Monday, January 5, 2015

Where's the Snow

I wrote this Saturday while the rain poured at our house.  It was gray and dreary.  I thought I'd save it to post later in the week, but it sounds like snow is coming tonight so I better post it now.

Where's the Snow?

Where
is the gentle
snow
floating,
drifting,
painting the brown
a clean
crisp
white?

Where
is the snow
reflecting the sun
making the gray
brighter,
glistening,
sparkling
for all to see?

Instead
the cold rain
drops to the ground
making the gray
grayer
making the brown
browner
as it pings
gently on the window
a cold
hello.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Yesterdays and Tomorrows

Yesterday was Poetry Friday (stop by The Miss Rumphius Effect for a look), but a poem didn't come yesterday.  Sometimes words don't find us when we hope they will.  This morning, as I read Carol Varsalona's blog, Ringing in the New Year with a Look Back and Look Forward, and considered "looking back - looking forward" I found these words --- and then a poem.   Thanks, Carol, for the inspiration.  

Yesterdays and Tomorrows

Looking back
quiet glimpses
of moments.

Memories
of yesterdays
carefully tucked inside
until
a song,
a smell,
a sound,
remind me.
Then I return
to places
visited,
to friends
loved,
to family
lost,
to food
savored,
to conversations
etched
in my heart.

Ahead
possibilities
of tomorrows:
roads
yet to be walked,
stories
yet to be lived,
moments
yet to be touched,
as I hold
today
in my hand.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2015



  

My One Little Word for 2014 was DISCOVER:  new restaurants (Dirty Franks, Kaya, Wolf's Ridge, Natalie's, Westies Gastropub, Le Chocoholique), books (a few favorites of 2014:  Rump, The Meaning of Maggie, What Do You Do with an Idea, Happy, A Snicker of Magic, One for the Murphys --- oh, I give up --- loved them all!), fantasy sports (and a baseball championship win), coffee, coffee, lots of coffee, cities (Las Vegas, Chicago, National Harbor), hobbies (herb gardening, photo journaling [take 2]), friends (old [class reunion --- so much fun!] and new)

Friday, January 2, 2015

My One Little Word (Phrase): Be BRAVE

"Take risks:  if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise."  -unknown 

It's 2015!  Really.  Can you believe it?

For the last few days I have tried to stay off of social media while I decided whether or not I was going to have One Little Word, an idea inspired by Ali Edwards, to shape my year.  Do I really want one more thing to think about?  Does it really make a difference?

Then I started to read Let's All Be Brave:  Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie F. Downs.  In it Annie asserts, "I'm going to ask you to be brave too, even if you, like me, don't take to it naturally.  I'm here to ask you to please do that thing in your heart that scares you to death."

In June of 2014 I was on my discovery journey when Brenda Power gave the book, A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger, to writers at a Choice Literacy writing retreat.  Then she asked us to find our own beautiful question.  I was a little surprised when my pen wrote, "What would I do if I wasn't afraid?"

This year, I want to be brave.  I've decided one word just doesn't work for me so I will be using the phrase "Be BRAVE" to guide my year.  I wanted my word be actionable so I have determined what it means to be brave using the letters and created this video for when I get a little worried about the next step:



Here's to being brave and a brand new year!  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Enough


It's Poetry Friday!  Today's event is hosted at Anastasia Suen's Blog.


Enough

sometimes
it is enough
to just sit
listening
to silence

enough
to notice
the rain
gently
falling

enough
to wait
for nothing
in particular

sometimes
it is enough
to
just
be

© Cathy L. Mere

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Slice of Life: Finding the Time to Write

It's Tuesday!  Today is the Slice of Life Challenge.  I'm so grateful to the writers in this community for their continued support, inspiration, and friendship.  You can stop by Two Writing Teachers to join the conversation and discover links to the stories shared.  

Recently I was speaking at a conference with a couple of my writing friends about our transitions into the world of digital writing.  As I talked to the group about the challenges writers face, one woman raised her hand.  She said what many of us have said before, "It's hard to find the time to write."  What caught my attention about this writer sitting in the audience wasn't that she had been diligently taking notes or the way she nodded as others shared or the fact that she mentioned time, it was the way she said it.  There was something about her tone.  Something about the way her shoulders slumped forward as she said it.  Something about the sadness in her eyes.  Something about the sincerity in her plea.

As I continued to speak to the group, I just couldn't take my mind off her.  You see, like her, I wrestle with time.  We all do.  It's hard to sit down at the end of a long day and write.  It's hard to train myself to stop the moment an idea comes to mind and start to scratch it out on paper or type it into my device.  It's hard to get up early enough to write before the day's responsibilities take over my thinking.  Most of all, it's hard to trust my fingers to find the words.  Writing is hard.  It's really hard.

Stories slip through our fingers because of time, but also because we sometimes talk ourselves out of an idea before it even gets to begin.  Maybe I'm always a little envious of the painter who can paint a picture so it feels like you are there.  The way the artist captures the color, the shape, the feeling of a place or a moment.  I'm always a little jealous of the photographer who can snap a picture that somehow speaks to my heart and soul or the writer who can find the words to wrap me inside a story.

If I am to be honest, sometimes I'm a little frustrated by inability to find the words to tell my own story.  Yet, if I give myself permission to take the time to find the picture or write the smallest bit of words, I begin to discover the trail of a story that might otherwise have been forgotten.  Maybe someday I can get back to that story and paint the words with a little more detail or with a little more perspective.

When I drive through towns with houses peppering the busy streets or fly over cities with lights shining toward the sky, I can't help but wonder about the stories just slipping away in the day to day busyness of our lives.  I can almost picture them creeping up into the clouds, the thickness of the story turning to a thin vapor before it disappears forever.

When I think about the writer in the audience that day I hope somehow she found comfort in our conversation.  I hope she is fortunate to find a writing community to hold her up and help her move forward.  As I looked at her that day, and then over at all of the people I have come to know through digital writing in this Slice of Life community, I wanted to pause to introduce them to each other.  I hope she finds a community to help her push through one word at a time.  I hope she finds the time and the determination to find her story.  Maybe that's all that really matters.  Maybe it only matters that we're here and we find our stories.

"So I dip by toe into the stream.  I feel the rush of words there.  Words that are like a thousand silvery minnows, below the surface, rushing by.  If I don't capture them, they will be lost."  Still Writing:  The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life  ------ by Dani Shapiro  (Thanks, Stacey, for the recommendation)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Poetry Friday: Yesterday and Today

It's Poetry Friday!  Stop by Carol Wilcox's blog:  Carol's Corner for more poetry!  


Yesterday and Today
The plate
rests in her hands;
Mom leans against the doorway.

Suddenly I see my grandma
sitting in her kitchen
the large box she has been waiting for
resting near her.

She has been saving for a long time,
waiting for these dishes,
ordered from the Sears Roebuck catalog,
to arrive.

Mom unknowingly
turns the plate in her hands
thinking back to the day.

Grandma unwraps them one by one,
a tear of joy escapes
from the grandma
that knew what it was like to need.

The grandma who lived through the depression,
decades later telling the story
of the delight of a slice of bologna
given to her by her grandparents.  

Mom pauses for a moment
lost in the memory
of long ago.

Grandma unwraps each piece,
the grandma who saved foil,
the grandma who reused containers,
the grandma who carefully portioned meals.

She has waited for this day.
She places the dishes around the table
as she brings the meal she prepared
to those she loved.  

Mom places the dishes around the table
as she brings the meal she prepared
for those she loves.

Connecting our stories.
The then.
The now.
The memories.
The love.

© Cathy L. Mere, 2014







Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Slice of Life: A Man of Honor

It's Tuesday so stop by Two Writing Teachers to join tonight's link-up and conversation.  There's something about moving from blog to blog to savor the little stories that make us smile.  

"Blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood."                 --- Garth Brooks:  Thicker Than Blood

On this Veterans' Day we honor the men and women who have served for our country; those people who believed in freedom and helped us to live as we do today.  Of course, behind all of those who served in uniform there are other stories.  Sometimes the story of a hero is beyond the battlefield.  Sometimes the story of a hero is built over years of making a difference in other ways.  This is the story of my grandfather who, not only served his country, but taught us all what it means to live to make a difference.

Many years ago my grandma, a widow with two small boys, married this man.  Who would have known that this one decision would shape so many events that would follow?  He worked hard for his family.  He eventually landed a good job with a progressive company.  This job helped him to raise three boys into adulthood.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with Grandpa and Grandma.  Grandpa would come home from work, sit down in his chair, and relax a bit before dinner.  He was the king of keeping me occupied.  He always had a puzzle nearby we should try to puzzle out.  He'd play a game of Kerplunk or a few hands of Cribbage.  He taught me to play chess though I rarely was able to win.  He would endlessly keep his eye on his watch while I would try to increase the amount of time I could stand unwavering on one leg.  As I've grown older I've realized he apparently was wise in ways to calm a child.

Grandpa kept the best stash of treats.  Grandma always had plenty of food for us at her house.  She made graham cracker sandwiches with homemade icing.  She kept a fruit drawer full of tangerines and apples.  She canned applesauce and peaches.  She bought milk from the farm with the frothy layer of cream resting at the top of the jug.  Though she had all of these treats always ready, nothing was as tasty as Grandpa's bag of Keebler Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or a dish of his vanilla ice-cream.

As I got older I learned of the stories that went along with this man.  I learned about his mother who died when he was much too young.  I learned of his service to our country testing planes before they would go into battle, putting them into a dive and hoping they would come out.  I learned about how he had met my grandmother after her first husband had died in Iwo Jima during World War II.  I learned of the work he did with his company and was amazed as I started working with computers to realize all he knew about programming.  I never saw him give up and he was always one to do the right thing.

Many years later my children would go over to my grandparent's house.  My grandpa would occupy them with games.  He would take them to preschool or pick them up from school when they needed a ride.  They'd hang out with Grandma and him often.  They'd eat his snacks and my youngest, to the shock of the entire family, would steal his chair.

Stories of heroes are often told about the battlefield, but sometimes the real stories are wrapped deep inside our hearts.  They are the stories that shaped our lives and made us who we are today.  I know I am who I am today thanks to the love and hard work of this man.  My grandfather, a man of honor and integrity, is in many ways responsible for where we all are today.