14 December 2011

from below

Having had my share of migraines since I was a child, I've had lots of down time over the years, more lately, it seems, for various reasons. Being forced to pause the pace and fury of daily life is jarring, and I find myself anxious in the solitude of healing.

It's cold outside, below freezing, the firs and fenceline frosted white late into mid-morning. From my spot near the fireplace, I watch through the sliding glass door as sparrows and chickadees and the black-hooded juncoes hop and scratch in the seed spread on the porch. Swarms of gray bushtits flow like schools of fish over the suet feeder hung in the eaves. Mourning doves drop from the rooftop, sluggish in the cold. Even the winter sun seems chilled.

There is a slight breeze, a sigh, a breath of air. The fir tree shakes its needles, and the thin sunlight catches the spray of ice crystals. It is Oberon's fairyland. Tír na nÓg. The air fills with glints of color and turning light.

I think it's a trick of my eyes or the pain I harbor. But then a tendril of mist lifts from the wooden fence struck with sun, and another burst sparkles through the yard.

The darkness in me eases, and I am able to sleep for a bit. Outside my window, ice turns in the light and shines a field of stars over the birds.


Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89). Poems. 1918.


THIS darksome burn, horseback brown,
His rollrock highroad roaring down,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

A windpuff-bonnet of fáwn-fróth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a pool so pitchblack, féll-frówning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

25 November 2011


Last homework assignment for the term - check.

Presenting session at Winter Wheat writing conference - check.

Finals - check.

Thanksgiving dinner - check.

Sigh of relief - ongoing.

I love this life. 

~ Sherri

From up here the water is still blue, the grass green
and the wind that buoys me is 12 billion years old.

~ from "Bird's-Eye View," Jim Harrison, Songs of Unreason

22 October 2011

Winter Wheat 2011

The Mid-American Review Festival of Writing

November 17-19
On campus of Bowling Green State University
  • Click to pre-register
  • Click for full session schedule
Join me and some amazing writers and teachers for a celebration of writing. Kick-off Thursday evening with a reading by fiction writer and essayist Kyle Minor. Friday sessions begin at 1pm and 4pm, followed by a 7pm reading by poet Ann Townsend. Saturday sessions begin at 8am, and the conference closes out with a reading at 4pm by author Seth Fried.

My session is scheduled for Friday 2:30 - 3:45pm, and I'm very excited.

Sacred Objects: Detail the Fictional World with Real Stuff. Discover, name, and infuse your writing with objects that deepen character, become metaphor, and carry story.

Bowling Green State University boasts one of the oldest established Creative Writing programs in the country, offering a BFA and MFA degree, and has an outstanding record of graduate success in publication and career preparation.

See you there!

~ Sherri