Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Sometimes I don't have words. Not because a particular event has stolen them or left me bereft—although that can happen, also—no, instead, it's because there aren't any. I wander around the empty halls of my echoing imagination with only my steps disappearing in the silence.

No panicking. Been through this before. The words will come. They always do. I can feel them out there in the shadows, lurking in the woods, obscured by the clouds in the rose-tinged sky. But they will return. Probably late in the night or early in the morning or at a wedding or maybe the dentist—wherever it's most inconvenient. The words are like that. They require inconvenience and sometimes sacrifice.

Everything good requires a price. The price is what makes such things valuable. If we don't pay for what we have, how then do we know its value? That is a hard truth, but it is wisdom of a sort.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Excerpt from Undying

By Stephen B. Bagley

In the failure of his life,
he stirred the ashes,
recognizing each mistake,
his lover there,
his career here,
his hopes scattered
by the brutal wind.

He stood and spread his arms.
His hands couldn’t hold
—he dropped them.
His tongue couldn’t speak
—he spit it out.
His skin flawed and torn
—he sloughed it away.

That which he didn’t need
he would not keep;
all things have a time,
even humanity.

He raised tentacles
to the night sky,
roared his fury
as the ravens circled above,
craned his sinuous neck
to see the town below.

His lipless mouth
curved into a smile.
She would wake to terror,
she would see her unfaithful heart
beating in his grasp,
and her screams would be his lullaby.

(Excerpt from Undying. Copyright 2016 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.  No copying without prior permission of the publisher.)

Friday, January 20, 2017


How are you doing on your writing goals this week? I confess here that it's been a struggle for me this week. I've been really sick: sinus infection, IBD flare, diabetes blood sugar climb, and finally a bad recurrence of my spine troubles. Not fun. And it made it hard to write—it made it hard to even want to write.

Life is like that. It doesn't give way to our plans. Always tasks and problems will leap up to beat us back. It is easy, understandable, and maybe even correct to fall back at times. But the problem with retreat remains that we might not advance again....

I see it all the time. A person drops out of college for good reasons and says she will go next year--but she doesn't. A person doesn't pursue a romantic relationship because he doesn't have time now and will later--but years past and he never found the time. A writer will write tomorrow or next week or as soon as the kids leave home or when retirement rolls around—but the stories don't get told.

We have to be writers in the present. Not writers tomorrow or next week, but now. Now despite everything else before us. That's what I tell myself in weeks like this. Writers write. To be a writer—to be truly committed to what I believe is my vocation in life—I have to write.

Even in the weeks when I struggle...I have to write. And every word is a victory, a confirmation of what I believe about my calling in life.

Writers write.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Second Week

Made all these goals last week when I was filled with the excitement of the new year. Still have some of that, but the shiny is wearing off. It's the beginning of the slog, the necessary trudging that new habits require to fasten into place. This is the place where people give up, make excuses, fall gratefully back into the familiar, the safe, the rut.

It's easy to do. Our old habits are fighting back. We have our reasons, our excuses, our justifications: We're busy, we're tired, we're not good enough, we're too old, we're too young, next week we'll do better, next month we line ourselves back up. Who do we think we are, anyway?

The days flee by, and soon we're staring at another new year and think, "I didn't change last year so why should this new year be any different?" And we sink back with our regrets and chocolates and TV remotes, and in the end, that's our life.

Or...maybe...we can choose something different. We can make one new habit each month. One good habit. We can recycle cans, give up sugary soft drinks, send money to our favorite charity, write a letter of praise to a friend, sing happily at church, volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate clothes to the homeless shelter, hug those who will be hugged, pray for those who need to know someone is praying, check out books from the library, aid the literary council, walk 15 minutes in the sunshine, sincerely compliment one person a day for a week, be kind in real ways, be a listening ear and offer a caring heart...oh, the world has such needs and we can't fulfill them because we're just ourselves, but we can do what we can.

It's not such a hard thing to change things when you look at it like that--just one new good habit a month for a year. And that good year would be followed by another and another and another, and then at the end, it would be a good life. A very good life.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Setting goals

It's been a strange past two weeks. Well, maybe not strange. Just different enough to keep me busy and unable to focus on my plan for the year.

Today I celebrated my last 2016 Christmas with my roomie and his family. It was a great, busy day. My house still needs to be put back into shape--and I don't want to think about my kitchen--but I wanted to take a moment or two to discuss my plans for 2017 before the first week ends in a few minutes.

Here are my goals:

-- Get new glasses.
-- Get my diabetes under control.
-- Exercise daily.
-- Take my meds regularly.
-- Control my meals.
-- See a dentist regularly.

-- Read at least two books a month.
-- Continue learning about art.
-- Finish one of the Great Courses.
-- Keep my budget under control.

-- Post on this blog at least once a week for the entire year.
-- Post on Stephen B. Bagley Books blog at least once a week for the entire year.
-- Publish Floozy Comes Back.
-- Publish Murder by the Mile.
-- Query three magazines for articles or essays.
-- Publish on Kindle six short stories.
-- Submit six short stories to traditional markets.
-- Start a new book.
-- Writing group meeting once a month (weather permitting).

It's going to be a busy year! But a productive, wonderful year! I hope yours is, too!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope 2017 for you is filled with good health, wealthy sufficient for your needs and a few luxuries, solutions to your worries, peace to quiet any anxious thoughts, love unconditional, sweet laughter, and much joy!