Millennium Coming

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.


I'm going to keep it 100
but you've got to be willing
to jump into the way-back machine.

You need to see your gnarly roots
teased upside down like a baobab tree
digging upwards into the ozone.
Was there wisdom there?

As if! You don't remember
pants that were supposed
to parachute you safely
towards that righteous future.

Re-branded slackers landed in flannels
at that first taste of reality,
quickly swapping out radical for tubular

irrigation for boxed lawns 
in front of those ticky-tacky
houses that generations before disdained

so you could yell
at ancient eyed children
to get off of it.

Oh bae can't you see
these words were totes never about you
until you decided they were.

Song Choice: Kids from Bye Bye Birdie

This poem was created for the prompt offered at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Dorogoy Droogs, Come Clockwork the Orange, where Bjorn challenges us to work in some slang into our poems.

Notes from the Real World: Nothing makes me roll my eyes faster than complaints about the kids today. I'll admit, I have to stifle a chuckle sometimes when I see a young adult sporting a mustache Dick Dastardly would admire, but since I spent my teen years gleefully seeking out clothing that looked like highlighters threw up all over them, I have no room to talk. Every generation has their own way of dressing, speaking, and being. And the generations that came before them will ever clutch their pearls and forget their own wild (and oftentimes silly) youth.


I am sort of a tea addict. I structure my day by cups of tea.
-S.T. Joshi

Include joy
when making plans
big enough to shift worlds.

Or risk
building a windowless castle
whose stones keep out the air.

Notes from the Real World: Ah, the day after Christmas, when my thoughts turn to… decorating! Decorating a fresh new planner that is. For the last few years, I’ve been trying to be consistent with keeping up some sort of planning system. I think I’ve finally found one that I love (thank you BenebellWen for creating a kick-ass planner for the metaphysically minded, even if you did take out the “Books Read” page on this year’s model). Though it took watching a planning video by Vlogger Jessi Huntenberg to really crystalize what it was I’ve been after by keeping up this practice.

At its worst, a planner is a glorified to-do list (a to-do list with lots of washi tape, stickers, and gel pen doodles in my case). And that’s not a terrible thing, because it’s harder to lose a planner than a list scribbled on the back of some junk mail (my favored organizational system in my 20’s). But it’s kind of a waste of money if that’s all it is.

It’s a place you thoughtfully figure out what it is that’s really important to you, so you can structure your actions to support that. It’s not just for keeping track of how busy you can be, but for noticing the natural way your days (weeks, months) flow and respecting your limits, especially when you actually can see when you peruse its pages that you are in danger of being overwhelmed or losing yourself in activities that don’t support the goals you set for yourself (you can in fact schedule your down time – and put all the cute stickers you want on the page to make a note of it). Because one of the worst feelings in the world, for me at least, is finding out you’ve been working like a fiend in a way that takes you farther from your goals rather than closer.

Moving ahead with my writing is clearly going to be one of my biggest goals of 2019. As I sit surrounded by ribbons and glitter pens the rest of this week, I’m going to be figuring out what S.M.A.R.T. steps I can take so when I’m sitting down again on Dec 26, 2019 I’ll know where my time went, how I used it to get better, where I missed the mark, and how to fix it.

Also I will be editing one page to make it a “Books Read” page and another for “Teas Tasted”. Because it’s important to make time for the sweet little pleasures. And also because I can. So there.

Because of course I chose the kitsune image for my planner cover.

Solstice Song

Its music finds a way to seep into my soul, whether I am surrounded by the concrete spires of a city or enveloped by the scent of fresh cut pine and balsam on a bonfire.

Tonight is no different.

It is a song composed on lines of moonlight and spaces of shadow, played on the strings woven around my spirit and connecting me to the land, the sea, the crisp night air and the fire in the stars. There is healing offered here, if I don’t refuse its call, if I am willing to stop and be still. I pull on my coat, succumbing to the melody.

A break in the clouds gives me the view I need and at once I become moon drunk—giddy, warm and immune to this solstice night’s chill. I drink in more of the moon’s wild brew, find the most passionate stars to affix to my tenderest places and help guide me back to the place where I find aspirations still untarnished by disappointments.

That is when I add to the song, delighting in the harmony between the moon and me. We sing until morning, when I rise, spent but knowing I shall grow stronger along with the newborn sun.  

This prose poetry piece was inspired by the picture at the Sunday Muse #35, Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s SundayWriting Prompt, and the wordles at Sunday’s Whirligig #193 and the Sunday’s Whirl Wordle 383.

Song Choice: Music of the Night performed by Andre Rieu

Notes from the Real World: Even when I was a kid I've been drawn to the changing of the seasons. Being more of a warm weather person, you might think it'd be funny that I'd love the winter solstice, but I've always felt a little lift in my heart, knowing the longest night was behind me, and ahead of me was a new year. This year, I had the distinct delight of being part of a solstice gathering with a group of friends, and by the time the evening concluded I felt a lightening of my spirit that I hadn't felt in a long while.


towards sunlight
reminds tired muscles
boundaries can be pushed

Song Choice: I'll Make a Man Out of You performed by Jackie Chan

I like tea and yoga, but I don’t do yoga.

Notes from the real world:

A couple of months ago, I injured myself in a friendly game of sportsball* during an exercise class at work (I may have been taking out my ire over political events on unsuspecting coworkers). This was completely preventable had I bothered to warm up and then stretch, instead of jumping in like I was possessed by the ghost of Boudica. No more sportsball, no more aerobics or Zumba for me for at least a few weeks. Unable to face the risk of going mad from lack of activity, I grudgingly turned to a yoga DVD my husband had bought years ago.

Funny thing, I forgot how much I really enjoyed yoga. I think I stopped doing it because of misguided ideas about what it meant to challenge myself. But after a few weeks of doing it, and feeling a lot of improvement in my hip and in my overall body strength and flexibility, I realized it'd be really dumb of me move forward with any exercise plan that didn't include yoga, especially if it means I could get better  at the other physical stuff I'm doing. I don't limit myself to just matcha tea, so why should I limit the types of physical activity I do?

I've been giving a lot of thought to what comes next for me in terms of writing. I am coming out of what feels like an editing marathon, so a little down time is in order. But just like I don't like being physically inactive, I don't think could stay away from writing completely. Firstly, I can't, as Magaly has made sure I'm blogging regularly on Wednesdays. But even more than that, I forgot that sharing bits of the real world is both fun and qualifies as a disciplined writing practice. While it may take a couple more weeks for me to settle on The Next Big Goal (and let's be real, even when I pick something, I'll still need to take time to work out a good plan or writing outline) I'm kind of enjoying this. With all due respect to Moby, if you like something, why not do it, especially if it in no way impedes you (or might even help) in doing other things you love? It seems kind of silly not to. 

Image result for sportsball meme

*Sportsball - What I call pretty much any game played with a ball. I'm really not much of an athlete, I just like to run around fast.

Courage, Dear Heart

Feet too frightened to cross a playground, I stand at the edge of a suburban forest. I know that treasure awaits on the other side, if I am willing to make the journey to Narnia.

Little Lucy was old enough to start a queen’s quest on her own. I am unsure of myself as I measure my height against those of the trees. I have no ruby slippers or red-hooded cloak, but I want very much to rendezvous with werewolves and witches.

One tenuous toe steps in, then another...

Striding up to the glass doors, I arrive at the threshold of the wardrobe. Which worlds shall I explore? After filling my backpack with adventures, I am ready to return. The forest feels like an old friend as I march home.

This post is linked up to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads Weekend Mini-Challenge: Life is Ripe. Magaly asked us to write a poem about a childhood memory (and if possible make it prose poetry of 131 words or under). I wrote about the first time I was allowed to walk to the town library by myself.

Song Choice: Theme song from Indiana Jones

Peace in a Bowl

When you serve tea to your guests, you should simply serve tea from your heart, and think about nothing more.
-Poem 93 of Sen Rikyu

I’ve spent years learning
how to set aside my worries at the teahouse door,
and lose myself
in the sound of pouring water
and the scent of matcha rising from the bowl.

Some days that isn’t easy.
The world likes to devour souls by bits
and I can’t drink enough tea
to wash the bitter taste from my mouth.

It is then I remember
tea bowls were meant for sharing.

The art of tea cannot be measured
by the strokes of my whisk
or the thickness in the folds of my cloth.
But it can be fairly gauged
by the smile on my guest’s face.

The peace that eluded me
roots in them, multiplies,
and finally alights in me.
When we leave the teahouse
we both carry more than enough
peace to share, where before there was turmoil.

This poem is linked up to Poets United, Midweek Motif and dVerse, OLN 234.

Notes from the Real World (if you’re just here for the poetry, feel free to skip this part, though I expect MissWicked ought to read it, since she’s the one who challenged me to do it): This poem was inspired by one of three scrolls that were shared by my tea school last year. They were meant to inspire peace in the hearts of people who saw them. My fellow students and I were tasked with serving tea while visitors came to admire the scroll. I admit my mood was cynical before I walked in the door (because hey, 2017 gave people a lot to be cynical about), but as the day progressed, I found myself becoming more peaceful with each bowl of tea I made, and living up to the words on the scroll—providing a small seed of peace for everyone who walked through Shofuso’s doors, and seeing folks leave carrying a bit of that peaceful spirit that (hopefully) they could share with others.

Now of course, 2017 doesn’t hold a monopoly on my moods of cynicism and doubt. Although I’m just coming out of the experience of finishing and publishing a short story collection, a giant cloud with the words “What’s next?” seems to have followed me around from the moment I clicked the button to officially release the book out into the world. The good news is I have lots of ideas. The bad news is that they all are spinning around me like a cyclone of bright shiny things I can reach towards but can’t quite grab. I’m overwhelmed.

The idea of achieving world peace is exponentially more overwhelming, but in that afternoon at Shofuso, I know that I along with my fellow tea students created a haven where peace could quietly slip into someone’s heart, and that peace could spread to people they interacted with later. If such a simple act can do that, maybe it’s not too far-fetched of an idea to take a moment or two to give myself the gift of tea, savor it, and see what comes from that. It’s worth a shot.

Magaly's Challenge: A Reply

So Miss Wicked, Magaly Guerrero, challenged me to step up my writing game. Of course, I shall accept. (Because, yay – games!)

But because I can never leave well enough alone, I’d like to raise the stakes a smidgen. So, dear friend, I shall add an extra challenge for myself. Every post I make for this challenge shall incorporate a quote about tea. Don’t fret, I’m not cruel enough to make a committed coffee drinker join my mad tea party. But, I challenge you to work a quote into your posts also… a Terry Pratchett quote to be exact.

So what say you, Miss Wicked? Care to play by those rules? (Anyone else is free to join in of course, because, yay – company!)

Song Choice: The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Muppet show version 

Traveling Together

Reading the last word of her story, Kaylee put down her tablet with a satisfied smile. Gran-gran had texted her the link for it, along with the message: ‘4 train’, the day before Kaylee left.
Her mother leaned over to look. “Two hours to go.”

Kaylee looked out the window while Mother rambled about manners once they arrived at her aunt’s. Sure, she’d say hello to everyone first, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t spend most of her time with Gran-gran. She couldn’t wait to talk to someone who understood both the thrill and sadness of finishing a great story.

The notes: Something special happens when someone shares a story they love with another person. The Turner family at the center of “Her Story”, from my book The Trouble with Wanting, and Other Not-Quite FaerieTales, understand that joy and never miss a chance to put it use.

This post is linked up to Friday Fictioneers. Follow the link for more flash fiction.