My Aquarius hat


illustrator: J Byron Schachner


must be huge


bright colors


and include animals



How to be a vessel of power…


illustrator: J Byron Schachner



Annie Proulx-I love you


illustrator: J Byron Schachner


It’s the birthday of novelist and short-story writer Annie Proulx, born Edna Ann Proulx in Norwich, Connecticut (1935).

She said, “Spend some time living before you start writing.”
Proulx was in her 50s when she started writing fiction; her first book was a collection of short stories, Heart Songs (1988).

When her editor drew up the contract, he asked if he could put in a clause that she might someday write a novel. She said: “I just laughed madly, had not a clue about writing a novel, or even the faintest desire. I thought of myself as a short-story writer. Period, period, period.” Five years later, her second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Her books include Accordion Crimes (1996), Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1999), Bird Cloud: A Memoir (2011), and Barkskins (2016).
She said: “What I find to be very bad advice is the snappy little sentence,

‘Write what you know.’

It is the most tiresome and stupid advice that could possibly be given. If we write simply about what we know we never grow.”


When I read my Proulx books, my whole life slows down.

The depth of the writing and the feel of the images are soul touching.

Orator tames the savage beast

JByronSchachner copy

illustrator: J Byron Schachner


The Story
By Fred Chappell
Once upon a time the farmer’s wife
told it to her children while she scrubbed potatoes.
There were wise ravens in it, and a witch
who flew into such a rage she turned to brass.
The story wandered about the countryside until
adopted by the palace waiting maids
who endowed it with three magic golden rings
and a handsome prince named Felix.
Now it had both strength and style and visited
the household of the jolly merchant
where it was seated by the fire and given
a fat gray goose and a comic chambermaid.
One day alas the story got drunk and fell
in with a crowd of dissolute poets.
They drenched it with moonlight and fever and fed it
words from which it never quite recovered.
Then it was old and haggard and disreputable,
carousing late at night with defrocked scholars
and the swaggering sailors in Rattlebone Alley.
That’s where the novelists found it.
“The Story” by Fred Chappell from The Yellow Shoe Poets: Selected Poems 1964-1999. © Louisiana State University Press, 1999


It was on this day in 1940 that Winston Churchill delivered a speech to the House of Commons with the famous line: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” The Battle of Britain was raging, and he was referring to the small group of the Royal Air Force who had successfully held off the much larger Luftwaffe, the German air force.
Churchill wrote all of his own speeches, and he was a gifted orator, but people thought that his vocabulary and style of speaking were old-fashioned. But after the beginning of World War II, Churchill’s dramatic rhetoric fit the mood of the country.
His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, served in the Parliament and was a talented debater, famous for making spontaneous speeches. Winston, on the other hand, labored over every speech. He brainstormed, researched, planned out the speech in his head, then dictated it aloud to his secretary. From there, he revised it several times and typed it up in what he called “psalm form.” His speeches looked like blank verse poetry on the page, so that the rhythm and pauses were laid out just how he wanted them. Before Churchill delivered a speech, he would practice over and over, sometimes in the bathtub.

On a Cat

JByronSchachner copy

illustrator: J Byron Schachner


Lines from To A Cat
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Stately, kindly, lordly friend,
Here to sit by me, and turn
Glorious eyes that smile and burn,
Golden eyes, love’s lustrous meed,
On the golden page I read.
All your wondrous wealth of hair,
     Dark and fair,
Silken-shaggy, soft and bright
As the clouds and beams of night,
Pays my reverent hand’s caress
Back with friendlier gentleness.
Dogs may fawn on all and some
     As they come;
You, a friend of loftier mind,
Answer friends alone in kind.
Just your foot upon my hand
Softly bids it understand.

the magic of prayer


Skippy goes Irish

illustrator: J Byron Schachner


sometimes prayer means using every crayon in the box!

the wild wooly mitten


illustrator:J Byron Schachner


Of course, I wear a mitten on my head

cherish the polka-dot look

allow a bird to embellish the top

have one green eye and one blue

(don’t many of us?)

(along with the heart shaped nose?)

on the move


illustrator: J Byron Schachner


Owen on the bottom

Oliver on the diagonal


diagonal thrust

dynamic choice

J Byron Schachner found a way to move every animal in the cart

Owen found a way to move Oliver toward the lake

Today for his eighth Birthday, Oliver picked BOWLING

Does this grandson know how to keep moving,

like his Dad?

mountain bike or lake?

No Man is an island


illustrator: J Byron Schachner

Fam’ly candles light

your Birthday with surround love

by and by the way

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