Writing (and Life) Advice

Writer Heidi Barr published the best little craft essay yesterday on Brevity’s Blog. Honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find better writing (and life) advice. This five-minute read is worth your time. I printed it off and am keeping a copy at my writing desk.

By the way, Barr’s new book of poetry, Cold Spring Hallelujah (which I reviewed for Harbor Review), is publishing on November 1, 2019. I am not given to hyperbole when I tell you that Barr is stepping into the void left by Mary Oliver’s death. Hallelujah!

If you are local to the Twin Cities metro area, you can catch Barr’s launch party at Gustaf’s Up North Gallery in Lindstrom, MN on November 7th, 2019 at 7 pm.

Fall comes to the St. Croix River

The Heart of Grace

For Renée

Tall pines fill the frame of my kitchen window.

These dense layers of green seem to infinitely

recede across my back neighbor’s property.

 

Should I ever hear a chainsaw’s caterwaul,

my only standing will be that of witness.

Straight-line winds uprooted the red pines

 

surrounding my brother’s Northern Minnesota

lake home. He was heading west

to visit friends when his cell phone rang. He

returned to downed trees and open sky.

 

Trees quietly sift at the heart of grace.

 

My life formed on the windy plains of North

Dakota—a place of vast horizons—and still

I’ve found the steady companionship of trees

 

more dependable than shifting colors of sky.

My brothers and I left North Dakota, as did

so many others of our generation. An oil boom

 

brought new folks to mine what lies beneath

grasses that once fed bison. I am an outsider

to the economic needs of North Dakotans.

 

I condemn the fracking frackers,

their inevitable “fraccidents.” And yet,

 

as I stand at my kitchen sink, one fragile end post

to one tunnel of green, hot water runs

across my hands and across morning dishes.

 

I am not without need and the weight

of my body bends towards mercy.

bright countryside dawn daylight
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com