Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)







Saturday, December 31, 2016

Me, In My Mother's Hat - HAPPY NEW YEAR

                                     Silver Birch - Me, in My Mother's Hat

To read a poem that was SO much fun to write, click on title under photo. A little sad and whimsical, too... I miss my mom. This is a tribute to her. 

Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Happy Hanukkah 2016

I haven’t missed Facebook nearly as much as I thought I would. I do jump on every now and again to have a look at poetry/writer’s sites but staying away has afforded me a huge (sorry, very overused word this last year) amount of time.

If anyone wants to keep up with me my blog is available at mjdills.blogspot.com and while it’s not as newsy as Facebook, it does give a glimpse into my life. Frankly, that’s all anyone needs: a glimpse, if they are interested at all.

It’s not a secret I was devastated by the election. Without going into detail (who wants that anyway?) it’s been a pretty tough year on other levels and it seemed like icing on the cake. (The cake was made of dog poop and glazed with battery acid.)

I'm happy to share that the edit of my book is in the final, excruciating stages before it’s sent back to the small press that has temporarily accepted it. The temporary part has to do with their marketing director’s encouragement for me to seek bigger publishing houses in the meantime, and though I’ve had some interest from various agents, no one has given me the big YES, other than PageSpring, 

I continue to blog for clients and have had a lot of fun writing about Panama and Columbia this year, while keeping up with my Mexico pieces. The BIG DEAL was a poetry competition I entered, which has resulted in publication in the Sixfold Anthology.  I was amazed since the opposition was not only heavy (253 finalists) but I haven’t felt my poetry was at that stage. The first place winner received $1000 and I will admit, his poems are extraordinary. I came in at 17th and almost fell off my chair when a fellow poet pointed out the significance of my placement. The anthology will be out sometime in the spring and I will surely be announcing that on Facebook.

In other news, I’m making some changes to my eating habits at my old age. My daughter, Olivia has recently become a consultant for a nutrition/skin care line and we’ve seen several people have amazing results. I only recently got on the bandwagon myself. I’ve dropped significant weight, not hungry and don’t miss the foods that were doing my body harm. Anyone who wants to know more, I am glad to expound. J
My plan is to get my butt down to Puerto Vallarta in January. I have to pay my property taxes and take care of my place, which sits mostly (sadly) vacant. Once I deal with all my personal tchatches and do some serious donating, it will be ready to rent out for a great price.

My biggest revelation of the year was how to use my cell phone as a tool I can like, rather than hate. (Texting and autocorrect drive me nuts. I wish we could just go back to the phone on the wall with the cord that stretched around the corner. But that’s not going to happen, so adjustments are required.) One thing I do, which could be a sign of my doddering: I make elaborate lists for errands or groceries, whatever… I get in my car and arrive at my destination to realize I’ve left the list on my desk. Argh. My new MO is to take a photo of the list! Yay! All I have to do it remember the phone!

That brings to mind a tale worth telling: Yesterday I was at Pike Place Market with a friend. Anyone who isn’t familiar with the place, I will say it was packed to the rafters with tourists and indigents, a typical combination. I left my phone in the ladies room. We had visited at least two shops until I discovered it missing. Panic ensued, of course and my friend was probably a lot more supportive than I might have been. It turned out a young woman found it; she’s from Hawaii, in Seattle visiting her family for the holidays. There are angels everywhere. We do need to keep our eyes peeled for them; they might be standing right by you.

I can’t write a true Christmas letter without mentioning the Grands. They are the smartest, best looking kids I have ever known. Mila will be 13 in May and is a budding actor, singer, lawyer and a diplomatic wonder. Coco, who just turned 12 this month is a piano composer, violinist, and artist of incredible talent. Luca, who will be 9 in May is an aspiring magician who also plays piano and violin and can tell you facts about the Titanic that you probably never knew. I adore them, all three.

It’s time for us all to be kind. Be kinder. Be kindest. Give. Smile. Laugh and sing out loud. Do things you’ve always meant to do. See old friends and make new ones. Hug lots and often. Cry, if you need to; it’s good for you. Hug. Hug often and long. Give thanks. There are so many who are so much less fortunate. 2017 is going to be a great year, because we are going to make it so. Spread love; I am right now. 
 Photos are of a house that 12-year-old Coco made. The details are remarkable and I had to share.

                                                                        A sled made from popsicle sticks! 

Thanks for reading.
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Busy Editing, Re-writing and Querying

THE BOYS
First paragraph of Chapter One
Full manuscript available upon request. (That's my baby we're talking about.)
We left on a frosty morning. The crunchy gravel stuck together with bits of ice as we walked to the end of Main Street, staying low on the side of the road, waiting for trucks. We half hid in the ditch and turned our faces from anyone who’d cheerfully report to our parents that they’d seen us loitering. When we climbed a ladder into the cab of a huge semi, I burned my hand grabbing an exhaust pipe next to the door. In the next few days, every time I gripped the neck of my guitar, I pictured that exact spot in the road. 
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Thank you for reading...........
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

This, the Life





Last year there were big full moons (all summer
from the back deck); August
was no exception. We began a cycle that
voyeurs, vagrants and tomato aficionados
missed out on.  Guests
filled our house with odors of sizzling fish
frying in the pan, saffron and rosemary, yellow
corn with melted butter between our teeth
oozed down our chins. Drinks mixed in
tinkling glasses. Summer ended with a sigh and we rolled
into autumn with untypical fears of the future, questions
of what might come of us. Us. There
was uncertainty and not a lot of rain; we could never
locate a damn umbrella.
Winter
sunk her uncaring teeth into our ankles and
we were uprooted, tossed over like so many
unwanted used women, skirts in the air, grasping
for whatever we could hold onto, slipping away, greased
by old gripes about things that no longer
mattered. Spring was an illusion; filled with cigarette smoke,
bad breath and messy hair.  The trap
that turned into summer
was nothing like what we expected; sunshine
eluded us, not one day at the lake… for a walk
or a sleepy blanket spread out on the lawn, corners
all bunched and sandals lost in the disarray. We
wouldn’t have cared but our spirits were wounded, like
bird wings after an unnatural beating. This year
taught
we can put up with noises in the night, men
in bad shirts who give us a fright, not
knowing where the money went and giving in to
suitcase-dreams and ships that never reach the
shore. August
came and went twice while we waited for friends
to make a new acquaintance. We
waited for things to change. We waited for a miracle.



Thanks for reading........

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weather Balloon






A narrative poem about a

Weather Balloon







It was dusk and sure, we were tired. Just kids, they said.
We sat around the kitchen table, weary
after skiing all day and walking home in
heavy boots, skis and poles hefted on shoulders and
almost empty knapsacks slung over aching arms. Perhaps
we were affected by some brandy we pretended
we didn’t drink or possess but that was
hours ago
and our heads were clear. Clearer than those
who had wisdom with age.
Whatever it was, it flew. It hovered and
it
flew.
Don’t cause trouble, we were told. We weren’t
afraid, we said. It didn’t scare us, we said, and
You don’t either.
The back yard was lit up by a January full moon.
Sheriff said It was a weather balloon.

He smoked cigarette after cigarette and
tapped the red formica with his pointer finger
every time he talked. Our feet itched
from woolen socks and our joints ached from
all day up in the valley.
Flash.
It was a flash over our heads and then it
stopped,
like it was looking at us and then it shot away
and held a space over the elementary school.
Then it went straight up. Hot
chocolate went cold and had an
unappetizing scum on top, lifted off
in one piece with a spoon.
It must have been a weather balloon.

The wash machine in the basement shook
like it was walking to Port Mary. Sheriff said
Can you turn that thing off, and
shoved butts around in the
ashtray. It was fast, faster
than anything we’d seen. No,
it was not a plane, sir.
No.
The phone rang it was Teddy’s mom saying
There’s school tomorrow…
Can you send him home soon?
We must have seen a weather balloon.

We were just kids and we could hardly
know what we were talking about. Maybe
we were making it all up and
nothing
happened
at
all.
Plates with biscuits and gravy
were sat in front of us. We picked
and muddled. Why did they
call this old man to question
us? He was a buffoon.
He just knew it was a weather balloon.



Thank you for reading............

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Big of Small


The smallest things
happen in a short
period of time and
suddenly
we find our lives changed in
a big way.
The human blink is a
fraction of a second.
The trajectory of a bullet
can’t be changed once it’s released
but it takes almost no time at all to
pull a trigger.
A germ can float around forever
and land in a healthy system
with less time than it takes a
hummingbird to
sneeze.
The word
“no”
is one of the shortest in any language,
yet it can create the longest sentence,
as can a
“yes.”
The biggest things that happen in life
are often committed by the most
minimal acts.
We are all created in
less than a minute,
less than a second,
just a wink of an eye.


Thank you for reading......

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

PROSE Acrostic



Poets, writers and lyricists are ultimately
Responsible for everything magical, historical and imagined that
Occurs in and out of the world and common
Sense tells us that words are not only
Essential, without them we would be nothing

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Challenge of theprose.com

Thank you for reading.......