Saturday, November 10, 2012

On, In, and Around: I'll Be There Wishing Good Things for You

Sun at Lyndhurst

I took my girl to this castle-ish place (above) when she was a baby. She does not remember it.

Since then, fifteen years have passed. Six of those years (almost half her life), I have been a writer in this space. To her, I suppose, that must seem a lifetime.

Over that "lifetime," I have written almost 1,300 blog posts, both here and at two other personal blogs. Other bloggers would have garnered more page views over all this time, but I feel satisfied that these posts drew over 250,000 views.

Half a lifetime for my girl.

And what is that in blog years? (Somebody said to me yesterday that blog years should maybe be calculated like dog years. Maybe I've been really blogging for about forty years then.)

This week, one of my authors (I'm a small press publisher) sent me flowers, to thank me for believing in her book. I do believe in it. She'll go far. The National Review and World Magazine have both requested copies. She's going to be on quite a few radio shows. I want that for her.

I no longer want these things for me. If I ever did (I'd like to think I wanted these things as an author; it seems like the kind of things an author should want, to gain a certain level of success. I know I want my authors to want these things for themselves).

Anyway, I guess it's not important to settle this question. What's important is how I want things for other people. And how this has become the focus of my life's work.

  flowers from Karen Swallow Prior

Why yes, I'll still be a writer. That won't end. It might even grow.

Not that I necessarily want that either. Five books is a lot to care for. (Still, I do seem to have this little compulsion to keep putting things onto pages, where people can take them to bed, or on a picnic, or to their back porch.)

I do not any longer have a real desire to blog. "Forty years" is a long time. Or six, if you want it in human years. Or half a lifetime, if you look through the eyes of my daughter.

My girl is growing up. I want things for her. I want things for my authors.

And look... the sun is going down (or is it, in fact, just coming up). Let's walk into the sunset (or the sunrise), as the case may be. I'm in a good mood (don't let the mini-drama of this post fool you), so if it's okay with you, I'd like us to sing and laugh along the way.

Race you to the castle!


You can always find me at, to see if I do, in fact, keep writing (Oh, I'm sure I will. It's just a question of how and where). And I wish you a beautiful writing and reading journey, whichever you are on (and if you are a writer, it must be both). Thank you for letting me love you so long through the medium of words.

L.L. Barkat is the Managing Editor of Tweetspeak Poetry and co-creator of the quotes-on-photos app Give her another six years and who knows. She might be selling chocolate or teas.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

WordCandy Wednesday: Behind the Poems

The poems say
maybe we've figured it.

But if we reach
through the words,

we find the ache
that made the pigment

of sound. We find
the white

we know is asking us
to admit silence.

No words can say.

Want to make Wednesday simple and sweet? Blog WordCandy. Can't wait to see yours.

Grab the WordCandy Wednesday Button :)

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Saturday, November 03, 2012

On, In, and Around Mondays: Her Biography


After the storm, walking.

At 5:30 a.m., when the sky is silver and the moon is adrift in a swath of clouds.

Or, having had my caramel apple tea, walking in the still-fast-moving air, seeing the sun peeking through and then being pattered by rain.

Five days later, up the hill where power is still failed, around the corner, and down the hill, I meet Adam McCrane. Never met Adam before. We are both watching the big white trucks and peering at the snapped electrical pole.

"They say 1,000 poles snapped and need to be replaced," he says.

I like the roundness of that. It is probably not exactly true, but it sounds good in the mouth. 1,000. I learn that Adam has been without power—today, at 10 am, it will be five days. Never been without for so long before, he says. I like the specificity of his tellings, even as that specificity has surely been altered by time and misremembering.

We continue to share stories on the road. He extends his hand to shake mine, which makes me smile.

I think of the book I am still slowly making my way through: The Old Ways.

MacFarlane finds that roads, and paths, and seaways have stories. That a relationship with the land becomes a relationship with people, through words and shared imagination. At one point, on an ocean trip with an old sailor, he gets to hear the story of the boat they are sailing.

"He knew her biography as well as that of any long-term lover, and he told it to me as a story," says MacFarlane.

I am ready to walk back up the hill now, my morning passage barred by the white trucks. "Nice to meet you, Adam," I say, and begin to turn. "Laura, yes," he says. "Nice name. Laura."

He has the beginnings of my biography. Maybe he will go home and tell his wife a story. But for now I am happy to hear my name, so lovely from the mouth of the old man on the hill.

On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place. Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below.

If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)

On In Around button

This post is also shared with Laura Boggess, for...

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