More than a Bloody Moon


Dad is slumped over on me now; half of his weight is on my right side, my right arm under his. I walk him to his side of the bed hoping Mother won’t wake up and see how drunk he is, see the blood I didn’t get the chance to wipe off his face. He lies down and is out cold. He’s good for the night.

I go into my room and see Delma asleep on her bed. I lie down on mine and stare up at the ceiling. A dim light comes through my window. The half-moon pays me a visit, casts shadows of a kid named Cono who never could beat Hicks Boy.

Well, I guess Dad has met his own Hicks Boy.

I can’t believe I’m not jumping up and down, celebrating. I feel kinda sorry for him, my dad beaten by a cue stick. The same man who, to my knowledge, never lost a fight except for in the boxing ring with Shorty Houghton when I was three years old.

I also feel pretty good that I was there for him, did something for him that maybe he’ll remember. But it doesn’t really matter if he remembers. I will. For the first time, I felt useful to him.

I hear Mother scream. I snap back into the present, out of my daydream. Maybe she’s woken up, has seen blood on her sheets reflected in moonlight, seen the blood on Dad’s face.

I start to get up but the quiet has taken over. I think I might just go back to sleep but the silence only lasts for a moment.

Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper by C. Dennis-Willingham

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via Dim

Ah, Those Mentors Who Have Not Been Touched by the Absolute

I decided to look up one of my favorite words along with my favorite poet. Here’s what I got:

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What? Emily Dickinson hasn’t posted anything within 14 days??

And then I thought of how we rekindle our own imaginations – through the eyes of children, of course.

Then, I thought of Shel Silverstein.

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But this is my all-time favorite:

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And, by the way – Just because Emily hasn’t posted in a while doesn’t mean she’s not alive.

see more here

via Imagination


Shepherding a Herd of Bullheads

Let us congregate together

to reach a common goal

of liberty and justice

to make the people whole.


Secure the budding children

the elderly and homeless

the rejected and the lonely

will no longer be an onus.


How hard is it to link our arms

to agree and thus succeed –

to reach solutions with accord?

It’s very hard, indeed.

               freedom-sandy-tracey       1-resistance-ron-tam

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via Congregate


Curiosity DID NOT Kill the Cat


You know what DID kill the cat? Fear. Fear encrusted the cat like a toxic blanket. Because of this, the cat, stuck high up in a tree, could not come down. He was paralyzed and not curious enough to see what would happen if he tried.

Curiosity encourages us to learn, to explore, to question. Curiosity leads to knowledge.

No one has ever said so, but I wonder sometimes if my questions make people think I’m nosy when I’m actually inquiring and attempting to gather information.

Answers gives us knowledge and truth sets us free.

So, be curious and climb down from that tree.

And, if you need to hang on for dear life, do it while standing firmly on the ground.

via Encrusted

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When Numbers Play Hopscotch

Although my body has never been flexible (can’t blame age for that one) I like to think I’m flexible in my thinking. But not always.

My opinions on important matters have remained constant – my position on gun safety, on child advocacy, on human rights.

And many things I used to love I have put on a shelf –  Bikram Yoga, pilates (well, not too much love for that one), Italian lessons, playing piano, playing a djembe, oil and acrylic painting.

Not writing. I will always write. Now, however, I am focusing on children’s stories instead of novels.

I am learning more about photoshop, embroidery, Netflix.

One thing I know for sure: Change is constant.

And damn, I love that about this world.

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Photoshopped for my children’s book, What Happened to Ten, a work in progress.

via Constant

No Birthday Without Her


Scooter and me walk to the swimming hole. He’s playing the blues harp, but even his sour notes don’t distract me from thinking about my birthday. Without Mama, it wouldn’t be a birthday anyway. It would be a few friends, a cake and presents without promise. Now I have to talk to The Secret Keepers, Miss Helen or Miss Delores. If they know where Mama is, maybe they can send word that I refuse to turn twelve without her.

Excerpt from The Moonshine Thicket, by C. Dennis-Willingham

photo credit

via Present

When You’re Hit Between the Eyes


I grabbed my little sister’s button nose and held out my hand to show her my thumb tucked between my two fingers.

“Cono, I’ve done told ya I was too big fer that!” Delma yelled and stomped her little feet in the dirt.

Instead of kicking me in the shins as usual, she picked up a stave from the ground and hit me right square between the eyes. She could tell by the look on my red face that I was madder than a hornet.

“Ya better start runnin’, Delma Jean, ’cause I’m comin’ after ya, and I’m gonna whoop ya!”

She ran those deer legs of hers right straight to the outhouse and got there just in time to lock herself in.

“I’m gonna push this outhouse right over on ya, Delma Jean!” I said, banging on the old cedar door.

I stood outside that smelly outhouse, listening for what she was gonna say next. Then I listened some more. When I didn’t hear anything, I said, “OK. Well, when ya come out, I’ll be right here waitin’. Then ya can see this knot between my eyes that’s growin’ into a real-life unicorn horn.”

I thought for sure she’d come out right then to see for herself. But she didn’t. I tiptoed away and went on about my business. I pretended that my new horn was a badge of courage, which I guess it was if you had yourself a little sister like Delma.

I can’t say for sure how long she stayed in there, but she knew that I wouldn’t spank her. And, of course, I’d never push a stinky old outhouse over with her in it.

Delma showed up for our quiet suppertime more clammed up than usual. I put an elbow on the table and used my left hand to hide the goose egg on my forehead. I didn’t want Delma to see it any more than I wanted Mother and Dad to. Then with my righthand, I ate my supper in silence like everybody else. Several times I caught Delma staring between my fingers trying to get a peek at my bump.

Later that night, Delma told me she didn’t mean to put a horn between my eyes. I told her it didn’t matter, that it didn’t really hurt anyhow.

By the next morning, my badge of courage was almost completely sucked back into my skull. Even though nobody else could see it, I reckoned it was still in there somewhere. And that’s where I decided I’d keep it from then on, next to the other ones I got elsewhere.

— Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper, a novel about my father growing up in west Texas during the Great Depression.

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via Courage

Who’s Who?


I sit on the end of the bench

away from you

I don’t need your lecture

about what to wear

what friends to choose

how to sit properly

how to conduct myself in public.

I am fine the way I am, thank you.

Besides, I like to read.

And you are just a seven year old girl.

image credit

via Lecture

Make it Your Goal


If out of nowhere you smell chicken soup

do you conjure up the memory of someone trying to make you feel better?

If you lay on the grass,

do you see your childhood friends beside you, giggling as a puppy licks your toes?

If you hear the coo of the mourning dove

are you transported back into the bed at your grandparent’s house laying peacefully under the quilted covers?

When you see a child squeal with happiness

are you remembering unwrapping your stuffed purple and pink cow that special Christmas Eve?


Memories are precious

Our goal is to have many more good ones than bad.

via Conjure

image from Pixabay