Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Les Bon Temps Rouler

There’s a party at the river this morning. Looking out my window, you might not see it. The cool November air swirls a mist above the warm sienna water, and an eerie morning glow dawns through the silence.
I’ve been remembering my family and friends, saying prayers for loved ones, living and dead. The holiday season with its television worldview sometimes spills onto my life, gravy smeared across the red and green pressed tablecloth. But my heart drums a back-beat of blessings today.  I begin to sway to the melody of memories and laughter. A few tears mix it up, as the sax wails its mournful notes. Gratitude catches the upbeat, and my soul fills with harmony.
There’s no need for annoying conversation at this party. My ten-year-old housecoat is the perfect outfit. No one cares about my bed-hair or chipped nails, witty comments, or if spinach dip is lodged between my teeth. What a great party. Thank you, Lord. You really know how to throw ‘em.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


She went to court today, shackled at her ankles and wrists.  2 ½ years she sat, waiting for justice, refusing to plead out -- 30 months, 913 days, 2 birthdays, sleeping on bunks in a dorm with 29 other women, lights on day and night, toilets and showers in view of the deputies, no ac in the summer, one fan, and little heat in the winter, unable to hug her kids. Yes, it's jail, but where is the speedy trial guaranteed by the constitution?

Mug shots flash across the television. The D.A's charges announced, no sensation in the rebuttal--found guilty by a jury of local news.

Bail is revoked. Family can't afford a lawyer? No problem, by law everyone must be provided legal counsel. Assigned to one of twelve public defenders, who handles 500 other clients, "a deal" is worked out with the prosecution. "Plead guilty to a lesser charge, and get out sooner." Keep it out of court -- less work, less money spent, looks good on paper, move on to another case. But WAIT, what if she's innocent? "Plead out. It's in your best interest," repeated over and over for years, as she sits, her life on hold.

What's the cure for a broken system not accountable to taxpayers? Certainly not a society driven by fear. "Mercy, Lord," it yells. "They're in jail. They must be guilty," It chants over and over before plunging headlong into a rerun of Law and Order.

She shuffles from the van with 4 others dressed in orange, INMATE stamped across their backs.  Chains clank with each step, as they drag on the ground between the ankle bracelets. Back from court, she is one of the fortunate. Time, patience, and a frustrated judge has garnered a temporary release to her ailing mother's supervision.

A court date is set in 4 months, but this is subject to change. Unprepared because of time restraints or budget cuts, counsel on either side can beg the courts forgiveness and postpone the hearing again and again. Ironically, a simple clerical error, a stroke of the computer key, has been known to send a person back to jail on a technicality. Due process?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Name is Chris and I'm A Writer

Ahhh, Blogspot, I have not forsaken thee. Forgive my transgression. Life has attempted to choke my creativity. My priorities were askew, but fear not, I have not forgotten thee. I have come to make amends. My soul has been revived by the Bayou Writers' Group 9th Annual Bridge to Publication. www.bayouwritersgroup.blogspot.com

This past weekend, BWG hosted six excellent presenters for a full day of fun and networking.
  • We were inspired by the poetry of author Stella Nesonovich stellanesanovich.com who warmed our hearts and walked us through the streets of N.O. 
  • Poet and story teller Mona Lisa Saloy monalisasaloy.com  gifted us with her stories and singing, as we pulled up a chair and sat with her family.
  • Novelist and BWG past president, Jess Ferguson jessyferguson.blogspot.com  is still educating, encouraging and inspiring us with "the power of a made up mind."
  • Humorous editor and author Linda Yezak lindayezak.com explained the need for a professional editor.
  • Agent Brooks Sherman fineprintlit.com/agents/brooks-sherman , listened to our pitches when he wasn't answering questions concerning what New York wants. 
  • Saturday's finale and my favorite, mystery writer C. Hope Clark chopeclark.com  encouraged us to join contests and be proud to say "I'm a writer." 
I walked away from this conference with a renewed commitment to myself and my writing. In the next week I will set long and short term goals and revisit them regularly. I plan to enter multiple contests, being persistent and methodical. I will continue to write what I know and research what I don't. Educating myself about technology, I plan to increase my electronic presence. I've made up my mind. How about you?