Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ice and Snow

we've had snow and ice
and ice and snow
and rain and sleet
and sleet and rain
and snow and ice
and so it goes

You can hardly breathe
it is so beautiful:

(*Click to enlarge. Stick your face right in there. xx)

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Stones on my desk

When I am thinking
I'll pick one up
and roll it around
in my hand

they're cool and smooth
and reassuring

they're simple
and astonishing

and I love them


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Boy on the Porch: Fiction Enters 'Real Life'

When I wrote The Boy on the Porch, I was still living in western New York, with no plans to move, but by the time the book was finished, my husband and I were moving to Maine, following other family members, including two beloved grandchildren.

In The Boy on the Porch, a boy rides a cow. I do not know where that came from. However, several months after moving to Maine, my granddaughter joined 4-H and fell in love with cows.  She liked to sit or lie on their backs after feeding and grooming them:

Mind you, I don't think she had ever mentioned cows before this, nor had I ever heard of a child riding a cow before I wrote The Boy on the Porch.
In The Boy on the Porch, a boy is found asleep on a porch.  A week after we moved to Maine, I went out onto our porch and discovered a young boy curled up in a chair:

Okay, this one is not so strange, as I knew the boy, my grandson, but I had a moment's flash of that phrase "the boy on the porch" that initiated the whole book.

This is the story of the mystery of a child ('mystery' in several senses), and it is the story of the ways in which children and adults shape each other. 

My own children and grandchildren and all my students were mysteries (in many senses) to me, and I'm fairly certain we have shaped each other along the way.



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Through the Window Glass

If you scroll back one day in this blog
you'll see this same view
different weather

and if you were to lean in closer
on this snowy day
you'd pass through
the window glass

and be right here
right now

. . .


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Inside Out, Outside In

Shadows on an upstairs railing
mimic the slim trees outside
stretching upward

the cold clear waters of the pond
mirror the pure perfect blue 
of the sky on this cold windy wintry day
in Maine

and the sun
that floating white light orb
(can you see it?)
is a reflection

entering the window behind me
and flinging itself into
the sky opposite
and bouncing back inside
onto my small head

I don't know if I am
outside or inside


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Maiden's Cliff

Maiden's Cliff
Camden, Maine

a beautiful hike

with beloved people

and dogs, too

Most of us wearing neon orange
to alert hunters
to our presence

Such a day!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

laden with brown

beside the white


Monday, November 4, 2013

Wicked Restroom

Check out the 'wicked' restroom
at the Farnsworth Museum
in Rockland, Maine. . .

This ties in with their current
Wizard of Oz 
display. . .

Makes you smile, mm?


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Writers Gather

Some of the writers and illustrators
and other noted book people
at the recent Rhode Island Festival
of Children's Books & Authors:

Kate Messner with Professor Susannah Richards

Chris Van Allsburg with Jarrett Krosoczka

Gregory Mone with Avi

Editor Susan Rich with Dan Santat

and the illusive Lemony Snickett


Much love for enthusiastic readers
and much love for fellow writers 
and illustrators
and book lovers.

We did laugh an awful LOT.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Harbor

Down in the harbor
boatmen and women
are making repairs

steadily preparing
to wrap up for winter


as the sun 
slides lower and lower
in the sky

and the dinghies
lie in wait

for their final shuttles
of the season
. . .


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Refilling the Well: or Why I'm Not Getting Any Writing Done

I give up.

The next/new story
is just not going to get written


it turns ugly


Monday, October 7, 2013

Sudden Beauty

You're carrying a load of laundry
down the hall
you round the corner 
and there!
on the windowsill:

You stop
you freeze
you are struck dumb

It's too much
this sudden beauty
on laundry day


Sometimes I think 
I should never write another word
because words pale
in comparison
so much else.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

About those tomatoes . . .


In the last blog post
a photo of tomatoes on the vine
prompted the recall of
a long-ago poem.

I thought the first two lines were:

clothes on the line
tomatoes on the vine

Today I remembered the correct version:

flowers on the vine
bermudas on the line

summer came and 
summer went and 

no one fed the swine.




No tomatoes!

Brains are amazing storehouses . . .


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tomatoes on the vine . . .

Yesterday I brought in these
unripened tomatoes
to save them from frost

but seeing them today
jolted me back to a poem
I wrote and published
(in a small journal)
over thirty years ago

I'm still looking for a copy of the poem
but here are the lines
I can remember so far:

clothes on the line
tomatoes on the vine
summer came and summer went
and no one fed the swine . . .

I didn't say it was a good poem.


Monday, September 23, 2013

The Boy on the Porch: Beginning

Usually I begin writing a story when a clear and insistent image appears in my mind of a character and a place. That initial image often becomes the opening image of the book, as it does here:

I'm curious about that boy and the people who find him, and so I write the story to learn more.

I hope that readers will be curious, too, and will read the story to learn more. . . and will like what they read.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Water and Rock

The only noise
water against rock

water against rock

water against rock


(Acadia National Park, Mt. Desert Island, Maine)

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Original Cubism

Wicked storms blew through
trees down
power out for twelve hours

One result, from the fridge: 

My husband calls it

'the original Cubism'


Friday, September 6, 2013

Communing with Ocean, part two

You are lured in by
the tree-framed view

to stand on the rocks
and breathe

to kneel by water's edge
and admire.

It is good to disappear
into such grandeur


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Communing with Ocean

The pull of the ocean is so strong

sun  sand  water

rocks  seaweed  shells



Monday, September 2, 2013

Sheep Talk

There was some
sheep talk
going on
at the fair
Union, Maine:

I was eavesdropping.


Monday, August 19, 2013

There's an awful lot
of local pressure
my next book
to be about



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Boy on the Porch

(Coming September 3, 2013)

This is the newest book, out in a few weeks.  

The title floated in my head as I woke one day two years ago, although I did not recognize it as a title. It was merely a phrase, insistent enough that it stuck with me through the morning.  The following day, it appeared again as I awoke, and later that day after a nap, again: "the boy on the porch."  A few days later, again.  And again.  And again.

Okay, okay, okay.  I will write to find out about the boy on the porch!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Student Art: Decorated Envelopes

Fan mail with illustrated envelopes
makes me smile.

Why don't more of us
indulge in this art?

Maybe you will send a letter
to someone today
and decorate its envelope