Found Poetry: An Herbal Remedy Imagined

After watching the state of things. 

Purple coneflower up close

Echinacea Purpurea *
Purple Rudbeckia.
Prefers rocky, disturbed soils–
Used at length by Native Americans
for more ailments
than any other plant:
herbal smudge,
the leaf or root.
purifying for situations,
Or distemper**–
an infectious disease,
a deranged condition
of mind
or body,
a feverish disturbance
of political nature
(though far from natural).
The purple coneflower,
an herbal remedy imagined.
All the rage
closed down.

* Echinacea Purpurea on Mountain Rose Herbs
** Distemper, the definition.

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The Weight of Expectation

Nicholas Cage in Adaptation.

expectation * [ek-spek-tey-shuh n] noun
1. Something expected, a thing looked forward to: I look forward to the day I finish the novel. To begin, to begin.

2. Often, expectations, a prospect of future good or profit: Man, when I finish that novel, won’t I be all Yippee and Whoop! Whoop! and Take that, you inner editor. I am goooood. 

3. Statistics. mathematical expectation: This one woman I know wrote her novel in a year. BUT, this other author I know took ten years. So yeah. Now let’s do the numbers…when did I start this book?  

4. The degree of probability that something will occur: I really hate math.

expectation **
noun. Belief, anticipation. Synonyms: forecast, intention. Hope. Possibility. Trust.

“Act without expectation.” ~ Lao Tzu

Photo via

* from
** from
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Remington Roundup: #Listening, #Reading, & #Writing

1960's photo of woman at Remington typewriterTwo steps into August, and it’s past time for a summer edition of the Remington Roundup. Here’s your links to a cool new podcast for story lovers, a how-to book for story composers, and an end-of-summer in-person workshop for story explorers. 

Listening, Reading, & Writing, oh my!


I’m not an avid podcast listener, but there are a few that I bookmark for days when I’m heavy into housecleaning or deep into dinner fixings or just on the road. New Yorker Fiction is a go-to standard, but a new one on the horizon is quickly making its way to the top of my list: LeVar Burton Reads. 

You know him from the Reading Rainbow, where he read children’s books aloud. Now, you can listen to him read and discuss short stories by authors whose names you’ll recognize and some you may not. Every episode I’ve listened to so far is not only entertaining but thought-provoking. Especially when the story breaks out into profanity and the radio volume is up and the kids are in the back seat and Hey, Ho! Thought for the day: how do you pause a podcast with two hands on the wheel and your iPhone more than an arm’s length away…. Whoops. Welcome to literary fiction, kids. Words are power; they pack a punch.


Early in the summer when I was supposed to be downsizing my book collection, I stocked up on several new ones–some fiction, some non, and several craft books. Then, I took off for camping and road trips and on and on and on. Now, it’s time to dive into those books–especially the ones that will strengthen my writing, so I’ve set a personal goal to read one craft book a month. As I tend to be a slow reader, this could turn into one craft book every two months, but the point is: let’s get back to the nuts and bolts. I can always learn more.

This month, I’m cracking the cover of Donald Maass’ The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface (Writer’s Digest Books, 2016). This books dips into the reader’s and the writer’s emotional journey, how to weave inner and outer conflicts, identifying moral stakes (and more). Inside the pages are plenty of examples, as well as questions with which to approach your own work…plenty to get you thinking and writing. Or rewriting.

And, if you’re in New York City on August 17th for the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, you can register for the one-day workshop with Donald Maass himself, on this very subject!


Speaking of the nuts and bolts of craft, I’m offering an in-person workshop this month for writers called Exploring Story through Art, Theater, and Writing.

Inspiration Studios, the creative space that houses my writing studio, is running an art exhibit this month in conjunction with a play, both of which focus on the idea of every day people, their stories, and the way those stories connect us, influence, and inspire us. My writing course is designed to explore the importance of story by examining three different mediums of creativity: art, theater, and pen on paper.

With your registration, you’ll have access to the art exhibit, a reduced-fee ticket to the play, and three hours of workshop on creativity and story. You’ll leave the course with a wider perspective on the way creative expression enhances our stories, as well as with the beginning of a personal essay in hand and resources for fine-tuning that early draft into one that is publication-ready.

Click HERE to learn more or to sign up! The fee is $95, deadline to register is August 13th, and seats are limited.

What’s in your roundup of writing and reading these days?

Posted in #AmReading, Book Recommendations, Craft, fiction, life, Remington Roundup, writing, writing classes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment