Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cj

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Time flies and another door opens

cj Sez:  Next week, my grandson leaves home to begin his first year of law school, and I am awash with melancholy. The event reminds me how fast time really does fly when you’re having a good time. I moved to Alabama to be near my grandkids and don't you know, they grew up. (sigh) Too soon, I say. Not soon enough, says he. I miss the hugs, giggles and piano concerts already.

Doesn't matter where the future takes him. To me, he will always be the dark-eyed cutie ready to save the world. 

Feeling maudlin about the changes in our lives, I found myself thinking of my childhood in Texas and how far away that special time seems. What follows is a poem I wrote years ago that was ePublished by The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature in 2012. 


In quiet times when past and present flow into one
Moment and melancholy dulls the senses and time ceases,
Memories steal me away to a place of tiny towns and meager farms
Worked by a few determined immigrants coaxing bounty from a dowry of hope,
A bundle of dreams wrapped in desert tan, banded by ribbons of
White caliche roads and faded asphalt highways,
Dotted with corn stalks,
Grain shocks
And monoliths to crude fortunes
That spill upon the land in clear pools
Or spout in unctuous streams.

I roam prairies where The West begins;
Where dust devils haunt wide-open spaces;
Where shimmering heat mirages join in gay dance,
Dodging prickly cactus and gnarly mesquite.

I wander pastures skirting clods of Angus,
Shielding my eyes from the livid sun
Punctuating a sky swept by mares’ tails
And little funnel clouds that spin around
The heavens but never touch down
Like the big ones do.

Awash in twilight stands a child,
Barefoot in the hard-scrabble dirt
At the edge of a cotton field,
Wearing a sun-faded dress
Handstitched from a cotton feedsack.

An ethereal landscape on a sepia canvas;
Where dusk brushes the sunset in smears
Of gold and purple and pink and mauve;
Where color drains into the horizon
With the sinking sun, applauded
By the throaty rumble of thunder
Chasing lightning through distant clouds
That only sometimes rain
But send breezes to winnow the dust
From the cool night air,
Where I shall sleep . . .
Under a canopy of stars.

Grandson will kill me when he sees that picture. That’s all for now. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Comments? Questions? Drop me a line.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alabama Writers Conclave

Today, writer and award-winning poet Mavis Jarrell shares her experience at the recent Alabama Writers Conclave with Lyrical Pens and our readers.

Writer/poet Mavis Jarrell
"The Alabama Writers Conclave this year (July 11-13, 2014, in Fairhope, AL) was fabulous. It started with Alabama's own Rick Bragg as the keynote speaker. Rick is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling All Over but the Shoutin' and a Pulitzer Prize-winning national correspondent for the New York Times, His down-home personality and humor kept us all laughing. The workshops and food were excellent. A great chance to meet fellow writers no matter what level. Thanks to all who organized this beneficial event. For anyone who missed it, start saving for next year. It was the best $135 I've spent this year.

Congrats to my two friends for their winning pieces in the Alabama Writers Conclave. Mahala Church, 1st prize short story and Betty Spence, 3rd place poetry. It's great to have talented friends who like to encourage others to do their best. 

Considering there were over 500 entries nationwide for the six categories, I'd say this is proof of these ladies’ talent."

cj Sez: Thanks, Mavis, for allowing Lyrical Pens to share your enthusiasm. I'll need to put this conference on my list for 2015.

Note:  The Alabama Writers' Conclave was organized in 1923 and has been in continuing existence since. To find out more, check out their website:

On another note . . . FYI Gulf Coast Writers/Readers: This notice crossed my eMail desk today:

   Gulf Coast Writers Association Presents
   Sheila Booth Alberstadt
   Saturday July 27  SHOULD BE JULY 26 ! (sigh)
   2—4 PM
   Pass Christian Library
   111 Hiern Ave
   Pass Christian, Mississippi

That’s all for now. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Comments? Questions? Drop me a line.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Feel the tug?

Tonight’s supermoon is the third of five such events in 2014. A supermoon occurs when the lunar orb will be near or at its closest elliptical-orbit point to the Earth…its perigee. High tides will be a little higher, male deer will begin to grow velvety antler nubs (“Full Buck Moon” is what Native Americans called a July supermoon), and, according to some, lunatics let loose on the streets and werewolves will howl their loudest.

The word lunacy comes from the Latin “lunaticus,” meaning, in modern language, moonstruck. Everyone knows that when the moon is full, the crazies come out. Right? Not so says science of the myth that spawned werewolves.  In the 1800’s, it was feared that those affected by lycanthropy would grow extra long canines and feast on human flesh when the moon was full.

The myth was so popular that, in 1985, a team of scientists did a study on the concept that a full moon (full harvest moon or full wolf moon, or full snow moon, or full buck moon, et. al) could affect human behavior as it does the tides. No evidence of such an effect was forthcoming.

So why do we blame the full moon for strange happenings and behavior? Probably because we’re expecting the correlation, and we can point to that full moon for confirmation.

Okay, now that’s settled, and you can sleep tight . . . no werewolves out tonight.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


By the way, does garlic keep werewolves away or just vampires? 

Sunday, July 6, 2014


cj Sez:  I know. I’m supposed to post an interesting and informative blog for our Lyrical Pens followers. Well, I procrastinated, so, instead, I’ll pass along some smiles and truisms that show up with regularity on my Facebook page.
I am a multitasking procrastinator.
I can put off several things at once. . . . and often do, as today. (sigh)
Today is Sunday.  Share this and within seven days, you’ll get another Sunday.
It really works!
One of my friends ignored this message, and he got a Monday within twenty-four hours.
Believe me, it works.
Subject-verb agreements
I write.
You write.
He writes.
She writes.
They write.
We all revise.
It’s funny how Red, White, and Blue represent freedom . . . until they’re flashing behind you.
A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.
I am a professional writer. I can tell lies with a straight face.
But I’m a piker when it comes to atoms.
You can’t trust them.
They make up everything.
Martin Rooney: “Your life will not be measured by the things you started but by the few you finished.”
Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.
At two a.m.: I need to stop, I whispered to myself as I started another chapter. (cj Sez: That’s the book I hope to write one day.)
James Watkins: “To survive as a writer, you must develop a tough hide and a tender heart . . . and never, ever get the two switched.”
I am currently unsupervised. I know. It freaks me out, too . . . but the possibilities are endless!
Diablo Cody: “I don’t have a formal rewrite process. I just compulsively groom and re-groom scenes like a cat with OCD.”  (cj Sez: My method exactly.)
We are all precious in the sight of the Lord.
He may shake His head a lot, but we’re still precious.

Okay, that's all for now. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.