Mixed Media Writer

A Creativity Book of Days

Hurricane Michael, a most unwelcome late-season guest, will be making landfall somewhere between Destin and Panama City Beach in a few hours.  Our inland location near Pensacola in Escambia County, Florida has been downgraded to Tropical Storm alert status. It is our friends and family to the east who are in great jeopardy for loss of life, property and infrastructure damage. 

Apalachicola is a quaint, lovely small riverfront fishing village. It hasn’t seen a bad hurricane in this century. Buck and I met for a reunion with my brother who lives in Apalachicola and my other brother who lives in Lakeland back in October, 2015. Some photos, below. 

The Water Street Inn. Last television report I saw showed their parking lot under more than four feet of water.

I just spoke to my younger brother and am greatly relieved to know he and his friend have evacuated from Apalachicola and are in a motel in Gainesville. She has medical issues that require guaranteed power to help her breathe, so Steve had to be sure his choice of sinecure was reliable.

Buck and I live roughly 200 miles from Apalachicola, about the same distance as Apalachicola to Gainesville. But while our home is nearly 20 miles inland from the beach, there’s a lot of dangerous, traffic-clogged turf to cover between there and here. I’m relieved they are high if not dry, in Gainesville.

Today Buck, Lula Belle and I walked around the fire lines at Longleaf. The entire property is about 90 acres, but our bush-hogged walking path, plus a gravel road to the gate, was about 3 miles. Warm and humid, but glorious. Once Hurricane Michael has passed through, which we expect around mid-day tomorrow, the ensuing ten-day forecast looks great, with temps finally dropping into the mid-seventies for daytime highs and high fifties at night.

The fall wildflowers are emerging: all sorts of lavenders and golds are decorating the forest. Well, why talk about it when I can show you?

Walk with me!

2018 10-9 Buck woods walkIMG_0497 (2)2018 10-9 morning glory woodswalk2018 10-9 Lula in the stream 12018 10-9 Lula in the streambed 2IMG_0500 (1)IMG_0507 (1)IMG_0511 (1)IMG_0506IMG_0503IMG_0502 (1)IMG_0501 (1)IMG_0526IMG_0525IMG_0519IMG_0516IMG_0515IMG_0513IMG_0512




Strange, the power of these mixed media pages done on the fly. I thought I was sticking bits of paint, tissue, words and even the grainy contents of an unused herbal tea bag to work toward some essential point about one of my characters, Jackson Celestine Harper, and his feelings about the loss of his wife to ovarian cancer several years earlier.

But when I went upstairs to take a picture of the page, I was stunned to feel an emotional wallop and understand that this page conveys some of my own feelings about the death of my stepson, Darryl. He was 45 and died of a massive heart attack while sitting in a lawn chair on the patio of his apartment, apparently immediately after eating lunch and smoking a final cigarette.  It happened thirteen years ago: October 6, 2005.

I won’t show this post to Buck. He said at the time, “I can’t live long enough to get over this.”

Darryl told me once he was the black sheep of the family. I said, “No, you may be slightly gray, but you’re a sheep of our fold, and always welcome to come home.” He knew we always had a candle in the window for him. Still do.


Two brothers and a sister: Richard, Darryl, and Adele

But it’s October. And the ten-day forecast calls for fall temps here in the Florida panhandle (finally). 


We live in Pensacola, and my younger brother lives in a vulnerable spot in the small waterfront town of Apalachicola.


So I’m headed to the grocery store for just-in-case supplies. We checked the generator last night to be sure it’s working and the underground tank has enough gas to run it for several days. 


Shelters, hospitals, and all emergency service organizations are scrambling.


The sky was filled with bright stars last night. I stood gazing upward, a soft breeze lifting my hair. 

This morning dawned sunny and perfect for a walk to the gate with Lula Belle. 

But here’s a link to the latest Hurricane Michael update from the Pensacola News Journal, and it can’t be ignored, no matter how pretty today is.

Landfall Wednesday. We’ll be fine. We live in a sturdy dwelling, nearly 20 miles inland. But there are many in harm’s way between Pensacola and Tallahassee, including my brother Steve and his dear friend, Carol. Time for a phone call.

I’ll keep you posted.

Typing that title before coffee makes me feel a little queasy, but that’s what the dream was: three boar’s heads on my kitchen counter. In the dream, people were all around, talking, paying no attention to me, and I was focused on just how the hell I was going to cook these things. While I was brushing my teeth a few minutes ago, I realized the heads had been smoked (or something), because they weren’t, um, you know, bloody. They were dark, like smoked meat, and no hair or tusks, thank God for small favors.

That’s about all there was to it. A short-short dream clip. Aren’t dreams strange and wonderful, even when they’re grotesque?

Earlier in the week, a friend joined us on short notice for lunch. I ran up to the Publix grocery store before he arrived and picked up some Boar’s Head brand chicken salad, along with a pasta salad, spring greens, and fresh fruit.


When passions are inflamed, fairness is most in jeopardy.

Senator Susan Collins



Below are my cognitive daybook scribbles after watching, reading, and listening to many players on all sides; from a metaphorical Space Station view of earth to the nose-to-nose so close I could count pores on the participants’ noses.  A truly remarkable exercise in democracy. 

Senator Susan Collins as a Knight in shining armor, riding her trusty steed,, a bouquet of flowers held high.

Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made.

Mark Twain

I respectfully disagree with the late Samuel Clemens, our national treasure, Mark Twain. I think we must watch the sausage being made,  sift and sort until we know our own minds and then, if so inclined, speak them. 

I don’t know if the mosquito hawk was at the end of its natural life or if it had interacted with a toxic substance. All I know is by the time I saw it on the warm concrete slab, astonished by the creature’s beautiful wings, its life was seconds away from ending.


I’m not going to preach about the beauty and fragility of our freedom in the United States and how it can go away when “guilty until proven innocent” is floated and not everyone in the room cries out “No!” For now, I’ll just say the Kavanaugh hearings have shaken me deeply.


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