Featured Story Writer: Ingrid Bruck
About Ingrid... in her own words... I'm a retired library director with a background in children's library services and storytelling. Some of my favorites are short form poetry, birds, wildflowers, mudsales (Amish firehouse auctions), growing fruit and vegetables, canning and preserving them. I’m a bird watcher, a self- taught naturalist and a nature defender. I follow the harvest season in my kitchen. I write most days and take many classes to develop my craft of poetry.
I grew up with two parents who took books where ever they went, they read constantly. My mother even read while she nursed her babies. My father was a columnist for the local newspaper, wrote limericks for his office parties, wrote an annual Christmas poem for family and friends. Naturally, I wrote my own stories, journaled my troubles and joys. I never shared what I wrote with anyone. Over my professional library career, I wrote for myself and kept my writing locked in a closet. I read folk tales and thousands of picture books to put together story time programs for children and families. Next as an administrator, I turned my skills to winning at grant writing. I kept on reading good writing, writing for myself, and developed a story-finder brain for storytelling. The last ten years of my career, I joined IWWG (Inter-national Women’s Writing Guild), took writing classes and found a passion for poetry. I highly recommend participating in free online classes. Two other faves include: Kenzie Allen at ApriaryLit in Canada and poet Robert Brewer’s Pads Challenge at
Writer’s Digest. With them I have written a poem every day for a month (in April and/or November). IWWG has also developed a Digital Village, now they offer great online writer classes. I attend great author webinars, weekly writer prompts and an online writer’s book club, the writer resources for women are superb.
I’m a seventy-two-year-old. Old woman, yes, that’s me. I’m a dedicated life-long learner, on fire with a passion for writing, poetry and learning. I most often write haiku, short poems and short prose hybrid fragments. I submit poetry to literary journals and anthologies, undaunted that the rejections far exceed acceptances. I’m getting better at finding journals that value nature, having learned that these tend to provide good matches for my voice. It’s my conviction that the more I write, the better chance I have of writing something good. No matter what, I keep writing. I have come to realize that bad writing comes with the good. I dare call myself a poet and writer. I’m not done. Not yet. I want more. I hope to read and meet some of you on my writing journey.
Flying Peacock: Haibun
Peacock, born with a screech instead of a song, got a colorful tail instead. With a body as large as the flightless ostrich, he appears too ungainly to fly, tethered to ground by the great long tail that drags behind him. How can he lift or open his heavy fan tail? A fly- ing peacock is the real miracle. In flight, its pointy beak leads a golfball size head topped with a crown, a foreshortened neck, swallowed inside a bundle of feathers. He leaps skyward, red pinfeathers spread wide against a downward stroke. A white patterned cape drapes over his shoulders. A round fan at its feet streams behind a technicolor tail. Awkward, gawky, he clears the ground, his plumage a bent arrow flies.
clothes expose wrists and ankles
swan-hood growing pain
Baby’s First Thanksgiving
This old lady still cooks and decides to flex her kitchen muscles. She invites her son and his family for Thanksgiving. She shops at six grocery stores to find a fresh turkey. Gets a bag of onions from an Amish stand, cut flowers at another, picks parsley from her garden. Buys harvested apples at the orchard, lemons, eggnog made with grass fed milk from the dairy, digs potatoes, gets butternut squash for soup, steams pumpkin for a pie. The dinner contains many local ingredients.
She starts her day early Thanksgiving morning. Dices and sautés vegetables for giblet dressing, stuffs a 22 pound turkey bigger than the pan, starts it roasting. Makes crust for pumpkin pie, measures out pie ingredients, mixes eggs, spices, evaporated milk, slips the pie into the oven to bake for an hour, slips in a test knife an hour later, gives it another 20 minutes and pulls out a golden pie. Each dish is perfection.
Company arrives with the six month old grand baby who has just begun eating solid foods. The family sits down at the table. Her parents start the baby off on a spoonful of pumpkin, sour mush hits her tongue, she inhales because she doesn’t know how to spit it out. They bang her back. Her son tastes the pie himself, deposits it in a napkin. She forgot to add sugar. The baby only eats mashed potatoes for her first thanksgiving dinner.
Visiting a Dandelion
In sultry July, I climb the steps from South Tower to Seeger at Muhlenberg College. On the way there I pause with Martha on the stairway, she has stopped to observe a dandelion on the perimeter of the steps. The big little flower takes both of us in. It’s midsummer, long past the thick yellow mat stage of early spring, old seeds have been thrown off, new plants rooted, this scrawny blossom grows in thin grass. I throw my eyes wider and discover a gold sprinkle of Indra’s jewels.
"How are you this morning? “ I silently ask the dandelion.
She thinks for a spell as Martha and I gaze at her, then answers me fully in colors only I can hear, "I woke to a fuzzy sun burning dew off my petals. You might not know, but moonshine’s heavy, I’m feel lighter now the sun’s out. ”
Martha and I smile thanks and goodbye to the weed. We stumble into a golden morning, radiant and light, for a day of writing classes.
After lunch, I go back to my dorm to get more comfortable shoes. I stop on the way down the cement stairway for another short visit.
”Dandelion, it’s me again. Why did you pick Martha?” I ask, then add, “And why did Martha pick me to open my eyes to you? “
“You are no stranger to me, wind carried the story. You uprooted many of my siblings this past spring” answered the verbose flower. “Admit it.
You pulled a wheel barrel full. By the way, I don't blame you. You cleaned up your lawn, that made place for more blades of grass and more space for seeds to grow.
Your time with Martha was my way of paying it forward.”
I thank her with a smile and say, “Happy blooming, friend.”
“Likewise,” she answers, I take it as a blessing. Dandelions speak in soul words. I look for them wherever I travel. They’re common and
sprout in unlikely places like sidewalk cracks, so I have to keep my eyes open. When I find them, I give them the time they deserve, listen and collect our conversations. It feels good when the glad yellows of their petals color my writing.
Date Published: November 21, 2018