Touching a Daydream: Blogging Around With Rommy, Week 3

started off
as someone’s fancy
that refused to stay

This poem is linked to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads' Tuesday Platform and Poets United Poetry Platform 438.

The Liner Notes for This Groove:

So I had a phone call with a friend recently…

Me: Guuuuuuuurl…

Her: It arrived didn’t it?

Me: Yep, in a plain non-descript brown packaging, but it’s here.

Her: Ooooooh… have you opened it?

Me: I’m doing that now.

*tearing of paper ensues*

Me: Oh my, this is…

Her: Tell me everything.

Me: I never thought I’d be bold enough to hold something like this in my hands. Just, wow.

Her: I’ll bet you’re caressing it right now, aren’t you?

Me: Caressing. Fondling. Sniffing. It looks damn good on my bedspread. I think after I spend a little time with it, I’m going to leave it here for my husband to find. I think he’s even more excited about it than I am.

Her: It’s great he’s so supportive.

Me: Mmm-hmm. We are both going to have a very good time with this.

Just chilling, drinking some deep red tea, 
and reading my book with my foxy new manicure.

There’s something about holding something that just started out as a few random ideas. If as Ann Patchett said “Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon” getting to hold the finished product is like seeing your imaginary friend walking around in broad daylight.

Did you ever get a chance to hold something that you only imagined before? If you have a cyberhome, elaborate on how that felt and drop the link in the comments. Or feel free to start up some conversation on what’s going on in your world.

It's Your Thing: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 2

There's an amazing feeling when you create something in a medium dear to you that imbues the project with its own special, dare I say it, spark of joy. And what sparks up one person might feel meh to someone else. In which case—don't art that way! Borrowing a little from the oft misunderstood, Marie Kondo, life is too short to spend time creating things that don't thrill, excite or otherwise move you in some way. 

James Norwood Pratt wrote, "Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty." I revel in artistry of all types—visual, written, spoken, sang, danced, a blog post about what you love that can be artistic... beauty comes in so many forms, and it isn't in me to try to limit it. 

Make mine starlight
illuminating dusky beauty
and dancing off the awful bright
of a fairy tale forest
with no shortage of terror and ecstasy.

Find more of her gorgeously thrilling images in her Etsy store.

Song Choice: It's Your Thing by the Isley Brothers
The poem is linked to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Tuesday Platform and Poets United Poetry Pantry 437.

So Dear Groovers, tell me in the comments section about things that thrill you creatively (and I'm using thrill in the most expansive way possible—I consider love and horror to be thrilling in their own way). If you have a cyber home where you show off your creative sparks, share the link and tell me how they thrill you. Or just catch me up with what's going on with you. 

That Sportsball Life

I couldn't hear the bounce of ball on blacktop over the susurration of pages turning under my hands when I was young. Tying elation and depression to the ferocious waltz between strangers held no appeal. It was only when I felt the freedom of venting emotions in a well timed kick that I began to understand.

My unexpressed rage
finds solace in strengthened limbs
dripping sweat, not tears. 

Liner Notes for This Groove: 

My dad did a terrific job suppressing laughter when I told him I voluntarily participate in sport-like activities every week with my co-workers. That ever athletic man spent a lot of time trying to encourage me to enjoy a physical activity beyond walking back and forth to the library with a ginormous backpack of books. I'm just as surprised as he is by how much I look forward to what I call "sportsball time" at work.

There are weeks I'm especially grateful for sportsball time. This week was one of them. There was a whole lot going on that, let's just say, left me feeling mightily irked. It wasn't enough to make me cry (and I'm certainly not against a good cry either - I find those to be extremely cathartic), but I had some pretty strong feels that were going to be unproductive to vent any other way than on the sportsball field.

I actually played my best game this week - 2 goals, 2 assisted goals. I credited it to brewing chai tea in coffee that morning (caffeine is a hell of a drug, for me at least - ask my college roommate). But there was just something cleansing about playing hard, even if my team didn't win in the end (I mean... that wasn't realistic. The gentleman who runs the class and the lady who is super hard core about fitness were on the opposing team. It was like going up against the Avengers).

I'll never be fabulous at sports, but I'm having fun playing. Heck, I even have a favorite sports team - the Hanshin Tigers from Japan. They are from Osaka, which is known to be a foodie haven. That seems to be as good a reason as anything else to support a team. Go Tigers!

Mascot for the Hanshin Tigers

This poem is linked to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads Weekend Mini-Challenge: Mustn't Be Fancy and Poets United, Poetry Pantry 436.

Song Choice: Rokko Oroshi (the fight song for the Hanshin Tigers baseball team out of Osaka Japan) by Snuff

I’ve Got You, Babe: Blogging Around with Rommy, Week 1

Hey all, welcome to my cyber-home. Pull up a cup of your favorite brew and let’s start some conversation. If you’re new to my blog, feel free to introduce yourself in the comments (and if you’ve already been following the Groove for a bit, go ahead and introduce yourself too, because why should the new kids have all the fun ?)

If you’re a first-time Groover, it’s probably because you came from Ms. Wicked’s (a.k.a. Magaly Guerrero’s) site. We’ve been friends for years now, chatting on the phone regularly and I’ve made several trips to visit her in NYC, since her health hasn’t cooperated enough to have her visit Bucks Co, PA (but we’re keeping our fingers crossed). I had an inkling some things needed to get juggled around, so she could manage her new itinerary. But I was floored when she asked me if I could take over “Doing it Alone is Quite Yummy, But…”

My first thought—Dang, that’s a big mantle to take on!

It kind of reminded me of the time when Jon Stewart announced he was leaving the Daily Show and tagged Trevor Noah as his replacement. I LOVED the Daily Show and the job Jon Stewart did as host. Sure, Trevor Noah was funny and all, but, but… that was one of my favorite shows. How was it ever going to be the same?

The truth was, it wasn’t. It’s still hysterically funny, must-see TV in my book, but Mr. Noah is a different person from Mr. Stewart. He brings his own perspective as the host that is downright charming, while still providing biting commentary. So nope, I’m not Magaly. She’s cool and a serious bad ass. Me? I’m a bit of a nerdy goofball obsessed with tea. But I’ll do my best. Ms. Wicked could do with having one less thing on her buffet sized plate, and I’m happy to give her breathing room (and maybe a short bit of poetry, which I'll also be linking to the Garden) in her honor to kick off her new-found bit of rest):

Battle tested bones
demand more moments of calm.
Ferocity rests
to ensure fangs are ready
so every bite counts.

I’ve changed the name of the challenge to Blogging Around with Rommy, and a new post will go up every Tuesday at midnight EST.

So as the author H.H. Munroe (better known as Saki) once said, “Find yourself a cup; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things.” Talk to me about how your week is going, how you feel about clog dancing, or maybe tell me about a time when you were faced with a change you weren’t quite so sure about but delighted you in the end. If you’ve got your own blog and want to let your muse boogie with the idea of surprising changes that ended up being a good thing, feel free to drop a link in the comments section too.


A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Sovereignty lies
in her emerald eyes
by seeing in the darkness.

Notes from the Real World: I could not believe my good luck when artist Michelle Kennedy (known in the blogosphere as Sunshine Shelle) agreed to do the artwork for my cover. Her artwork already graces the banner of this blog, and I knew she was the perfect person to capture what I was hoping for in the cover of this book. Shelle's style naturally combines the sweetness and darkness I hope comes across in most of my stories.

Once I decided I wanted Rowena (the main character of "What's A Little Blood to a Mother's Heart?") to be the cover girl, I sent Shelle a copy of the story and gave her some general guidelines. I was blown away by the end product, especially with the tiny details she came up with. The little mementos on the shelf behind her - she totally captured Rowena's love for the natural world with the small plants in water amid different depictions of animals. The lace table cloth (and wow - the brushwork on that) adds to the feeling of gentleness and old-fashioned comfort. But it's the expression on Rowena's face that Shelle captured that impressed me the most... sweet, but somewhat unsettling. And what is that tiny bottle tucked away among all her other things?

Shelle's painting is a story unto itself, surpassing my already high expectations. Go on and head to her Instagram and approach some of her other marvelously expressive pieces  as if they might whisper their secrets to you, so long as you attend patiently to them.

Song Choice: Once Upon a Dream covered by Lana Del Rey 


Water is the mother of tea, a teapot its father, and fire the teacher. ~ Chinese Proverb

His sunshine is too big
to fit the dimensions others demand
for a pity poster boy.

He'll shred that poster
and burn it up in his flight
to the sky he chooses for himself.

Notes from the Real World: So I am not the only Driks to get published in 2018. My son Max had an article accepted by Public Source (a digital news source based out of Pittsburgh) about his experiences growing up as a person on the Autism spectrum that was published just as the year was taking its final bows.

There was a time when most of the discussion on the internet about children on the spectrum revolved around how hard the parents had it. While Max would be the first one to laugh if I said raising him was a breeze (and probably follow it up with a sheepish, "Sorry, Mom"), to claim it was all weariness and gloom would be a bigger joke. 

Firstly, there are always going to be challenging parts of parenthood. Good gods, even the Brady Bunch had their ups and downs. Secondly, I wouldn't wish away any part of my seriously witty, creative, off-beat kid young man. Raising him has been an honor. Getting to see how fired up he's become about writing (something that would probably come as a shock to some of his middle school teachers) is just a bonus. 

No matter where we come from, it is our own unique life experiences that shape and spark our voices as writers, whether we write fiction or non-fiction. I've been very candid with my son when we talk shop (between sessions of video game playing and political comedy watching) about how my experience as a first generation Latina-American shades a lot of the perspectives that come through in my writing (he was one of my first beta readers for my book and was able to spot the nuances - as well as get a good chuckle when he recognized the inspiration behind the budding storyteller enthralled by kooky hats).

He’s also talked to me about how important it was to him to have his voice as a person on the spectrum heard. On one such occasion, a look of dawning horror crossed over his face as he realized how passionate he was getting while discussing things like writing, representation, and authenticity of voice.

"I think I'm turning into you, Mom", he said.

"Sorry, Son," I replied. 

Song Choice: I could have gone so many ways with this. Baby Mine comes to mind when I remember sitting through IEP meetings with my husband, as we fiercely advocated for schooling that wasn't limited by the expectations people had for kids with a spectrum diagnosis. Dear Theodosia is a good fit because all of the pride I feel. And I have jokingly sang back lines from The Cat's in the Cradle to him when he remarks upon politics or writing ("My boy was just like me").

But there is one song I always associate with Max. Sometimes a song will pop into my head with no warning and it can be almost an omen of sorts. The moment I finished taking the pregnancy test that let me know Max was on his way, REM's The End of the World (As We Know It) popped on, right at the slow/ quiet part of the song (the guitar jam started right up as that blue line came into focus). When I was driving in the car, that song came on soon after Max's text to the family announcing the article's publication. I'll take that as a good omen for the birth of an author.

Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Neither is Max.
Photo by Ryan Loew/ Public Source