Trade in Fminor

I so enjoy spending time with L.D. We made play-dough this afternoon, and then we sat at the table and drew maps of some made-up world (his nation and my nation are allies, of course). I haven’t made a map in so long, I’d forgotten how much fun it is. There are no rules, really; you can create any lands, peoples, creatures, cultures your mind can conceive.

But there’s so much my mind misses!

Once, I wrote about a Derek Webb song that challenged my musical insight. It boasted an Fminor directly after an Fmajor. Awkward?–perhaps at first. But the realization that I’d never played those chords alongside one another before opened a new realm to me. It wasn’t just about an Fmajor and an Fminor; it was the awareness that there were countless chord progressions I’d never even tried. Suddenly, the possibilities were limitless.

L.D. played an Fminor on me tonight.

“Aunt Sarah,” he whispered (we were whispering, you see, so no one else could hear about the trap doors and the secret underground tunnel that my nation was only to use at dire need), “where are you going to put your trade routes?”


Trade routes?

Where, indeed! I’m not too proud to admit that in the last five years of creating worlds and maps (and sometimes the stories to go along with them), trade routes have never occurred to me. Of course it’s important!–why have I never thought about it?

What an Fminor!

(And yes, that is a purple argyle sock island.)

Tis the Season: AWs September Blog Chain

It’s time again for the AW Blog Chain, and this month’s theme is seasons. And just in time, I might add! I was going to share my poem, “Sniffle, Sniffle, Runny Nose,” but thought better of it. ;) Here, instead, is…something…very akin to my August piece.


It is the last day of humidity, heat-induced migraines, and summer bugs.

It is the scent of a pumpkin spice candle, a cup of sacred recipe hot cocoa, the snow on the air—not quite ready to fall.

It is Christmas lists, apple pies, and canned peaches.

It is the red of the Maple, the brown of the Oak, and the yellow of the Birch who sheds her leaves at the very last.

It is a return to home, settling in, and the gray boot socks that keep the chill away.

It is Thanksgiving and a million tiny snowmen, the raising of the tree, the turkey—thank God for the turkey—and all the fixins.

It is Bing Crosby on repeat all, repeat all, repeat all.

It is the moan and rattle of a wind that grabs and shakes the Pine,

the rush and flutter of the sparrows hiding from dagger-tipped raindrops,

the cloud that billows from my nostrils, only to be consumed by the vast and frigid night around me,

the sniffle turned sinus infection turned bronchitis that will bed me for weeks,

the last of Momma’s tomatoes, hanging in suspense as they await their final destiny in a glorious pot of homemade chili,

the fury and calm of Superior, demanding our respect and claiming the body, the life, and the breath of all who refuse it.

It is the only door to the Great White Season.

In its unrelenting and beautiful death of all that has so far been—

and thus, the first hope of all that has yet to be—

it is my favorite time of the year.

It is Autumn.


Don’t forget to check out the other AW bloggers in the chain this month! These folks are quickly becoming my favorite bloggers.

Ralph_Pines: and direct link to his post
Aheïla: and direct link to her post
DavidZahir: and direct link to his post
orion_mk3: and direct link to his post
LadyMage: and direct link to her post
semmie: <<< YOU ARE HERE
T.N. Tobias:

Slow & Sudden Change: Character Building

I have been daydreaming, I confess. I love this time of the year. I love that it’s warm enough to enjoy the outdoors and cool enough to not loathe it. I love how the color of the lake changes subtly with the coming of Fall. But more than anything, I love the trees (I know, right? Second verse, same as the first…).

Autumn happens slowly upon us. Day by day, we are surprised with a splotch of red or a brilliance of yellow. Every day is like a new revelation of the big bash that is coming. It’s like reading a book and having one sentence leap out of the page and into your heart. There is something slow and passionate about it.

But then, after weeks (sometimes months) of watching and waiting, Autumn wakes us to the celebration. Every leaf has turned, none have fallen yet, and we find ourselves enveloped in the glow of the Autumn rainbow of leaves. We can barely take it in, this sudden transformation; it blows our minds every time, and we ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at the magnificence of the change.

So which are we? Do changes happen slowly or suddenly in our lives? Or, like the Upper Michigan Autumn, is it both?

I’m contemplating this in terms of some new characters I’ve been working with. Three characters (or potentially four, but I’m not committed to the old man yet) share one life-changing event. And while there are immediate effects set into place, I’m also beginning to see that there have been (and continue to be!) splashes of color all along.

And not only from the time of the event forward, but prior to that particular moment. Elements have been in play for some time and the life-changing event simply brought some of them to the surface.

The question being: how do we determine which changes are slow and which are sudden? Ideally, I think the character would tell us herself.


Long Lost

What are your long lost passions?

A long lost friend (who shall remain nameless) asked me recently what my song lyrics are looking like lately. It shocked and embarrassed me.

It shocked me because…nobody really asks me that anymore. Well, John asks what I’ve been doing with music, but he doesn’t specifically ask about lyrics. It just struck me as awkward, and then I remembered that there was a time when many friends and family were asking (regularly) what I was doing with songwriting. It shocked me that this friend asked; and it shocked me that I was shocked.

And then I was embarrassed to realize that I have allowed this once profound passion of mine to simmer on the back burner of my not-very-demanding life. Did I used to love songwriting? Why had I stopped?

Oh, I wrote one this year…about the coffee guy. Kind of. But that was in January. How dry and uninterested I’ve been since then.

My 2:43a.m. resolution is to write a song tomorrow (well, today).

And as a side note, if you’re one of the people I’m writing letters to this week, I may just share the lyrics with you and ask for your opinion.

What are your long lost passions and dreams? Why have you abandoned them?

AW’s Colorful Blog Chain

It’s been a couple of months since I participated in the AW Blog Chain (I’ve been busy!), but when I saw this topic, I couldn’t resist!  The challenge is:

If you had to pick one color, and one color only, for an aspect of your writing, which one would it be and why?

Props to Aheila on another wonderful (and challenging) Blog Chain subject! I am only the fourth blogger in the chain, but I already have three incredible blogs to follow!

I could have gone several directions with this blog, but I wanted to choose a color that I didn’t think would be overwhelmingly popular. So here it is. Short and sweet this time around. :)

It is the ink of a Pentel Client.

It is the laptop, the cell phone, the television–shut down.

It is The Best of Bach on vinyl.

It is Sanka, sprawled over my feet, twitching and drooling in an elder dog’s dream.

It is the charred matchstick that lit the favorite candle.

It is the inside of my eyelids, weighed down by the obligations of the day;

and the coffee that props them open for “just a few more words.”

It is the limitless depth of the star-kissed sky and of my imagination.

It is the silence,

the calm,

the waking of night.

It is Black.

This is how I write.


Please take the time to visit the other blogs in this chain!

Aheïla: and direct link to her post
Ralph_Pines: and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: an direct link to her post
semmie: <– THIS IS ME! :)

What I Would Say

What could be more fun than finding old papers with poems and letters you had forgotten about? It helps me to remember the places I’ve been, the faces I’ve forgotten, the things I’ve struggled with, the victories. Anyway, this is a gem I unearthed in the dirt of my ramble papers.

A personal note about the writing process: it’s therapeutic. There are several forms or keywords that I fall back on to help me understand myself (and life) a little bit better. One is the “I Am” poem that I learned back in Mrs. Rulison’s class (how many do you think I’ve written over the years? Go ahead…guess. I’ll send a book to anyone who gets it right). Another is this “What I Would Say” poem. I’m not sure where or when it began, but I returned to it for several years. I’ve no idea where the other editions are, or where this falls in the chronology of the poems (though I seem to recall one having a refreshing reference to “deceiving vine swingers”), but I wanted to share it anyway because it made me laugh to recall so many oddball things.


What I Would Say…

…if I thought you would listen.


I think I’d tell you that my dog had a miscarriage.

I’d tell you that kids from dysfunctional families can turn out “OK” if someone will love them.

I’d tell you that as long as Believers expect nothing, they will see nothing.

I’d tell you that I love chocolate milano latte.

I’d tell you that I know Yahweh is faithful, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

I’d tell you that He is not racist or sexist.

I’d tell you where I stand on abortion and euthanasia–without apology.

I’d tell ya how I know the Scriptures are true, and invite you to ask me more.

I’d tell you about cows, and sweet-and-sour chicken from K’s, and toe socks, and Caedmon’s Call, and orange tea, and jello, and speedbumps, and the coffee song, and toilet paper.

I’d tell you why I’m not a Social Worker.

I’d tell you about the Prodigal Son.

I’d tell you why Coke is better than Pepsi.

I’d tell you the waddle joke. Ha! I’d tell you the egg joke!

I’d tell you, “I don’t really play.”

I’d offer you my shoes.

I’d tell you about the Priest Camp.

I’d tell you why the color purple should be declared sacred.

I’d tell you I’ve never been to Canada.

And I’d ask about you.


So…what would you say if you thought I would listen?