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In teaching literature, I often tell my students that literature reflects the times.  Look at the date of publication, I tell them, and consider the events of that time.  This is a barometer of sorts to measure the social atmosphere. 

The third Tiny Book of Tiny Stories was just published by IT Books (an imprint of Harper Collins), and I think illustrates my point. Many of these tiny, two-page stories are clever and tender, but there are sections of the tiny book that leave me wondering about the mental and emotional state of our nation as a whole.  There are stories of dejection and loneliness, and some that have a mood I can’t quite make out.  There is dark and light humor, but a feeling of isolation as well.  

But there is something about art that has the power to rise above the dejection, something that goes beyond our human condition and elevates us just enough.  If we didn’t have books or art or film, it would be so much easier to descend into whatever gloom might await us.  Art and poetry give us something to live for.  Something to work towards.  And in this case, something to work on together. 

I think the collaborative efforts from folks who wouldn’t ever get a chance to work together otherwise make this ongoing project just that much more intriguing and successful. If you’d like to contribute to the Tiny Books or just collaborate with some great artists and writers, go visit



I’m about 3/4 of the way through Anne Michael’s “Fugitive Pieces.”  Her prose is wondrous, beautiful, stunning.  She has a talent for describing things so accurately that the reader can (and will) instantly find themselves in the moment described.

The mark of a good novel:  the ability to speak specifically and universally.  The ability of the author to describe human events in terms which everyone can understand.

Michael’s prose is absolutely fantastic:  it is clear she is a poet.  I have underlined nearly half the book, finding myself so taken with a turn of phrase, or a faultless description.

In recent blog posts, I’ve mentioned my 4 or 4.30pm sob-fests, which have been pretty regular each Monday-Friday for a good few months now.  The human body’s internal clock is so bloody accurate, so on the mark, you could literally set your clock by it.  I’ve known people who never needed alarms clocks because they had such strong internal clocks.  Though not an expert in any way on animals or birds, I’m pretty sure that there are species who operate solely on this internal time mechanism.

So when I came across this passage in “Fugitive Pieces,”  I felt it was particularly apt for my current state.  The reason behind my daily timed weeping is due to a recent painful event, one in which I felt a great deal of loss.

“At certain hours of the day, your body will be flooded with instinct, so much of you having been entered, so much of you having entered them.”

The story is about loss, about grief, about ghosts.  There being different kinds of loss doesn’t matter:  in whatever way a person is missing from your life, they are still missing. There is still an absence.  Those who have been close to you, having ‘entered’ you, your life, they linger on in different forms.  Your body knows this, even if your mind doesn’t.  Funny how people can leave a mark on your most intricate inner workings.

I get inspired to write at odd places and times.  For some reason, good things always seem to occur to me while I am driving, and I have to make a mad search of the car for paper and pen, all while attempting to keep the car between the lines.  And on the road.  And keep from initiating a game of bumper cars in which no one else is a willing participant.  I keep a sticky pad and pen or pencil in the console just for this sort of occasion.

Recently I had an idea for a filthy haiku of my own, and was driving down Hillsboro Pike when the idea struck.  Stopped at a known to be lengthy light, I quickly scribbled down my ideas.  The man in the car next to me was only mildly curious and only stared for a few seconds.  The light changed, and I drove with the legal-sized notepad in my lap, pen still in hand.  The next light was even better:  there was a jeep behind me, and due to the fact that I drive a Mustang, which is lower to the ground, and the jeep being higher up, his headlights were perfectly focused on my legal pad, as I madly dashed out more notes.  I wonder if he could see what I was writing?

Anyhoo, here’s my only slightly filthy but hopefully funny haiku.  Poems are not my forte, so forgive me if it’s a bit rough.


one two three four five

Five times I loved you, my dear

Now, I am hungry

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