My son is in-between sizes – his shrinking clothes park their hems a couple inches shy of ankle and wrist. The ambitious ones require parental roll-up and make him look smaller than he is, though he is proud when we say, “You’re really growing,” or “You look taller!” Because, don’t we all like to feel we’re getting somewhere? Like we’re moving on up?
My garden is in-between seasons. The plants look ready for Halloween. Black and wet, limp here, jagged there, bound to collapse. Meanwhile, underneath the soil, their next life sleeps hard so in a few months they can push through and up, confident and pure.
My son is like a plant’s bulb, latent biology waiting to explode from the gritty dark - unaware of its power. In-between dirt and air, invisible and beautiful, nothing and color.
What is likely true is we are all, always, in-between something: jobs, relationships, haircuts, homes, personalities, our desired weight and what our scale says. Dental appointments, head colds, cups of coffee, and dreams. In-between meals, sexual urges, bills due, the car we have and the one coveted. The load of laundry we haven’t put away and the next one. Point A and point B. In-between a rock and a life.
Residents of the In-Between, that’s what we must be to get from here to there, to make it from now to then.
I will watch my boy change, always change. Sometimes bridging the In-Between effortlessly like a giant skipping over a creek. Sometimes spending ages in transition – the glacier on its way to a bay. Meanwhile, I will be that force in-between a breeze and a wind, hoping he will feel the push but not know it’s me.
photo copyright 2016 by N.K. Wagner
strong coffee and water-weak sunshine
chase night’s storm clouds like a stiff breeze
how like the weather, our life
long day’s frustrations build
hail-hard words wound
1. Life is hard.
2. All families are dysfunctional.
3. You bear no responsibility for where you come from or what was done to or for you there.
1. Perpetual victims are boring.
2. Whining is counterproductive.
3. You are responsible for who you become.
1. You will set a specific goal and work toward achieving it.
2. Every day, you will do something for someone who cannot return the favor.
3. Every night you will go to bed a better person than you were when you woke up that morning.
1. Tomorrow is another day.
2. Only you can prevent wildfires.
3. We are not alone.
photo copyright 2017 by N.K. Wagner
Back and forth the shore bird runs. Is he playing tag with the surf? So it seems. In reality, he’s looking for air bubbles escaping from the wet sand that betray a waiting crustacean meal. The bird’s timing must be perfect to locate, capture, eat, and run before being caught and tumbled by the next surge of surf.
In the same way, a writer’s timing must be perfect to achieve publication. Being good just isn’t good enough when editors are bombarded by good. The right submission to the right place at the right time is responsible for a story/poem being published. Luck? Sometimes. More often, it’s the writer taking time to study a publication’s preferences and Voice, the rhythm of subjects waxing and waning on its pages.
Our little shore bird achieves success by flawless timing. So do our writers.
photo copyright 2017 by N.K. Wagner
Can't believe it's happened!
Not another time!
The weather has been Springtime,
our temperatures, sublime.
Now, once again, we've been caught
by Winter's parting shot.
No worries, Mate.
we'll complain it's hot!
photo copyright 2015 by N.K.Wagner
winter's icy breath
freezes its environment
spring's love sets it free
Just like this raccoon caught by the lens of my trailcam, we strive for the things we need: food, clothing, shelter, love, fulfillment. None of these necessities (except, maybe, love) are served up on a platter.
We have to work for what we need. But effort isn’t enough. Mrs (?) Raccoon can stretch all night, but she can’t reach the birdseed. Without a better plan, she’ll go hungry.
We can write the finest novel the world has ever seen, pen the most moving poem. But without an effective marketing plan, we’re unlikely to achieve the fulfillment of profitable sales and wide dissemination of the product of our talents.
Many writers are guilty of giving little or no thought to a marketing plan. There is no one right template. One has to consider audience, how to contact and entice potential readers, and how to disseminate our product to buyers. With a plan in place, we can focus our energy constructively, rethink parts of the plan that prove ineffective, and keep our options open to the unexpected opportunity that literally falls into our lap.
Modern publishers expect authors to have a promotional plan coming in the door. At the very least, they want to see proof that one has a substantial pool of potential readers. With so many variables in the publishing world, no one can guarantee success, but with a solid marketing plan in place we increase our odds.
Oh! By the way, Mrs (?) Raccoon finally climbed the pole, hung upside down like a squirrel, and happily enjoyed her supper.
If she can figure out a way to achieve her goal, so can we.
Not to brag or anything, but the southeastern US seems to have ignored Mr. Groundhog's prediction of six more weeks of winter weather. Sunny days in the 70s and nights well above freezing make it easy for us to feel sadness for the poor dears who are weathering miserable blizzards a few hundred miles to the north, the devastating tornados to the west and the annual mudslides (no more drought, at least) to the extreme west. Still, one wonders. Our trees have suffered double springs in the recent past. Hope this wonderful weather is more than a brief pause in a long winter. I sure can use the break.
photo copyright 2015 by N.K. Wagner
warm days birth
Michael Galligan lives in Washington State's scenic Olympic Peninsula and writes fiction and poetry very early in the morning before his kids are up. He has poetry published in Tidepools magazine.