And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. Anais Nin


Finished and Beautiful

The sixth edition of the VoiceCatcher anthology is out and captures new writing and art from women in the Portland/Vancouver region. Along with my Co-Editor, Kristin Berger, and the entire VoiceCatcher editorial collective, let me say, "we're damned proud!"

Below is a list of our upcoming readings - please join us:

Dec. 8, 2011 - Cover To Cover Books, Vancouver, WA
February 2012 - Broadway Books, Portland, OR
March 31, 2012 - Central Library, Portland, OR
May 13, 2012 - Stonehenge Studios, Portland, OR

See for more information.

Hope to see you at one of these.

Almost Back

Nine months later and the VoiceCatcher anthology is the baby. The book is in the final round of proofing and then, off to the printer. It has been a wild ride! I knew it would be a tremendous amount of work. Yet, being in the middle of it put it in perspective.

I just completed two art pieces for the September "Chair" show at Angst Gallery in Vancouver, WA. Soon, after relaxing I'm back to writing and art.


Life In Ghost Town

I'm ready to break free of winter and fly headfirst into spring! It's still grey, damp, and chilly outside, but I am filled with great hope that things will improve over the next month. I have evidence.

All around the yard there are green shoots emerging from early blooming bulbs. Soon there will be color. Not to say that green isn't a color -- right now it's the only color.

Last year I bought a Forsythia plant and plunked it in a big pot. I have babied it all winter and to my surprise, it has long, willowy branches with buds. The buds are still closed tight, but soon they will bring me a rousing shade of yellow.

It will be at that point when I clip several (not all, I hope) and bring them inside. I have a beautiful, tall, multicolored glass vase and a spot on the table picked out. When this happens I'll know that spring has just about arrived. I imagine that I'll immediately feel warmer. I'll see the possibilities in things. I'll get ready to emerge from the "hibernating me" that I've endured all these winter months.

Today, I will watch the sky for a moment of sun. I'll count the birds brave enough to dip in the cold rainwater collecting in the birdbath. And, I'll whisper a few more words of encouragement to the delicate yellow friend who lives in my yard.
"Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake." - Wallace Stevens

Can it be this simple? I can hear you say, "No way!" I get it.

I've been considering the amount of time we spend on conflict and misunderstandings. It seems right to count the hours spinning inside our minds when we examine it this way, then that. We try to frame the words another way, decipher facial expressions, or dissect an email or text. What do they mean by that? How would I have said it? How should I respond? It's exhausting.

As I was pondering this I came upon the words of Wallace Stevens. It is easy to imagine the connections between our emotions and nature. Studies have shown that nature photographs conjure strong emotional responses. As well, think of the last time you experienced a strong feeling while you were in a "natural" setting. For me, the sound of geese flying above provokes a strong sense of joy. Can you think of your own example?

I wonder if a deliberate action to sort out the truth in something personal (work, relationship, goals, etc.) would seem less tedious if I did it in a natural setting. I thought back to the times the beach or forest was the specific destination for my poetry writing. There is a spot at the Columbia River that I drive to when I'm upset or confused. Perhaps Stevens knew something when he chose the word, truth. When something is upsetting or confusing it is usually because I have masked the truth.

It takes clarity to see the truth. It takes more clarity to understand what you see. Was Stevens leading us around the lake as a metaphor for the process? Was he envisioning the open air, wide expanse, and soothing sounds of water as a way to break down complexities? Was he telling us that without distractions we can find what we seek?

As any poet will tell you, lines that mean one thing to the writer may resonate differently with the reader. Mr. Stevens wrote a line that connected the significance of truth with a natural setting. This makes complete sense to me. The next time I'm seeking the truth it would be wise for me to get out of my usual setting and into a natural setting. It's a good thing I live in the beautiful Pacific NW where a drive in any direction will take me there.



Send us your best work!!
VoiceCatcher 6 Prose and Poetry Submissions by Portland/Vancouver area Women Writers will be accepted by mail Jan. 15 - Feb. 28, 2011 (postmarked deadline)and in person at our January & February readings.

Visit for full guidelines.

Art Submissions will be accepted March 1- March 31, 2011

If you are in a writing group or taking classes with other women whose work may be a good fit for VoiceCatcher, pass this information on to them.

Help us expand our creative community!
Screen Play

I can write about
anything but you

It’s always too early
or too late to incarcerate
my senses
uncoil thoughts into words
drawn from the infinite vat
of language

Can I forgive the
melodrama before you?
I lived around the
corner from despair

This time, despair is the
invisible man and you are
Bogie, Tracy, or James Dean
and I write about them
until I can write about you


Of Crows and Things

From this vantage point it is easy to watch three crows drink from the birdbath. They are huge and shiny. In between sips they chatter - back and forth - cawing loud and louder.

I want to join the conversation. Listen to them brag about the last worm or the cracker I set out this morning. I want to shout with them; tell them about the things I've found. The broken compass inside an old shoe at the thrift shop, a red plastic barrette I wore in 4th grade, love letters from my first crush, and five nickels as I prepared the soil for roses.

I imagine crow's don't make lists. In fact, I think they're only concern is the last find. There is no way I could live like that. I'm too connected to those little things that remind me of someone close, a great trip, an unpredicted event, or a walk that began innocently and ended with a pocket full of rocks.

Some people are collectors of things. Some, collectors of people. Everyone is talking about simplicity, clearing out the stuff, minimizing. This is supposed to clear your mind and release potential for new endeavors. I understand the logic in this and must admit, I do feel renewed when I clean out the closet or garage. Yet, my collection of precious finds gives me renewed energy. At any moment I can pick up a paper fortune from Chinese take out, a rock from the Sierra's, or a lucky penny found on my street. I can remember the moment and the reason I kept that treasure.

Still, those crows seem so free and unencumbered. I'd love to talk with them, just once, about the greatest thing they ever found. Now, wouldn't that be a moment? Perhaps they'd let me take a feather home.