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Many websites are blacked out today to protest proposed U.S. legislation that threatens internet freedom: the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). From personal blogs to giants like WordPress and Wikipedia, sites all over the web — including this one — are asking you to help stop this dangerous legislation from being passed. Please watch the video below to learn how this legislation will affect internet freedom, then scroll down to take action.

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The political world is quite like the poetry world. After about 15 minutes of trying to participate in either one, you start wondering where the adults are.( Carter Monroe)  .The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness. ( Christopher Morley ) To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ( Ralph Waldo Emerson) Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.(Leo F. BuscagliaThe happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts. Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good company, good conversation, are the happiest people in the world. And they are not only happy in themselves, they are the cause of happiness in others.(William PhelpsAlways dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.  Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)  Creativity is seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how to bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.” (Michele Shea) To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.(Milan Kundera)

My husband  and I returned late yesterday afternoon from a short trip from Winston-Salem to West Virginia.  (See map)   The purpose of the trip was to enjoy the fall color, which was abundant although past its peak at the highest elevations.

Our first stop was Thurmond, just north of Beckley on Highway 19 in the West Virginia coal mining district of Fayette County.  (See map)  We enjoyed  a good museum in the old depot  and a short walk to the abandoned building of the old railroad town.

Our next stop, still in the New River Gorge and also on the map, was Hawks Nest State Park.  Here the view was panoramic.

Then we made the long drive from Fayette County through beautiful mountain color to Pocahontas County (See county map to show distance) and the Morning Glory Inn where we stayed in Room 203.  This put us close to our Tuesday destination–the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.  (See Map)

We arrived at Cass before ten on Tuesday morning and were able to tour the engine shops, including one where an old Heisler is being completely rebuilt, before we caught the noon train for the  four and a half hour ride up to Bald Knob and back with a stop midway at Whittacker StationShay #6 was our engine. The wooded mountain was covered with fall color, red berries on the Mountain Ash, rocks, evergreens, moss, and yellow flowering ferns.  We brought our lunch and ate on the train.  We ate supper at the Last Run Restaurant before leaving about 6 pm to head back to the Morning Glory Bed and Breakfast.

Wednesday morning, the sky threatened rain, and we had heard rumors of snow flurries that turned out to be false.  After breakfast, we left about nine for the long but beautiful drive home.   We had mist and light rain, but nothing to spoil our view.  On our way home, we stopped at Shelton Vineyards near Mt. Airy, NC.  for a tour, wine tasting, and to pick up a couple of bottles of wine.  Then we returned home, satisfied with a fun, three-day trip.

Bill and I left home Tuesday May 3 and returned last night about 10 pm,

and while we visited Bill’s family in Knoxville, TN and mine in Joplin, MO,

while we celebrated Mother’s Day and my Mother’s 90th Birthday, with High Tea (Thanks to Pam Howerton, Kim Jones, Amy DeArmond, and Amanda Stone)

while I read at the Main Street Rag Showcase at the Writer’s Place in Kansas City with Paul Corman-Roberts (Thanks to Shawn Pavey)

while we chased trains and traveled home,

the Winston-Salem Journal ran a feature article in Relish on me and the publication of my new book Seriously Dangerous, (Thanks to free lance writer Andrea Brill)

Willows Wept Review published my poem, “What People Do,”    (Thanks to editor Troy Urquhart)

Rusty Truck published two poems, “The egg that flew out of the bush,” and “Ode to Niceness, Low & High,”    (Thanks to editor Scot Young.)

The Wild Goose Poetry Review published a poem, “Of Summer Lovers, Winter Storm-Clouds,”  (Thanks to editor Scott Owens) and the first full length review of Seriously Dangerous by a literary magazine, (Thanks to reviewer-poet Nancy Posey)

and I was invited to read (as one two featured writers) at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill on August 11.  (Thanks to Stan Absher and Debra Kaufman).   YES!

Life is good,

and while we were gone, the earth did not stand still.  Imagine that.  🙂

I have a poem on Life in Forsyth.  Thank you, Lucy Cash.

Poet Nancy Simpson has posted three more of my poems at Living Above the Frost Line, where I am Poet of the Month for February.

The first poems she posted are here, in case you missed them.

Many thanks to Nancy Simpson.


Okay, so it’s been a while since I posted.

After “Corn Ride” was published in the Summer 2010 Willows Wept Review, Eric Dieterle posted some kind comments concerning the poem.


My short story, “Memories of a Joplin Bum,” was published in Fried Chicken and Coffee.


Remember Miki, the French artist who lives in Spain?  I wrote ekphrasic poems to several of her lovely paintings a few years ago.

Well, Miki and her friends have started a site, Eastelspace. com, where poets and artist can meet.  I joined at Miki’s invitation.

And Miki created a picture, “Helen Losse,” to which I replied with a poem, “Helen Walks In the Mountains.” Scroll down to read the poem.


Three of my poems have been published in Poets For Living Waters.


And last night I found out my poem, “It should be obvious,” has been nominated by Redheaded Stepchild for a Best of the Net Award.


Meanwhile, I’ve submitted Seriously Dangerous for consideration for publication, given thought to the Dead Mule’s nominations for Best of the Net, written a few new poems and submitted a couple.

I‘ll be reading from Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) at the Tate Street Coffeehouse in Greensboro, NC next Saturday.  So join me (in the open mic), if you can. I’ll also be reading at the East Bay Meeting House in Charleston, SC  (Monday Night Blues) on September 27. I’ll have copies of Better With Friends for sale at both locations.

Another possible event is in the planning stage.  🙂


And it’s almost time to get back to work accepting more great poetry for the Dead Mule.  Next poetry issue goes live October 5.  Bye, bye, sabbatical.  🙂  Bring on the fall.


Everyday—even on sabbatical—I check my in-box for the Dead Mule.  But it isn’t everyday that we get fan mail.  In fact, fan mail comes infrequently enough that it is worth writing about.

I will respect the privacy of the young woman who wrote the note to the Mule, but I will include in full—minus her name—my response to her note in hopes that a part of it might serve as a reminder to all writers and potential writers.   That sentence is in bold type below.

Hi N—,

Thanks for your kind comments about one of our summer chapbooks.  We at the Dead Mule are happy you enjoyed the poems by CL Bledsoe and will pass your comment along to him.  Writers are always glad to know their work has been meaningful to someone, and publishers and editors are glad that work was presented by their magazine.

Why don’t you try writing about your Dad, and maybe your Mom. too?  You never know what you will come up with when you start writing.  Every famous poem or story began with a blank sheet of paper.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer.

All the Best,
Helen Losse
Valerie Mac Ewan


The Dead Mule has enough stories, essays, and poems (including four chapbooks) to keep most of us busy all summer long.  More stories and essays will be added from time to time, and a full issue of poems will be posted on October 5.

Submissions for short (500word) stories and nonfiction are open.  Poetry submissions will open again after the first of the year.  Until then, enjoy the many poems from out already-full in-box.

Consideration for the Dead Mule submissions for Best of the Net is underway.  We’ll make those announcements in August or September.

Thumbnail for version as of 12:04, 22 January 2006

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Today Windows Toward the World turns four.   So Happy Blogiversary to my blog from me!

Another fine issue of the Dead Mule—with poems from Philip DeLoach, Warren Gossett, Charlotte Hamrick, Kevin Cutrer, Mark Folse, Patricia L. Johnson, Anthony Robbins, Donald Harbour, Scott Whitaker, Joseph  Olschner, Anderson O’Brien and Lana Maht Wiggins—has just gone live.  Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

January 2023