For a day of peace.

These are not the kinds of anniversaries I don’t like.

I prefer to look back on happy days, beautiful moments, a new level of understanding.

Here’s to a future with more love and less war.



Writers and others Involved in Projects,

You know that point when you have that Really Great Idea or RGI and plunge passionately into a project only to find yourself completely stuck a short time later?

Yes, I think you know what I mean.

Well, that’s happened to me. Fifty pages in, and I’m staring at Scrivener like it’s an unreadable map.

So, here’s my list of things to do to get going again:

1–Go back to my outline and see what I need to work on. Add, develop, or otherwise change.

2–Take a walk. Okay, I take lots of walks, but these do help.

3–Talk to my critique group.

4–Read. I have to be careful with this one; I tend to read to avoid getting unstuck.

5–Daydream. I do this every day, non stop. I’m a daydreaming champion!

6–Clean the house. My best ideas happen when I’m doing things I dislike . . .

7–Eat chocolate. This needs no explanation.

8–Talk to my sons. They’re funny, have good ideas, and are brutally honest about my bad ideas.

9–Remind myself how my day job is not my dream job. Always motivating!

10–Set a timer and get it done! One word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page . . .


Time to turn a RGI into a RGFT (Really Great Finished Thing)!

Looking for Whales

I spent last Saturday morning at Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island.

It was still early. The crowds hadn’t arrived yet.

Lime Kiln State Park

Lime Kiln State Park

I searched for whales, but there were none to be found. I saw some harbor porpoises, but they disappeared before I could get a photo.

The lighthouse looked lovely in the morning light.



Stage Fright!

I spend most of my time behind my computer screen. It’s a pretty safe place to hang out. During our recent ATOI Playfest performances, I found myself in a scary place–

The stage!


Fools on a raft.

My play, Tenacity, was chosen for this year’s performance (Yeah!), and we had a great cast. But, things sometimes happen with community theater, and one of our actors suddenly had two new plays to direct (as well as doing a million other things .  .  .). While we searched for a new actor, I filled in during rehearsals, and as we waited for people to make up their minds, we came to the conclusion that I could play the part.

Yeah, why not? I wrote the play and, besides, it was only ten minutes. It wasn’t like I was taking on Shakespeare.

I still panicked. Why? Well, I was working with this amazing director and two very talented actors. How could I hold up?  Everyone knows comedy is hard. I needed timing, movement, crazy facial expressions, hyperbole (okay, the last one is pretty easy for me).

And, I had to be on STAGE! Before an AUDIENCE!


In the end, I decided to let go and just dive in. Trust me, I understood Elaine. I wrote her. She’s the one who first showed up when I wrote this play.

I had loads of fun, and I don’t think I embarrassed my children too much.

Oh, and check out the reviews!

I’ve never been compared to Haruki Murakami before!





We interrupt this blog to announce the arrival of my favorite season.



Clematis ready to burst into bloom



And the beautiful pink flowering currant shrubs (which are clearly tree sized).




I found this disclaimer in the introduction of the mystery novel, Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers:

For, however realistic the background, the novelist’s only native country is Cloud-Cuckooland, where they do but jest, poison in jest: no offense in the world.

I shall now return to my own version of CCL. I think the name of my world is different, but it hasn’t whispered itself to me yet.


15 for 15

For 2015


















Happy New Year!



Why I Stayed, Why I Left, Why it Matters

Earlier this year I was approached to write a one act play for the Actor’s Theater of Orcas Island for a November production.

Honored with the privilege of having my play in the company of two superlative playwrights, Lin McNulty and James Wolf, I realized that 30 minutes of slapstick comedy (what I generally do for my ten minute plays) wasn’t going to work.

Armed with the theme of Homecoming, I set about doing something different.

During this time, my parents had stumbled upon an episode of the 48 Hours, which to their disbelief featured a friend’s son, a childhood friend of my brother’s.

John Wall is accused and charged with murder of his ex wife Uta, von Schwelder.

Uta’s family put up a Blog for justice:

This tragedy haunted me. Mostly, I hate to think of the children experiencing this nightmare involving their parents. The trial isn’t until next year and may or may not prove to be murder, but it did make me wonder what could drive someone to kill . . .

From this, I found a foundation of an idea.

A man, a woman, and another unusual character (you’ll have to see the play to understand).

While I worked on my play, Ray Rice’s abuse story flooded the news media. In my advanced composition course, students writing on the topic shared their stories about domestic abuse.

Others asked, “Why didn’t you just leave?”

But, it isn’t that easy.

Why I Stayed

This hashtag created by Beverly Gooden prompts many stories on Twitter.

Obligation, financial, children (or not), religion, fear, love, confusion . . .

the belief that the person abusing will change.

The thing is a relationship cannot be all good or all bad.

The places where Love/Hate Possession/Freedom Passion/Pain intersects . . . This is where bad (or good) can happen, and I chose to explore the situations where things go wrong.

Why I Left

It takes courage to leave an abusive relationship. It requires stepping off a precipice into a deep unknown. Leaving often means changing everything and having the resources and support to do so safely. Leaving can also mean creating a more dangerous situation if the abusive partner cannot let go.

Why It Matters

This month, Orcas Island hosts the Silent Witness Initiative. If you go to the Village Green in Eastsound, you will find twenty-six silhouettes of those who died from domestic violence this past year in Washington State.

Silent Witness

In the October fog, the image is reminiscent of a graveyard, a reminder of where domestic violence can lead.

In November, “Lilacs” will open with two great plays by Lin and James. For those of you on Orcas, I hope to see you.

But here’s what’s truly important:

Love should be love,

not possession,

not cruelty,

not damage, pain, injury,

Not murder.

That’s why it matters.