Night Time

Some of my favorite blogging writers occasionally dip into their early work. It’s always so intriguing to get an “early look” at a favorite writer’s work, isn’t it? Here’s one of my favorites!

I hope you enjoy it – and perhaps you’ll be inspired to reblog one of your early pieces; I’d love to read it!

Theresa Barker - Lab Notes


the moon
the neighbor’s air conditioner
a passing truck
the car alarm in the mini-mart parking lot on the corner
the street light out front
conversation of two passers-by
helicopters overhead
a police siren
angry shouts
screeching brakes

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June 2018 | A bit about titles

If you’re looking for a fun exercise to generate new writing, or if you’d like to get practice working with story titles, I just wrote up a new exercise to try.  Happy summer!

Theresa J. Barker

Photo by Theresa Barker.

I’m sitting in my office this evening thinking about the ways in which our surroundings influence us.  Today is Independence Day in the U.S., and I hear the pops, cracks, and booms of fireworks (legal/illegal) outside my window.  It’s been a warm day for Seattle – 70s-80s – and deeply cloudy this evening, a strange sort of gloominess in the sky.  Yet the circle of light from my desk lamp casts a friendly light on my writing and this little evening moment with words connects me with writers all over the world, with writers of the past and those who will write in the future.  Words are our connections, aren’t they?  Language and thought and the poetry of conversation.

Photo by Theresa Barker.

Where do you like to write?  Whether in a nearby coffee shop, at the kitchen table, or (if you’re lucky enough) in a…

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May 2018 – An Exploration of Voice

Have you thought about the development of voice in your writing? Have you seen, or fallen in love with, other writers’ voices? In this month’s writing newsletter we explore voice and its effect on writing and the reader. Take a look!

Theresa J. Barker

IMG_3224 Photo by Theresa Barker.

When I stroll down my block, or look around my yard this time of year, there seem to be flowers on the shrubs everywhere.  As I think about the progression of the seasons I often wonder why I don’t remember how bright and festive the lavender blooms on my rhododendron are, or how lively and engaging the tiny white flowers on my thyme bushes can be.  But even so, the surprise of discovering flowers bursting forth this time of the year can be delightful; perhaps more so because each year the flowers seem altogether unexpected and new.

Writer Pam Houston has said, “I’m about going out in the world and noticing stuff, going home and writing it down, and putting it next to other stuff I’ve noticed and seeing what happens.”  And borrowing from our glimpse of William Carlos Williams’s work last month, Williams was…

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April 2018

It’s Earth Day! My April author newsletter has a small poetry study, and a writing tip, “Improvisations,” featuring the work of poet William Carlos Williams. Take a look!

Theresa J. Barker

Photo by Theresa Barker.

I am sitting at my desk this Sunday morning, looking out at the overcast sky that promises sun later on. The 100-foot Douglas Fir tree outside my window is popping forth with small orange mini-cones – pollen pods? – on the tips of its green-needle branches, like little kernels of orange popcorn dusted across its boughs. A squirrel prances along a long branch inside the sheltered-needle casing of the tree, two – no three! – stories above the ground.

Squirrels are so amazingly unafraid to scamper along waving boughs of maple trees in my neighborhood, or atop the thin wire of an electrical connection to the power pole outside. They seem to think nothing of it. It makes me think: what am I afraid of, and how might I overcome my fears? Years and years of evolution have probably given the squirrels in my yard their…

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What you see when you are on the street

I’ve been spending time downtown in my city recently, and I took this wonderful shot of a utility box that had been painted into a piece of art – a box of popcorn!

Photo by Theresa Barker.

I love these little art mini-murals, for two reasons:  1) it’s great to see something unusual made out of a utilitarian piece of industrial equipment like a utility box, and 2) it keeps the box from becoming trashed by graffiti and vandalism.  This particular box happens to be across the street from a special movie theater, the Cinerama (upper left of the photo), which runs huge 70-mm films, and calls itself “Seattle’s Most Epic Movie Experience.”  Yeah!  History and info here  Isn’t it fun to have a big box of popcorn mural on the street in front of a historic movie theater?

Update:  neglected garden re-planting

My friend and fellow blogger Dahlia has been asking me about my little garden plot that I posted about a few weeks ago.  It’s still going well!  I’ve got a few update photos:

This was the little area that has been neglected and abandoned at the edge of our yard, and over the past few years it became overgrown with invasive plants.  I took the time finally this March to clear out the troublesome plants and to plant it carefully with native plants, then I added compost on top of the soil to help get it going.

Photo by Theresa Barker.

In my post I was reflecting that so often we do little jags of writing here and there but don’t give our writing the concerted and kind attention that helps it grow and become stronger.  – Like this part of my yard!  Dahlia’s question reminded me of my topic for that post, which was the value of paying attention, regularly and with kindness, to one’s writing as well as one’s gardening.  I am happy to report that both the garden, and my writing project, are benefiting from regular and kind attention.  I hope you are giving your own writing or photography or art the same!

Fiction:  “Garden”

I wrote a small story (101 words) about a recent visit to our Seattle Japanese Garden, which opened for the season on March 1.  It’s beautiful there in all seasons, but especially this time of year just before the trees start to leaf out and before the summer blossoms come.  Here is the website: Seattle Japanese Garden
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In the Japanese Garden
Theresa Barker

Stones line the pathway to the Tea House.  Invisible waters cascade down the brook bed.  Red winter branches of delicate maples pattern the emerald moss below.

Does the moss think:  I am here to pad the way for falling leaves?  Does the tree think:  I am here to scatter my leaves upon the moss’s head?

Stones growl and sigh with anchored certainty while the trees sway and steal the wind’s transience from the air.  A woman, a man, passing, understand nothing of the musical whisperings that float among the botanical beings of the garden.  Only the earth understands.

Thanks for visiting!