Secret Lives is about 150,000 words long. I’m not alone in writing long fiction, of course. Take a look at the novels of Sheri S. Tepper or Edward Rutherfurd. If you’ve got a big story to tell, length is necessary. It’s comparatively easy to write long form literature, either nonfiction or a novel. You just put down everything that comes into your mind and edit and rewrite until you’re satisfied.Read More
My son is Charles Ardinger V, which used to make family reunions in southeast Missouri (where my ex-husband’s family came from) lots of fun. A multitude of Charleses. I still have a photo of Charles with his grandfather’s grandmother, Mammy Hall, who was 100 years old at the time; Charles was five.
Charles was born shortly after I finished my master’s degree. In fact, when I was eight months pregnant and taking a class in non-Shakespearean English drama, I laid this threat on the professor: If you give us a final, I’ll go into labor right here in the seminar room. It worked.
You know how witches and other pagans are always saying “Blessed be”? I’m sure someone more scholarly than I am can trace the entire stream of “Blessed be he” from the Roman poet Vergil, who wrote about the blessings of living in the country, to the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), to the 18th-century English poets who, following Vergil, were forever writing about how blessed they were to have their country estates, to modern Wicca. You meet a Pagan or a Witch and you say, “Blessed be.” It’s our all-purpose greeting.Read More
This poem is a true story. I did in fact find my friend sitting with her dog and cat in a U-Haul truck parked in front of the apartment she’d lived in before she got evicted. She had driven the U-Haul all the way to the mountains of northern California. But she was turned away by her so-called friends in Humboldt County, couldn’t find a place to live up there, and drove all the way back to Long Beach (probably a thousand miles each way).Read More
I wrote this poem in 1991 while I was working on Secret Lives. Both the novel and the poem were partly inspired by the women I observed at a convalescent home while I was as a companion to an eighty-two-year-old woman afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and partly inspired by my grandmothers and some of my friends’ grandmothers.Read More