What happens when my brain splits in two.

dear hearts

Unkept may be the two sides of my brain, but Dear Hearts is the two sides of my heart.

It was difficult to write, not only canvassing the pain that comes when infidelity inflicts a marriage and family, but writing from the perspective of a man who loves said family and adores said marriage yet has an affair with another man? Well, all I can say is life is gritty and Mitch’s life? It ain’t no exception.

Each word sheared away a piece of my heart.

Mitch and Elena are characters that are deeper than characters. They’re a pulse, working together and withering apart. They are victims to their own love story, craving happy endings when understanding what true, devotional, Godly love is has never glimmered on their radar.

They’re the prime example of what happens when life shuffles its cards and you’re left empty-handed.

What can we learn? Appreciate everything you have, even when  life feels like a single grain of sugar boring through a tooth.  Talk openly, honestly. Do no judge but do not blindly accept either.

Love with a sacrificial heart and an expanse of pure dedication.

Know that we only flicker here for a little while. So use every moment.

Dear Hearts is for the over eighteen crowd so please keep that in mind. Also understand that this book is not a promotional platform for any particular viewpoint. It is an examination into the human mind and heart and the struggle life brings when you leave God out of the picture.

You can read Dear Hearts for free here on Wattpad.

Click here for the ebook.

Click here for a paper copy.


Dear Ava,

I’m a horrible mother. And a terrifically good mother. And a no nonsense mother and a spastic, nonsensical type of female who keeps parking crookedly and forgets the word for fork sometimes, and then other times I feed people my brilliance.

I don’t think any of us were meant to be good at this.

But I think that’s okay. I think for the first time ever, there’s no good mother Olympics, no gold to be won.

There are mistakes and bruises and tears and the way she looks at me like she’s known me before she was born and wishes she’d never met my face.

It’s the same way I look into the mirror sometimes.

But there are those other crystal clear moments, a love abundant, a love like Christ’s, where I can feel it all weaving together, broken skin healing and that sound she makes when she breathes.

Step one, we are alive.

Step two, start living,

Step three, write down, paper to pen.

Dear Ava,

I’m sorry.

But dear Ava,

You now know the truth.

He Still Won’t Stop Talking

matt clay
This shirt is the representation of the things his mouth says. Just horrible.

Long, long ago in a village far, far away where the local inhabitants wore nothing but yoga pants and prank called their former algebra teacher who once said “math is necessary,” there was a writer named Ericka who punished her husband for saying that she “maybe shouldn’t drive on the sidewalks” and “probably should wear clothes to church” by posting all the other horrifying things he said on the Internet.

You can find those horrifying things here and here.

You’d think said husband would “maybe stop talking, please, seriously, Matt, stop talking, and could you hold this cat while I get more Cheetos?  Don’t worry about where I got the glitter!  Mr. Cattypants likes it!!” but alas, he has not.

Here’s proof:

  • “I chiseled a baby spoon out of wood when I was six months old.”
  • “I am rich in puppy.”
  • “I should suspend your vent privileges.”
  • “I’m about to get wild, and I’m all like, ‘Matt, stop.  That’s too fucking wild.'”
  • “I just hurt my neck with my exaggerated head and eye movements.”
  • “I choose grammar over everyone.”
  • “After this, can you remind me to eat an egg roll and check the mail?”
  • “You have a wonderful hairline.”
  • “I’d risk my life to build a treehouse.”
  • “You know what’s funny?  You’re not a police officer, and you don’t know the definition of ‘cop sexy.'”
  • “A Lincoln Town Car limousine?  Those were simpler times.”
  • “Dennis Quaid is still wide smiling his way around America.”
  • Me: What’s the name of the Ryan Phillippe movie you like?  Matt: Which one?”
  • “I’m sorry, it’s just that I find water’s affinity for itself in glasses interesting.”
  • (His take on papaya) “Nasty.  Disgusting.  I’m going to put it down your shirt.”

Maybe one day he’ll grow up and be a mature adult like me.


Oh God.  Our poor child.


This piece is part of a round robin story I’m doing with the Bannerwing Write Club.  To read the beginning of the story, be sure to visit When and Where at Sure D, It’s All Good.  


girl in cemetary
Photo Credit: Lexie Alley on Flickr

The name read: Allen Henry Buell.

Her heart, her joints, the sinewy tissue that aligned her spine popped and tore, so one moment Robin was flanked by the twins and the next she wasn’t inside her body.

She was inside her memory.

“Nothing good comes with babies,” her father had whispered when she first told him, and it was worse than if he had yelled it because Robin knew there was a tumor of disgust inside of him, and she wouldn’t be able to find it, to cut it out.

But Robin proved him wrong and gave birth to goodness personified: Eleanor Lynn.

Life was rougher but better.  School (tenth grade) where the boys called her a slut, a job at Pickwick’s Pizza where the air moved heavy with oil, then to Mrs. Garrity’s next door to pick up her daughter who loved the woman with gnarled hands and a lovely voice still tinged from her British upbringing.

And then home.  It was an interesting word, home, because it was where the blinds were always shut tight and the bitter taste of beer hooked her attention whenever her father said, “Trash.  Needs to go out,” from back inside his cave of a bedroom.  His doorway vibrated with color and sound from his always on TV set, and Robin would strap Eleanor to her chest to the beat of that noise, the baby clinging warmly against her.

She’d take the cans out in the broken ink jar of an evening and watch the stars, watch the skies for hints of her mother.

This went on for years, three to be specific.  And everything was mapped out, rough but better, until the day Robin came home to find her father and daughter missing.

The past ripped through her, sewed her back together while the present battered her body like a pair of angry fists.

“You will pay,” Robin said, balancing on knees and hands in the wet cemetery grass, tempering her nausea against the bitter tang of beer in the air.

For the next part of the story, head over to My Write Side.

Writing and Motherhood

My mom was a good mom.  A phenomenal mom.  An overprotective loon of a mom who would cut out newspaper clippings of the latest rape, murder, twenty car pile up to remind her only child that the world is not a cushiony pillow where you can rest your head and close your eyes.

My mother taught me to never close my eyes.

And I haven’t.  I don’t.  Writing is an eye opening experience in and of itself, and frankly, so is motherhood.  Combining the two is frozen yogurt, man.  A sweet swirl of vanilla and chocolate.  But sometimes the milk goes bad and everything tastes abysmally sour.

{Side Note: I told Matt the other day that we should start a frozen yogurt shop called YOLO, you know, just to be douches and what not, and on our recent road trip we found a YOLO FROYO shop.  I know.  I still have chills.}

When it’s good, it’s just like icecream with half the calories.  When it’s bad, it’s like digging your spoon into mud.

Nobody talks about the bad parts of being a mom.  Or maybe they do, but I just haven’t paid attention because, well, books.  Books take up a lot of my fabulous time which means I spend my days with eyes open, staring at paper.  But if they do talk about the bad parts about rearing forty odd pounds of blonde-headed psycho, then maybe this is what they say:

  • Words hurt.  The words your child says to  you.  The words you say to your child.  You can be sweet as pie, but the second midnight comes rolling around and you have an endless ball of emotion screaming at your face and wanting to kick you the rest of the night in your bed, the jagged edged words are vomited up, are tumbled out of you, and you become the person you try to shove day in, day out into the back closet of your mind.
  • There is no “you” anymore.  “You” is for those people that still sleep on the weekends.  “You” is for people who still sleep in general.
  • Everyone’s a critic.  If you think you’re doing “mothering” wrong, just ask the lady in front of you at the grocery store that keeps sneering at you.  She’s in charge of everything.  Ever.
  • Clothes shall be named “stain canvases” from now on.  Your child is an artist.  Let them express themselves, and if your boss doesn’t understand, key your emotions into the side of his ‘vette.
  • If you think you’re doing it wrong, you are and you aren’t.  That’s the thing about this game.  There are no rules.

She’s clothed, she’s fed, she’s beautiful.  The page is blank.  She’s cranky, she’s lost a sock, she needs a snack.  The page is filled.

It will be like this forever you know.  You’re a writer and mother which means balance confounds you.  Everything is sticky and unwashed unless it’s the day you play catch up and your novel, rooted in your gut, kicks at your intestines and causes you pain.

But the messy things in life, the painful things are most often the most beautiful ones.  So deep breath, hugs and kisses, story before bedtime, right after the bath and thank whatever deity you enjoy thanking for every day you get to open your eyes, see your child’s face, and mend letters into words.