Friday, November 4, 2011

I have copyrighted your underwear. Be warned.

Ok, so I have completely lost my mind and I am participating in Nanowrimo.

In an effort to carve out a little more time, I have written a letter to my kids.

The link to the letter is below:

Letter to my kids:

I thought it was hilarious.

My kids - not so much!

I guess have no future in comedy!

All the same - I hope I finish my goal and write a 50k novel in 30 days.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Today is the National Writing Project's Why I Write: A Celebration of the National Day on Writing

It's made me stop and think a lot about why I write.

I write because it's an opportunity to explore my creative side. As a busy wife and mother, with a job at OSU and a family business to keep going - I don't have much time to be creative.

Writing lets me make the most of my creative moments. There are no limits. I can explore so many things - my soul, the lives of others, language, even imaginary worlds.

I also write because I am fascinated by the power of words. How things can be communicated, both successfully and unsuccessfully, based on word choice and word order. I love things like connotation, denotation, and context. I love to explore the aspects of language.

But mostly - I write because it's good for me.

And if I get good enough - Perhaps someday it will be 'good' for you too!

Why do you write?

Have a great day. Happy Thursday!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Recommendation: David Orr’s Beautiful and Pointless * * * * *

I greatly enjoyed David Orr’s book Beautiful and Pointless.

It is intended to be an introduction to understanding modern poetry. I found the book to be interesting, enlightening, and well written. I was surprised and pleased with the unexpected humor found in the book.

I appreciated Orr’s examples and poetry recommendations. I now have several new artists to investigate.

I felt a kinship to Orr and his writing, as well as his take on poetry. I’m sincerely grateful someone recommended this book to me.

This week I’m reading The Discovery of Poetry by Frances Mayes (which I found mentioned in an Amazon review of Orr’s book), and Edge by Jeffery Deaver.

I think the Mayes book is going to be really good. It already made me cry, and I'm not even through the first chapter.

Relevant references:
Amazon Link to Beautiful and Pointless.

OSU library link to Beautiful and pointless.

OSU Library call number:

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Odd Thomas

I have been reading Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I'm not a big scary book fan. I am more into suspense. But I've been struck by the poetry in Koontz's writing.

It really amazes me how it is written. Like this:
"The soft features of his wan face brought to mind pale mushrooms that I once glimpsed in a dark dank corner of a basement, mealy puffballs clustered in a moist mounds of forest mast." Dean Koontz - Odd Thomas
Now that's a whole lot different than saying perhaps - He had a pale mushy face. There is a greater depth of description, and it's beautiful.

I also liked this -
"She served it hot, kissing plate to counter without a rattle, as she always does." Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas

What a depth of meaning in two short lines. I love it.

I've been using the Stephen King principle in my writing (KISS), just tell the story and get it done, don't put too many ruffles on it. But when I get good - really good - I hope I have some flavor of Koontz in my writing.

King doesn't seem to think much of Koontz. Go figure.

Luckily - I can love them both. Who do you think is better?

Happy Thursday!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Poetry should ride the bus

I am a new fan of Ruth Forman's poetry, especially "Poetry should ride the bus"

I really like how she uses simple language and the tone of her culture to convey strong images and a rich history. "Poetry should ride the bus" gave me a window into a life I am not a part of, sat me down, and made me feel at home.

Poetry is for people from all walks of life, and we can find poetry in all things.

If you would like to listen to Ruth Forman read one of her poems in her own voice - courtsey of NPR, visit this link.

I think we should put poetry on Bob, and literally - ride a poetry bus.

Here's hoping you find a little poetry in your day.

Happy Friday.

Friday, June 3, 2011

On Writing

I haven't been writing much lately. For the last couple of weeks - I might try to blame it on second child's graduation from HS, Father-in-law's week in the hospital, oldest child's massive eye infection and subsequent week-long set of doctor's visits, husband's promotion or something like that. But it might just be that I don't have the energy.

Poetry (and other forms of writing) seems to take a great deal of concentration and energy. And...time.

Do you find that does for you as well?

I hope to recapture some time, very soon. But until than, I'll just do my second favorite thing to do - read.

But sometime, hopefully sometime soon - I'll get back on my writing 'horse.'

Best wishes,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

left to my own devices

Some days I write with a thick pencil,
ham fisted in a Big Chief tablet,
barely literate - smudged and smeared,
unwieldy, childish prose.

Every now and again,
I write with a scalpel,
All bloody and pain wrecked -
words excised, still dripping.

On Fridays, I write with a rain gutter,
catching the words as a down pour,
sluicing them in the general direction
of a downspout, wet and soggy.

More often, I write with a plow.
Heavy lifting, dirt worked
in the hot sun, sweaty seeding
hoping for something besides a weed.

Most days, I write with a shovel,
heaving sticky piles of steamy manure,
from one plop
to the other.

On a very rare day,
no matter my device,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Poetry as art

I have been haunting the literary boards lately, looking at writing submitted by others, and listening (as objectively as possible) to critques about my own.

During this process it seemed to me there seem to be a variety of reasons people write poetry. Some people seem to write to 1) Get in touch with their own emotions; 2) deal with past experiences; and 3) relate to other people. I'm interested in all the reasons people write poetry.

Here are some of my reflections:

When some people write poetry, they seem to examine more deeply their own emotions, in order to accurately share them to others.

Sometimes, people write poetry as therapy. They use the process to purge demons, cement their memories, or describe a state of being or experience.

I also think that people write poetry to share, display, work, and enrich their own lives by connecting with others.

The unique thing about poetry is the artistry.

Each and every poet is an artist.

Sometimes the poetry picture flows and is easy on the eye, and you catch your breath at the wonder of it. Sometimes, it shocks and rips you open. Sometimes, it is vanilla bland, cheesy or mundane.

Perhaps the paint the poet has used is not your favorite color. Perhaps the lines they draw are bolder, or thinner, then you would use. Perhaps the subject is not your favorite... But what you take from the writing, is your unique experience. What you take from the poetry picture, is up to you.

Why do you write?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Written for a poetry contest. Kind of missed the mark, but...I was pretty caught up in it and had to submit it to get rid of it! Don't know why but I like it. Maybe someone will 'get' it.

My Whimsy

Gray rust steals over a wrought iron gate.
Unconcerned, dandelion fluff skips across pitted black marble.
I lie on my back and watch white cotton wisps
twirl up and join animal shapes on a lazy stroll across a puffy sky.
Between – droopy birthday balloons roll slack on graying grass.
Their sun bleached ribbon streamers wrap and wind
a once bright pinwheel's leg.
The faded pinwheel spins with whimsical disregard,
It's steel leg buried deep
in the graveyard.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I am a voracious reader. I devour books, many times in one sitting. I feel naked without an unread book, hanging around somewhere close to me.

Lately I've noticed something really interesting. Really good writers make me slow down. I can't finish their books at my usual, breakneck speed.

I owe it to every writer to slow down, and really appreciate the nuances of their work. I wonder how very much I have already missed.


I love language. I love the way words work, the way they feel, what they mean.

Lately - I've thought about language and how words work. I appreciate how one word can mean many things, and how sometimes just one word, and how it is said, can mean so much. I love watching the different ways people react to words.

Maybe that's why I have found myself a new fan of poetry.

In poetry, writers use words efficiently. They weave many meanings into short phrases, drawing pictures in our minds, often using a very limited landscape.

How do they know what images the words they weave will call to my mind? How do our shared perceptions, become magic? Should I assume that I can know what words will reach out and touch someone else's ideas?

I don't feel like I will ever be a great poet, maybe not even a fair one, but I do feel like I have some very important work to do on the road to better writing.

I have a feeling there are many great lessons waiting for me in my poetry corner.

Maybe I'll learn more about word efficiency. Maybe I will develop a voice, and some style. And maybe, just maybe, learn I will learn a little something about myself.

Happy Friday

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

at 5 am on Tuesday morning

Words tumble and jump
Like pongs in a lottery popper
Vying for a spot
on the winning line

the right one still hides
buried beneath the jumble
eluding a greedy grasp

Sorry you are not a winner
crinkle crumble smash
another contribution
destined for the trash

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nichols Family Style: Poetry reviews are not for pansies!

I made the mistake of telling my family that I had written a poem, and that I had posted it on line on a blog. I told them no one had commented, so either no one had read it, or it was really bad.

After I forced them at gun point to read it - the rest of the conversation went something like this - We didn't even get past the first line.

"Dust mote...what the heck is a dust mote."

"Dust mote, mom you have a mis-spelling, it's dust MITE."

"Ain't a dust mite a bed bug?"

"You wrote a poem about bed bugs?"

"Isn't a moat something that goes around a castle? Why the heck are you writing about a ditch full of dirt..."

When I finally finished laughing and crying, I asked them if they understood what the poem was about.

"Well duh, words on a page..."

Well - yes - but it's also about about stories, and about history, and the importance of writing down what happens before it's lost forever. It's about keeping creativity alive for the ages. It's about remembering people we have loved.

I guess if I am going to write, I'd better grow a thick skin.

I know for any introductory offer it's pretty bland and boring, maybe even juvenile, but just getting something *out* there was a pretty important milestone for me.

Even if no one reads it.

But I guess I better learn - poetry critiquing, at least in my family, is not for the faint of heart.

Poetry reviews are not for pansies!

Happy Friday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


As some of you may know, about a year ago, thanks to my bosses, I was able to start a pet sitting business in Stillwater.

I have wanted to start a business for years, and the opportunities all added up at just the right time. Since that day, I have learned a great deal. One of the best things about "the business" has been meeting all kinds of really great people.

One of those really great people was Patricia Imboden.

I'll never forget the first day she called me, looking for a pet sitter for Cashew. I think we were on the phone for 30 minutes. Somehow, we just clicked.

Pat was one of those amazing people. She was outgoing, kind, practical, and giving. She was down to earth, with a full, rich personality. She touched my family in ways she will never know.

Pat died unexpected last Thursday, the day before she was to leave on a trip to Florida.

I'm left with wonderful memories, and a few regrets.

I wish I had written a thank you note for the grape jelly and bread she left us last week.

I wish I had mentioned to her how much I appreciated her story about the guinea pig she had when she was a girl.

I wish ... I had one more day to spend with her learning about her life.

I wish I had shared just how wonderful I thought she was.

So for now, I have to share it with the world.

Please, share your thoughts with those you love. Don't let anything get in the way - let them know how much you appreciate them - today.

words on a page

dust motes spin
through streaming sunlight

lives rise up
from parchment layers

A whisper of yesterday
takes a breath

Footprints trapped in ink
tap out memories

on today

passages remain

tomorrow's ending
safely waiting


as long as there are words
on a page.