welcome to my world. you may recognize yourself. don't panic -- this is just between you and me.
A Winged Thing, and Holy
It begins -- the rewrite is done.  The cover art is designed.  The type is set.  I am signing a contract.  A WINGED THING, AND HOLY is about to take flight.  I am about to collapse from the mere overwhelmingness of it.  A long time coming but the finished novel is about to be launched.  

Taste it:

There she sat, all five feet six of her, mostly leg, all one hundred and twenty three pounds of her, mostly bone, her huckleberry hair pulled back into a low-slung ponytail because it was another damp jungle-hot Chicago summer. 

There she sat, slumped into the contoured seat of a library chair listening, listening, listening…                                                                                                                                                           

Rhythmic music came from a close-by conference room.  A thumping hum came from the ventilators.  Then the voice flowed down the heavy oak library table like a rivulet along a forest floor.  It carried words poeticizing an act of love.

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on the way to actuality
Tags: publishing

It begins today -- April 14, 2012 -- Jim's 82nd birthday -- the anniversary of Lincoln's assassination -- Stew's funeral service -- horrendous tornadoes on the horizon -- what an ominous day.


But it begins.  I have written the manuscript, expanded it, rewritten it, moved the end to the beginning and back again, added a new beginning, added description and dialogue, read and reread the entire story.  Now it rests in the hands of movers, those who can take it public.


When did the first word hit my computer screen?  Someday I will check that out; so many people have asked how long have I been writing this novel.  In its various forms it has been through contests, agents' hands, publishers' hands, first readers, critique groups piece by piece and has gone nowhere.  Now, maybe.


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MindSay Quick Update /
I am feeling anxious
Tags: till emmett



by marygraykaye


Look, you.

You, look.

All of you, look.

Oh God oh God

My only boy

Look at that face

Like the stump

Of a gnarled old tree.

My only boy, my Bo


Couldn’t you simply

Hang him from a limb

Of a gnarled old tree

Let him twist and die,

Leave his beautiful face be?

His ghastly, mangled, tortured brutalized gougedtoothlessmashedup face?

Oh God oh God

My only boy


While his cotton pickin’ pennies

Buy him bubble gum and candy

He whistles in a delta breeze.

For that you rip him from his bed

Beat him bloody

Tear him to pieces

Put a bullet in his head

             Oh God oh God                                                                                                           

Wrap him in barbed wire

Sink him with a seventy-five pound cotton gin fan

Let the Tallahatchie waters ravage what remains.

Oh God oh God

My only boy

Look at what is done.

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City Streets



        Castlewood Terrace is one of the classiest streets in Chicago.  Even its name bespeaks couth.  It’s one of only three streets in the city that has no multi-family structures on it.  Its residents were politicians, doctors, writers, artists, civic leaders.  And me – we lived there while my daughters were growing up.

        Sounds idyllic?  No.  I thought so when I moved there from exurbia.  But the street was in the center of one of the most depraved, deprived areas of the city.  At the end of my block (within spittin’ distance because my house was at the west end of the street) was a union hall, the doorway of which was the gathering place for the lakeside prostitutes.

        None of this was obvious to us when we purchased the house.  We just saw it as being wonderfully close to the lake, wonderfully close to public transportation, wonderfully close to other beautiful houses, a school close by, a coffee shop around the corner.  We saw and bought the house in the city’s daylight. 

        But in the wee small hours of the night, whores at your fingertips.  This I discovered at four a.m. one pleasant summer dawn as I waited on my front steps with my girls who were being picked up and taken off to gymnastics camp.  Also being picked up were the lovelies at the curbside at the end of my block, picked up and taken to the nearest parking spot on my block, in front of my house.

        Horrified at what I was witnessing, what my young daughters were seeing, I hurried to the telephone to report the activity.  I pulled the “I’m a hefty tax payer” card.  Nothing happened.  The camp ride arrived, the kids went off to more wholesome pastimes, I kept watch, waiting for police action.  All that cruised by were paddy wagons, slowing down only to wave at the friendly bodies standing in the doorway.  Really incensed now, I called back to the police ranting that the wagons were driving by and doing nothing. 

        The police response?  “Lady, paddy wagons only pick up the dead.”

        I stayed in the house after that phone call secure in the knowledge that the first gunshot would certainly bring some civic action.

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