I never would have written my first book if it hadn’t been for Alan.

I didn’t plan on becoming a writer twelve years ago when I moved to Raton, New Mexico with my partner.  I did not dabble in writing short stories or poetry or keeping a journal as a child.  My muse did not inspire me. I didn’t dream of becoming a writer, and Alan didn’t plan on dying three years after we settled here.

We moved from Las Vegas, New Mexico where I retired from twenty-five years of teaching, more than half of them at West Las Vegas Middle School where I might have been considered the token ‘white person’. My good friend, Mary, nicknamed me “huera” and it stuck. But I loved the school, my fellow teachers, and especially the kids. And I loved living in the heart of Old Town, a half block from the plaza and within easy walking distance to great restaurants and shops. Everything I know about cooking red chile, green chile stew, calabacitas, tamales, quelites, biscochitos, and tortillas I learned in Las Vegas. So, what brought me here?

Alan was a classical pianist and worked at the University in Las Vegas as an adjunct professor teaching voice and piano, but he wasn’t happy. He was overworked and under-appreciated. It was a dead-end job with no hope for advancement or benefits, so he quit in frustration, and we relocated. We were both attracted to the beautiful landscape and opportunities for outdoor activities here in the mountains of Northeastern New Mexico. When we weren’t hiking or trying to fix up the old house we bought together, Alan played the piano for hours.

It was during these hikes that he taught me not to just look but to see everything from the smallest details to the amazing shapes and colors. He was like an innocent child on these hikes, excited over a newly discovered fossil, a smooth shiny stone, the first wildflowers of spring, brave pasqueflowers pushing through the snow. Alan had a zest for life that was hard to match. He found beauty in twisted branches and would bring home a backpack full of his treasures then craft them into walking sticks and small animals. Alan was an artist, and I was a sidekick but with no creative outlet of my own. So, after I showed no talent at painting, he encouraged me to take a writing class that was being offered free of charge.

It was an especially cruel twist of fate that he was afflicted with undiagnosed cancer that had settled in his spine and that one day, on a painful short walk, his legs gave out and he was paralyzed from the waist down. The cancer had already metastasized from his lungs, was stage 4, and incurable. He put up a brave front, but time ran out far too soon.

You may be asking what this has to do with my writing and why I have wandered so far off track. Well, there are many aspects of the character of Abe Freeman, my co-protagonist in the Emily Etcitty Mystery Series, that was inspired by Alan’s own character. My stories are total fiction, and all incidents are fictional, but Abe is a kind, gentle person with a love of the natural world, as was Alan. And he is someone who also loves to make beautiful music. I know Alan is continuing to make beautiful music, I can hear it when the wind rustles the trees and the pines begin to sing. I dedicate these books to you, my dear friend.

You Can’t Go Home Again

Says Thomas Wolfe in his novel by the same title. And I know this to be true, I’ve tried. I have longed for that place called home, but know in my heart that change is inevitable. On my infrequent returns to California where I was born, I discovered that all that remained familiar was a  nostalgic wish for something long gone. I attended my fiftieth and fifty-fifth class reunions and felt no sense of homecoming. My high school hangouts, the theater where I held my first job, the municipal swimming pool, even that house I once lived in had been either torn down, boarded up, or replaced by something new and shiny, or shoddy and sad. Perhaps this feeling of homelessness has something to do with the constant moving that has been a part of my life, the trying to fit in but never quite being accepted in each new town. I suppose people who have remained in one place or have ties to the land where they were born and raised have a different feeling about home. But for me, it seemed best to move on.

“Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up,” quotes Thomas Wolfe.

Don’t take me wrong. I have lived in some wonderful places and loved each for their their unique beauty and charm: Places like Whidbey Island, Washington; Pensacola, Florida; Coronado, California; Rota, Spain; Sigonella, Sicily; Trujillo, Honduras; the Four Corners area of New Mexico; Las Vegas, New Mexico; and now, the beautiful mountains of Raton, New Mexico. I have learned so much from the different cultures, enjoyed their foods, customs, people. All that I have seen and experienced has broadened my writing.  I feel that my life is so much richer and blessed by not having that one place called home. Here are some of the places I have called home.

Whidbey Island, Washington

Pensacola, Florida

Rota, Spain

Sigonella, Sicily

Trujillo, Honduras

Four Corners of New Mexico

Navajo Lady herding sheep Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park ARIZONA

Las Vegas, New Mexico

Raton, New Mexico

I am content to make the most out of each and every endeavor and have no real desire to return to the scenes of my past. It is best to cherish the memories of all the good times and good people I’ve met along the way.







When That Book Review Is Not Everything You Had Hoped For

Authors, when you receive a negative review, what is your reaction? Some people actually respond to the reviewer in a defensive manner. (Not a good idea) Others, with their thin-skinned egos deflated, may sulk, feel devastated, even talk of giving up writing. Then, there are some authors who never look at reviews. (recommended by many), but I am not one of them. I know how important reviews are to fledgling authors, and I read each and every one of them. A book with lots of reviews has real legitimacy and helps sales. I have to admit, there is something to be learned from even the harshest of criticisms if you are willing to evaluate them in a constructive manner.

First off, it’s important to remember that even best-sellers get negative reviews.

 “It was one of the most boring and shallow books that I have ever read.” —review of the American classic The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Not nearly enough consistency and far to [sic] little plot.”—review of Harry Potter And the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.

But, we’re talking about your baby, and you can’t bear to see your baby bashed. You can cry, get mad, have a few too many drinks,

Or you can learn.

Case in point: The majority of my reviews for Abducted Innocence have been very positive and uplifting, so I naturally want more of these. But this example had me thinking of ways in which I may need to do some more work.

“Reading to 30% of the book, I found the characters to be flat and uninteresting, the relationship between Emily and Abe lacked feeling and connection in my opinion and the character’s action in many situations (up to this point) somewhat predictable. Sadly, there just wasn’t a hook that that grabbed me and engaged me in the story.”

The reviewer admitted he had not read the first in the series, and did not finish the book. I still felt the review was fair and has given me something to think about as I finish up the third book in the Emily Etcitty Mysteries. How do I give my characters more depth? How can I strengthen that all -important hook so that the reader is engaged from the beginning?

In conclusion, I would like to thank this reviewer for his thought-provoking assessment, and I hope that this critique will help me to continue to improve as a writer.

Please, write an honest review.


Shiprock, located in Northwestern New Mexico near the Four Corners area. 

The dramatic landscape of the Southwest in and around the sprawling Navajo Reservation is as important to my novels, Key Witness and Abducted Innocence, as the two main characters, Emily and Abe. To the Navajo people, the mountains, mesas, waters, and land are sacred, as are the animals and plants that live there.


According to Navajo legends, there are six sacred mountains: Mount Blanca in the East; Mount Taylor in the South; The San Francisco Peaks in the West; Mount Hesperus in the North; Huerfano Mesa; and Gobernador Knob. The Navahos belief is that their Creator placed them on the land between these sacred mountains. All play a significant role in the creation stories. It is said that each mountain is a holy person dressed in various outfits. Their configurations and colors help define their role in the history of the Dinetah or Navajo people. Here are the six sacred mountains and their Navajo meaning:

Mount Blanca (Tsisnaasjini’ – Dawn or White Shell Mountain)


Mount Taylor (Tsoodzil – Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain)

The Introvert Writer

Why do introverts make good writers? According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, “They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.”

That being said, how do you know if you are an introvert? The obvious answer is you enjoy being alone. And, when you are alone, you are more productive, you have more time to be introspective, you can work without interruption, and take breaks to daydream or walk whenever you want. Gloria Kopp has a written an interesting blog, “7 Reasons Why Introverts Are Good At Writing.” It is short, to the point, and worth the read.

To be fair, there are advantages to being an extrovert writer as well. Extroverts are exposed to a wider range of experiences and people from which to draw their stories. Extroverts love to talk and love an audience. They recharge their batteries in social situations, while introverts recharge by spending time alone. It’s not that one personality is superior to the other. You are what you are, and your job as a writer is to make the most of it.

A revealing exercise is to ask yourself which character in your novel is most like you. For me, it is not the assertive outgoing female protagonist, Emily, as some would assume. It’s her counterpart, Abe Freeman, the reclusive loner from the East Coast. Abe is never comfortable in large groups, feels awkward in social situations, has trouble making small-talk, and would rather be hiking in the woods alone or with his dog than spending time with people. At a party, he’s the fly on the wall, the one standing right outside of the group, not involved in the conversation, and always looking for an excuse to escape early. It’s not that he doesn’t like people. It’s just that he hates superficial socializing. Charles Bukowski once said, ” I don’t hate people. I just feel better when they’re not around.”

This post by Rachel Ginder does an excellent job of explaining from the introvert’s point of view.

To use a phrase from Ginder’s article: “When I socialize, I’m not looking for a way to just pass the time. I already have a full list of hobbies and interests and not enough hours in the day to enjoy them all. But I am always looking for a new person with whom I can share my passions and my world. Sometimes meeting that one new person can be worth the agony of socializing. I like to think I’m the kind of person worth socializing for, and I know I’m not the only one of my kind.”

In conclusion, it is about being with people you feel comfortable with, who you can speak openly about ideas with, and who will not judge you when and if you disagree.



Where The Heck Have I Been?

I need to apologize. I’ve been neglecting my blog, and I have not been responding to a lot of nice comments from readers. I hadn’t checked Rocking Chair Meditations in a while, and WoW! There were nearly 300 comments. Forgive me, dear readers. What’s my excuse? I’ve been keeping my nose to the grindstone and trying hard to finish my latest novel. Still, not a great excuse. So, today I am trying to upgrade all my social sites and blog page, get rid of spam, download a plugin that should help, and resolve to do better. It’s a good day for working on neglected issues because I can’t go outside and spend restorative time in the garden. The garden froze. It’s the 29th of April, and there’s a frigging blizzard going on – 28 degrees Fahrenheit! Ahh,  spring in New Mexico, and the irony of this unseasonable cold snap. Today the “People’s Climate March” against global warming is being held all over the USA. And, yes, I do believe in climate change and global warming.

But for now, it’s back to the grindstone, and I want to tell you about my new book, Abducted Innocence, which will be released on June 20, 2017. I’ll be back soon to catch up on everything.




But, it feels like it has been my circus today, and I am the number 1 clown.  The day started quietly enough. I slept in a little, took a nice walk in the mountains, came home, did a little cleaning, then sat down to write.

Two women yelling threats and profanities at each other, that’s what stopped me, loud enough to be heard in Colorado. Finally, I stepped out on my front porch to see what the heck was going on. My neighbor and my other neighbor’s girlfriend were tearing into each other. Someone called the cops, the girlfriend  hightailed it out of there before they came. I crept back into the sanctuary of my house, definitely not wanting to get involved, coward that I am.


Since writing seemed out of the question now, a new plan evolved. Put the excess yellow squash from my garden to good use. I found a recipe for yellow squash casserole that sounded decadent but tasty and I jacked it up New Mexican style by adding roasted green chile and corn (CALABACITAS SUPREMAS). I had enough to make two casseroles. So, I put one in the oven, went outside to snap some green beans from the garden for another vegetable save and decided at some point to check my casserole. Upon opening the oven, I was met with a rush of smoke and a wall of flames. I quickly shut the oven door, thinking, “what the hell”, and looking at the oven gauge suddenly realized that without putting on my glasses, I had set the oven at BROILER instead of  BAKE. How could I have done this??? Smoke was filling the house. I was afraid to open the oven door again. I shut down the oven, waited a few minutes, and cautiously opened the door a crack. There was my scorched casserole. The pyrex baking dish had cracked all along the bottom, and juices were dripping out all over the hot oven. Sigh. The entire bottom of the casserole dish had separated.

 It took some careful maneuvering to slide it out intact into another dish. Of course, it was wasted, or was it? After scraping off the black crumb topping, I found the remainder appeared ??? edible. So what does frugal Sandy do? Scrape off the top and dish the remainder into another container. The oven was another story. I spent a lousy forty-five minutes doing a half-assed job of cleaning. Fans were set up to blow the smoke out of the house, and now I am eating yellow squash casserole, but the neighbors are at it again and both of them grandmothers. Damn.


Benefits of a Writing Group


Eight years ago, even though I had never attempted any sort of creative writing, I signed up for a writing class at the Arthur Johnson Memorial Library here in Raton, New Mexico. The class, which met once a week for nine weeks, was taught by veteran southwest mystery writer, Steven Havill.   Writing a required number of pages each week and critiquing other writers  was some of the hardest work I had done for a long time. I loved it and learned so much about writing after attending two more of these workshops that I felt ready to test my wings and fly with my first novel, A Cipher in the Sand which I self-published in 2011.


Thre takeaways from those workshops that I have found to be extremely helpful are (1) the creation of a timeline in a separate file and (2) a character list. It is also helpful to have (3) a brief statement of what is happening in each chapter. I do all of these in a separate file so they can be pulled up while I work. It may seem like additional work at the time, but it can save you hours of hair-pulling anxiety later on as you are trying to remember what day it is or what so and so’s name was.

When Steven Havill moved away, a few of us were not ready to give up on the regular meetings, so three of us, Pat Walsh, Steven Anderson, and I formed the original writing group.  Eight years later, we still meet on a regular basis to critique each other’s work. A few new members have come and gone, and one other person, John Johnson, stayed with us. It’s no exaggeration when I say that I could never have completed three novels and be working on a fourth without the continued support of this wonderful group of people. My second novel, Key Witness was published by Thomas and Mercer in 2014, and Abducted Innocence (second in the series) will be released in January of 2017. I have been exceedingly lucky and amazed to discover this exciting new lease on life at the ripe age of 75. Remember writers, you are never too old to tell a good story. If you haven’t read Key Witness yet, why not pick up a copy so you will be ready for the second.



I’m equally proud to say that all of our members of our group have published, both fiction and non-fiction, and yesterday I attended a book signing for Pat Walsh’s A Prairie Mourning  which can also be found in both paperback and Kindle version on Amazon.


In fact,  my writing group is wonderfully talented and offers a wide assortment of reading material. Whether you like a good mystery or a thought-provoking philosophical read, I believe you can find something you like by visiting these author sites: Rapid Transient by Steve Anderson; Time Sutra by John Johnson; The Soul’s Critical Path by John Davidson; and more to come. Happy reading!

BookCoverPreview (1)

Abducted Innocence

This is the first chapter of my new novel, Abducted Innocence,  the second book in a series involving Abe Freeman and Navajo Police Officer, Emily Etcitty. I originally titled this book, Kinaalda, but later realized that few would understand the meaning or significance. Kinaalda is a four-day coming of age ceremony celebrated by Navajo families when girls reach puberty. During this time, the girls are required to perform certain tasks, such as grinding corn and running a race. The origin of Kinaalda is in the ancient Navajo creation myth of Changing Woman. 



Abducted Innocence


April 6, 1990

Huerfano Substation

 Navajo Nation Tribal Police


Navajo Police Officer Emily Etcitty picked up the incident report dropped on her desk by Officer Joe Hosteen. She raised her eyebrows and flashed him an annoyed look, which he responded to with a sardonic smile and shrug. She had finished her shift and was filing the final reports, looking forward to spending time with Abe Freeman at his place near Bloomfield.

“Sounds like female stuff to me,” Hosteen said, giving it little significance and, therefore, delegating it to Emily. “Captain Todechine said a woman might handle it better.”

Emily skimmed over the dispatcher’s report. “A missing girl out at Teec Nos Pos,” she said reading quickly.

“Yeah, missing for only four hours when the family called it in. Probably nothing but another pissed off teenager acting out.”

“This was called in four hours ago, Joe. Why didn’t you give it to me right away?” Officer Hosteen’s eyes were black and sharp as pinpoints, his nose and bone structure chiseled angles, his mouth a thin line. He reminded Emily of a Picasso painting. There was nothing soft or sympathetic about Joe Hosteen. The two had clashed on several occasions in the past over police procedures and didn’t particularly like one another. Now that both were in contention for promotion to sergeant, the friction had increased. Only one would be selected.

“I was tied up on another case. This missing girl report didn’t strike me as being particularly urgent—probably a runaway who took off to grandma’s house when she didn’t get what she wanted.”

Emily studied the report slowly and methodically the second time, then paused. It was not uncommon for a thirteen-year-old girl to go missing for a few hours; it was, however, unheard of for one to disappear during her Kinaaldá. “You didn’t even read this, did you?” She pursed her lips and stared at him. “I’ll head on over there and talk to the family,” she said, thinking to herself, you sexist pig.

The trip to the village of Teec Nos Pos on the Arizona side of the reservation took over an hour and a half. On her way, she drove past the looming monolithic rock formation the Anglos called Shiprock. Someone had given it that name because he thought it resembled a clipper ship sailing the gray-green desert. Emily knew it by its correct name—Tsé Bitʹ aʹi, Winged Rock, after the great bird who brought the Navajo from the north to their present land.

After she had left the familiar landmark and the town of Shiprock behind, the land opened up once again to scattered mesas, washes, canyons and the occasional trailer or hogan. Traffic thinned out on Highway 64 to sporadic pickup trucks, giving Emily plenty of time to let her mind drift back to her own Kinaaldá, the Navajo puberty ceremony practiced by traditional families who celebrated a girl’s transition into womanhood. She remembered how proud and excited she had been to wake up and discover signs of her first menstrual cycle. There would be a four-day celebration ending with a feast. A young girl brought up in the Diné tradition would not run away at a time like this.

The sun dropped behind a sandstone cliff, casting fiery orange flames across the western skies when Emily reached the nearly deserted village. She made a quick stop at the Teec Nos Pos Trading Post to ask directions to Jim Benally’s residence.

“Two miles out of town, then turn right on the dirt road. About three more miles you’ll be there. Half the town is looking for Darcy. I’d be there myself if I didn’t have to keep the store open.”

Damn, Emily thought. That means dozens of other footprints have probably obliterated the girl’s tracks, and it’s going to be dark soon. She hurried back to her Chevy Blazer, sped toward the Benally home, arriving fifteen minutes later. Before leaving the SUV, she called in her location to headquarters.

The scene that greeted her looked chaotic and disconsolate. The traditional round corn cake, smelling slightly burnt, sat uncut and abandoned. The other food, roast lamb, mutton stew, green chili, and beans lay congealed on a long table. A medicine man chanted prayers, but no one appeared to be listening. Several women huddled together trying to console one another; while one of their group—probably the mother—cried inconsolably. The children clustered together in front of a hogan, their faces somber, their eyes round. She saw no men or teenage boys. Emily assumed they were out looking for the girl. She approached one of the women, introduced herself, and speaking in Navajo, asked for the mother of the missing child.

“I am Nina Benally, Darcy’s mother,” a plump woman dressed in fancy clothes snuffled through tears. “Why have they sent only one person? Why have you taken so long?” she cried.

Emily exchanged the traditional greeting with the woman, giving her time to calm herself. “I came as soon as I received word your daughter was missing,” Emily said. “Tell me what happened today.”

Nina Benally sat up straight and drew in a long breath before speaking. Her words were uttered slowly, deliberately, as if trying to preserve dignity in front of this officer of the law.  “It is the final day of my daughter’s Kinaaldá. I dressed her this morning in her woven rug dress, turquoise and shell jewelry, washed her hair with yucca suds and combed it with the grass comb.” There was pride in her voice, but unsummoned tears streamed down her face as she continued. “I tied her hair with buckskin in the traditional way.” The mother’s lips quivered as she fought to regain control over her emotions.

Purple shadows loomed over the mesa. It would soon be too dark to see prints. Emily knew time was crucial if she was to find any trace of the girl today, but also that she must not hurry the mother. “Please go on, Mrs. Benally. What time was it when you last saw your daughter?”

“Today was to be her last race before we began the feast and celebration. She left after sunrise, about seven-thirty, excited, so proud, and wearing a big smile. The children followed her as is the custom, but my Darcy ran so fast she left them all behind. They came back without her and told us she had been teasing them and laughing when they last saw her.”


“Do you know the time?” Emily said. “When the children returned?”

“Nine o’clock, maybe. We waited for her until noon. Then, I knew something bad had happened, and my husband went into town to call the police. He is out on the trail now, looking for our girl.” Nina Benally could no longer keep up the façade of dignified composure. She made a keening sound while praying, beseeching the Gods to deliver her daughter home safely from whatever evil had taken her away.

Emily understood. “Thank you, Mrs. Benally. I will do everything in my power to find Darcy. If you have a recent picture of her, it would be a great help.”

The family had called headquarters at noon to report the girl missing, and Hosteen sat on the report until after three-thirty. Why had the asshole waited so long?

Emily left the woman and walked over to a group of children. “Yáʹátéé shaʹalchimi. Greetings children. I’ve come to help find Darcy. Will someone show me where she began her race this morning and which direction she went?”

All but one of the children cast their eyes down, looking too frightened to leave the protection of the pit fire and the adult women. “She started here, at the hogan, and ran to the east,” a round-faced boy of about ten said. “They are afraid of the skinwalkers,” he added, indicating the other youngsters. “But I will show you the way.”

Of course, she ran toward the east, Emily thought. How could I have forgotten so much? “With your mother’s permission only, and you have to promise not to run ahead. When I see her tracks you must go back,” Emily said.

After radioing in her status, Emily retrieved a flashlight and camera from the Blazer. A breeze had picked up, bringing a sudden chill. April in the northeast highlands of Arizona can be sunny and warm one day, and snowy the next. She donned her jacket and met the boy in front of the hogan.

“My mother said I can show you the path as long as I am not out of her sight,” the boy said. “She rubbed corn pollen on me for protection.”

“All right, let’s go, but only a little ways, then you have to turn around. It’s getting dark.”

“I’m not afraid of skinwalkers,” said the boy.

“I know, you are brave, but this is police work. I just need to know where to start.”

“Here,” said the boy, when they were about fifty yards from the hogan. He pointed to a narrow path scuffed with numerous tracks. “Do you want some corn pollen?” He did not sound so brave now and looked anxiously back to the safety of the hogan and fire.

“No. Thank you—I can manage now—run back to your family. I’ll wait until you are there.” As she watched the boy scamper away, she thought about all the stories she had listened to as a child about skinwalkers, those malevolent witches who according to legend, were capable of transforming themselves into a coyote, wolf, bear, or any animal they wished. Shape-shifters they were called. It was rumored they used mind control to make a person do anything they wanted, especially to harm themselves in some way. Emily shook off a chill, telling herself she didn’t believe any of it and beamed her flashlight on the trail, searching for moccasin tracks amidst the numerous tread marks of sneakers.

They were easy enough to find—small, flat, indentations usually off to the left. When she came upon an entire footprint, she took a picture, thinking it looked like a size six or six and a half, not deeply embedded, the weight on the forefoot deeper as Native Americans were accustomed to running. The girl was probably of medium weight. Emily made a mental note to ask the mother about her height and weight when she retrieved the photograph.

A coyote howled from a mesa top, startling Emily and sending a shudder down her spine. She reacted automatically by reaching for her gun, then stopped with her hand on the butt of the Glock 19 in her hip holster. Shake it off, she told herself and continued forward. She was looking for the spot where the other children turned back, leaving only the girl’s tracks. Relieved, she noted the men in the search party had ridden their horses along the side of the trail as not to disturb the tracks.

About a mile down the path, Emily came upon a dirt road. She crossed over, saw the trail remained unmarked by footprints on the other side, but noted the dusty lane showed signs of fresh tire treads. The vehicle had made a sudden stop judging by the skid marks. It then appeared to back up, make a U-turn and head in the direction from which it had come. The horses had also stopped here, and the rider’s dismounted, followed the moccasin tracks, and then returned to their steeds. The horse tracks continued along the road in the direction of the vehicle. Emily snapped a few close-up shots, being careful not to step on anything and returned to the spot where she had last seen Darcy’s prints. They appeared jumbled; the dirt disturbed as if there had been a scuffle, and there were other shoeprints—not children’s sneakers, but large cowboy boots, maybe two different pairs. As she bounced the light around, something else caught her eye. Partially hidden behind a rabbit bush was a single deerskin moccasin. She decided it was time to call for assistance. If a skinwalker had taken Darcy Benally, he wore size eleven or twelve boots and drove a four-wheeled vehicle. It looked like dinner with Abe would be a little later.


Winter Walk



This poem by Phillip Booth pretty well sums up my intentions for the present. It is snowing lightly, a mere powdered sugar dusting on the ground. Sometimes you need to walk away from all the contentiousness, meanness, and heartbreaking tragedy created by mankind in their constant quest for riches and power. My walk, a temporary reprieve, won’t solve any of the world’s problems, but it will clear my head. I will  breathe the sharp cold air, listen to the silence, and celebrate the peace and beauty of nature, if only for a little while. When I return, I know I’ll feel refreshed, ready to continue working on my novel. It is good to be alive.

Talk About Walking

Where am I going? I’m going
out, out for a walk. I don’t
know where except outside.
Outside argument, out beyond
wallpapered walls, outside
wherever it is where nobody
ever imagines. Beyond where
computers circumvent emotion,
where somebody shorted specs
for rivets for airframes on
today’s flights. I’m taking off
on my own two feet. I’m going
to clear my head, to watch
mares’-tails instead of TV,
to listen to trees and silence,
to see if I can still breathe.
I’m going to be alone with
myself, to feel how it feels
to embrace what my feet
tell my head, what wind says
in my good ear. I mean to let
myself be embraced, to let go
feeling so centripetally old.
Do I know where I’m going?
I don’t. How long or far
I have no idea. No map. I
said I was going to take
a walk. When I’ll be back
I’m not going to say.