Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Letter Project

The first letters have been posted at "The Letter Project."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Letter Project

I am starting a new blog that will be filled--I hope--with exceptional correspondence about writing and writers. The blog will be called THE LETTER PROJECT. The project started with an assignment I gave one of my classes, but I want to open the project up to anyone who loves writing and writers. Please consider contributing to this project. Below is a tentative description of the project. Please feel free to pass the information on to others you think might be interested. Thanks.

THE LETTER PROJECT stems from my lifelong love of writing and receiving letters through the mail. I collect authors’ and artists’ letters. One of my favorite collection of letters is the poet James Wright’s. A Wild Perfection shows Wright’s curiosity, struggle, failure, and triumph. As the introduction to the letters states: “As we read these letters, we pull our chairs into the circle and listen to both Wright’s serious and comedic discussions …” I hope this this blog will serve a similar purpose: to bring virtual readers into a circle of sharing.

People express themselves differently in letters than in any other form of writing. It has been said that in letters we find the writer’s soul. That’s why it is so important to keep letter-writing alive. This blog is a repository for actual letters–written and sent. Each letter deals in some way with a literary author or work. It may be an author or work the letter-writer loves, is curious about, or has a sudden insight about.

If you would like to write a letter and have it appear on this blog, here are the things you need to know:

1. You must actually write a letter to a real person. The letter should deal with the following subject matter: a writer or written work that is important to you.

2. You must put that letter into a business-size envelope, address it, and put adequate postage on it. Any letter which is four or more pages long will probably require extra postage.

3. Do not seal the letter. Do not put any objects into the letter, such as jewelry, artwork, or photographs.

4. Put the unsealed, addressed letter into a larger envelope and send to me at: Theresa Williams, Dept. of English, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403.

5. Inside the larger envelope, include a short letter to me in which you say something about yourself, provide snail mail contact information, and provide your e-mail address.

6. After reading your original letter, I will seal and mail it. (It is very important that the letter be in a business-size envelope. Due to new postal regulations, anything larger must be mailed “in person,” and I don’t have time to do more than drop your letter into a mailbox.)

7. Only the best letters will be included on this blog. If I decide to include your letter, you will receive an e-mail from me with comments and further instructions. Even if your letter doesn’t appear on the blog, you still will have done a very important thing.

8. Be sure to keep a copy of your letter.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

To Old Chucky

My father-in-law's funeral is today. His name was Charles. He had been ill with cancer for some time and outlived his doctor's prognosis by more than two years. The final two weeks were hard. He died a hard death.

When he was still feeling reasonably well, he told Allen that after he was gone he wanted us to have a glass of wine together. He wanted us to make a toast to him, saying, "To Old Chucky, wherever he is."

He last words to me were that he was ready to go. He also said he wanted Allen and me to enjoy our trip out west this summer.

Those statements were helpful and erased any guilt about going on the trip. The trip out west is something we have dreamed about for a long time. I was thinking the experience might add to the novel I've been working on. I was hoping to work on the novel "on the road."

It is hard on a man, losing his father. Allen said that taking care of his father during the last days was a spiritual experience. He said he wouldn't take a million dollars for the experience. He also said no one could pay him a million dollars to do it again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Up All Night

Third time sending to blog from WinJournal. It seems to be working fine. Have been up all night writing. It went very well. J

Monday, May 18, 2009


Rondel of Merciless Beauty

Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.

Only your word will heal the injury
To my hurt heart, while yet the wound is clean -
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene.

Upon my word, I tell you faithfully
Through life and after death you are my queen;
For with my death the whole truth shall be seen.
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.

Geoffrey Chaucer

Played with the dogs at dusk

This is my second attempt to publish to my blog from my WinJournal Software. I thought this software would be good when:

1. I am traveling with my laptop and don't have access to the Internet. I can make entries and then add them to my blog when I return.

2. I am working on the novel. I thought it might help me to stay organized, since WinJournal has features that Word doesn't have.


Boston Terriers have a LOT of energy. I went outside with them at dusk to throw one of their favorite toys for a game of fetch. It is a blue ring. Sweet Pea does not drool, but Buddha does. He always brings his toys to you all slimy. Between the slippery toy and my poor throwing arm, they weren't getting much exercise. Then I got an idea to use a wooden stick. I put the ring over the tip of the stick and I threw the ring by slinging the stick. I played with them until it was too dark for them to find the toy anymore.

I have been working with the novel by integrating parts of it into my journaling software as entries. So far I am enjoying the process. For some reason it is more inviting to write on the software than it is to use Word. I can then save my entries to Word.

5/18/2009 10:03 PM
This is my first attempt at exporting an entry from my journaling software (WinJournal) to my blog.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I watched the movie Northfork again today.

"And in that journey of dying, you see many things. But all of the issues I had are past, because I was to be a witness, a helper. And that is the thing I think is important about death, is the ability for us to be witnesses, not only for a person coming in, but of going out. And that is what we have here–we’ve lost our time, it’s gone. But maybe there is a birth someplace else. Maybe there is a blessing from that experience. I’m no longer afraid of death; but it’s a lesson that has taken me sixty years to learn." (Father Harlan, Northfork)

Friday, May 15, 2009



They come in and out
through the day,
most of it is just big
Hello's, It's so good
to see you's, and "You're
so lucky to have
this time--s0 unexpected--
here at the end.
I will pray for you!"

"Yes, I know, yes!"

"There are reasons
for staying and
reasons for leaving:
it is all pre-planned,

They do it as easy
as breeze blowing
through trees.
It is so tiring to watch.

Haiku #198

I get little sleep
I know this letter is weak:
deathbed thoughts

Haiku #197

After the wine, stand still.
A door will open, leading
to the light on the porch

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Haiku by Basho

Seen in plain daylight
the firefly's nothing but
an insect

Don't You Know

The PAD CHALLENGE is over, but I found this prompt at Poetic Asides. Robert offers a prompt each Wednesday.


Don't you know how hard it is to write
when you are alone with two Boston
Terriers? When the husband is away
caring for his dying father and the
dogs who love your husband so are in
pain for his leaving and follow you
everywhere about the house?

One curls on top of your discarded
clothes while you are bathing,
one barks at the door at every sound.
They are like four-legged children,
so lonely and looking for solace and love.

Why do we keep animals with us?
We struggle, driven by human needs
that in retrospect seem worthless.
I write this poem now with a dog in
my lap. I write; she sleeps.
It is the spirit of the animal
that I communicate with now.

Don't you know?
I am the lost one.
She knows who and what she is.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Haiku #196

Rainy tires swish
outside on highway six--
I have nowhere to go

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Haiku #195

Robin's shadow
passes over sunny grass
this spring day

Haiku #194

A buzzard soaring
over electrical lines
out toward the field

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I am amazed by how well my writing went today. Not that I produced a lot of pages, but my writing is so measured, so sure. I really have to give a lot of credit to the April PAD Challenge. I'm able to use some of those poems as springboards, as new forms by which to shape my material. Very exciting.

It's chilly in the house. Allen is making a fire. I think I'll make us some hot tea.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Back to the Novel

Some exciting days of writing are ahead for me. Today I have been working at incorporating new ideas into the manuscript I started at Provincetown last summer. I am setting a new tentative goal of finishing the first draft of this novel this summer.

Writing the poetry this academic year--and especially during April --has helped me to find my way with language, metaphor, and thought. I can't wait to see what happens!



About Me

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Northwest Ohio, United States
"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
by Albrecht Dürer

From the First Chapter

The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

My Original Artwork: Triptych

My Original Artwork:  Triptych



Little Deer

Little Deer



Looking Forward, Looking Back

Looking Forward, Looking Back

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