Starved Horse Shows Full Range of Human Nature, Sanctity of Life

Not long after I wrote this story about Trooper, he passed from this earth surrounded by those who gave him their all and a chance at life. I am posting this story to keep his spirit alive, so that others who read his story will speak out for abused animals. The people who are responsible for Trooper’s death are still out there. If you live in Southern Louisiana and know anything about who did this to Trooper, please call your local sheriff’s office. You can report what you know without giving your name.

May no animal suffer as Trooper did. 

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Trooper with his biggest fan, Rebecca Kopp

~

They came to name him Trooper, the skeletal horse found stumbling along a highway near St. Martinville, Louisiana, ten days ago. Horse experts who saw him knew his smooth coat came from life inside a stall, his legs suffering from mud rot from standing for the better part of a year in his own excrement. He waited without food. A motorist who saw him called law enforcement. They brought the wracked creature to the St. Martin Animal Shelter already overrun by dogs and cats in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Shelter Director Michelle Brignac stayed in the field with the emaciated horse for seven hours, putting out an SOS to the area volunteer fire department after he went down on the ground. She posted pictures on Facebook.

That evening, Sept. 5, Rebecca Kopp, a riding instructor with experience rescuing horses, agreed to take him and do everything she could to rehabilitate him at the stable where she worked in nearby New Iberia. His fate was tenuous. She helped him out of her own goodness and was willing to pay for his needs out of her own pocket until she was urged to start a GoFundMe campaign for Trooper.

 

“Camp Rebecca Kopp is in full swing!” she posted on Sept. 6. After a veterinarian left her the stable, she camped out all night in the field with the horse to monitor his temperature, intravenous fluids, food intake, elimination, medicine, and most importantly, keep him up on his feet. If he went down, he wouldn’t have the strength to stand up again, lactic acid would build in his atrophied muscles, his joints would continue to swell. She, her colleagues at the stable, her husband, and friends made Trooper a makeshift sling hoisted by a tractor lift to keep him aloft. Blood work and fecal samples showed he was only mildly anemic and had no underlying medical conditions other than starvation.

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Trooper put in the first makeshift sling.

“Someone starved this horse and it didn’t happen overnight,” Rebecca wrote the first day Trooper was in her care. The person who starved Trooper and dropped him off on Smede Highway near Cade, Louisiana, has yet to be identified. People now close to Trooper believe that the horse was trailered to the highway, turned loose, and left to die. “Whoever did this didn’t want to be bothered dig a hole big enough to bury a horse. And who wants a dead horse on their property,” one person said.

On Sept. 6, Trooper fell to the ground outside the stable and he remained there for several hours. The vet came, and six people helped get him back on his feet. He went back in the rigged sling in the field and they set up an open-air tent to shield him from the sun, the weather mercifully “cooler” in sweltering Southern Louisiana. Rebecca pitched a tent next to him in the field and checked on him through the night. A resident donkey watched over them, ensuring no coyotes came close.

A Sept. 8th’s morning FB live update showed Trooper grazing, walking on his own power, with Rebecca upbeat and narrating his tenuous progress.

She posted pictures of him in his blue blanket, sun rising behind him, saying, “These pictures are important to me. Thirty-six hours ago I didn’t know if Trooper was going to see another sunrise. He was TIRED. But by some miracle–and prayers, tears, vet attention, and a whole lot of determination–here he is. Another glorious sunrise shines down upon him. This horse (in his poor condition) shouldn’t be alive, yet here he is, fighting for every day. We could learn a thing or two from his determination.”

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Saturday morning and evening FB live updates were positive. Sunday he was doing so well that Rebecca abandoned “camp” and slept at home with her family. Monday went well with Trooper doing his “bucket” checks for food in the barn hallways and Rebecca saying, “He’s such a sweet soul. I can’t wait until he’s healthy.”

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Sign outside Trooper’s stall.

And here’s where I want to talk about human nature. Trooper’s case displays the whole range of human nature, from the monster responsible for this innocent creature’s suffering to the angel who sleeps on concrete to tend to him through the night and then does it all over again, watching for what he needs, what he is telling her, what she needs to do to keep him from slipping from this earth, minute by minute. Think about what this horse has experienced at the hands of humans, from long-term cruel starvation to fierce, loving, round-the-clock care. He stands there in the field and lets his newfound allies prod him, hoist him up with brute yet gentle force, walk him, straighten his arthritic atrophied ankles, knowing most likely for the first time, a loving human touch, even when it hurts. He falls. Each time he gets up–with help, as best he can, he stands. Someone gave up on him a long time ago. Yet, weak as he is, he has not given up.

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Tuesday morning’s FB live showed Rebecca sitting on the ground with Trooper on the ground behind her. She calmly asked if anyone could come help her get Trooper up again. The St. Martin Animal Shelter staff went. So did I. By the time I arrived they’d just gotten Trooper back up on his feet in the field and were rigging up the sling. When I put my hands on his neck and head, he stopped grazing and stood still, as if he was soaking in the love flowing from me to him. He didn’t move until I did. It’s as if he felt the love and knew it was part of his healing.

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Rebecca catching some sleep as Trooper looks on.

Rebecca borrowed a camper and stayed in the field with him overnight. Wednesday morning saw him standing in his sling in the field, doing well, Rebecca taking a nap under the canopy as Trooper looked on. In a Wednesday morning writing class I teach to adults at a VITA program, we used Trooper as a topic for writing a mini-essay about whether steps should be taken to punish animal abusers. One woman wrote, “We are all here to love. Every living being feels pain. The person who abused him should go to jail.”

Helping hands abound. After Trooper fell due to uneven ground outside the barn, Rebecca’s husband, Tom, came to build a cable for the sling to slide across the stall for Trooper, where the ground was more even and soft. Tom was sick that day, but there he was, creating something to support the weakened horse–and help his wife, Trooper’s caretaker.

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“He lets us help him, never fights us. We couldn’t do this if he did,” she said.

Trooper gained in strength on Sept. 7, and Rebecca let him out of his makeshift sling to walk freely and graze. The truth is Trooper’s life still hung in the balance.

Rebecca knew that the first two weeks were critical to his chances of making it through alive. She was there for him, even though she had young children at home and a husband who worked far away at times.

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Troopers Troops, supporters who followed his progress through Rebecca’s FB updates watched every morning and evening with trepidation. Last night Rebecca posted an ominous message. “Bad night. May have to make some tough decisions in the morning.” A co-worker took a picture of Rebecca sleeping on the cement floor outside Trooper’s stall. Rebecca had asked Trooper’s fans for prayers for his miraculous strength. He’d been found hanging limp in his sling with no strength to stand on his own. They had to cut him out of his sling and lower him onto the ground. He wasn’t responsive. Rebecca had stepped out to shower and change clothes. When she got the call about Trooper, she rushed back. The vet came and administered fluids and medicine to help with inflammation in nerves. They decided to sedate Trooper to allow him to rest and not struggle to stand. “Mr. Trooper, when he gets an idea in his head, he’s going to do it (try to stand up).” Several people helped him up again.

“He teeter-tottered on his feet, couldn’t get a foothold, knuckled over on both legs. A rough go. Most people stayed til 3 a.m.,” she said. He didn’t go down again. “Euthenasia is always on the table in a case like this. I didn’t have to make that decision this morning. He’s standing up, eating. It’s hour by hour. I set myself a time limit to be fair to him. If he’s not better by the end of the weekend we’ll have to make a tough call–to be kind to him. Hopefully he’ll keep trucking on, being Trooper, being the super horse he is,” she says.

They’ll reevaluate him regularly as to where he stands, with the hope he’ll get stronger. His age–mid to late 20s–is working against him. He doesn’t heal as fast as younger horses. Falling is hard on his ravaged body. “We’re approaching that critical two-week mark (as to whether he’ll heal and live). But if we don’t see strengthening in his leg, there’s not a whole lot more we can do. It’s the muscle weakness. It’s not fair to his mind, body, organs to keep going through this,” she says.

Yet, this morning, he was back “to yelling at me this morning for feed.” Rebecca believes Trooper will tell her when and if he is ready to give up the fight. She’s watching him carefully, alert to the signs and will do what is in his best interests.

“You know me, I’m a dreamer of the impossible things. I will keep trying til it’s not right anymore for quality of life. I’ll let him tell us how much further he’s willing to push. We’re okay for now and hoping he’ll continue to pull through.”

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Shelter director Michelle Brignac on seeing Rebecca’s difficult update posted: “They are fighting right now to save the life of a horse that someone threw away like garbage. We love you, Trooper. We love you so much that we prayed and angels were sent to help you, to show you love.”

Rebecca gains much strength from Trooper’s and her supporters who visit, post messages of support, and from those who support the his GoFundMe campaign.

Her latest update today is hopeful: “He’s locked out his ankles, meaning he’s bearing weight on both ankles. Someone’s listening to our prayers. This is progress I didn’t expect to see today. These little things are what carry me through.”

Trooper has shown a whole community the full range of human nature. May his life teach us to be kind, to love all life, to seek justice, to never give up.

 

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The day Trooper and I met.

–Sandra Sarr

September 15, 2017

 

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I Came to Dance

Greetings, readers. It is good to be back after a long absence. It appears I’m on my own road to indigo, having moved recently from the Northwest to Southern Louisiana.
“You’re living your novel,” one friend observed. She’s right in many ways.
A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the Louisiana Book Festival. A workshop leader gave us a prompt and I wrote through her whole session, hearing nothing more spoken in the room. My writer self was so starved for expression. Out of my pen came this:

SGS peeling paint.scars
I scrape at the scars on the old Louisiana cypress house, its boards of peeling paint beaten by sun, wind, rain, and decades of neglect. I pound the loose white paint then scrape, chips littering my lashes and dotting the sheared-to-the-ground nandina, sacred bamboo someone long ago put around the porch. I scrape down to the raw wood sometimes unintentionally inflicting new wounds I will need to sand and caulk and prime.
This is my house.
My wrist burns after hours of raking a double blade across the grain of plank-after-plank, ribs that shape my shelter. The job is too big. It’s been two days of scraping and my workers need to move on to other jobs. We reach up into the soffits, swerving blades beyond points of roofer nails poking through boards.

I first saw this house online. It was May, the usual month I came to stay in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, during the past four years. Only this time I decided I wanted to stay. For months, I sat in my Tacoma, Washington, writing room scouring the Internet for real estate sites displaying new listings. I looked out at the grey rain and dreamed of Louisiana, its sunny fields of swaying cane. I saw myself at Café Des Ami, where one could never grow old dancing at the Zydeco breakfast. I even sent my Louisiana friend to look at a couple of promising houses. None, she said, looked like the pictures online. Bad aluminum siding, dangerous neighborhoods, cheap fixtures, she said. And when I came in May to look for myself, I could see she was right. I stopped research on my novel, the original reason I came to Louisiana, and spent hours, days, weeks cruising Southern highways, back roads, and websites, looking at each structure asking, “Are you my home?” like the children’s book protagonist asking things unlike itself, “Are you my mother?” It was exhausting.
Then one day I found it. I found my home on an obscure website, its long-leaf pine floors glistening, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and window seat lining one wall, pillars leading from living room to dining room that looked large enough for a state dinner. There was a huge front porch and stained glass windows growing lotuses. And the front door? Carved oak with an oval beveled-glass window flanked by side panels with smaller oval windows, a rectangular transom window crowning the trio. In the kitchen were original glass-fronted wood cabinets, burnished brass hardware, granite countertops, and a swinging paneled door leading from the kitchen to a light-filled dining room.
SGS.in new house
I shut my laptop and called a realtor recommended by an LA 31 brewery owner I’d met the day before. Miss Katina greeted me on the porch opening the door with a key she’d gotten from Miss Dee, a realtor friend and listing agent representing the bank-owned house. The listing was so new that there wasn’t even a lock box on the door yet. I’d asked my realtor to bring an inspector. We looked around and I made an offer on the spot.
The truth is, the house was a beautiful ruin. Blind to its scars, all I saw was pure beauty. Walking its floors for the first time, I knew it was mine. My offer was accepted and for the next two weeks I fought hard to put the deal together. Faced with repeated rejection due to no fault of my own, I reluctantly let go. And when I did, a door opened. I owned a house in Louisiana.

No longer a beautiful ruin, exactly, now it’s akin to Cinderella at the ball, her promise glistening as she dances something new into being. Under crumbling paint awaits prized cypress. These scars are beautiful. They are mine. Together we heal, this house and me.

Today, a young visitor from France asks me, “Why did you come here? To dance?”
Yes, I came to dance.

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The Road to Indigo, a poem by Margaret Simon

I am sitting on the porch of Bonne Terre Cottage in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, with Margaret Simon sipping mint tea and talking about writing and life. Margaret wrote a poem for me after our visit last year.  It shares my novel’s title.  I share it with you here.  (You can view her original post and listen to her read the poem.)

Reflections on the Teche

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Me with Sandy Sarr at a local restaurant. Me with Sandy Sarr at a local restaurant.

I enjoy connecting with new people online. I met Sandy Sarr through a mutual friend. Our friend thought we would like each other because we are both authors. So I friended Sandy on Facebook, and we read each others’ blogs. But meeting someone face to face, the old fashioned way, is so much better.

Sandy has spent the month of May in Louisiana for the last three years. She comes to meet people and to work on her novel, The Road to Indigo ( her working title). We had brunch together on Saturday. Jen was right; we connected easily and immediately. Sandy is about to complete an MFA program and has been writing her novel for 3 years. This project led her to Louisiana to meet many different people. She has some wonderful stories, some of…

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Tria Reed: The Writing Process Blog Tour

Photo: © N. Hope

Photo: © N. Hope

I am posting Tria’s contribution to The Writing Process Blog Tour since her Website is geared for other purposes.  Now, here’s Tria!

My thanks to Sandra Sarr for inviting me to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour. I met Sandy in a writing critique group years ago and continue to be amazed at the breadth and beauty of her writing. You can read her responses to the questions I answer below elsewhere on her blog.

Sandy has an MFA in creative writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts and is revising her first novel, THE ROAD TO INDIGO. Her poem, “Sestina for a Young Widow,” was nominated for a 2012 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Intro Journals Project award. Another poem, “Matinal Oceania,” represented Washington State in YARN’s 2012 National Poetry Month’s project, Crossing Country Line by Line. She writes for Arches, the magazine of the University of Puget Sound.

What am I working on?
I’m writing a novel set at the end of the seventeenth century in the region we now call the Columbia River Basin. My stone-age heroine, Umari, travels through a treacherous rain forest inhabited by slave-taking bands to save her people, the Grass Seed Eaters. Only the blessings of the Great Water—an ocean far north and west of her desert homeland—can save her kin from starvation and drought.

This tale offers not only an excursion into an ancient era but also an allegory that portrays a transforming spiritual process. In order to survive the journey, Umari sheds layer upon layer of painful memories and beliefs until, at last, she abides in her sacred essence—the fearless love-power pulsing inside her.

This book continues the spiritual themes I explore in essays and poems on http://www.spontaneousmeditation.org.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
My novel stands in the long tradition of inspirational tales—stories that portray humans grappling with that most basic question: Who am I? The book’s stone-age setting, lyric writing, use of universal metaphors, and portrayal of our true nature as love make it unique.

Why do I write what I write?
Thirty-three years ago, I experienced an awakening—an upwelling of spiritual energy—that has flowed inside me ever since. At the time, I had no teacher or tradition, but I recognized this flowing force as both love and peace.

This force took me into a deep stillness, but my mind was active enough to be curious about the process unfolding within me. Aided by an academic background in comparative religion, I looked for similar experiences recorded in the world’s religions. Eventually, I combined my personal introspections with this research in a brief memoir, a short story and two epic poems. I presented these writings through informal readings and one-woman performances at healing centers, churches, national conferences and in private homes. My desire is always to communicate the closeness, power and beauty of our true nature.

How does my writing process work?
I’m a café writer. I treasure my mornings spent sipping tea while allowing spontaneously arising images or words to carry me into a scene. From this experience of literary “free fall,” come the most surprising results!

Photographs—bold, clear and colorful—also play an important role in my writing. In the 1990s, while I was performing my two epic poems, I illustrated them with dozens of photographic slides. I spend countless hours looking for just the right picture to illustrate my words. These photographs are so important to me, I sometimes rewrite a phrase—even a cherished one—so I can pair it with a breath-taking image.

I’m grateful to the photographers who’ve provided me with the images that support and ignite my writing. I’m also grateful to my husband, my literary buddies and my critique group partners who help me see what I fail to notice in my own writing.

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The Writer’s Process Blog Tour continues with paranormal romance author, Jeanette Raleigh. Her series, WHEN WHERE AND HOWL takes readers on a hilarious journey with the antics of a were-mouse who falls in love with a werewolf. The first book in the series, Moon Struck, is currently free on Amazon. Blessed with an amazing imagination and mature writing skills, Jeanette creates fantastic tales filled with reality, warmth and wit.  To learn more about Jeanette’s writing process, please visit her blog: http://jeanetteraleigh.wordpress.com/

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THE WRITING PROCESS BLOG TOUR

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I thank fellow Northwest Institute of Literary Arts alumna, friend, and talented writer Janet Buttenwieser for inviting me to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour. You can read her responses to the same questions I answer below at http://janetbuttenwieser.com/2014/03/25/the-writing-process-blog-tour/ 

Janet Buttenwieser’s nonfiction work has appeared several places, including Potomac Review, Literary Mama, Bellevue Literary Review, and won honorable mention in The Atlantic 2010 Student Writing contest.  She has an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.  Find excerpts from her memoir-in-progress, GUTS, and her thoughts on the writing life at janetbuttenwieser.com

What am I working on?

I am revising my first novel, THE ROAD TO INDIGO, a cross between The Secret Life of Bees and To Kill a Mockingbird. It is the story of Maybelle Dupree, a Southern Louisiana traiteur, or healer, and Perry Rebecca Landry, an endangered teen-aged outsider, who discover that they are bonded by blood, secrets, and their innate ability to heal maladies. At Maybelle’s Indigo Plantation, they join forces to preserve the disappearing healing traditions of Cajun-Creoles, and they defy the social order of the Civil Rights-era Deep South at their own peril.

 I completed the novel in 2013. Recently, I mustered the courage to read it straight through for the first time and made notes in the margins. Working in the solitude and natural beauty of a friend’s house on Lake Quinault, I opened my laptop and the document holding my manuscript. I could see what I needed to do to improve the way the novel unfolds and I set about revising. I’m energized by the momentum building as I find the form that best serves the story.

 I also write feature stories and people profiles for the University of Puget Sound magazine, Arches. Occasionally, I’ll write a poem, which I love doing because it’s something I can start and finish in a matter of hours, not years.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

For starters, the novel is very place-specific. It’s set in the Cajun-Creole region of Southern Louisiana, west of New Orleans. Before I determined my setting, I’d already created and come to know my characters. One is Maybelle, a 70-year-old black woman who heals people using spiritual techniques and remedies derived from plants. I wanted an ethnically diverse setting for my 1960s-era story. Sitting in my living room in Tacoma, Washington, one evening looking at maps online I said, “Avery Island, Louisiana.” I’d never been to Louisiana and knew nothing about Avery Island.

Through an ongoing string of providential connections, I learned about traditional healers of the region. They’re called traiteurs, a French word meaning treaters. I decided I had to go to Louisiana to try to talk with a traiteur, that is, if they’d be willing to talk with a stranger about their practices. All I knew is that traiteurs did exactly what my character Maybelle did to heal people. She lived in that region. She had to be a traiteur. So, I travelled to Louisiana for the first time ever in 2011 to learn first hand about the healing practices of Acadiana. Although THE ROAD TO INDIGO is a work of fiction, it’s important to me to represent cultural traditions portrayed through my characters as authentically as possible. I did talk with several traiteurs and natives of the region who enriched the story tremendously. In fact, I threw out several chapters I’d written and started fresh. I’ve also amassed a collection of regional literature and reference materials, including the Dictionary of Louisiana French and Secret Doctors: Ethnomedicine of African Americans by Wonda L. Fontenot.

There are plenty of novels set in Acadiana and even a few novels with characters who are traiteurs, though those are rare and are, to my knowledge, written for young adult audiences. My novel also deals with healing from the standpoint of social justice.

Why do I write what I do?

I love the question even though I wrestle with the answer. I suppose I’ve always been a bit of an outsider with a curiosity about what it means to belong, like my young character Perry. I come from a racially diverse family and have lived in communities where I didn’t speak the language I heard spoken.

I struggled with whether or not THE ROAD TO INDIGO was my story to tell since I’m not of the culture or geographic region. Yet, it is a story that came to me as I sat down to write. With each step I took toward the story, doors opened and so did the story. In speaking with one traiteur who avoided me at first and who most resembles my character Maybelle, she said to me, “You were born with this story in you. Now you just need to sit down and write it.” As life as I knew it crumbled all around me, I sat down and wrote THE ROAD TO INDIGO. I’ll keep writing it until I’m satisfied it is ready to send out into the world.

I write life, including parts of it that can only be intuited and that are often more real than what can be perceived by the five senses. During my lifetime, I’ve been diagnosed with two life-threatening illnesses. I’ve been healthy for seventeen years and counting. I believe that healing takes place in a multitude of ways, including through story itself. That belief has contributed to why I write what I write. I believe that there are stories that want to be told and that they choose the teller.

How does my writing process work?

Process? That’s not a word that flows through my fingers naturally. I’d say “organic” best describes my novel-writing process. I was forced by an adviser to write a chapter-by-chapter outline and synopsis of my novel. Mostly, I let the story itself inform me what’s next. Now that I know the whole shape of it, I have identified certain objectives I want to accomplish. My writing feels more strategic now that I’m revising, making structural shifts, and layering in details. Three novelists have given me feedback on my first draft, which I’m considering as I revise.

If I’m on deadline I go to my upstairs writing room, sit at the fold-down desk, and write on my computer. I wrote early chapters in pencil on large, lined tablets. Somehow using the pencil seemed less serious and let me sneak up on the scenes playing in my head and get them on paper. I wrote this way sitting by a pool in California. I wrote major passages during writing fellowships at the Whiteley Center on San Juan Island. For many months I met a writing partner at my dining room table and wrote Thursday mornings for two hours. I’m reading about three novels at any given time and studying how they’re made. I participate in writers’ conferences and classes. Serving as assistant fiction editor of Soundings literary journal helps me discern what works and why in a story.

How do I get the writing done? It gets done when I sit down and write. I don’t talk about it a lot because it dissipates the energy I could use for writing.

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The Writing Process Blog Tour continues next week with the wonderful author and teacher MARGARET GIBSON SIMON. She lives on the Bayou Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana. She’s the author of two books, BLESSEN, a young readers novel, and ILLUMINATE, a book of poetry inspired by drawings by her father, John Gibson. Margaret is passionate about teaching, poetry, family, and dancing with her husband of nearly 30 years. Margaret blogs about life on the bayou at http://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com In fact, she wrote a poem in May 2013 titled The Road to Indigo, for Sandra Sarr, which you can hear her read on her blog.

 
Also blog touring this week is the deeply talented and insightful writer and spiritual teacher TRIA REED. In order to create original written materials for spiritual performances and workshops, Tria left behind her academically trained writing voice. She’s offered one-woman shows (“My Name is Love” and “In the Beginning God Danced”) throughout Western Washington and in Northern and Southern California. Her website (www.spontaneousmeditation.org) showcases her non-fiction writing and several short poems. After years of preparatory research, Tria’s novel, THE WAY OF THE RIVER: A SPIRITUAL ALLEGORY, is well underway.

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Live oak in Southern Louisiana

Live oak in Southern Louisiana

Soon I will return to the lush landscape where my novel is set.

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Notes on a Winter Morning

I’m in my writing room writing.  It’s 16 degrees outside and I’ve been nursing my furnace through one more season, please, using notes and a metal tool. 

My life is rich and uncertain.  I live a writing life.  Rich.  I am on my own after a long marriage.  Uncertain.  I have meaningful work as a teaching assistant for a course with my graduate school, as assistant fiction editor of a literary journal, as a freelance writer for a university magazine, as a promoter of friends’ artistic works, as a board member for two non-profits.  Rich.  Only one of these gigs pays.  Uncertain. 

And there’s my novel to revise.  Others, including an agent, are waiting to read the manuscript.

What is certain is that my whole being is recalibrating. I can almost hear the clicking and whirring, like a deck of cards shuffling inside or like the old furnace in the basement blowing, crackling, and blessedly igniting with a roar.

I’m in my writing room this morning thinking, my dog giving up his pleading for play and slipping into a soft snore.  Russell Edson’s The Tunnel is in my lap. I haven’t picked up the book since I took the class as a student four years ago.  I’ve never been willing to sell or recycle my textbooks, though I’m becoming more discerning about what I keep.  Edson is like an edgy old friend I put on a shelf.  Today, I’m reading his “Waiting for the Signal Man” and considering the grad students’ and teacher’s take on the prose poem, its imagery, ideas, and techniques.  A student observes that the poem folds into and out of itself and I offer thoughts about why.  

After a long silence here and elsewhere, inspiration sparks and a few words release.  Awash in grey, I dream of southern Louisiana and what I will bring when I return this spring.  The Road to Indigo calls. 

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