Angry people acted as if she was wresting herself away from them: stealing herself.  They told her to forget the M.A. in creative writing….Her stories, full of love and roads and music, were the only company she sought, more than enough.  She wanted to sustain this for a lifetime….This is what writing demands of writers: time.  Energy.  Courage.  The fury of many and the rudeness of the rest.

~ Anneli Rufus, Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto


Anonymous (19th century, French)

Anonymous (19th century, French)

Time Long Past

Like the ghost of a dear friend dead

     Is Time long past.

A tone which is now forever fled,

A hope which is now forever past,

A love so sweet it could not last,

     Was Time long past.


There were sweet dreams in the night

     Of Time long past:

And, was it sadness or delight,

Each day a shadow onward cast

Which made us wish it yet might last –

     That Time long past.


There is regret, almost remorse,

     For Time long past.

’Tis like a child’s beloved corse

A father watches, till at last

Beauty is like remembrance, cast

     From Time long past.


~ Percy Bysshe Shelley


"The Complain of the Watch" by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1770s

“The Complain of the Watch” by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1770s



Then followed that beautiful season […]

the Summer of All-Saints! 

Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape

Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood.

Peace seemed to reign upon earth, and the restless heart of the ocean

Was for a moment consoled.  All sounds were in harmony blended.


~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie


"Summer Sunlight" by Childe Hassam, 1892

“Summer Sunlight” by Childe Hassam, 1892

A Summer Wish

Oh that it were with me

As with the flower;

Blooming on its own tree

For butterfly and bee

Its summer morns:

That I might bloom mine hour

A rose in spite of thorns.


Oh that my work were done

As birds’ that soar

Rejoicing in the sun:

That when my time is run

And daylight too,

I so might rest once more

Cool with refreshing dew.


~ From “A Summer Wish” by Christina Rossetti


Unknown Artist, 1893

Unknown Artist, 1893

I knew the coming of June would thrust me into panic mode.  In January, I carefully planned the year, as I always do, dedicating the first five months to the enormous reading load for my last class at Chapman and an overdue and ostensibly quick and simple home remodel.  The entire summer, September, and October were allocated to finishing and submitting my MFA thesis by the fall deadline.

With both of these earlier distractions now behind me, I’m wondering how half of June has passed without any new chapters written.  The calendar and clock terrorize me constantly as I count the days and hours that remain in relation to the number of pages still unwritten.  I assure myself that my goal is readily accessible, that I’ve allowed for unforeseen impediments such as an unexpected business trip, migraines, or a complete lack of inspiration.  But I’m not sure that’s entirely true.

Tick-tock, tick-tock…

It always surprises me how a day can pass so easily without a word being written, particularly since writing is what I love to do most.  But life does seem to have a way of depleting time and energy, despite the best of intentions each dawn. Finding stretches of uninterrupted time to write fiction was a recurring topic in my workshops at Chapman.  While full-time professional writers can hole up for days and weeks or even months to attend to their craft, the novice or aspiring professional writer has a “real” job and other demands that take precedence – or at least appear to in the moment.

I admit I could ignore the layer of dust on my furniture and let the carpets go unvacuumed more often than I do.  And I’m sure my body won’t collapse into a state of utter disrepair if I skip spin class or a run now and then.  But there are some truly conflicting priorities, and our days are finite.

At this point, I have no choice but to devote all available resources to my manuscript.  I’m fifty-five pages away from finishing, and my defense committee convenes in November.  This is it.  This is The Summer I complete the thesis portion of Time of Death.  I will be writing fifteen pages each month through September, leaving only October for formatting and the ten-page critical statement and chapter outline.

We’ll see how it goes.

My writer Demon is ever-present; I can hear him chomping on an apple over my shoulder and scoffing at every new paragraph, but I’m ignoring him.  He’s not an agent, and he’s not on my thesis committee.


You must write the book, else there is no book.  It will not finish itself. 

                                                                                            ~ Tom Clancy



New Millennium Writings is accepting submissions for its Thirty-eighth Consecutive Awards for Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction between now and midnight on June 17, 2014.

Fiction and nonfiction pieces should not exceed 6,000 words.  Short-short fiction entries should not exceed 1,000 words.  Poetry submissions may include up to three poems, not to exceed five pages total per entry.  Simultaneous and multiple submissions are welcome.  Previously published work will also be considered, provided circulation did not exceed 5,000 or the piece was published online only.

Winners in each category of fiction, nonfiction, short-short fiction, and poetry will receive $1,000 and publication in the journal and on the NMW website.  For more information and detailed submission guidelines, visit the website at http://newmillenniumwritings.com.




The moon in the bureau mirror

looks out a million miles

(and perhaps with pride, at herself,

but she never, never smiles)

far and away beyond sleep, or

perhaps she’s a daytime sleeper.


By the Universe deserted,

she’d tell it to go to hell,

and she’d find a body of water,

or a mirror, on which to dwell.

So wrap up care in a cobweb

and drop it down the well


into that world inverted

where left is always right,

where the shadows are really the body,

where we stay awake all night,

where the heavens are shallow as the sea

is now deep, and you love me.


                      ~ Elizabeth Bishop


"Moonlight Night" by Ilya Repin, 1896

“Moonlight Night” by Ilya Repin, 1896


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers