It’s Still a Writer’s Journey

My first blog post was January 31, 2012. The blog was titled, A Writer’s Journey. It was about why I started a blog, and this is part of what I said:

“Over the years I’ve attended writer’s conferences, workshops and countless author readings. I’ve read a library of books and many blogs on the art and craft of writing. Some of the most insightful and helpful ideas about writing have come to me through the generosity of others who shared what they picked up along the way.

I started this blog to continue that tradition and to cast my net in hopes that writers attracted to this site would find something useful that might help with their own journeys.”

I’ve recently published my first book—a good time to take stock of what I now want the blog to be about. It’s still about my journey, and I’m writing book two in the series, but my focus has grown to include the business of self-publishing and promotion. Except the word “business” stopped me in my tracks and made my journey more like an obstacle course of frustration and anxiety.

Yes, it’s a business, I’ve always understood that, but to me, it has to be about the joy of connecting with readers the same way writing is about the joy of writing. And one thing that brings me joy is writing about subjects that help others, either in writing, publishing or promoting.


In an earlier post, I promised tips on publishing and promoting as I navigated through the process:

My best tip is to attend writers’ conferences whenever possible. I just returned from Left Coast Crime in Monterey, and basked in the spirit of generosity that permeated every interaction with organizers, authors and readers. That trumped everything.

Jane Friedman’s blog, The E-book Market + Big Five Survival, about what’s happening in the publishing world is a must read. The blog doesn’t have answers; it’s all about the questions.

I hope you’ll stop by again. As before, this blog will also include my short poetic pieces from my writing group and other works in progress.

The Bone Cairn

The trail rises, higher and higher.

A left foot lifts and slaps down,
bringing along a skyscraper of bones, stacked
helter skelter above its webbed base.

A right foot lifts, the skeleton rises and falls,
rotates, twists, strains upward, off balance
As a rickety shack, almost toppling,
But not quite.

At the summit, the bones settle to the ground,
elbows propped above raised knees, hands folded,
spine rests in a gentle curve, head tilts back. Still.

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My Mother was a Hummingbird

photo by Amanda Delsohn

photo by Amanda Delsohn

My mother was a hummingbird.

Taking quick sips of coffee,

gesturing with child-size hands,

punctuating sentences with drags of an ever -present cigarette,

she darted in and out,

her thoughts flying past so quickly,

they’d disappear before you could grab one.

High strung, nervous was how slow minds

with lumbering bodies described her.

And all the while her wings danced circles around them

leaving behind microscopic feathers for calling cards.

I sense her sometimes now

as she darts into my atmosphere,

vibrating at the speed of light,

a different species on an alternate plane.

She hovers near me,

I reach out and hold her tiny body in my hand,

her speeding heart stills,

and we rest in each other.

Heart—Posterior View

Made up of two halves,

the heart is divided by the septum.


Where did the rift between us occur?

Left subclavian artery or aortic arch?

Perhaps the right atrium, always pulsing,

pumping out those feelings.


Or was it the oh so superior vena cava?

Most likely the inferior.

My inferior vena cava has always felt, well, inferior.


After all our history, your footprints

were all over my pericardium.

How could they not be

after confessing every heartbreak

every fear, every shameful secret?


And each triumph

when shared with you

more meaningful.


When you abandoned me

my left common carotid artery

bled out.

I was half a person

with half a heart.


I blame the septum.

Always divisive, controlling

what comes in and what goes out.

Published in Soul of the Narrator Anthology Vol. III, Fall 2012

Mixed MediaLinda Townsdin

Mixed Media
Linda Townsdin


In my Friday night writing group our prompt was to pick a word for the year as a guide and companion. The prompt was based on a blog Nevada City poet Molly Fisk wrote about finding a word as an alternative to a list of resolutions. It turned out to be the perfect catalyst for finding my own word for 2013.

My word was AND. It arrived with a pop after mulling over words like ALLOW and FLOW (as in go with the flow). I even considered some hyphenated words, like sovereign-self. I read that in a book and loved the idea of being a sovereign-self the way Native Americans have sovereign laws and lands.

I thought of choosing two words. WHAT and IF are two of my favorite word combos. WHAT IF is almost as good as AND.

I thought of my favorite phrases, but the process was getting away from me so I went back to the one word. The one true word to carry with me for an entire year.

My ego wanted a word that was unique and cool, so I tried to shake off AND. But no, the lowly and overused and much abused AND was my word. The AND of run-on sentences.

And yet, simply saying it out loud lifted my spirits.  I realized that AND has a higher calling, maybe even the highest calling of all words. It’s definitely loftier than OR and more decisive than BUT.

It’s inclusive. It means I can work on two novels simultaneously. I don’t have to choose. I could even work on three at once if I wanted to, and write short stories and prose poems and….

AND works across all areas of life. It brings relief to any obstacle or setback. I can feel sad AND know I’m still okay. It’s liberating to add any amount of them to wish lists and goals. It’s a word that means infinity, endless acceptance, endless adventure, experiences and possibilities.

Do you have a guiding word for 2013?

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