"Willow Wisp Cottage" aka the old post office in Copper Harbor.

“Willow Wisp Cottage” aka the old post office in Copper Harbor.

Mudminnow’s often”silent” partner–by which I mean she steadfastly refuses to blog (howdy Lloyd)–occasionally lends me the use of this adorable little yellow house in Copper Harbor so that I can clear my head of the usual pressures of book design, small press publishing, teaching, and parenting long enough to remember that I set out in life to write poetry.

I spent a weekend reading and writing without interruption here in March when the snow was so deep I couldn’t find trails without snow shoes. And just last weekend spent another two days when the only change in the landscape was that I could sometimes find bare pavement to walk on. All the more reason to stay inside and write.

So today is just a small thank you for all those unsung patrons out there who help artists be artists in whatever ways they can, large or small.

Here is my suggested list, just in case you want to enter the ranks of patron but don’t have an entire cottage to lend someone:

1. Do not mock (this includes that slightly surprised look when you hear for the first time that your sibling, child, spouse, friend, etc. is writing).

2. Do not interrupt. Yes I know it was just to pop your head in and say good morning or how’s it going but that’s how the train of thought gets derailed.

3. Do not insist on reading something before it is ready to be read (only the writer will decide this).

4. When in doubt about how to characterize what your particular artist is up to don’t try. This is the “silence is golden” rule of art patronage.

5. And when your artist does attempt to share something of what they’ve been pouring their poor heart and soul into (not always successfully) listen closely enough to make an intelligent comment. And false praise is never good, but encouragement is always welcome.

There, pretty simple really. Off you go…


One lone bean sprouts in my makeshift indoor garden.

One lone bean sprouts in my makeshift indoor garden.

There are still huge mountains of snow in my yard, I can’t even see my propane tank in the backyard let alone my wrecked garden bed, but lookie here…I’ve got sprouts in my dining room window! Not quite as exciting as bald eagles on the beach…but I’m happy.

I’m also always optimistic that this will be the year my little organic garden started from seeds in my window (and later planted in my backyard raised bed and/or in my village’s community garden) will actually be successful. The growing season this far north is usually pretty short but the sun is intense and with a little technology on my side like a hoop house over my raised bed this year maybe I’ll finally get a few tomatoes and even a butternut squash. I live in hope.

In the meantime, the other growing season for Mudminnow is our next book and here’s a sneak peek at the latest version of the cover…

Barb Flanagin's beautiful illustration for the cover of One Starry Night.

Barb Flanagin’s beautiful illustration for the cover of One Starry Night.


Spring is in the air

April 2, 2013

Immature eagles on the beach at Eagle River, Michigan.

Immature eagles on the beach at Eagle River, Michigan.

Literally. In the land of 15 foot snowdrifts the first herald of spring is rarely a crocus. It’s usually birds. They don’t care if there’s three feet of snow on flat ground, they’re on their own personal navigation systems. And those systems say “Go North!”

At my house, the first heralds are usually eagles. Lots of juvenile bald eagles. Bald eagles are around all winter. All they need is open water for fishing, and since Lake Superior usually has plenty of that they hang around. But in the spring they show up in flocks. The increasing sunlight and slightly warmer lake temperatures bring the salmon and trout fry swarming to the surface close to the shoreline and the eagles eat them – like little sushi bites.

This morning six immature bald eagles showed up in front of my house. The photos aren’t good because I was shooting through a screened window with an iPhone. I’d have loved to stand on my balcony and take pics but I couldn’t get out there because of the snowdrift in front of the door. Spring … it’s all relative.

— Lesley

%d bloggers like this: