Member Monday: Home by Jennifer Phelps

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to once again feature member Jennifer Phelps.  Welcome back, Jennifer!

Home

by Jennifer Phelps

This is a picture of my house – or rather, my yard – of which I will only show a small piece because I am stubbornly private. It’s a good house and, like all good houses, has held its share of pain as well as joy. Call it “seasoning.”

wpid-IMG_20131106_164243_419.jpgI like to say I’ll be here forever, which of course is just one of those silly things we tell ourselves when we love something and can’t imagine letting it go. Who am I to speak of forever? My existence is only a small blip on the radar screen of forever, here and gone in an instant.

My house, though, I love unapologetically: its wide windows that show me the rain, stars, and moonlight; the squeaky hinge on the bathroom door that I could lubricate but somehow never do; the crooked corner in the living room that inspires speculation about drunken drywall contractors.

I love the way light winds its way into each room at a slightly different angle, the way the hall closet still smells of someone else’s candles, the too-sunny greenhouse window that cooks even the hardiest of plants to a pulp in the dense heat of summer.

Best of all, I love the garden, home to hundreds of Pacific tree frogs and numerous speckled, smooth, and mossy boulders – all of which I adore with shameless fanaticism. I love the neighborhood with its foothills for walking, its backdrop of dusky mountains, the way the wild pushes its brambled back up against my fence.

And I even try to love the neighbors – honest, I do try.

I fill my home with the things I love, the cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer that was a wedding present from my grandma, my mother’s bust of Mozart, the old rocking chair my parents carried me to for comfort in the wee hours, the pets I dare to love even though I know they will one day break my heart, and my special people, who share with me daily their truth, wisdom, and grace.

This house is and will be witness to the mundane, the profound, the astonishing.  It is witness to our lives.

 

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Advertisements

Member Monday: I Think I Could Be a Poem by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature a poem by poet, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.  You can purchase a hardback copy of Linda’s newest picture book Boy and Poi Poi Puppy at All About Books.

I Think I Could Be A Poem

By Linda Boyden ©2014

I think I could be a poem.
Nothing fancy
no sestina
no villanelle
no form to
slow
my flow.
I can
keep the
beat rock
the rhyme
in time
in style
make you
smile.
Lick my
words
take your time
savor
the flavor
each bite
holds
guaranteed to
curl your toes.
Yes, all things considered
I could be a poem.

 A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Charles, Jr. by Deborah Gilson

Welcome back to Member Monday!  Today we feature a piece by Writers Forum member Deborah Gilson.

Charles, Jr.

 by Deborah Gilson

In August of 1999, our family was on a road trip to Disneyland in a rented RV. It was a vacation, including six teen-agers, two of who were Ross, my deceased brother’s, kids. Spencer, our son, was two-and-half years old at the time. I remember my mother telling me, I ought to have my head examined for attempting such an excursion. As it turned out, this journey was a memorable one.

We made several stops along the way to various sites, such as Hearst Castle. We rode horses at a dude ranch and spent the night at a hot springs “resort” for RV drivers. Did you know the smelly waters of hot springs could turn even your most precious jewelry a greenish black?

At last, we arrived at Disneyland and checked into the Disneyland Hotel. The teen-agers were excited to get onto the rides. They were given their passes and off they ran. I stayed with Spencer, while my husband caught up to the others to enjoy big-kid rides. It was early in the afternoon when Spencer and I took the tram to Disneyland.

The intense Southern California sun was relentless. I pushed Spencer’s covered stroller to a water fountain, lifting him out so we could splash water on our faces. We were at the fountain approximately 10 minutes when a tall, blond, handsome fellow in his early 30’s, approached. He commented on how much fun we were having, watching us with envy and sadness. I looked closely at this man’s face and could see an empty, faraway look in his eyes. What was he thinking at this moment? What happened to this gentle-faced young man? I took the time to listen.

Holding Spencer’s hand, I asked this man why he approached. He said he had a son, Charles Jr., who was also two-years old, with blond hair and blue eyes. I told him I was enjoying my life with my son, feeling blessed having him. Charles Sr. pulled out of his wallet a well-worn photograph. A smiling boy, sitting next to the edge of his swimming pool, was wearing only a diaper. It was then the man began his story.

Charles Sr. was from Mariner’s Cove, the Hawaii Kai side of Oahu, Hawaii. I told him I lived on Oahu eight years, having attended the University of Hawaii. I spent a majority of my time in Mariner’s Cove with a family who accepted me as their calabash, or adopted daughter. I knew Hawaii Kai very well and even knew of the street on which he lived. What a twist of fate he and I should meet today.

One day, Charles Sr., and his young son were in their fenced backyard, sitting by the pool, playing. Thirsty for water, Dad carried Charles Jr., outside the pool area, setting him down near the gate. Dad had an eight-foot high, security-alarmed gate surrounding the pool, with a lock on the gate. After a mere two minutes, Dad returned to the pool area, calling his son. No answer. As Dad rounded the corner, to his horror he discovered Charles Jr., face down in the swimming pool, with his water-filled diaper visible.

Dad dove into the pool, pulled his son out of the water and administered CPR. With his portable telephone nearby, he dialed 911. The paramedics arrived, also administered CPR, only to deliver the most shocking news to Charles Sr., “I am sorry, Sir, we are unable to revive your son.”

Spencer and I stood quietly.  Charles Sr. broke the silence by telling me no matter how much security I think I have; never turn my back on my young son when he is near water. I nodded in agreement. I thanked this man for approaching and sharing his story. He told me the likeness of my son to Charles Jr., was so overwhelming, he felt compelled to talk with me. To this day, when Spencer is near water, I look back into the eyes of Charles Sr., and am reminded of his beautiful young son.

Charles Sr. has a gorgeous blond daughter now, whom we met. He displays a tremendous amount of devotion to his young daughter.

We do not know what awaits us around the corners of our lives.  We can, however, recognize and acknowledge the precious treasures we are given. When I look into Spencer’s eyes, I know I do.

Spencer PDF Photo.pdf

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Old Friends by Jennifer Phelps

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature member Jennifer Phelps.  Jennifer’s piece, Cigarettes in the Volkswagen was recently published in the 2013 issue of the Santa Fe Literary Review.  Welcome, Jennifer!

Old Friends

by Jennifer Phelps

We all need quiet in our lives.  We must sweep off the table and make space for it.  My life’s work dwells in the quiet spaces between things – of that I am certain.

When I was little, I had plenty of quiet.  We lived way out in the country, in the middle of an apple orchard, and I was always alone.  I had no siblings, no neighbors with kids, no playmates.  What I did have was an active imagination, and I was a voracious reader and so I enjoyed robust adventures of my own conjuring.

friendsStill, I thought I was lonely.  I built tree forts and yearned for a friend – a Diana to my Anne (of Green Gables) – to come climb with me.  We would giggle and tell secrets.  She would know my heart and understand me without a word.

I thought I was lonely, and maybe I was, with only an aloof cat, the mute companionship of a sweet-natured dog, and the rough-barked apple trees.  But as it turns out, along with the tree houses, I was also building something else.

I was building a relationship with myself.  I asked myself questions and listened to the answers.  The trees were my companions, the tractor-torn clay of the earth.  I ran barefoot and my feet became tough and impervious to rocks.  I ate plums and mulberries – and apples, of course – warm from the tree.

When I started school, I was confused by the complexities of interactions with my peers.  Many of them were abrupt, judgmental, inconsistent.  I began to see relationships as troubling, unsatisfying, and hurtful.

I have been blessed with some very dear friends in my life, but a true and durable friendship, as many of us know, is an uncommon thing.  That Diana to my Anne – that “kindred spirit” that L. M. Montgomery spoke of – I don’t know that I’ve ever quite found her.  Unless…

Unless I am that friend, to myself.  When I think about it, this dialogue that has continued for well over 30 years, this old and comfortable knowing of myself that goes deeper than words, has served me well ever since my childhood, when such self-companionship was forced on me through my isolated circumstances.

When I’m alone, undistracted, and able to really be with myself, it’s like a visit with an old, dear friend.  I thought I was waiting to meet her, but maybe she’s been here all along.  She’s been waiting in the quiet spaces between things…and she is always there for me.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

A Message From the President, May 2014

Paws2

So the story goes something like this; “April showers bring May flowers.” But some years, it can be read as “April showers may bring flowers” — but not necessarily in May.

This year seems to prove it. Mid-April, the roses are going wild and the Kangaroo Paw is becoming recognizable as its namesake implies; Redbuds are going crazy and the Kale is blossoming its head off.

Who knew that letting that leafy green high-protein staple go wild would be such a beautiful sight? Well, one member did, since she posted a pic on Facebook and recounted how many years that it has been a show-off.

I know for certain that come May, all the flowers will be gone; but not the other intent of the poem. Some look at it as a metaphor; that a period of discomfort can provide the basis for a period of happiness and joy.

Ah…this leads me to one of the worse segues ever.

A period of Happiness and Joy will be yours after attending our 10 May meeting with essayist Virginia Castleman as she defines the types of essays and how to choose one suited for your purpose and potential market.

Until then, keep the plows in the dirt…

Larry Watters,
Writers Forum President