Now What

Poetry, rather writing, has framed my life as long as I can remember.

As a ten-year-old, I wandered around the neighborhood trying to “sell” my hand-scratched newspapers. Though I never kept a diary or journal regularly, I found myself turning to writing when I needed to figure out what I was thinking. Going through a divorce meant writing my way through it. And then when life became complicated and painful, I turned to poetry.

Having just completed a meaningful poetry/photography project with friend Donna Hopkins about family and aging, I find myself without a plan for my writing. That means putting pen to paper in whatever way feels good– like sketching! I’ve learned to let go of perfection- like the yellow sky in the sketch here that drips into where the water should be. Or the published poetry that should be in a different form. It’s the process, I’ve learned, that matters.

Wherever I am in my life (and whoever I am), I’ve discovered I need to create. I don’t like to cook or garden, but give me a pen and I’m content.

Czesław Miłosz once wrote:

The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, 
and invisible guests come in and out at will

I Want to be Alone

I’ve finally established a fairly good morning routine. Gentle, peaceful, quiet.

But what I’ve realized it this: I really like it because I am alone.

I wake slowly and drink my coffee. The I do my pilates exercises on the reformer while listening to a podcast. Next, I move to my chair where I journal or work on poetry, and finally I meditate. I do this in the room I transformed from my letterpress studio to a “room of my own.”

I am by myself. And it feels fine.

Here’s the science from an article by Jenn Grannemann:

introverts are more sensitive than extroverts to dopamine. As a result, introverts simply need less of it to feel its pleasant effects. Too much dopamine, and introverts get overstimulated, according to Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, in her 2002 book, The Introvert Advantage. ….. Interestingly, Laney writes, introverts may prefer to use a slightly different brain pathway, one that is activated by acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter tied to long-term memory, perceptual learning, and the ability to stay calm and alert, among other things. Introverts may enjoy spending time alone in part because of acetylcholine; according to Laney, this chemical may produce a happy feeling for introverts when they’re quietly reflecting, concentrating, or turned inward.

I am happiest when I am reflecting, either on paper or by sitting quietly and thinking. Even now as I write this blog post, I am content and filled with joy.

As we age, it’s important not to give up socializing. I do like my friends! I know my brain is also healthier when I see people. My goal is to find a good balance as we come out of this pandemic.

Greta and I could have been friends.

The Sky Late



I love the sky late in the day. Here, I caught the sun lighting up the trees on the river bridge behind the studio. Often the clouds melt into pink cotton candy. And then there’s the teal blue water reflecting off the setting sun at Turks and Caicos.

It’s my favorite time of the day, especially when I’m alone or deep in thought. Annie Dillard says, “Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”


What’s It All About, Alfie?

IMG_0823Egads, I’m dating myself with that headline. Ok, I was in high school when the movie came out in 1966.

But it’s a question I am asking myself often these days. What am I doing with all this letterpress equipment? When I first took classes last year, I fell in love with the tactile art of letterpress, the slowing down as I manipulated type and paper. I knew I had to have a press.

Now I have two. And 100 lbs of metal type, two trays of wood type (incomplete), furniture, a Boxcar base and assorted paraphernalia. The press equipment has almost taken over my writing studio. But I’m drawn to it like my cat to its fuzzy toy.

My friend, Emily, asked me an appropriate question before I bought my Pearl. “What do you want to do with it?” she asked. The answer would determine what kind and whether I bought a second press- well, that, and the fact that our studio is on the second floor so weight had to play a part in my purchase!

I thought back to a few months ago, shortly after I printed my first card. Someone saw it and asked if I could create 30 cards as gifts for volunteers for our Main Street organization. When I finished, I knew I wanted to continue creating prints. Now, I sell some in our studio, and I’m working on setting up an Etsy shop. I may take some cards and posters around town to local bookstores and gift shops to see if they are interested in selling them as well. Some are of my favorite quotes by authors and philosophers; other prints are geared toward holidays.

I know what I DON’T want to do–weddings! As much as I like fooling around with Adobe Illustrator, I realize how much of a control freak I am about my own work. As one of my teachers printed on a poster: “I want to make beautiful things even if no one cares.”

So I spend my days getting my hands full of ink, moving type around in the chase, and creating cards and posters that I love. I discovered early on that I’d need to find the right audience for my poetry. It will be the same with printing. Not everyone will love everything you do. If you don’t create for yourself, you’ll wrap yourself in expectations and get frustrated.

However it ends up, I am loving this journey of self-discovery!


Playing with my creative side. That’s the excuse I use when I change the theme of my blog.

It doesn’t matter though, really. This blog has lost any semblance of organization and consistency. It has become my place to collect, think, and dream. About what’s next.

Downtown Writing Studio. That may be the name I choose for what seems to be rolling around in my head as a potential way to do what I love to do. A place for middlers (ages 10 to 14?) to work on their writing. A place for those who think they can’t and those who know they have to. I’m envisioning small groups, reading clubs, day-long workshops? First around my dining room table and next in a comfy, warm space downtown. Maybe a nonprofit eventually?