When You Can’t Write, Write

I have been busy. I haven’t had time to take morning walks or contemplate the complexities of life. But, I have to write. Granted, this writing isn’t very good, but it hits on some issues that have been plaguing me of late. The point is, when you can’t write, you should still try. Get some words on the page. That is all for today.


Things are not always as they seem.
Frankly, your misfortune overwhelms.
I’m always pulling green bean cans
from the bottom row of the pyramid.
I’ve always lived my life in reverse.
I offered you a piece, you refused.
In that exact moment I knew,
you pitied my children and my poverty.

Hate to hate
Jealousy to jealousy
Greed to greed
Anger to anger
Ash to ash
Friend to friend
Kindness to kindness
Light to light
Love to love

No, not always as it seems,
my mediocrity bores you.
I live my life in straight lines.
I’m living longer now.
long enough to see the good.
The clichés ring true.
There is no softer, easier way.

Susan Ward Trestrail, 2017

Pondering Jesus

I wrote this poem as a Facebook post while I was (quietly) sitting next to a priest who was preparing a sermon. Of course, I assumed this, because I didn’t actually speak to him except to ask if the seat was taken.

I revised a few times, mostly in regard to line breaks. Let me know your thoughts.

Pondering Jesus

Sipping our coffee
the priest and I,
while he ponders
Jesus, I,
“Aren’t they the same?”
I asked. He nods,
but I can see he is sleeping.
His sermon can wait.
All people?”
I wake him with my
He again, nods.
“All people, but

there are rules, it seems.”
I know not all people
are loved equally.
make mistakes.
born different.
“We choose, how we live”
he says.
I and the father,
sip coffee.
He ponders kindness,
I, Jesus.

Susan Ward Trestrail, 2017

Some of My Favorite Birds


Birds are elusive. Well, except for the half-blind blue heron with the notched wing. Mostly they avoid my camera. I step closer and closer, but I can’t always focus in time to capture. I just got a new lens that gets even sharper telephoto pictures, but it is still challenging to get a crisp view of a bird’s eye. I am still a beginner, but that doesn’t mean I can’t produce photos that make me and others smile.

This may be a good lesson for life among other things. Writing for example. You may feel as if you can’t get close enough to a subject to write about it with clarity and insight. Write about what you know, they always say. Right? I am not always so sure about that advice. It is possible to write about something you learn, experience or admire, but you have to get close enough.

For today’s writing prompt, get closer to something that you have already written about. Sharpen your focus, change your stance, move around it slowly, step lightly. Find the depth that your subject needs. You may be a beginner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write something really sharp and focused.

Post your responses here.

Happy Writing!


Landscapes and Flowers

Through my photography and my writing, I have learned many lessons about perspective and subject matter. Landscapes can get dull after awhile. Writing about concepts in generalities can lack color and interest.  Shooting the same flowers that I see every day on my walk can be mundane. Writing about issues that many people face can get repetitive.

Landscapes. You see where I am going with this. It is not a new concept. A landscape photo can be just another boring photo. Or, it can have color, composition and depth. The same goes for writing. Drafting a poem about my experiences as a young mother, I took a colorful look at what my thoughts and longing were at the time. In “Summer, 1979”, for example,

It was 1979 when I stopped wishing for Woodstock days,
but began mourning the dead. Floating, facing the August sun
that burned the skin I should have saved, I wouldn’t last.

Instead of just saying that 1979 was a hard year for me, because my brother died, and I thought I wouldn’t get past that, I took a colorful view of the events. I communicated the color and depth of that experience by using references to culture and provided a significant contrast with my personal interpretation.

Flowers. I walk the same path every day. Yes, the flowers change with the seasons, but sometimes, they stay the same. I have learned to walk at various times of the day, change settings on my camera and look for angles and backgrounds that add interest and color. For example, In “Daisies, This Time of Year”, I simply ask my audience to be a flower.

Please, just be a flower.
Not a daggered rose.
A sweet buttercup, a gentle Lilac.

Never mind that I made a word up, but I provided an opportunity for my reader to take on the identity of a flower, not a thorny rose, but a gentle sweet flower. In trying times, it is a blessing to take on a sweeter persona, but being a flower adds a new dimension to the concept.

Now, it is your turn. How can you add depth and color to your landscapes? How can you use metaphor to communicate universal ideas. What focused angles can you take on the same situations that you face daily? I have provided some examples, but as we know, we practice our art through experimentation.

Happy Writing!



Summer, 1979

Summer, 1979 We used to swim here when we were rebel children. Trekked behind The Finer Food Store, where I spent my food stamp allotment. Waded the shallow creek to the rock quarry. It was 1979 when I stopped wishing for Woodstock days, but began mourning the dead. Floating, facing the August sun that burned the skin I should have saved, I would’t last.

I am working more on this poem and saving it for submission. Thanks for reading.