Running Late: a Novel Way to Leap

Running, Leaping 2012

This Leap Day, I want to change my name.

I choose “Running Late.”

It’s an apt moniker for a middle-aged demi-goddess who can’t quite get anywhere on time. Besides, as a lover of everything Native American, the name might gain me entrée into a hip tribe.

I once blamed my time-arrival deficit on a decade’s worth of mutating hormones. Too much of one and not enough of another, said the menopausal wizards.

But this morning I awoke to

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Old Haunts, New Trembles

Lone Leaf = Working Writer?

The single leaf on the Japanese fig tree haunts me. Why, I do not know.

Raging narcissism perceives a message from the gods, something relative to the virgin novel-making path I now traverse.

Quiet spiritual self identifies a message of the renewal of my life and all its seasons as the end of another Houston “winter” nears.

Deep emotion tears up at the sheer beauty of a singular leaf perched mid-branch with such strength and confidence.

Willful logic roars it’s just a

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2012: It’s “the” Year, right?

Image: blue december /

The most fear-full among us tremble at what will occur on December 21st .

That winter day—now ten months and eleven days away—will mark the solstice alignment of our Sun with the galactic equator of the Milky Way.

Image: Blue December /

A mishmash of other terms gets thrown into the day’s description. Words like precession, Black Road, and plane of the ecliptic.

I don’t understand any of them.

But I do understand fear.

Some interpreters of ancient Mayan calendars believe that on December 21st, Planet Earth will dissolve into

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Best Books of a Generation

Ask anyone to name the best books of a generation and you’ll hear answers long after your simple question.

I know.

I asked, here, on January 16th .

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He’s baaaaack!

It was 4:06 a.m., January 27, 2004. An old man whispered in my ear.

“Get a piece of paper and a pen,” the voice spoke with an eerie confidence and calm. “Write down everything I say.”

I lay still in bed but closed my eyelids tight, as if to ward off this rude intrusion into a precious, and rare, dreamland. Mind racing, I struggled to

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Permission granted

She’s why I’m here.

A year ago today, a writer friend handed me an index card—its orange color was an instant omen.

In light pencil, it read:

“I give you permission to dedicate yourself to your book idea and bring it to life.”

What can change everything, if you're willing to listen…

I placed the card deep into the bottom of a hammered bronze/copper bowl in my writing studio. Over time, I added meaningful trinkets on top of it, such as five tiny books, a green marble rabbit, a crystal heart, a twig from Taos, a granite stone carved with “Courage,” two lengths of red and green Christmas ribbon, and a large silver spiral.

A wide grosgrain ribbon—in sweet and gentle green hues, like shades of a new spring returning to life—curled itself among the newly-gathered collectibles. One end of the green ribbon curved out of the metallic bowl and draped gently upwards as if marrying itself to the long orange shelf above. Here the ribbon lay for a year, comforting the books that have sat like lonely orphans on this shelf, waiting to be written.

In a matter of months, I began to actively

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Quizzin’ Book Readers, ages 47-58

We’re now called the “Generation Jones,” those of us between the ages of 47 and 58.

Born from 1954 through 1965, we stand at the backside of the Baby Boom generation. We’re cast-offs, if you will. And that’s fine with me.

Because we’re not like them.

Did you protest the Vietnam War? Or serve in Da Nang? Did you burn your bra? Or suffer a hose-whippin’ in ‘bama? Did you drop acid? Or eat brownies?

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Oh, Go Mask Yourself!

My eyes spied the big, black, bold numbers printed below the words “Pay this Amount:” $1,778.00.

My jaw dropped.

“Excuse me?” I roared into the silence of my kitchen, “they bill me nearly double what they promised the sleep apnea test would cost?”

I threw the bill onto the countertop. With my left hand, I balled up the white envelope that had carried this bombshell. The wad of paper tightened into a hard, angry mass and drove deep into

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A Picture Demands a Thousand Words

He dares me to leave.

In the photo, my friend Ed—another writer, further along in this journey but just as challenged by the demanding dictates of a daring life—sits in front of the exit door of the restaurant. A bear of a man, I sense the threat behind his posture but cannot articulate it.

When I view the iPhone photo, I understand.

His stance is a silent challenge to me. His eyes match the posture as if to say, “walk away from this writing life, Melanie, do it. Now. I dare you.”

Smart man, this fella is. Because he knows me well enough to know that I won’t. I can’t.

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For months, the call to blog has screamed at me.

I kept stalling, hoping the technology would perhaps change and thus the need to be present here would vanish.

Alas, no such luck.

So it was that a few weeks ago, I promised myself and someone else that today-August 9th, a personally significant day in my life and especially so this year (yes, the why of that is a future blog post)-would be launch day.

Now it’s a day nearly gone and I sit here, amazed, looking at this screen. My blog is one quick click on the “Publish” button from liftoff.

Journey beginning.


This really isn’t so hard after all.

There’s a learning in this moment.