May 2014



I had good intentions, but was preoccupied. I knitted while volunteering at church — and forgot the booties there for a week. I knitted at baseball games — and neglected to switch out the yarn. Here’s the second set of baby booties frogged — Rip it! Rip it! – in a month. This is backward progression, and by the time the booties are mailed they won’t fit the baby, but his doll.


I tried, small nephew, but effort alone is my gift. Strange, I think, how easy it is to loosen what binds me and move on. It’s not this way with other parts of my life: Intention is never enough. As a woman, I cannot forgive the soft aging of my flesh. With my writing, oh, no: The short story is flat, the essay a disappointment, the blog post is, well, blah. And as a mother, I am equally demanding of chores and grades and manners. Trying has become tiresome and tormented, something one should do, ought to do, but no longer wants to do.


Imagine pulling the lines of prose off the page and winding them up like I do yarn. A ball of words. Tongue-tied. Peel away the ill-suited sentences, and leave the page clean and empty, the white surface no longer muddied by ink, but crisp with potential. The storyteller begins again. Wake to a day where a woman appreciates her imperfections, and a mother can thank the effort and overlook the outcome, and I say, there is love for both self and others there.

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May 2014


Finished reading “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon. It’s a tiny book loaded with rich advice on how to share your creativity and get discovered.

Ate a bowl of raspberries, a cup of tea and a square of dark coconut toffee chocolate.

Washed and folded all the laundry. Except for everyone’s towels and sheets, but I’m still counting it.

Listened to Track Eight of Tom Brosseau’s “Grass Punks.” This CD rocks.

Bought a new used car before the old one’s smoking engine seized up.

Wrapped some long-promised reading material. It’s a glorious day in Seattle, and I want to walk these packages to the post office and mail them to some friends who love to read. I’ve got an address for Kyna, but Denise? Coral? Shoot me some email for some summertime reading: levyrachael (at) gmail (dot) com.


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Apr 2014


Andrea Lani of Remains of the Day asked me to participate in the My Writing Process blog meme. Because I’ve got a stubborn streak against anyone who tries to give me a writing assignment (a remnant from my days as a newspaper reporter), I’ve declined other memes. But being part of a community means supporting and joining when one can, and so I agreed to answer the following questions:

What am I working on?

A short story.

A weekly blog post.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ve published a few essays about my experiences as a mother, as well as a piece of flash fiction that included magical realism, but I don’t have nearly enough published material to lay claim to a genre. Mothering is a lens through which I view the world, but what interests me is the working class, alienation and rural poverty, the drifters and do-gooders. So, I’m reading Larry Brown and Tillie Olsen. I’m looking forward to Willy Vlautin.

Why do I write what I do?

To remember.

To understand.

To communicate.

How does my writing process work?

I write stream of consciousness first thing in the morning. I write with a bright yellow pen in cheap spiral notebooks I buy during back-to-school sales. I return to the notebooks and search for threads of a story. I write some more. A better description of how I work can be found in the post Assholes All Around.

Who’s next on My Writing Process blog tour?

The meme’s instructions asked that I ask three bloggers to share their writing processes. But it’s the nature of memes to act much like genes in that they “self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures,” according to Wikipedia; I tapped one.

Piccalilli Pie is written by my friend Christina Wilsdon whose librarianish mind wanders hither and yon. Chris lives in the Seattle area with her husband, daughter, one dog, two cats, and a horse. She worked in the publishing industry in various production and editorial positions before becoming a freelance writer about 20 years ago. Chris writes mainly nonfiction books and articles about natural history, science, and other nonfiction topics for kids ranging in age from 4 to 14. Her blog, however, is for grown-up readers, and there she writes about anything that takes her fancy, from aphids to zweibacks.

Please visit Piccalilli Pie on April 14 to learn about Chris’ writing process. And thank you, Andrea, for this opportunity.

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