Jan 31

More Good News!!!

Grand thanks to those who were able to attend the Arizona Historical Society’s Book Event during February. I appreciate your comments and interest in All the Dancing Birds. People were informed — books were sold!

I’ll be appearing in Sacramento, California, on February 6, 2013, on the brilliant Shelly Alcorn’s informative web event (specific details with time and web location to come). I’ll be speaking about how fiction informs and enlightens on topics previously connected with strictly nonfiction or clinical subjects.

Stay tuned, my friends. Things are getting exciting for All the Dancing Birds.

Jan 09

Meet Auburn and Friends

I’m so excited to let everyone know that I’ll be signing All the Dancing Birds Friday, January 18, 2013, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Arizona Historical Society, 1300 N. College Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281. Also a number of Sisters in Crime, Desert Sleuths mystery writers will also be signing. Come and meet us — browse, find something that floats your reading boat and chat with the author.

We’ll be looking forward to meeting you!

Aug 18

Can You Feel It?

Authors — We creak and groan and click and clack. Our words are hopefully brilliant, but often they fall and thud until we make many, many revisions, until tears are shed and arguments are waged and stories are changed until they are just right. We work hard on what is called our “craft.” The thing is that it’s just plain hard work. From the start of a swirling idea, to a finished book in the hands of a reader — that reader expectantly opening it like a bird would open its wings just before flight — a writer works hard to entertain, to illuminate and invigorate, to keep their story alive.

With that in mind, I introduce All the Dancing Birds, available now on Amazon.com in Kindle and hardcover and at Barnes & Noble in hardcover. You can also just click the buttons on the home page here and … voila! … there you are.

Thank you all for your interest and care. So many of you are readers with an Alzheimer’s family member. I love you. Many of you are just interested. I love you too.

Please feel free to poke around this new website format. There is (somewhere) a form to contact me. I’ll receive it. I’ll answer.

I promise!

In the meantime, my heart to you as readers and (especially), I give my love to you as caregivers, loved ones and friends.

Jun 19

So Very Soon …..

Now here I am, a small flickering light, sputtering softly in my chair, shifting, winking on and off. I’ve been trying to think my way out of this paper bag of a morning, but so far, I’ve only come up with the notion that, somehow, my mind is structured slightly differently than it was yesterday.

I’ve turned oddly forgetful.

Thus, begins the story of Lillie Claire Glidden, a mid 50-year-old, wine-drinking, fan-fluttering poet, widow and mother of two grown children.

Due out mid-August, All the Dancing Birds will speak to anyone who has ever taken care of anyone else, or anyone who has ever been sick. Let Lillie Claire take you on a guided journey through the mind of  Alzheimer’s. Let her charm you with her Southern manners and ignite you with her Northern California sensibilities. Above all, let her show you what life looks like when words have all disappeared and love is the only thing left.

May 28

Sitting in our Straight Chairs

We sit in straight, hard backed chairs, knee-to-knee, hand-in-hand. My sister wears light blue hospital scrubs—she’s apparently graduated from wearing gowns. Her face is thin; she’s lost a good deal of weight, but her lower legs are heavy with edema, her knees swollen, like grapefruits.

I’ve brought her a candy bar. She knows me and smiles.

For the past month and a half, she’s been mostly unable to speak, to get up from her bed, to eat. To engage. New medication helps her now—for the most part. Still heavy-lidded, she speaks little. She tells me several times over that she doesn’t remember anything. She’s forgotten my visit two days earlier, when we sat for two hours in our straight chairs, our knees together, our hands knitted together. She doesn’t remember how she got from her bed to the dayroom. She’s forgotten what she ate for lunch two hours earlier, or that she’s mentioned her forgetfulness several times.

It doesn’t matter.

We simply sit in our straight chairs, knee-to-knee, hand-in-hand, and let the moment shine.

May 08

Flinging into the sky

It’s nearly done.

All the Dancing Birds is in its later production phase. Maybe sometime in June … or perhaps in the heat of July … it will be available for readers. For anyone who might wonder why I wrote such a brave and unconventional work, maybe this will explain:

This is how it goes:

You inch onto the edge of the world

And with nothing more than

A narrow kite of words

You step into thin air

And you write things that desperately need

More than a few cloth strips tied together

And a length of string and a triangle of

Color in a tumbling sky

You write for the passion …

You write in case you die

Auburn McCanta

May 06

Life in the midst of a Super Moon

Even if you’re not yet in focus, this is for you:

Over Here

Are you fierce enough to fall with a startled

Tree, to curl then inward, unleafing in the rain, to

Lie silently devoted to a dark thrumming forest,

Derailing itself one grove at a time?

Are you strong enough to follow the

Black ant’s trail, mining that tree inwardly,

Bite by bite, creating its cottage industry with a

pointed mountain of soft dust?

You are.

I know because I saw you fall; first when your

Marriage toppled, then when you had to stitch

Your breast back on with a pink ribbon tied to your

Shirt and ridiculous pink laces threaded in your shoes.

All the while, you kept a noisy gong going with

Sticks of wood and all that pressing

Downward and inward until you were

Strong and cocooned in winter’s first snow.

You did.  I saw you.

Now here I am on the occasion of my own falling,

Shuddering into the names of diseases that

Sink me into bed and hide me away from the

Mirror, not yet ready for ribbons, pink or otherwise.

I’m still leafing through medical pages, still feeling

The bite of needles, still watching the stitches mend.

The forest is a long way off and I can’t hear the

Tumbling trees; only my voice calling,

here i am.  here i am.  I’m the moon!

over here.

Auburn McCanta

Feb 09

On Sisters and Very Big Storms

Breaking. People are breaking around me, dropping pieces of their bitter selves at my feet. What am I supposed to do with these pieces? They’re sharp. If I pick up the pieces, they’ll cut my hands. My back will break under the weight. My lips will turn to prunes as they hold words back. Words like, I don’t want to, or, I don’t have that day open. So, I make the day open. I make myself want to be there for my breaking people.

I don’t know what to do. I’m established. I’m busy. I’m not yet breaking, or sick, or pulled apart like clouds in a dark sky. Still, all these breaking people want me to join them, and I don’t know which dance card will get my name written across each line.

Who will get me?

There’s my sister: she is dark and insistent. Her eyes are lidded, made heavy by worry, or medicine, or both. I’m not sure she comprehends what I’m saying. Her eyes watch me with intention. I think she understands, and then she says she doesn’t. There is some sort of concern about electronic medical transmission. I explain—again—that medical test results are transmitted that way now. It’s okay, I say. She turns her head and closes her eyes, as if there is nothing left of her, nothing to keep her eyes from shutting down. Pieces of her spill out like light from behind a closed door. She could open that door if only she could find the key deep in her pocket. But she doesn’t know how to reach for it any more. Reaching is beyond her years and I can’t find it for her. I can only try to notice her elegant grace as she lumbers through this day.

Then there are my grandboys. My Teeny Tiny Boys. Their father seems to have abandoned them and their mother. My daughter struggles to provide. When they are with me, they throw their arms across my neck and say, I love you, MeeMee. I melt across the floor. They are babies and I am their MeeMee. We play Spider Man and Iron Man and the three-year old makes his voice sound like PeeWee Herman. I. Am. Iron. Man. The four-year old is more delicate; he is a snuggler. We watch movies and eat Mac & Cheese and try not to notice the deepening shadows that consume my daughter’s twelve-hour work days.

Finally, there is My Dan. He’s like a star just recovering from lung cancer and before that, prostate cancer. He is my love, my husband, my forevermore. Now he’s scheduled for a bilateral kidney angiogram. Seems he has a kidney artery thing that might be compromising his blood pressure, and they might need to do a stent thing or something-or-other to fix it all. We’ve decided that will be the end of that. The end. The grand Taa Daa! Then we shall live out peaceful days until we quietly slip off into whatever future is ours. We decided that on our way home from the doctor’s office. We decided that.

So, it seems that if I can manage to make it through the next couple of months, we’ll be better. My sister needs convincing to move to a place where folks can care for her. My Dan will have his kidney artery stented or tented or whatever it is that medical folks do to narrowed arteries. And my Teeny Tiny boys will continue to hug my neck, and we will all be inspired by the bravery of Spider Man.

And then, maybe somewhere between it all, I can slip off to somewhere cool, with tall trees and grassy meadows. Maybe Seattle or Portland. Or somewhere Northeast or Southeast where I’ve never been. I’m entertaining suggestions. Maybe I can even find a hurricane to huddle beneath that would remind me of what I might be missing.

And that’s the way it is today at the old Bloggybirdry.