Picture This

When I close my eyes I picture my destination—a village on the banks of the Mississippi.

I see my daughter and imagine the hug I’ve been aching to give her since early July.

My grandkids. I hear their voices calling, “Nana!” and I’m a rock star for a brief moment in time.

The road stretches before me. Miles of interstate and backroads, small towns and cities. A hotel somewhere between here and there.

Two sleeps separate me from my destination. Tomorrow the journey begins. Illinois, here I come.

To Be (Succinct) Or Not To Be (Succinct)

Shakespeare once declared

Brevity the soul of wit;

All the world’s a stage

Succinct Hemingway

Manuscripts pared to bare bones

Never words to waste

Miss Jane Austin, though,

Played with epic paragraphs

Bursting at the seams

Advice for writers

Can we get our stories straight?

Be succinct, methinks.

The Pessimistic Optimist

The pessimistic optimist believes

That the glass is half full

Of some noxious liquid.

That the grass is always greener

But the fertilizer

Is toxic

That the shiny silver lining

Is mostly worthless strands of tinsel

This, friend, is a day in the life of someone

Who counts her chickens

Before the eggs have even

Been laid.

Keeping Busy

The worst times are those

When I’m caught off guard

As I’m drifting into sleep

Or the first moments upon waking

When my primitive brain latches onto

An ugly hunger that needs slaking,

Baking ideas like malformed cookies

Question mark-shaped dough

And I force myself to move

In action there is solace;

If I’m busy, I don’t think

I Worried

That the Chicago airport would confound him.

That we wouldn’t make it into the virtual queue for a Star Wars ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

I worried he’d think our family suite at the Art of Animation would be too childish, or that hanging out with his Nana wouldn’t be cool.

I worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my 18-year-old grandson for all the fun.

I worried about lots of stuff, but I forgot to worry about cancer.

Weird how I always seem to worry about the wrong things.

Some day Garrett and I are going to keep our vacation plans.

I’ve Been Thinking

Driving, I thought

Of life and death

How some folks live more

In only a handful of years

Than some who barely scratch

Life’s surface after decade upon decade

Of blood coursing through veins

A heart beating, lungs expanding,

Going through the motions

But that’s not living.

That’s marking time.