Saturday, April 2, 2016

Web Adventures

Dear Reader,

If you have found me a second time, welcome back!

I've read that if you want to publish in this digital age, it's best to have a "platform," such as a blog.  Intimidated by tech speak, I hesitated.  Facebook's Personal Blog seemed a user-friendly place to start. So, in October 2014, I began to curate craft posts about non-fiction, memoir and writing, in general.  That blog description is: "Writing personal essay/memoir. Sealed record adoptee, stroke survivor, Air Force daughter."   

You can visit me:

On Coconut Bay Lane

The problem with facebook's blog is that to generate interest the owner must "Boost,"  which is another way to say, "Pay."  Since I'm not an income-producing venture (yet) selling views is not an option for me.  I'd rather spend my spare change on paper books and e-books, or on an occasional writing course, or mentoring. Until a few months ago, I had not begun submitting my work.

The on-line writing courses I've taken were each helpful in finding my writing direction and voice. They've demonstrated fine narrative, memoir, personal essays, flash, hybrid form, etc. Wonderful teachers pushed us to keep writing. Now that I have some work "out there," and plan to publish a chapbook or anthology of personal memoir/essays, it feels time to move ahead with this blog.

I was thrilled to be accepted to the March issue of Gravel Literary Magazine, for "When Work Was Play," 3 brief memoirs. I hope you will enjoy them here:

I have several short non-fiction pieces submitted to various publications at this time. I received the good news yesterday (it was not an April Fools, thankfully!) that my piece, Garden Shadow was live in Wildflower Muse. It's a beautiful e-zine.

You can read my piece here, in the company of lovely artistic work.

Wildflower Muse

Til next time!

Friday, April 1, 2016

First Time Out

Sarasota Bay at Bird Key Park

Friday, April 1st at 7:00 pm.

Dear Readers,  It's been a clear, humid day in Sarasota, like so many here.  But this day was different. It began with an email from Heather Lenz, of Wildflower Muse, telling me my short memoir piece had been published!  Garden Shadow is live!  It's the story of my relationship with my dear Nana, Julia Tokar, and my life-long relationship with gardens.

I confess, I am very new at this blog thing.  I have a Facebook Personal Blog, On Coconut Bay Lane at (to which I warmly invite you), but this Blogger thing is new to me. With my patience and yours, I might learn.  Technicalities of permalinks and hyperlinks might early on get past me.  Perhaps my 13 year old grandson, Shaya, might help me on that score <<smile>>.

First, let me introduce myself.  I'm 64; a forever flower child.  I came of age in the "Vietnam Era;" an adoptee daughter of an Air Force Intelligence officer. Mine was a troubled teenage. I romanced and married at 19, after a sojourn in Aspen, then further entered the uncertain young adulthood of marriage and family. A precious daughter was born. But life felt uncertain, then sad. After more uncertainty, like vocations in healthcare and marketing, I re-married and returned to school for horticulture training. It proved to be the most satisfying, creative work I had known. Growing plants and designing flower gardens was my joy.  I thrived on the hard work, and the aesthetics. I loved writing proposals and describing ideas to clients. Everything about it was good, except the money, as I was an independent contractor with no financial backing. Yet, with the part time help and encouragement, of my husband, Phil, my sole proprietorship lasted about 15 years.

The writing began in childhood. As many say, "I've always written." My strong suit was always words over numbers. Mine were little essays, often about nature or gardens, then poems for myself and other children. I went on to write poems affected by teenage angst.  After a stint in direct marketing, and marketing proposals that stifled me to tears, came the blessing of flowers, and a better kind of sales letter. Once retired, I published a lively and colorful newsletter for my age 55+ garden club.

I lost a great deal when I had a brain hemorrhage at 57.  My recovery has come to a point of pretty good balance and better use of my right hand and arm. I'll never drive again, nor jog, nor garden on my knees. But I am alive, and the outcome of the tragedy has been the blessings of patience (better), focus and attention to detail (usually), and a deeper calm like I have never known.  After the stroke, I reconnected with people in a meaningful way.  I began to use the computer as if my life depended on it.  And I began taking writing courses on-line. This last has changed my life.

So here I am in Florida, half-way moved between Easton, PA and permanent residency here.  I'll blog about my adopted childhood, my Air Force family upbringing, the days I both remember, and those...not so much, in those difficult times.

Here is the link for Wildflower Muse and "Garden Shadow" Enjoy the beautiful magazine!

Peace and Love,
Mary Ellen (or Mel, if you prefer)

This gorgeous image is of a painting by Yolanda Rodriguez titled, "Ibis and Red Flower." Available from
Clearly, the flower is an Hibiscus :-)