Friday, April 10, 2009


For some reason, windmills tinge my mood with melancholic nostalgia. Not sure why - I'm not Dutch - but seeing these strong yet graceful structures flail at the air reassures me. Perhaps it's that windmills turn something invisible - the air - and transforms it into power that intrigues me. We visited Williamsburg on the way home and this mill was my first glimpse of the village.

Spring break took us down to North Carolina to celebrate my father's 71st birthday. He still looked frail, though better than three months ago, his spindly arms listing at his side, the skin of his face drooping from the 7 weeks of radiation and chemo. But he stood there, stalwart, stubborn, pushing his breath over his candled cake.

A good trip.

The Reading... The Nudgers are full throttle again, running our novels through each other's discerning eyes and itchy red pens. So far I've read the first chapters of Among Us, a sci-fi story; Under the Devil's Club, a mystery; and Flashes from the Hot Zone, women's lit/comedy. All great stuff.

The Writing... Twelve pages away from finishing beta-reader revisions on Brighter than Bright; tomorrow, the book will rest before a final run-through for typos. I find myself emotional as I near the end, as if parting with a dear friend. The first chapter of PURE almost ready for posting to my Nudgers. And of course, a poem a day. Fell behind over vacation, but caught up late last night.

I leave you with inspiration found in the garden and in response to the prompt: a memory.

Mother Memory

Cutting rhubarb in the rain,
the mottled leaves
thick with mud and slugs,
I wonder if these five plants,
robust now, will stand
another season
in this shaded corner.

If not, next spring
my husband will surprise me,
bearing rhizomes, golden
gifts, then plant them
so my garden will be
as my mother’s, and her
mother’s, and, perhaps, all
our mothers’ before.

Later, like my mother,
I’ll slice the stalks
into chunks for pie.
Mine has strawberries,
though she says
‘ruins the rhubarb’,
so she’d make sauce
and eat from the pot,
still warm, spoon
clanking against the sides,
a sigh of a smile
trespassing her face.

In her eyes, my mixed fruit
splendor makes me a bit
of a rebel; she taught me well.
But tendering these stalks,
making the pie,
heralds me a holder
of apron strings,
honoring our history
unmarked with words
or trophies, and therefore,
all the more important.

I wonder how my daughter
will make her pie.

Peace, Linda


  1. I love your poem. So, you have a family heirloom plant too. How neat. I have my 'Elmer bush', you your rhubarb.

    Have you done your query for Brighter Than Bright? Sounds like you are very close to sending it out into the world. I wish all the very best luck to you on that. Can't wait for it to be one of the Omnivores' book of the month!

    Also, I was wondering if you've read The Double Bind, by Chris Bohjalian? Seems like it would be right up your alley. If you've read it, I'd love to hear what you thought of it. We'll be discussing it next month.

    Hope you enjoyed your vacation.

  2. Nice poem Linda.
    My mother drove one of her rhubarb plants up the Al-Can highway, from her Washington garden to my Alaska one. It was one of her mother's rhubarb plants.

    I also have one of my grandmother's peony plants that has so far survived two horrendous winters.

    I love how nature endures.


    ps looking forward to PURE

  3. Linda, I do a combo pie: Mom's filling, Grandma's crust. The plants came with the house, but the peonies way out back by the fence are my grandma's. They took five years of sending out thick, glossy leaves before finally gracing me with pale pink flowers. The smell takes me back every time.

    Glad you had a good trip and that your dad is hanging in there. There's a lot of beauty in perseverence.

  4. Good news about your dad still fighting.

    Exciting about Bright, sad in a way I’m sure but next will be the marketing.

    Girl this poem is fabulous. “heralds me a holder of apron strings, honoring our history” I love it all the parts are good and you have married them into one beautiful whole.

  5. lovely post, linda. so evocative! you seem well. hurrah for that and the advent of spring. =)

  6. Windmills and lighthouses...both evoke a sense of lonely isolation for me. They feel like mileposts to our past. Hopefully we'll be seeing a few more of the windmills in the years to come, though they certainly won't be the classic looking ones like in Williamsburg.


  7. Hey all, busy-ness has kept me scarce. A quick thank you for dropping by. Jon, I'm keeping BTB close for awhile, opportunistic and very targetted marketing for now. But what is an Elmer bush?
    I'll check out Chris B's book...

    Kim, I love how plants in my life have traveled with us all over the country. When we moved from MA to Baltimore, our jeep was filled with me, Henry, Will, two suitcases, and over 60 varieties of narcissus and about 200 daylilies... Kim and Greta, I love peonies. With these beauties, yes, perseverence is so key... Paige, I am so honored you like my poem. It means a lot coming from you, Poetess extraordinaire!... Cindy, thanks, yes, life is good. Looking forward to SILVER PHOENX showing up in the mailbox - preordered last week... John, I feel the same way about lighthouses - and ferries. I love the lighthouse in your neck of the beach... Peace, Linda