Jan 29, 2012

The Book of Me

Another Free Write Friday has arrived. This is the challenge Kellie Elmore has put before her writers. You have just died! You come to find yourself standing at a bookshelf when you notice that there is a book that has your name on it. What do you do? What do you fear? Do you open it? What does it say?

Why am I in a library? I loved to read, but of all places why would my spirit return here? I see some of my favorite books, The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, To Kill a Mockingbird, Great Expectations….I turn to see another shelf of books. What?  A book titled, Susie ?  That is odd. Perhaps it is just a coincidence. I must see what the book of Susie is all about.

Susie was a mixed bag of impractical-practical. Sunlit days would find her crying and rain made her dance. Life was something she ran through with arms open wide. Susie wanted to grab everything she could to fill her days with a thousand dreams.

Music was her heartbeat. Her feet would move in dance to celebrate the joy she found in rhythm.  Susie would take to the dance floor even if she was the only one dancing. Her free spirit was not inhibited by what others might think.

Laughter bubbled at any moment.  She loved to do things that would bring a shocked reaction. Once she had the laugh of her life at her youngest daughter, Carrie’s expense. While baking bread in a bread maker she peered into the little glass window and then turned to Carrie and asked, “I wonder if the bread gets scared when you look in the window at it?” She recalled how priceless it was to see her daughter’s face.
Carrie looked at her like she had gone mad.

Susie loved to write. Poetry was her passion. It seemed inspiration spoke from everything around her. Long nights of insomnia had her writing poems. Her muse was always there to move her fingers with a pen or across the keyboard. Words were her voice when her lips could not speak.

This book is about me, a copyrighted, shelved biography. But why and who wrote it? I can’t find an author. Who knew me so well that they could write with such accuracy? I don’t remember even leaving a diary. I had started one so many times to get bored after a few pages. As I look at the other books I see all of them have names on the spines. What an unusual library. I glance up to see a sign hanging above the door. It says, “Life as you wrote it.” 

My Poetry My Voice

My poetry my voice,
The words pouring
from the universe
inside of me.

Imagination twinkles
in an alphabet sky
where I can reach out
with my heart to
gather the letters
to speak what my
dreams whisper.

Every poem that
I have written
and those yet unwritten
travel inspiration’s milky way
in my soul.

The child born a poet
to the woman who
will one day meet death
reside in this universe.
We are my poetry my voice.

©Susie Clevenger

Jan 22, 2012

I Must Brag

I won't apologize for bragging about my daughters. They are beautiful and talented. Think of this as my electronic brag book. You know, like the ones mothers once kept in their purses to pop out at any opportunity. There are times I look at them in awe and wonder how such gifts were bestowed upon me.

Today I will introduce you to their singing talent. 

This is my oldest daughter, Dawn. She is singing Come Rain or Come Shine.

This is my youngest daughter, Carrie. She is singing Help.

Jan 20, 2012

Lamp Art

I was sitting in my chair watching television when I glanced at the floor lamp next to me and decided to grab my phone and take pictures. I am really pleased with how they turned out. It was just a random thought that turned into art.

Jan 15, 2012



Magic in the Backyard’s Kellie Elmore has provided another wonderful prompt for her Free Write Friday.

You are stranded on a remote island with no hope of being rescued. You find only a pen, one sheet of paper and a bottle. You want to let people know what happened to you, who you are and how you wish to be remembered…

January 14, 2012…I am the only survivor of the fishing vessel, Elena, that went down in a storm off the coast of Beccisa Island on January 2, 2012
So this is it. My last days spent alone with no comfort but my thoughts. Ah the humor in it. I have spent the last years trying to escape thought. Now I have nothing but my own voice to sing a lullaby of madness. Before insanity swallows me I must write what I should have said to ears that could listen.

Dear World

My pen pierces
the paper with
the pointed jabs
I must make at myself.
This lead blade
must slice through
the mockery
to reveal what I am
not the comedy
I presented.

I hid my tenderness
to keep myself
from a broken heart.
How foolish to
withhold love
when the soul
becomes dry leather
because of it.
Regret leaves
a bile too hard
to swallow.

There is no money to be divided or jewels to pawn. My inheritance is wisdom taught from my failure.

Free your heart to love
if it is broken,
it will mend.
Hold back nothing
of who you are
because pride
wishes to silence you.

Read my words
and let their truth
tear you from
your self indulgence.
Love with all you are,
with all you have.
It is the bud from
which glory blossoms.

I leave this world with the only possession that I own…..a glass bottle containing a love note tossed into the sea.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Free Write Friday

Jan 9, 2012


I am having one of those evenings where I stare at my cursor hoping there is magic in it. I just seem to have dropped into the Lake of Dull. That muddy water where ideas sink to the bottom and the more I stir it the worse it gets. Maybe I should get a glass of wine and sip on inspiration. That might work or it could fail and all I would have would be drunk blogging.

I know I expect too much out of myself. Everyone hits a slump. I just hate it when I do. There is that writer fear I will lose my voice. Part of it is an unrealistic fear I may succumb to the disease my mother had...Alzheimer's. I try and not dwell on it, but every time I forget something or do something odd I wonder.  Because of it I end up saying to myself, "I am writing as fast as I can."

So many thoughts spinning in my head. I try to shake them off, but when one leaves another enters. More than anything it is probably the first anniversary of my father's death that has me feeling so morose. I miss him so. January 13th will be a hard day. Oh and then February will follow with its anniversary. My father-in-law died on February 24th of last year. Of all days it could happen it happened on my birthday. My birthday will now forever be connected to his death.

I guess I just needed to say what was bothering me. After all isn't the point of therapy stating what is bothering you and getting help to deal or get over it? I call writing my pencil therapy....I guess I just had my session.

Jan 8, 2012

A Crossover from my Poetry Blog-A Blogging Ressurection

I posted this in my poetry blog Confessions of a Laundry Goddess. I thought some of you who don't follow my poetry blog might be interested in finding out a little more about me through my poetry.

Kellie Elmore at Magic in the Backyard has introduced a fun project. It is to dig up seven posts from your archive and gather them in one post. It was also suggested you might like to share some insight on each piece with your readers.

So with a deep breath...Here are my seven.

Your first post: I had decided to jump in the blogging waters back in 2007.  I hadn't started writing poetry at that time so it was more like a diary entry about a cruise I had just taken. Having so much fun came at a price. I came back coughing and sneezing. Appropriately I titled the entry Party Effects. Hope you have a fun reading it, and by all means don't catch a cold!

A post you enjoyed writing the most: This entry was one of my early poems. I had met an online friend and was chatting with her. Unfortunately I had drank a little too much wine. It had loosened my tongue and I was talking way too much. This poem I titled Wine Secrets is a mixture of confession and Dr. Seuss. Hope it brings a smile.

A poem that had a great discussion: I have written several that have received a fair amount of commentary, but the one that is closest to my heart and had the most touching responses is Mama I Miss You. My mother died in 2007 and suffered from Alzheimer's. It is such a tragic disease. I wrote the poem from my last visit with her before her death. The photograph was also the last one ever taken of my mother.

A post on someone else's blog that you wish you had written: I love Mama Zen's poetry blog another damn poetry blog. Each one of her writings is a treasure. I really can't pick a favorite. Take some time to read her work. I think you will be impressed and fall in love with her just as I have.

A post with a title that you are proud of: That would be my poem Our Side of Heaven. It just feels good to write about love and the precious bond it brings.

A post that you wish more people had read: My poem Tiny House. It is just because it means so much to me. The little house I was raised in was sold last spring. My parents owned it for 58 years. So much of my life goes back to that place in the country.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Photograph: Favim
Here's the link to Kellie's project suggestion:
A Blog Post Resurrection Party

Jan 6, 2012

Iowa Palms

Kellie Elmore has once again challenged her followers to write from Time & Place scenarios for her Free Write Friday. Today's scenario is:
 You have just woken up in the backseat of a car and you look up to see palm tree’s through the back glass. The sun is setting and you realize you are far from home…

“Oh…..my head…it feels like it is going to explode. Am I late? David’s birthday party is supposed to start at 7:00. I was going to David's party wasn't I? Wait! Why am I in the backseat of? This isn’t my car. I don’t have black leather seats, a sun roof or…palm trees? I have never seen palm trees in Iowa.”   

Dani unfolds her long legs and reaches for the car’s door handle only to find it won’t budge.  She turns to see if someone is in the front seat to discover this isn’t just any ordinary vehicle, but a black limousine. Stunned she slumps back in the seat. More questions tumble through her thoughts as she tries frantically to understand why she is in this car. Her last memory was walking out the front door of her apartment.

Desperate, Dani tries the door handle again to find it still won’t open. She searches for a lock to unlock the door only to discover there isn’t one. She looks to the front of the vehicle again and begins to climb over the seats. Fortunately the small window between the driver and the rear of the car is open. She manages to squeeze through it and topples on her head into the front seat.

Just as she manages to right herself and reach for the door it is pulled open by a black leathered hand. A man just as startled as she gasps.

“Miss Taylor, what are you doing? You told me to let you sleep and come back in a couple of hours.”

Dani stares at the man thinking he has gone mad. She doesn’t recognize him. He knows her name, but she hasn’t a clue as to who he is. Suddenly she glances over his shoulder and sees a white, sandy beach. Where the hell is she?

“Sir, I don’t know how you know my name or who you are, but you better explain how I got in this car and why I am looking at sand!”

The man looked as confused as she and spoke, “Miss Taylor, I am Kyle, your driver.” You hired me two days ago after you finalized the financial issues that dealt with your winnings from the Iowa State Lottery. You told me to take you as far away from frozen corn fields as I could. I opened a bottle of champagne as you requested and we left Des Moines Monday around 9:00 a.m. to drive to Florida.”

The fog in Dan’s memory began to clear. She had bought a lottery ticket on a whim six months ago. Her fiancĂ© of four years had decided he didn’t want to get married and had left her holding a bouquet in front of city hall. She was so devastated and angry she decided to pawn her engagement ring and spend it on lottery tickets. Her misery had spawned luck.  The very next week she won Iowa’s $29 million dollar jackpot. The following months she had hired a financial advisor to manage her winnings and as soon as she could she made plans to leave Iowa’s dust far behind.

Along with remembering her lottery win she remembered the champagne. Kyle hadn’t just opened one bottle for her. He had opened three.

“No wonder my head hurts!” I don’t even drink alcohol. The lottery gods must have been watching over me. So this is a hangover. I don’t think I want to ever drink again!”

Dani looked up at Kyle and said, “Well, thank you for delivering me safely. Now help me out of this car. I want to feel that sand between my toes. Also, unless you must return to Iowa, I want to hire you as my driver and assistant. I believe I must buy some real estate.”

Kyle was rather stunned, but she made an offer he was not about to refuse.  He spoke a hearty, “Yes, Miss Dani!”

As Dani stepped out onto the sand she forgot about snow and farmland. Today she would have her moment in the sun. Tomorrow she would begin the journey that really began with a broken heart. A ring sold in pain would bring hope to others with broken hearts. She wanted to help those in need and she already had the name for her charity. It will be called, Diamond Hope.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Photograph: Palm Trees we-heart-it

Jan 3, 2012

Why Today?

Kellie Elmore's prompt for Free Write Friday.. You are young. It’s springtime and you find yourself walking down a dirt road with a cut on your knee…

Why today? I had spent all week trying to convince myself I could set aside my tomboy ways and become…well…a girl. A girl, yes that silly, frilly fluff that wore dresses and thought boys were cute. The rest of my friends seemed to have mastered the feminine thing, but it feels so odd to me. I had decided since it was spring I would work to reinvent myself as something closer to the models in the fashion magazines my older sister read like it was her bible. 

Today I threw away a whole week’s work on a dare, and to Tommy Jackson of all people. Mama loved fresh flowers sitting on the mantel and since I was trying to do the girly thing I picked a bouquet of wildflowers for her. I knew I shouldn’t have taken the shortcut across Tommy’s place. I was in such a hurry to get home with the flowers I took a chance he would be gone. Just as I walked out onto the dirt road there he stood, all five feet of annoying bully.

Tommy had that superior sneer on his face as he asked, “Sandy, what are you doing on my place?”

I should have ignored him and kept walking, but I just wanted to wipe off his smug expression. I answered with, “You aren’t my boss. You’re dad told me I could walk here any time I wanted.”

He didn’t like my answer. He puffed his chest out and shouted, “Well, he aint here so you have to answer to me. I say you can’t cross here.”

“Tommy, you can’t stop me. All I have to do is walk to the barn where your dad is working and he will tell you himself that I have permission to cross here."

I immediately saw calling Tommy’s bluff did not set well with him. He gritted his teeth while clenching and unclenching his fists. Then, as if a light bulb went off in that dull head of his, he grinned at me saying, “If you can beat me in a foot race, I will let you pass without any more trouble.”

A dare, he knew what ammunition he was firing at me. I was known for not backing down from a dare. My pride was as big as the sun. I knew if I turned him down it would be all over school Monday that I was a chicken.

I looked him in the eye shouting, “You better be ready to run because I plan on beating you to that second curve up the road.” He nodded his head in agreement and I lay down my flowers to prepare to race.

He growled the countdown from five and we started running. Just then I realized I didn’t have on my tennis shoes. Darn the girl thing! I had on pink sandals that tied around my ankle. The ribbon on my left sandal had come untied causing it to flop on my foot. With a kick I sent the shoe into the grass and kept running.

Tommy had pulled slightly ahead of me at the first curve. Hobbled as I was with one shoe on and one shoe off I continued to chase after him. All I could think about was walking into school Monday to hear him bragging he had beat me in a race. That made me try harder and I was able to pass him. Giving everything I had I reached the second curve first. Just as I turned to give my victory salute I tripped over the ribbon tie on my right sandal. With arms flailing I went down on my right knee into the gravel. Tommy, unable to stop himself,went sailing over my head and landed face down in the dirt. Without a word to each other we got up from the gravel. Tommy looked at me acknowledging his defeat while I reached down and ripped the pink sandal from my foot.

For a brief moment we stood looking at one another. Although I had won the race I didn’t feel like bragging. With a quiet goodbye Tommy turned and walked toward his house. Limping on a bloody knee I turned also to make my way home.

Today I had started out being a girl to return home once again as a tomboy. Trying to be someone I wasn’t was just too hard. I think I will just go back to being me.

©Susie Clevenger 2012