Monday, January 30, 2006


Well, the 10 Interesting Things meme finally caught up with me (thanks, Patricia!). I don't know about interesting, but here's 10 things about me:

1. I'm a compulsive alphabetizer. Every book, CD, and DVD in my house is in alphabetical order. Even my lit mags are alphabetized. I may have missed out on a stellar career as a librarian.

2. I got a dirt bike (as in motorcycle) for my 12th birthday. When I tried it out in the backyard, nobody bothered to make sure I knew what I was doing. I didn't. I had no clue about the clutch. I jumped on, hit the kickstart, and twisted the accelerator. It was a short ride in a vertical direction.

3. I met my husband at archaeological field school. It was love at first sight, though I thought he was much older and he thought I was much younger (we're the same age). We got married six months to the day after we met.

4. I once found a pornographic potshard while on survey in the Arizona desert. I didn't even see the explicit picture in the field because the piece was crusted over with caliche, but when the technician washed it in the lab, it was clear as day. I never heard the end of it.

5. My alternate career choice was concert pianist, but I couldn't take the stress of competition and got terribly nervous playing for people. My piano teacher was extremely disappointed when I wouldn't even try out for Julliard.

6. I once encountered a very malevolent spirit while in a half-asleep dreamlike state. It was a white female form that called me by name and tried to get me to come with her, but every ounce of my being said to fight it. It exuded evil. Much later, I found out that my father and my aunt had independently had the same experience in that house.

7. I've re-read the Lord of the Rings trilogy every year for more than 20 years.

8. One summer during college I took the train from the West coast to the East coast and back again. I traveled with my mom in a small sleeper compartment with seats and a table that folded down into a bottom bunk, a top bunk that pulled down, and the thinnest closet in the history of the world. It was one of the best and most unique experiences of my life.

9. I wrote my dissertation on the taphonomic signature of cannibalism. If you need to know what people look like after they've been cut up, cooked, and eaten, I'm your gal.

10. I'm semi-ambidextrous. I'm left handed, but aside from writing, I do nearly everything else as well or better with my right hand.

And now for the really fun part - I get to do some tagging of my own. Let's hear 10 interesting things about Ginger Hamilton Caudill. Ginger, what do you think?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

One Week Only

Check out this week's edition of Quiction, including my flash "When She Hunts."

Coming soon: I've been tagged. As soon as I can come up with 10 at least semi-interesting things about myself, I'll post my list.

Friday, January 27, 2006

2006 Knitting Olympics

For all you knitters and wannabe knitters, in case you haven't yet heard, the Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) has instigated the 2006 Knitting Olympics, to take place during the XX Olympic Winter Games being held in Torino, Italy, February 10-26. Here's how she describes the Knitting Olympics:

Eligibility: Any knitter who, embracing the "Citius, Alitius Fortius" ideal, would like to challenge themselves while embracing the Olympic spirit, and is just whacked enough to play along with me.

Concept: You must cast on a project during the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics (Feb 10)- and finish before the Olympic flame goes out (Feb 26). That's 16 days.

Check out the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics page for a full list of the rules and participants.

I have signed on to knit my very first sweater, a fairly simple pattern using two colors of yarn, for my 5 year old daughter Emma, which makes me a member of the:

It doesn't matter if you're a new or experienced knitter. Just set your own goal, and join in the Olympic spirit!

Monday, January 23, 2006

You Will Attend

Last month, there was a contest for the best personification poem at Inside the Writer’s Studio, an online poetry workshop I frequently participate in, and guess what?! I won!

Many thanks to Rachel Mallino for hosting this workshop and creating such a professional environment, as well as for providing the contest prize - a poetry book of my choice.

I picked the book Tender Hooks: Poems by Beth Ann Fennelly and it has been every bit as engaging and revealing as I'd hoped. Ms. Fennelly is widely published in literary magazines – if you haven't read her work, keep an eye out for it. She writes some of the most interesting, surprising, and honest poems out there today.

And now, here's my winning personification poem:

You Will Attend

This is the way it’s going to be:
you will listen when I speak with my fingers,
attend the voices inside me but never say a word yourself.
I don’t need you talking back,
no belligerent hmmms or boops of surprise.

Keep yourself ready; no snooze, no slumber.
Don’t let your attention dim
even when I pause long enough
to fix a cup of cocoa, thumb a book,
stare through windows at lengthening shadows.

Save your temperament for other writers and dreamers,
the way you stubbornly stick to a’s, t’s, and n’s
as though you have the right to censor my words.
Or how you sometimes freeze, seize up in fear
at the truth of what I write.

I don’t need your complacent reminders, either –
I can grammatise my own world.
Stick with your binary belief system and listen.
Listen to my fingertips upon you, mute partner
in my creation of the universe.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Of Stones and Staples

It's been another round of kidney stones lately. Painful enough to take a painkiller at night, but not bad enough to keep me down or make me go to the hospital. I'm used to dealing with it by now. Last night the painkiller worked wonderfully, probably because I didn't wait too long to take it for once, and I slept quite well. I even went back to sleep after seeing my daughter off to school at 7:15. Big mistake.

I stumbled downstairs at 9:00 to find four calls on my phone: two from the nurse at my daughter's school, and two from my friend who is the emergency contact if the school can't reach me. That shook me out of my painkiller daze pretty quickly. It turns out that Emma had stapled her thumb, and both the school and my friend (whose husband had taken their only car to work) had been trying to reach me. I never heard the phone downstairs ringing, probably because I was so out of it from the medicine. I quickly called the school and was told I needed to come pick Emma up. Luckily, I reached my friend just as she and her husband, who had left work, were stepping out their door to go get my daughter. Boy, do I owe them!

I threw some clothes on, woke up three-year old Kate, got her dressed, and we were in the car within ten minutes. Poor Kate had to eat breakfast on the way. It turned out that Emma had gotten the staple as far as possible into her thumb and the nurse was concerned that it might have gone into the bone, which was why she didn't just pull it out and slap a bandaid on it. It took another 3 1/2 hours before the staple finally did come out because the doctor agreed and sent Emma for x-rays.

Through it all, Emma was a real trooper. She had a few moments of crying, but that was mainly when the doctor looked at her thumb the first time and Emma was scared of what was going to happen. By the time we'd gone over to the x-ray clinic and back again, I'd convinced her that it was going to be quick and no more painful than having a shot, which she doesn't mind at all. When the final moment came, I held her hand tight, made her look me in the eyes, and told her to count as fast as she could. There were a few tears, but she did great! Afterward, she asked the doctor for an ice pack because the school nurse had given her a baggie of ice (that had long since melted) which had been a great comfort to her, and once Emma had her new ice, she was good to go.

Kate was incredibly patient, as well. Despite being dragged from office to office, she never complained or fussed. She blew kisses to Emma when Emma cried, and she sat quietly looking at a book while everyone focused on her older sister. She's a real sweetheart, that girl. At the x-ray clinic, Emma gave Kate a stern warning about never stapling her thumb, and Kate nodded her head sadly, as if to say she wished Emma hadn't learned that lesson the hard way.

Tonight, Emma's thumb bears nothing more than the most minute pin-prick of a hole. I've no doubt she'll be quite the legend in her first grade class, come Monday: the girl who stapled her thumb.

As for me, I'm still waiting for the stone(s) to pass, but I can't complain. When Emma asked me about them tonight, I told her it was like the pain in her thumb multiplied by a million. Her response was a wondrous and sympathetic "eek!" and later she popped out of her room just long enough to give me a hug and a loan of her pink heart-shaped pillow. I'm good to go.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Vote for Me?

I have a poem in the Grimm Magazine Random Highbrow competition. For this contest, a set of 10 given words had to be used to create a poem or flash of less than 250 words.

My poem Teen Pregnancy can be read online now, along with all the other entries. The entry with the most votes will be published in the Grimm Magazine Summer 2006 print issue.

If you like my poem, please click the link below it to send an email, and vote by typing “Teen Pregnancy” as the subject header. By the way - don't be thrown by the name. Ann Walters is my pen-name. Thanks!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mad Hatters

The new issue of Mad Hatters' Review is now live.

Along with tons of interesting and entertaining fiction and poetry, you can read my poem "Mirrored Surfaces are Not to Be Trusted" which took first place in the Write a Masterpiece based on this Painting Contest.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fuzzy Feet

I finally knitted something for myself: a pair of felted slippers called Fuzzyfeet. The pattern, by Theresa Vinson Stenersen is surprisingly easy, even for someone like me who'd never knit a sock before.

If you're into blogging and knitting, you can join the fuzzyfeetalong and share your finished work with others.

Now that I've made my first pair, I'm hoping the weather will grow colder again, so I'll have an excuse to knit more Fuzzyfeet.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Myfanwy Collins – third place in the Night Train Richard Yates Short Story Award Competition.

• John Vick – third place in the InterBoard Poetry Community (IBPC) monthly competition, judged by Ravi Shankar .

• Kathy Fish – third place in the Fandango Virtual 2005 Fiction Contest.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dark Clouds Will Gather 'Round

Dark Clouds Will Gather ‘Round

I’m only going over Jordan
I’m only going over home.

– The Wayfaring Stranger

There is no comfort in the singing,
though our voices join, same as the others,

no settled spot from which to view
that far, bright world.

Hymnals hold only hollow promises
dropped between the pews

so we’ll walk these hills and listen
to the song of silence

swallowed in deep, black tunnels
where the light of heaven doesn't shine.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Economy of Greed

There is no way to get a good result from an economy that institutionalizes greed as an honorable motive and excuses waste and destruction as "acceptable costs."
– Wendell Berry