Clocks, stoves and life & death coincidences

Mom's stove served her faithfully.

As a child, I grew up singing a song about a clock that counted the seconds of a man’s life. “My Grandfather’s Clock” - Are you familiar with it? The refrain goes like this:“Ninety years without slumberingtick, tock, tick, tockHis life seconds … [Continue reading]

Murals fuel & memorialize Irish conflict

Some believe the British Army must be held accountable for the deaths they caused during The Troubles.

Murals as a form of political, social, and cultural expression rose in importance during “The Troubles” - a 30-year conflict that began in 1968 and divided Northern Ireland. Though The Troubles more or less ended with the Belfast “Good Friday” … [Continue reading]

How important is “place” in writing?

The distinctive tabletop mountain, Benbulbin, inspired Yates' poetry.

My recent trip to Ireland has me thinking again about the importance of place to a writer. Ireland has a rich written history, including literary greats James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and W.B. Yates. Those names were prominent as we toured the Emerald … [Continue reading]

How important is staying plugged in?

Ireland - Plugging into a new source of energy.

“Is it plugged in?” That was the first question tech support always asked back when computers were new and I called to find out why the alien on my desk wouldn’t work.Dutifully, I’d untangle my feet from the writhing morass of cords under my desk and … [Continue reading]

Courage – Would you have enough?

Hariett Tubman - abolitionist who freed more than 700 slaves.

Harriet Tubman. Oskar Shindler. Esther. People iconic for their courage and the bold actions they took to save the lives of others, actions that put their own lives at risk. Every time I hear a story about someone who stands up to society, their … [Continue reading]

You just never know

Fork in the road

If you just spent four years in college to become a teacher, would you take a secretarial position instead? I did and found myself on a path loaded with unexpected opportunities.After graduating in 1972 with a degree in speech & English … [Continue reading]

How important is the frame?

Framed for drama and impact. Photo courtesy of

A few years ago, as I walked the Crystal Bridges Art Museum grounds, I spotted a single picture frame set on posts in the middle of a soccer-sized field. Intrigued, I walked out to look closer, reasoning that this frame must be quite important to … [Continue reading]

Taking writing on the road

Friends & writers - Mary, Shirley & Carol

Writing can be a solitary business. When I’m working on a writing project, as I am now with my novel in progress, I get to my keyboard each day by 9 a.m. and do my best to stay on task until noon. I dive headlong and alone into my story - forgoing … [Continue reading]

Iowa Caucus yields host of winners

Iowa caucus goers stand to be counted. Action of great interest to media. Photo courtesy of Robin Fortney

I woke this morning with a profound sense of peace. In spite of blizzard force winds raging overnight, it was remarkably quiet. Political ads no longer filled the airwaves. Campaign text messages no longer flooded my phone. Local coffee shops are … [Continue reading]

Cleaning out, letting go, starting fresh

Photo courtesy of:

I ended the old year as I often do - by cleaning out my office. This December gave me an even better opportunity to clean out, though, since my husband and I agreed to tackle remodeling my office - the last room in our house to get a new ceiling, new … [Continue reading]