Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mother Wit


Issues? Now she's got issues;
stair steps months, not years apart,
shades from olive
to blue black
evidence of the multiplicity
of advantage taken
of this too ripe child.
Take your pick;
close relations, family friends
irresponsible men
leaving her with issues;
stair steps,
door mats
of society,
lined up obediently
against the backdrop
of her confusion
waiting in the rain
for change to come.

©Peggy Eldridge-Love 2004 - All Rights Reserved

I listened to the story of the woman from Georgia who refused to ignore her gut instinct and persisted until she satisfied that gnaw inside that a child, a baby, was in peril. It was an "Anne Frank" moment for me, a reassurance of our goodness at a time when our hedonistic nature has appeared to be at its all time greatest. This woman crossed all limits and boundaries to rescue this little girl. She didn't care about being a nuisance, she wasn't concerned that some overworked policeman might want to relegate her to the pile of hysterical women he might think he talks to all the time, she didn't accept the first answer that everything was all right! No, no, no! She followed that superior machine within -- her gut -- and she prevailed.

It caused me to think about moments of my own. Times when I've seen things or heard things that wouldn't go away, wouldn't let me go. I wondered if I acted upon them as I ought. Had I left anyone in the lurches that I might have helped? I searched my self and couldn't come up with any situation that I might genuinely have changed, but I did come up with faces, with eyes, that stayed. Like the girl at the bus stop on 31st and Troost a few years ago. I wrote a poem about her the day I saw her, and I have driven by that corner many times since looking for her ... and hers. I've never seen her or them again, at least not in the flesh.

I'll be more attentive in the future. I think the majority of us, at the least the majority of the women, who heard the story of this selfless woman from Georgia will be. I think it was a call to women in a way. A call to the return of that part of us that protected our families because it was continuously tuned in, that part my mother, aunts and the elders called Mother Wit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Winter Has Two Ends

So, this is Winter 2006, isn't it? I was surprised when I happened to take a peek at the overview for the newest issue of Lorraine and James ,(Vol.1, Issue 2), on their site last night and found that my work was included. I knew I was going to be a contributor to the Winter 2006 issue, but - duh - for some reason I thought it would be next winter - December 2006 - not the beginning of the year.

Lead times in publishing are normally very long. I think that was one of the hardest things to come to grips with when I began to get published. First, the wait for a response once a work was submitted, second, the wait for actual publication when something was accepted, and, finally, the wait for the check, if and when there was a check! Finding something is in print much sooner than anticipated is, as you have already no doubt deducted, a very pleasing turn of events.

Monday, January 23, 2006

When Didi Critiques...


St. James Avenue has six corners
and runs down under James Street
for half a mile before it dog-legs
a mile south of the boulevard
where you left me
so long ago;
the trolly no longer
stops at James,
any James,
any where.
©2005 Peggy Eldridge-Love - All Rights Reserved

I contribute to Cafe Cafe and have to admit that some of my very best poetry has been drawn from me whenever I've dared to expose my wares in a venue hosted and critiqued by Didi Menendez and her band(s) of excellent poets. 'Progress' was a piece I wrote while workshopping a couple of poems there in June of 2005.

Didi is many things literary and otherwise creative. MiPOesia is one her flag ship publications and it is truly, in my estimation, a feast. A couple of my poems ('Turquoise Traders' and 'Restitution') appeared in one of her other Avant Garde publications, MiPo~Print, in 2003! I think that she folded MiPo~Print into one of her other endeavors about a year ago, but little has made me prouder than crossing that publishing threshold!

I haven't had much opportunity lately to contribute on Cafe Cafe, but every opportunity I get I creep in to savor some of the magic that's there for the taking. Today I kept thinking about my poem 'Progress' and realized it was time for me to make some poetic progress of my own. So, I'm going to sharpen a few pencils (with soft erasers) and ease myself back into the mix.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Down Time - Ian Britton

I'm not feeling quite so buoyant lately. It's a bit difficult to keep myself aloft, so for the last few days I've been trying to bring me in for a graceful landing by getting some much needed rest. I've had an unfriendly visitor a couple of times already this season, a cold, and that is never fun. The only good part of it is, for some reason, when I get a cold I get very reflective and tend to focus on energy that might have gotten stuck in unproductive places within and I'll probe and prod until I'm able to pry it loose. Hum, I wonder if recycling my own energy for later use makes me an environmentlist?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Fade In

I'm wrapping up my novella for the anthology. It has been a true labor of love, not without its upset and pitfalls for sure, but ever moving forward, ever making me and those I'm working with stronger, better and wiser. Go ladies!

Soon as I dot the last "i" and cross the last ... well, you know the adage, so I don't need to go there. When I finalize my novella I'm picking up a script that has been adrift on the high seas for quite a while that now just might be coming into port. For real real. I've had a bit of dialogue with a respected producer familiar with the work and I'm very encouraged to pick it up once more and go for broke. Some recent industry changes -- broadening prespectives actually -- have made a significant and crucial element of my story more plausible. Perhaps its time has come!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Thinking Aloud

Last night the strangest thing happened. I went to bed earlier than my husband and was asleep when he finally came upstairs and climbed into the bed. I awoke to the -- I know this sounds some kinda way -- to the sound of his thinking! I'm serious, he was thinking so loud and his thoughts were so heavy they woke me. I surprised him by suddenly asking, "What are you thinking? I hear your thoughts."

We've been married long enough that he just laughed, and began to tell me what he was thinking. They were very poignant thoughts about a loved one we lost not very long ago. As he unburdened himself, I heard his being quiet and knew he'd found a peace that only that conversation would have allowed. Very shortly thereafter, he was asleep.

I realized that it was that same sixth sense that brings my characters to me that had tapped me on the shoulder for him. Don't get me wrong. I'm very intuned to my husband on an ongoing basis - I can sense his needs, moods, wants, and desires with a simple glance - but this was different. I think my muse nudged me awake this time for him. That's a real good sign, because my muse isn't known for either being generous or compassionate when it comes to me and my time. Maybe s/he's mellowing with age.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ring Tones

I've been somewhat driven the last few years. Driven by things that sort of wiggled themselves into my daily routine as necessities. I can't tell you when I added most of them, when I stopped wondering if I could afford them, or when they became so ingrained they also became somewhat invisible. Cell phone, PDA, home fax, second telephone line, second, third, or fourth computer, digital camera, digital video camera, you know, the constant progression, the constant stream of 'things'.

One of those 'things' has been the package I selected years ago for my telephone service. Call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, three-way conferencing and a few other features I have never used. One that I thought was invaluable, a true life saver, a busy person's friend, was the ID benefit. Knowing who was calling and being able to determine if now was a good time to take that call seemed so utterly vogue in the beginning, but before long it became something else, a means of discriminating, short changing, even dodging people and things. Ingrained and invisible, unknown to me, it had also become an issue of great stress.

I might not have realized that had not something happened, some snafu, some malfunction, that zapped my caller ID system about a week ago. At first I was like, 'oh, no,' now what do I do? And, of course, day one I let most calls roll over to voice mail so identity could be established and I could make that ever so important decision to talk or not to talk.

Day two, nothing was more important than getting that ever loving thing fixed. Only, I got busy, and I forgot until it was too late to sit on the telephone for an hour waiting to talk to someone about getting it resolved. Day three, because there were a couple of significant calls I was waiting on, I started to answer the telephone -- without benefit of pre-knowledge. By day four, I felt a subtle change taking place in my life. It was a change linked to expectation and excitement. It was a return to the thrill of the unknown - simple as that - the unknown thrill of not having the foggiest notion who was on the other end of the telephone when I lifted that receiver.

So, what else have I jockeyed myself out of by just falling into rhythm with the drone of the world? I don't know, but I think I'm going to give myself a chance to find out. Heck, I might even go outside the next time it rains, get myself a small shovel and play in the mud. I used to make a dynamic mud pie. Might be time to go back to that starting gate and work my way back this way again.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Rudimentary Senses

Promotion is so important now if you are a writer. Self-promotion. More and more I'm hearing from both agents and writers alike that it's a writer's willingness to hussel, to get out there and pump, to push and sell their own books, that is almost solely determining new book contracts and contract renewal decisions. I've seen it work both ways (new deals or non-renewals) recently so I know there is a lot of validity in that premise.

Having seen and heard so much of that line of thought, it was very refreshing when I received an email the other day from an agent who just wanted to share a clients' newest work on a personal level and to step off the push, push, shove, shove bandwagon to simply say what a gifted writer the author was and what a remarkable work she had crafted.

I didn't remember immediately that the author was already celebrated. Forgot at the time that much of the author's work, like this gem, COPPER SUN, was young adult fiction, or that not long ago I'd seen something else about her (Sharon Draper) having been nominated for or receiving some significant award for another work. All I knew as I read through the email was that Sharon had someone who really, really believed in her who was committed to helping make her literary dreams come true not only because if Sharon made money she'd certainly continue to make money too, but for non-tangible reasons that have become almost rudimentary in this 21st century. Her agent respects her talent.

I've been on the other side of the table; not as a literary agent, but as a personal manager for recording artist, and I know you must keep your balance and perspective in a safe, often non-personal place to be able to consistently make good decisions for your clients, but not always. Anymore, clients and agents often never actually even meet. They are only voice mails, emails, PDF files, instant messages and an occasional Fedex to one another. But then, I've been seeing ads recently that will allow you to get your M.D. online -- so, what the heck am I complaining about?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Take a Deep Breath, Close Your Eyes and ...

I'm celebrating my birthday today. One of my friends sent this wonderful flashing collage of my most recent projects this morning in celebration. She's an engineer turned author (I have a couple of friends with that same resume) and one of the most creative and generous spirits you could ever encounter. Matter of fact, she just let a few of us know of the signing of her own first book deal on New Years Eve. I'm not sure she's made a public announcement yet, so I won't spill the beans, but she's a truly great writer and deserving of the honor.

My husband wanted to know where I'd like to go for dinner this evening. It's winter here in Missouri, but I told him I thought I wanted one of his extraordinary Porterhouse steaks on the backyard grill. At first he agreed, but when he asked if I was sure about a dozen times I realized he was wondering if I was still thinking straight in my new old(er) age. We have grilled late into the season, but not this late. I finally opted instead for a nice dinner at the Peachtree, one of our favorite spots. He seemed please.

That reminds me of something. A couple of years ago he surprised me at another favorite restaurant with about 30 family and friends on my birthday. I think I earned his undying respect that night. I made a wish and blew out all the trick candles on my birthday cake. Our relationship kicked into a new gear after that! I never told him what I wished for.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Nudgies® 2006

You know, ever now and again you evaluate what's meaningful in your life and what isn't. I have an antique sheet music cabinet that doubles as the place where I hide my little treasures. Things that, in most instances, only have importance to me. Not long ago I was going through it and remembered that about a year ago I'd stumbled across this letter that I received from Oprah Winfrey in 1988 thanking me for sharing my greeting card collection - Nudgies® - with her. Nudgies®. My little card line had finally taken off and, it seemed at that moment, that it was about to blast straight through the sky. Then...

Well, then real life called. We owned another business. It needed all our time and attention, not to mention our money. So, my dearly beloved little Nudgies® had to go sit in the corner for a decade or so.

I guess I'm thinking about Nudgies® tonight because it is a brand new year and a few days ago I had occasion to talk to someone who a few years ago commissioned a number of Nudgies® prayer boxes from me for a major greeting card company. They flew off all the shelves in all the test markets she placed them in (Texas, Missouri, California), but - once again - Nudgies'® timing was off. That greeting card company was going through a major internal upheaval and - as well the Nudgies® boxes had tested - they got lost in the shuffle. The independent shops kept reordering, but that big, big thrust didn't materialize. To my surprise, the conversation we had a few days ago was one in which I was told the interest in those boxes was (yes!) still very keen!

So, perhaps in some cultures 2006 is the year of the dog, but I'm thinking it just might be the year of the 'stick man'! Okay, Nudgies®, I'm good for another round if you are!