it’s an ill wind that blows no good

Saved without flood damage from the carport bins… a tome written AND illustrated by aspiring author Becky Cochrane. Very ambitious. And like so many works to follow, unfinished as those lips drawn by the young writer/illustrator whisper toward the flickering flame of creativity…

Perhaps some young pup will plagiarize an excerpt for a future Pet Prose submission.

I haven’t cracked open this gem yet, but I’m pretty sure nothing in it will measure up to my favorite thing on the cover: “To Edwin Harper–a friend not soon forgotten. Also to my 6th grade friends–who first read this book.”

While I do actually remember some of my sixth grade friends, I have not a single clue as to the identity of one Edwin Harper. Perhaps not soon forgotten, but forgotten all the same. Sorry, Edwin.

Got a dime?

Deep from one of the flooded bins on the carport, I rescued this. It’s a little bag I made when I was around 15. I don’t remember if I used my jeans, Riley’s, or First Love Tim’s, but it had a rawhide cord that pulled it into a little pouch, and I often hung it from a belt loop. That rawhide cord had come out and become a slimy thing that scared the crap out of me because I thought there was a snake in the bin, even though snakes aren’t slimy and whatever, fear knows no reason. After some serious laundering, my little denim bag is fine. As I recall, we called these dope bags, but I never had pot in mine, probably only a few dollars and some change. Always had to have a dime with me for that emergency call. There’s a whole generation who thinks phone calls were a quarter, and more generations who don’t know what a pay phone is.

Photo Friday, No. 530

Current Photo Friday theme: 2016 in Review


I’m finishing 2016 with a big time-traveling, musical blowout. Tom has given me a turntable, and I’ve christened it with my favorite rock and roll song ever, Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road.” I don’t care if my old records are warped and scratchy–like the dude at the music store who sold us the turntable said, “If you want to hear perfection, you’re probably going to download it or buy a CD. If you want to experience all those records you loved…”

So that’s what I’m doing, and honoring Bruce because 2016 is the year the words in his memoir reminded me of everything I love about creativity and honesty and why I need those in my life. I am full of joy because of all the songwriters, poets, and authors and their words and ideas–and all the musicians who gave some of them a soundtrack. Happy old years, happy new year!

…and I was singing this song for you…

Ugh, this year, the last week…the death of Leonard Cohen, whose songs I’ve had the privilege of teaching as poetry (and Kate McKinnon’s SNL opening was everything, by the way).

Now another loss that sent me to the closet where my silent albums live.

Lucky enough to have seen him at Farm Aid V, and lucky enough to have friends who could afford all his albums when I was a financially struggling youngster. Besides his solo success, Leon Russell recorded and performed with damn near everyone in his long career. Songwriter, session musician, superstar. This is for Debbie and all the nights we listened to Will O’ the Wisp, for that character Douglas and what he owes to Leon Russell, among many, and for Riley, just because I miss him so much.

Button Sunday


Today’s button is part of a bigger picture.

A few years ago, Lynne and I were digging something out of her large walk-in closet at her Green Acres house (she’s in a different home now, and about to move again, but that’s a good story for another day), and she pointed out her fringed, suede vest hanging in the corner, a leftover relic from our hippie high school days. I felt a pang of envy that she still had it and wondered aloud what might have happened to my fringed jacket from that same era. I thought I had a photo of Lynne’s vest, but I can’t find it, though I did one time put a high school photo of me in my fringed jacket on my blog, right after I discovered that it STILL existed. My sister had held on to it through the years and taunted that it would remain forever in her possession.

Debby has just moved to Houston–she found a bunch of buttons in her former basement that she brought to me, and the one above was among them. What she did not bring was my fringed jacket. It had been inadvertently left in a closet of clothes she was donating.

I felt a moment of regret, then I let it go. After all, up until three years ago, I thought the jacket was long gone from my life. It would never fit me now, and anyway, though the jacket would be a tangible connection to people and times that are gone but still loved, it’s all alive in my mind, right?

Then–as Debby was unpacking–look what she discovered!

And I’m sixteen again. Lynne will pick me up in her tiny white three-speed Opel, and we’ll go to my sister’s house that is never warm enough to hang out with Debby’s friends and probably Riley will come over and maybe My First Boyfriend and there’ll be cards and frozen baby Reeses Cups and breaking the law, breaking the law, as hippies did.

I still have my memories AND my jacket. Thanks, Debby!