Fifty shades of gray sky
Or one numbing shade

Fifty shades
Would be a relief
From the monotony
Of skull pressing

Bring back politics!
Anything to
Unwrap the blinding
Colorlessness of uniformity.

A sole red leaf droops despondently
Colors hide themselves
In the fog of forgetfulness.

The sun exists yellow vibrant
Above the stoney skiies.
But we are below.

Unfortunately, buried
Alive, just barely.


This Thanksgiving was going to be different" I would be traveling to be with friends, not family. Family would be too judgmental of me this year. No thanks would be given to me this year for being the discord to the family unity. My husband took the children  and left me, and that was to be my fault surely, he would not be here to blame, he never was, and never would be. Friends they say are the family you choose and I was thankful for having chosen this one so well, it had nothing to do with my gene pool, we just fell into each other emotionally, we forgave and were forgiven our human foibles, the ones that mess up the family gene pool beyond forgiveness. Funny thing, that my chosen family were all childless,  which meant we could sit around the table and drink to our hearts' content and say things not meant for children's ears or others who were sitting at distant tables tonight eating and drinking and speaking far more cautiously than their thoughts. At least this Thanksgiving I could be myself, and not have to account apologetically for being

I do miss my mother though, she always left me a leeway, an allowance to be unique to what I rebelled about. And my father, well, as long as the stuffing and gravy came his way, he would tolerate all the rest
as everyone sat at the same table with him, to give thanks or not for being there. 

It's just another dinner after all, it's just that there is more of it, and less of me.



Dynamic speaker sparked EPIC writers today with mind-mapping techniques for writing a book. "And don't just say you want to write a book," advised Matteson as he pushed the group to write out five goals employing the personal, powerful and present tense.

Thanks, Mark, for passing the good advice our way! 



Claudia, Ed, Janette and Teresa (photo courtesy Kizzie Jones).
Sending many thanks to our dear EPIC writers for your sweet card and Starbucks wishes. What a wonderful time we had this fall in our packed out classes! And now I look forward to returning on Jan. 7 and hearing your stories, continued. -Janette



Ed Davis finds his Rubber Ducky mascot in Arlington.
Betsy Diedrick of NWWW invited the EPIC Group to a brunch in Arlington, and three from Edmonds ventured north today.

Ed Davis, Judith Works of "," and enjoyed meeting NWWW folks, including Betsy, Mary Trimble of "," Patricia Bloom of , and Maxine Brink of . Maxine would like to meet folks who want to form a poetry critique group, so if you are interested, please contact her at maxine"at"adagio-afh.com. And if you want to meet up with NWWW folks, let Betsy know.

We are sending our thanks for the hospitality and good wishes to Betsy and NWWW. And if you ever want to visit us, or speak at one of our Monday morning writing groups, please let us know. Thank you again and we look forward to meeting up again soon.



In honor of Election Day, EPIC writer Rita M. penned this today in Monday morning writing group.

Free From Fear, by EPIC writer Rita M.
The photo put him in another country in another time. Or perhaps the same country but a different universe.
His pin striped suit and working clothes were all he could afford. Franklin was tall, rounded and black tea brown.Seemingly softish, his eyes were as determined as a cobra.
He just returned from another assasination attempt. Underground friends were with him in their only suits or church hats.
Payback time for Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Medgar  Evars. The group had identified a southern Texan cabal who targeted all those fighting for theiir rights. The members went back beyond JFK and forward to future liberty loving candidates. These status quo mind dead criminals must be eliminated. "an eye for an eye" was Franklins motto.
His group "Brothers and  Sisters for Freedom" (BSFF) had identified the perpetrators. Fat white balding men lead by the father of Karl Rove. Some with slicked back black hair, fake twinkling eyes and teeth as
blue white as the inside of a glacier on a sunny day. Frozen hearts glittered  with iicey  hate for the "others."
They planned for destruction. Disrupting voting all ways possible even to creating storms whose devastation made it difficult to get to the polls in states which disallowed paper ballots but forced the   cabal,'s preset electronic voting machines onto the unwilling populace.
Ex-military, ex-CIA ( rogues), vigilantes who parolled the borders in a lawless fantasy of power.

The BSFF would pick them off one by one-- or die in the attempt.



You are invited to two write-ins tomorrow (Sat., Nov.3)  for NaNoWriMo in Edmonds:

10 a.m to noon at Red Petal Cakes with Janette Turner,


1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Edmonds Library with Kim Votry, author of "Make Your Own Magic."

Looking forward to seeing you and your rubby ducky!

More NaNo info at .  



Why are poets the best essayists? According to Priscilla Long, author of “The Writer’s Portable Mentor,” it is because poets understand the sound of words.

At today’s EPIC Monday morning writing group, Long recommended collecting words, such as these which sparked her recently: “kitchen matches;” and the word “trundle,” as elephants trundle through the forest. Writers should also “learn the editing moves,” said Long, encouraging study of Strunk and White.

But her biggest recommendations were to write 15 minutes a day and to work on short pieces at the same time as long works. “You start finding an audience,” with your short pieces, she said, and you must have a “deep self-acceptance” that allows you to do the rough, discovery writing. Then comes the craft work. Like Picasso, you will create more duds than masterpieces.

Using a prop, Long unfurled her lengthy list of works, many “published” or “circulating,” and some orphans left blank. She unveiled a challenge to today’s class: “I bet I have more rejections than you do.” As guest Vlad said about Long’s theory to collect rejections: “Fail often to succeed sooner.” Long also advised writers to start sending out work once they have five pieces of suitable quality and - at the same time - join Open Mic nights to practice speaking. Poetry must be spoken.

And we can’t forget form. Long’s work, “ in The American Scholar, takes us back in 23 stages to the beginning of man, the life of Dolly the cloned sheep, and to the hanging of Long’s horse-stealing relative. It’s that breadth of a single idea (the genome) that should encourage every writer to leap and leap some more.

As Long wrote today in my copy of her “Mentor” book: “May the muses smile on you.” Thank you, Priscilla, for being our muse today and every week.   –Janette



EPIC Writing Exercise  Monday, October 22,

“No emptiness anywhere here.”

Reminds me of a great quote of abundance, “I’m drinking from my
saucer because my cup is overflowing.” The trick is to have the cup out
available uncovered so that it might be filled! Filled—filled with what? Abundance comes
in many forms. If we are ill we desire good health. If we are unemployed we
celebrate that coveted job. If we are tired of working and have saved we find
relief in letting go of the 9-5 and create a new reality. Abundance—a page
filled with writing—abundance—with something worth saying. Mother Nature’s
abundance leaves no nook or cranny unfilled. Even the bare branches of the
deciduous trees in winter already hold the dormant new buds and leaves of
spring. Which brings me to all the Abundance that surrounds us unseen. Would I
take time just “to be.”  To be mindful:

 Who did I pass on the way in here today? A dad taking time to
  help his two-year- old daughter slide her books into the book return library
  slot. What pleasantries were exchanged with a fellow writer as we entered our
  room together? The exchange of smiles—welcome—of belonging—truly, the feeling
  that there was no emptiness anywhere here.

 To have a place at the table—to be welcomed—to be part of the
  community—“to be.” To hear—to share—to grow—to be accepted as we are—to embrace
  ourselves as we are, as we each declare, “Hello, I’m me. I’m a writer and my
  goal…”and feel the Abundant support, acceptance, growth in just being—just
  showing up—truly, there was no emptiness anywhere here.  



EPIC Writing Group member Judith Works contributed this piece.

VIA ETRUSCA, by Judith Works

I have a friend who lives in a small town an hour north of Rome. Her home is on
Via Etrusca, a perfect name for visualizing the area’s continuing Etruscan  
influence even though the Romans had finished them off by the Third Century BC.
The town, set high on a cliff, has no tourist attractions but is kept alive by
commuters and city dwellers who have restored their former family home for
weekend use. The ancient row houses are thought to be between four to six
centuries old, the year the buildings were actually erected long forgotten. To
ensure that the structures stay in place for at least another half-millennium,
the buildings are supported by arches vaulting over the narrow stone-paved

Late in the evening when there are only glowing embers in the 
fireplace flickering on the ancient oak beams and the art work resting in  
niches, and the red wine bottle is emptied to the dregs, the silence is as  
complete as it must have been when my friend's home was new.

A few lights shine over empty streets, through the arches and the closed shutters of
my bedroom. I sleep, dreamless. But early in the morning I awake to the sound of
Vespa engines. It's time for workers to get going and for me to open the
shutters and let in the day. Instead I drowsily think about all the people who
might have lived in this home in times past.

Later, my friend and I walk a few blocks to the small shopping street. If we get going too early the
bar owner is still firing up his espresso maker for those dashing to the train
station in the valley far below the centro storico perched on
its rock. The giornalaio is putting up his rack with the day’s papers 
blaring out the latest political scandal, while fruit and flower vendors are 
pulling up their metal shutters and moving their wares outside in the clear
light. Life begins anew for commuters hurrying to their jobs in Rome and for us
to plan another day of sightseeing in  nearby towns like tiny one-street Sovana,
Bomarzo with its strange monster sculptures, or Viterbo's papal palace.
Like all small towns in Italy life goes on for the remaining residents. I
can peek through open windows and doors to see remodeled kitchens, new
televisions and other indications of renewal. By mid-morning a delectable smell
of pasta sauce comes from kitchen windows and from unpretentious shops where
fresh lasagna is prepared for those who don’t have time or inclination to cook.
Shoppers are eyeing flowers, vegetables and fruit carefully arranged in the
minuscule shops sandwiched between offices of the various political parties or
those of the pompe funebri, undertakers. Artisans are busy making
picture frames, mending shoes or painting ceramics. Butcher shops and
tintorias, dry cleaners, bustle with business. Women buy knitting
supplies in the merceria where thread, hosiery and shoulder pads for  
the home seamstress are displayed behind the counter.

But despite the liveliness, the unstoppable passage of time is always evident. Large death
notices are pasted on walls between fading and tattered posters for the small
circuses that had come to town in past years. When summer is over old men,
wearing heavy sweaters under their jackets along with scarves and caps, will
follow the sun as it passes around the piazza. They are living sundials as they
move like dozing cats, smoking and discussing how the hometown soccer team is

But I still have many places to go before I, too, want to doze 
in the sun.