Friday, December 17, 2010

Chapter 23 - My little miracle

Before I forget, I'd like to invite you all to my first ever live Twitter Chat @liv2writ, Tuesday, December 21. I'll chat from 4:00-4:30 PM MST and 9:00-9:30 PM MST. Follow me on Twitter. And then come for the action. To join in the chat--and you must join in--type #liv2writ at the end of each tweet. Spread the word, okay? And bring lots of questions and holiday joy! I'm in the mood to celebrate!

I'm still pretty brain dead. Not as much as yesterday, though. When I got back to work today, I realized that of course Chapter 22 must, must, must end with Leesie closing the sliding glass door. Duh.

And then Chapter 23 is going to be just this poem by itself. I was busy, busy, busy all day. Partly because life happens--good things like my new piano is now tuned and my BYU kids are home for Christmas and partly because I didn't think I could write this poem. It had to be great. It had to be perfect. And I didn't have a clue how to do it. Telephone call scenes are horrible to write. You don't have any action. And I didn't want this scene to come off as maudlin or too sentimental. But it had to be powerful. I'd set myself up for major writer's block.

Normally, when I get to a scene like this that I don't think I can write, I print off the last page I typed, scribble a line or two about what needs to go next, and then put it on my bedside table, say my prayers, and go to sleep. In the morning, I pick up the sheet of paper and scribble what's in my head. If you want gifts from heaven--inspiration from the Ultimate Creator--this is a good recipe to follow. But I just couldn't disappoint you guys and not post.

I finally drug myself into my office, whispered a prayer, and told myself to just write. It could be horrible. Fine. Just get something down. Fix it up later. You can tell everyone that it will get better. This is also a tool I use often. When you're writing to a deadline, getting stuck for long isn't an option.

The first two lines came into my head while I was getting cosy in the corner of the twin bed in my office with my lap desk propped on my knees. I whispered my thanks to their Author and scribbled them down. The rest of the poem flowed like a dream. It's short, simple, and maybe tomorrow I'll want to change it, but tonight it's perfect.

This poem will be all there is in Chapter 23. The shorter the chapter the more powerful it is.


I’m crying so hard
I can’t speak.
Mom gets Dad on the phone
and then we’re all three

The call lasts

I hang up and don’t
know if I even told
them anything.

“I’m sorry.”
I got that out.
“I love you.”
We all said that.

“Whenever you want to come
home, Leesie-girl, is fine with us.”
That was Dad.
How does he know
I’m not finished here
when I don’t even know

“Give Michael our love”—
is all I remember from Mom.

And Dad’s, “Tell him
we’ll be proud
to call him son.”

The call ends.
I sop my face
with the last three
tissues on earth
and stare out at the stars
and moon shining hope
on the water.

My cell rings.
It’s Dad saying,
“By the way, Leese,”
he’s that sweet, sheepish
farm boy my mom fell
in love with,
“Where are you?
We forgot to ask.”


  1. does the part that says "tell him that we will be proud to call him son" mean that they will accept him without converting to lds or is her dad just
    happy that a nice person is taking care of leesie during a difficult time? or do i have both wrong.

  2. Hmmm . . . .what do you think, Anonymous? I think it means they love Michael and know how much he loves Leesie and that they are grateful for all he's done for her. At some point, parental acceptance becomes irrelevant. Leesie's dad knows this. Michael told him they were getting married. I think he'll take them back on any terms. Wouldn't you? As a Mormon parent, I would.

  3. AHHHHHH! Okay, as a bit of relief from my crazy life I decided to catch up on this. If I had realized you were at such an intense part of the story I might have waited. Now I want resolution, now I want to keep reading. It is excellent and beautiful and I want to KEEP READING. You are amazing, you know that right?

  4. Beautiful poem... With few words, you managed to vehiculate so many emotions!

  5. I love: "Tell him that we will be proud to call him son." It's wonderful in its ambiguity, what with Leesie having that one, big Mormon restriction on her life partner, bur for now, this much is perfect. Michael has been so loving and supportive, and encouraging of Leesie all this while, that he deserves this acceptance <3
    Leesie's dad IS awesome. Quick question: Why is Leesie's mom's first impression of Leesie's dad included here? I was just wondering hwy it fits very well in the poem, even though it's so radically different from the rest of it. What's the reason for its inclusion?

  6. A simple, short poem - but it convey's so much. Happy tears.
    I love your answer to anonymous. I feel sometimes Michael doesn't get the support he needs to encourage him on to a better path (except from leesie of course). But I don't really understand the Mormon faith that well, so I don't know exactly how far Michael would have to come to be accepted into the family in marriage. Would what he's done be enough?
    Rambling a bit there - I don't expect an answer to that one :-)Just thinking out aloud

  7. The beautiful hing about acceptance is that it open the door for change. I think Michael soon will learn that. Did I'm wrong Angela? By the way I LOVE how Leesie dad talk to her he is adorable.

  8. Oh my God, i´m about to cry.
    This is so sad...
    just love it <3
    i listen about the goodreads awards
    and i already vote for your book ;) sing me to sleep
    i want to read it, just love it!
    I really love this poem.
    I read you! always...

  9. I love that this is short and simple... and beautiful as always!

  10. Love it--glad for the acceptance of her dad and approval of's obvious that she will still have obstacles getting in the way of completely opening up to her family again, but it's good to see progress. Wonderful I always adore your poems.

  11. Thanks everybody. This is the best forum. You are all so supportive.

    Sana, Leesie's mom told the story of her courtship in TAKEN BY STORM and I added that here just to recall his character. He is such a sweet man. I needed something to remind you of that.

    Thanks for all your votes, too! If any of you would like an interview or post for your blog, just drop me an email. I'm kind of to the point where I've done all I can to rally the vote. I don't want to harass people! It's Christmas.