Home-Made Balm

So, here’s another procrastination:

Home-Made Balm

Dear Anna, I was driving home with the baby tonight

(keeping him up later than I should)

singing songs my mama used to sing

draping them over him like worn cotton sheets

appeasement he accepted

with only the smallest of whimpers.


And I suddenly wanted

those old melodies to travel through space to you

a soothing, tender layer of sound

wrapping around your heart,

your mind

(whatever part of you needs solace)


Somehow, I knew those soft strains were traveling to you

and I became greedy to share

all the little comforts of my ordinary life with you:

The fact that my girl’s grown an inch in a month

the breathtaking curve of the baby’s cheek,

plump and perfect like a peach

the feel of the dirt in my hands

and the firm green wholeness of the iris I’m transplanting


Dear Anna, I send you this home-made balm with love.

Sweet dreams, bright soul.


Procrastinating Again.

My youngest is off visiting college, hopefully one she’ll attend next fall. I feel funny and unsettled. I should be writing for money. But as acknowledgement of my feelings, here’s a poem I wrote in 2004:


Nobody told me

how dark it is at three am when the baby runs a fever

Nobody told me

how hard it is to keep saying “no” with love

Nobody told me, either,

about the blinding brilliance of my own child’s smile

or how soft the hair that receives kisses

before the kid is off again.

May 2004

Pizza for dinner.

We’re having homemade pizza for dinner. My kitchen is warm and filled with good smells. I am blessed.

I’ve not been very faithful to my plan to Write Now, but here’s a bit of something I wrote in 2010. My regular writing gigs dried up around 2008, so by then I was pretty desperate for work. Here’s how I wound up delivering pizzas and blogging under the pseudonym “Mama Marinara” on Janet Simpson-Templin’s great site Pavo:

Advertising on Craig’s List brought one response that sounded great. The company was “looking for honest people with a keen eye for detail to visit various adult sites online and write the things they like and dislike about each.” Now, I’m not squeamish. I’ve written some pretty racy limericks. I even modeled nude for an art class a long, long time ago. Adult magazines don’t automatically earn my moral outrage. The job paid $350 a week.

Read the whole piece here: http://karynzweifel.com/?page_id=109

I want to go camping.


Here’s why:

If you ever want to get outside yourself and just observe human nature, there’s no better place than an RV park.  We take along our tent, a 35-year-old relic my dad bought on a whim when his marriage was bright and shiny and his understanding of my mother was surging toward its high water mark.  To my memory we never used it.

I didn’t even know we had it, in fact, until my parents divorced and honored me with a explorer’s pass to the physical detrius of their marriage.  It’s boxy and square and makes a lot of noise assembling the aluminum poles.  I’m quite fond of it.

read more here


Why Write Now?

Writers write, right? That’s my favorite writing advice from my very favorite writer. So Write Now is not just about getting assignments and earning money. Although I really like earning money.

Write Now is an exercise in self-discipline. I’m going to try to write more. Starting Write Now.

Oh, but wait. Here’s a procrastination. I have bunches of stuff I’ve already written. So I’ll post that here. So I can go make another cup of coffee, stare into the fridge, make a grocery list, call an old friend. Anything. Because writing is hard. Writing procrastination, now, that’s easy…

Here are some personal essays, available write now, if you want to buy the rights and republish. Because I like money. Did I say that already? Or you can just read them. If you’re looking for an excuse to procrastinate, I’d be happy to make a small contribution to the cause.

I’ll work harder at self-discipline. And write something new. That leads me to my favorite advice from my other very favorite writer: don’t worry about shitty first drafts.

Happy Halloween!

I’m so excited to have Dog-Gone Ghost Stories available again! (scroll down to yesterday’s post)

They all had to be retyped, since the “digital” version I had from 1995 was on big floppy disks (and were probably corrupt anyway.) Re-reading them was a pleasure, to remember the stories and the many people who shared them with me.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still buy a kindle book and download the app to read them free.


I’m working on getting Southern Vampires in print again. Here’s what a reviewer said about my first book:

A collection of 13 Southern folktales involving vampires of all sorts. From a charming lady who collects husbands, to a Texas family haunted by psychic vampires, to a vampire who “assists” the elderly, these tales are filled with Southern charm. This is a truly enjoyable collection of Southern folksy horror. Spooky and yet not grossly so. A charming way to spend a dark rainy night.
-Dayna Smith

Happy reading!

Now Out On Kindle!


Dog-Gone Ghost Stories Available Again!

Just published on Kindle, second edition, with all-new full color illustrations by Kai Zweifel-Turner.

 New Orleans, a Ghost, Ouija …What Could Be More Fun?

–from “Looking For The Light”

The planchette spun wildly, moving so rapidly my fingers could barely keep up. Finally it settled on the “yes.”

“Look for the light,” Mark whispered. The planchette shuddered and remained on “yes.”

“Can you see a light?” The lamp behind Madeline flickered and the bulb expired with a soft pop. I moved the planchette to its starting place.

“Can you see a light?”

The plastic triangle vibrated under my fingertips. The little light over the stove dimmed and went out. The planchette began to inch slowly to the left toward the word “no.”

“Look,” Mark said urgently. “Look all around. There must be a light!”

The planchette trembled again and stopped.  The air was electric. My fingers felt cold, bloodless; I felt like I’d been hunched over the little triangle of plastic since the dawn of time.

…and 12 more spooky tales of canine capers, now available!

Don’t have a Kindle e-reader? Get the app for any platform free here!