March 26-April 8, 2007: Diana M. Raab and Billy Howell Sinnard

week of March 26-April 8, 2007

Diana M Raab and Billy Howell Sinnard

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Diana M Raab

Bio (auto)

Diana M Raab, M.F.A , essayist, memoirist teaches journaling, essay and memoir at The University of California, Santa Barbara Extension She is a regular contributor to, an online magazine for writers She also teaches journaling to high-risk kids in the community She is on The Board of the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival Her writing has appeared or will soon appear in The Louisville Review, Frostproof Review, Palo Alto Review, The Trunk, Authorship, Red River Review, Survivor Stories, Ophelia Speaks, Rosebud, A Treasury of American Poetry III, Genie, The Binnacle, The Angry Poet, Tapestries Anthology,, Samizdada, Red Hawk Review, Coastal Woman, Facets Literary Magazine, Shemom, Rosebud, Poetry Soup, Women’s Writing Salon and Writers’ Journal In 1992, her book, Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant: Overcoming Infertility and High Risk Pregnancy, won the Benjamin Franklin Book Award for Best Health and Wellness Book It has been translated into French and Spanish The book is still in print Her poetry chapbook, My Muse Undresses Me, is forthcoming from Pudding House Publications in early 2007 Her biography, Regina’s Closet: A Granddaughter Discovers Her Grandmother’s Secret Journal, is forthcoming from Beaufort books in late 2007 She has two non-fiction books-in-progress, a memoir, Writing Out Loud: An Author’s Breast Cancer Story and ME: My Teen Life, and an inspirational book for teenagers
For more information, please visit her website:

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Diana M Raab and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Sketch of a Writer’s Studio

Empty coffee-imbued mugs,
remnants of tea leaves
in blue Chinese tea pots,

a dimly lit purple lamp,
stacks of crinkled purple file folders
busting with shreds of wisdom,

dusty antique typewriters interspersed
with writing manuals and memoirs
once alphabetical, photos of my loved ones,

both here and gone, faded artistry of daughters
now on their own, a reading chair
beside a purple orchid crowded by

a crooked pile of books laden with stickers
on their best pages, purple pens
and yellow highlighters

clinging as bookmarks, pads of notes,
boxes of dated journals,
tins of obsolete manuscripts

flipped open for ideas,
scented creativity candles,
a sunburst mirror with an image

of the back of a computer screen,
paned doors facing the outside
water fountain shared with hummingbirds

and rabbits nibbling at fallen rose petals An Oriental end table harbors
a pen collection beside a floor heater

to dry the tears which pour from me
as this gel pen negotiates its flow


We share everything,
except of course, my love
and the chocolate bar
hidden in my bedside drawer He stretches up to the side
of my bed to say good morning,

before I slide into my duck slippers
that he nibbles on my stroll to the bathroom Together we walk to the balcony and down the stairs
to the garden so he can do his business
He jolts at the slightest rustling in the bush,
or bird chirping, ears sharp like
the razor my love uses each morning We run back inside, me to push the button
for my morning espresso,  he for the treat

he knows waits in the cabinet beneath
the kitchen sink beside his dog food He scrutinizes every movement of mine When I go to the windowsill where

his leash awaits, he wags his tail
and stares up at me with an equal amount
of adoration and anticipation Then
he turns upside down and I rub
his tummy and say let’s go.

I Must Have Been Chinese in a Past Life

Like the Chinese I have this perpetual
habit of asking people their vital numbers—
birthday, phone number and address,
as if their answers provide the window
into their soul and personality, or maybe
it’s just that number patterns offer me
a sort of internal solace
They say the number eight
is the most fortuitous of numbers,
to mathematicians, a composite
and power of two, and for skaters like me,
constitutes the geometric shape
of compulsory figures drawn to three
times one’s height, like at the rink

I frequented as a kid five times a week
for skating lessons with Vera, the instructor
with the leather strap terrorizing me
into making the most perfect eight of all,
even better than the ones in my hand
of cards Grandma dealt during
our nightly game of crazy eights
It’s no wonder that today when buying
shiny silver bangles, I counted not seven
or nine, but eight, the number which pledges
to bring good luck and power and maybe
one of those “After Eight” chocolates
which mom bought me for my birthday
the year before she died.

Billy Howell Sinnard

Bio (auto)

My name is Billy Howell Sinnard I live in Kaunakakai, Hawaii I’ve taken up writing late in life The Eskimos say if you want a vision, hang yourself and have someone cut you down just before you die, then tell everyone what you saw I guess that’s what I did for the first half of my life.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Billy Howell Sinnard and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Sitting In The Dark

You looked up and down the street,
then back to the door, knocked again,

examined it for a flaw in construction
or trick to gain entry Standing on tiptoe,

you nosed the window, maybe the curtains
had parted enough to catch me running

to hide When I heard gears drop
into drive, acceleration, then silence,

I opened the door, stepped outside,
looked to where you’d been.

The Minute Affair

She rolls a fat pen
in her ringed fingers.

Released from the dark,
tulip buds strain at green

prisons The pen is
so large for such small

hands She likes
the solidness.

The grip is ridged
rubber Our eyes

swap secrets Her blackened thumb

presses on the pen tip
as if it’s a thorn

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