Still I Stand

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I forgave. Everything.
I thought I expected nothing in return.
But acceptance and respect I have never received.
The dismissing, the mocking, the insults remain.
These things you feel I deserve.
I am not a joke.
I am a human being, that forgave as I once had been forgiven.
My decision has been made. You speak as if we will continue on.
What you said to me a year ago, and have never apologized for–as if you could–remains foremost in my mind while I consider. I am more than the list of your grievances and criticisms and insults.
I am.

Dandelions

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(100 word challenge)

She picked the dandelions and made a bouquet because they were hearty and beautiful, just as she was.

“Silly woman.  Those are weeds.”

“In the eye of the beholder.”

“Everyone knows they are weeds.”

“It does not matter to everyone.  Only to some.”

“They make me sneeze.”

“Deal with it.”

The discord, deeper than a shallow grave, sprouted dandelions.  She picked them because she chose to embrace them.  No corpse would generate “weeds” that she could not harvest and make something beautiful.

“Nonsense as usual,” he said.

“Beautiful nonsense. Authentic, beautiful nonsense that mystifies and makes perfect sense to me.”

Dance

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I Can See Clearly

By Johnny Nash

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sun shiny day
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sun shiny day

I think I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright (Bright), bright sun shiny day

Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead, nothing but blue skies

I can see clearly now; the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sun shiny day
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sun shiny day

Untitled

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(100 word challenge)

Rows apart,
hearts grow closer.

Friendship sprouts beneath a new dawn.
All a sign of spring.

A harsh winter ended.
Death chilled the earth, the harvest long ago.

Soil tilled, gently unexpected but welcome,
new life has arrived.

What will grow is unknown.
It is new and undiscovered.

Between us the breeze whispers softly.
Can you not see and hear?

Yes, the weeds will come.
Have faith! The Gardener will pluck them!

Let the soil not be packed with expectation!
Loose the need to control what Nature sows.

Rows apart friendship grows from the seed.
This is all we need.

It’s Time

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It’s My Turn

By Diana Ross

I can’t cover up my feelings
In the name of love
Or play it safe
For a while that was easy
And if living for myself
Is what I’m guilty of
Go on and sentence me
I’ll still be free

It’s my turn
To see what I can see
I hope you’ll understand
This time’s just for me

Because it’s my turn
With no apologies
I’ve given up the truth
To those I’ve tried to please

But now it’s my turn
If I don’t have all the answers
At least I know I’ll take my share of chances
Ain’t no use of holding on
When nothing stays the same

So I’ll let it rain
‘Cause the rain ain’t gonna hurt me
And I’ll let you go
‘Though I know it won’t be easy

It’s my turn
With no more room for lies
For years I’d seen my life
Through someone else’s eyes

And now it’s my turn
To try and find my way
And if I should get lost
At least I’ll own today

It’s my turn
Yes, it’s my turn
And there ain’t no use in holding on
When nothing stays the same

So I’ll let it rain
‘Cause the rain ain’t gonna hurt me
And I’ll let you go
‘Though I know it won’t be easy

It’s my turn
To see what I can see
I hope you’ll understand
This time’s just for me

Because it’s my turn
To turn and say goodbye
I sure would like to know
That you’re still on my side

Because it’s my turn
It’s my turn

It’s my turn
To start from number one
Trying to undo
Some damage that’s been done
But now it’s my turn
To reach and touch the sky
No one’s gonna say
At least I didn’t try
It’s my turn
Yes, it’s my turn
It’s my turn
It’s my turn
It’s my turn

Latest Review

Inheritance, by Lisa Barker

By Johnny Payne, author of THE HARD SIDE OF THE RIVER

Beginning with the Book of Lamentations, Barker announces suffering and the hope that is to follow, and that is the curve of this forward-looking novel. Here, religious faith meets the imperfection implied by humanism. It is the story of a little family, modest in its ambitions, looking mainly for closeness. But there are nasty wounds, some of them self-inflicted. In other hands, sexual addiction and child abuse might set the tone for a grim, Zola-esque recounting, fatalistic in outlook. The novel begins with the excitement of home runs recounted, and Dad closing a deal. Dad’s 1950 Chevrolet gleams in the son’s future, as the latter goes to wax it. Soon this gives way to Joe, the father’s, seduction of a young woman, because his practiced eye know that “all the women come to the parties full prepared for being seduced.” Things get good and sordid, just shy of a potboiler, but walking that line mostly with success. A typical scene ends with a fist in the face by a jealous real partner. Joe’s inner struggle is Faulknerian, the family curse: brilliant martyrdom. Booze and a woman at hand, but Joe in a perpetual bad mood, with sex as a “battering ram for his aggression.” There are sloppy explanations, brusque equivocations. Underneath, the current of hope simmers. Joe wants his woman to feel safe, if he can figure out how. First, he has to figure out for sure which one she is. Julie comes, her perfume mixing with the crisp high country air. Always the shadow of the father haunts him. The sex is plentiful but not explicit. Strangely, one’s precocious child could read it and not be offended. The novel is driven by dialogue, something in the nature of a screenplay. Inevitably, Joe ends up in the church confessional. Meanwhile, Wendy agonizes over smaller sins. Much of the novel is about “release,” a word that applies both to coitus and the mystics, the ecstasy of a body and that of God, two parallel paths. As this struggle continues, dark, wounding secrets about the past present themselves. There I leave the matter. You’ve have to read the novel to know where this undercurrent takes him and you. Barker’s novel deserves readers. One feels in the writing commitment, a yen to get down under the skin and find out what the characters are all about. No one is disparaged, yet no one is spared either.

20,030 Words

NaNoWriMo 2020 is complete. I exceeded my 20k word goal by thirty! I’m so very pleased.

This year I wrote the opening chapters to TAKE A CHANCE and DELIVERANCE, some heartfelt Christmas letters to my adult children, and logged many words encouraging other writers.

October and November opened up the writing world for me again as I met writers my age with my experience, joined a couple writing groups, and talked shop in those forums. I feel like I’m swimming in my old writing pond again.

Thanks to the friends that dropped me a note or posted their encouragement. I am very grateful.

Happy Holidays!

Ha Ha on Me

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So NaNoWriMo got me started on two novels. One I sat on all October in order to start writing November 1. The other announced itself at 9PM October 31. So both are vying for my attention. I’m keeping my goal of 600 words per day. Sometimes I write far more words than that, some days I meet my goal, and some days I take the day off. This is a comfortable pace for me.

Does anyone else have a comfortable goal for daily writing? Or, do you write as the muse strikes?

Deliverance

New book coming out in 2022!

Working title: Deliverance

Working summary: Daniel Taylor and his husband Ryan are called to help Daniel’s brother, Joe, face the grip of alcoholism after a separation from his wife, Wendy.  But coming to his brother’s aid will plunge Daniel into the past where he also must face his own demons and perhaps the devil himself.

Two brothers team up to find deliverance from a childhood that still casts a long, dark shadow over their adult lives.

Working cover:

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