of time to try to get back to the CREATIVE writing. I looked here today at my sad little creative countdown tickers on the right over there and abandoned so many baby stories because my teaching load was just too heavy to keep up the writing. So I'm going to be revisiting the stories that were in-progress, especially Orpheus and the Butterfly, very, very soon. Now that I figured out my passwords and user names for all my old blogs, here we go. :) 

In the meantime, hope if you're still following along you're having a great summer! I realize that the current 2020 lockdown is not great for most people, but I'm trying optimism. At least we have a lot of time to contemplate great plot twists in our fictional worlds. I'm not sure how they can out-pace reality, but I can try.