All posts by Trudy

The Eternal Clamor of the Unquiet Mind by E.H. Jacobs

Pink spring in blue tunnel
 

My evolution from wanting to write, to loving writing, to having to write did not proceed quietly. The more I lost myself in the craft, the more I anguished over what it meant to be “good enough” and, once good enough, then “really good.” If some of my pieces were receiving so much praise, why were they being rejected? If the editors liked them as much as they claimed to, why didn’t they publish them? I would submit a piece and then incessantly check my email for a response. My response to success wasn’t a … Continue reading The Eternal Clamor of the Unquiet Mind by E.H. Jacobs

When the Student Is Ready, the Lizard Appears by Susan Lubeck Moriarty

Photo of green lizard in brown leaves
 

I was on the patio in my lounge chair journaling. The year was 2017 and I had been living in Los Angeles for the past twenty-three years, having moved from Chicago. I loved my husband Dave, family and friends but I hated my life. I no longer had a passion for anything. In the past I did have passion working as a dancer, actor and singer for thirty-four years, but I did not feel I was successful because I only had a very small savings, enough to last me for two months. I went from … Continue reading When the Student Is Ready, the Lizard Appears by Susan Lubeck Moriarty

Review of Anne Whitehouse’s Outside From the Inside by Nancy Ludmerer

Cover of Outisde from the Inside
 

Anne Whitehouse’s moving new poetry collection, Outside from the Inside (Dos Madres Press, 2020), takes us on four journeys, each with its pains and losses, its accretions of insight and moments of joy. In the first section, we travel inside the body (Tides of the Body); in the second, we traverse geographical space and time (It Wasn’t an Hallucination); in the third, we look back in history (The Ancient World), and finally, we turn our gaze to the bracing beauty of the natural world (A Dog’s Life). Whitehouse begins with the body and with the … Continue reading Review of Anne Whitehouse’s Outside From the Inside by Nancy Ludmerer

A Capital Morning on Virginia’s Eastern Shore by Alex Joyner

Photo of old house with light shining over it
 

You tiptoe back towards religion, in my experience, cautiously and nervously and more than a little suspicious, quietly hoping that it wasn’t all smoke and nonsense, that there is some deep wriggle of genius and poetry and power and wild miracle in it, that it is a language you can use to speak about that for which we have no words. —Brian Doyle, A Prayer for You & Yours   Those trees just there were purple a half-hour ago. The kind of mango purple that only appears on winter mornings when the sun’s light has … Continue reading A Capital Morning on Virginia’s Eastern Shore by Alex Joyner

The Enormous Gift by Laura Marello

Rocks in water
 

Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer. Simone Weil Love is not merely an emotion. It is a meltdown that reestablishes a more unified space of brilliance, goodness, and sadness. This is the real function of love in spiritual tradition. Lama Lodro Dorje   Last week, the week before my last semester of university teaching (online, in an unprecedented pandemic), I had the most extraordinary experience with a stranger that I have ever had in my long life. I was nervous as always about the semester starting, but extra nervous because of what that last full-time teaching … Continue reading The Enormous Gift by Laura Marello

Altered State by Trudy Hale

Photo of wheat fields
 

It all started when a friend in California sent me three used paperbacks that someone donated to her sidewalk library. My friend and I hoped that my nephew who is stranded here during the pandemic without school or camp might pick up a book and read. One of the books was The Prairie, by James Fenimore Cooper. I admit I had never been able to read past the first chapter in the author’s The Last of the Mohicans. It was a sweltering July day and I sat at my kitchen table, possibly waiting for a phone call. … Continue reading Altered State by Trudy Hale

A Plague Tale by Trudy Hale

Profile view of woman wearing plague mask
 

I run a writers’ retreat in a nineteenth-century farmhouse on the James River in Norwood, Virgina.  My quarters are at  the rear of the three-story house and consist of a large country kitchen with a woodstove, a mudroom, and a staircase leading up to my bedroom and small office. On the morning of February 7th I pick up my sixteen-year-old nephew at the Charlottesville airport. I spot him waiting at the baggage. He has grown taller since I saw him last. A lean boyish body and freckled nose, his light brown hair in a Westside … Continue reading A Plague Tale by Trudy Hale

Maps: Surviving Social Distancing by David Roach

Old map of the world
 

Right now, sitting in my armchair, I’m imagining myself at the Camilla House bed and breakfast in Penzance, listening to Fiona, the charming proprietor, as she tells me about her favorite local restaurants and pubs. How can I be two places at once? I’m recalling my visit to Cornwall three years ago by looking at my Ordnance Survey Motoring Atlas of Britain. I love maps, especially road maps. Studying a map, I can see where I am, where I’m going, or where I’ve been. In my imagination, I convert its two dimensions into three, and … Continue reading Maps: Surviving Social Distancing by David Roach

Insouciance by Laura Marello

Photo of royal penguin with its chick
 

I just wrote a new book of poems called Celestial Navigation. One of my favorite stanzas says: Penguins man the caps, huddle against the wind, sheltering downy chicks flaunting their deep insouciance their paradoxical grittiness. For a while now, revising the book, I have thought I should look up “insouciance” because I am not really sure I know what it means. So, I look it up: definition: casual lack of concern; indifference. synonyms: nonchalance, unconcern, lack of concern, indifference, heedlessness, relaxedness, calm, calmness, equanimity, coolness, composure, casualness, ease, easygoing attitude, airiness, carefreeness, frivolousness, carelessness; informal, … Continue reading Insouciance by Laura Marello

Walking the Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy by Alex Joyner

Photo of sign of Appomattox Court House National Historic Park
 

Once I spent an afternoon at Appomattox walking the Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy. The Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road is mostly just a trace now but this is the scene of the last march. Here’s where Bobby Lee rested beneath an apple tree (Gethsemane) waiting for word from Grant. Here’s where he met his troops after the surrender (And Lee wept). Here’s the long hill to the surrender ground lined with Union troops—ordered by Chamberlain to offer a profound salute to the beaten rebels. It’s all here in Appomattox—the gracious, merciful victors and the humble, honorable … Continue reading Walking the Via Dolorosa of the Confederacy by Alex Joyner