Posted by: jeannineatkins | June 28, 2010


My friend Michelle Kwasney has been struggling with a terrible case of Lyme disease for too long. She’s had to stop teaching and neurological problems have made writing hard for her, too. Last fall she was unable to do much publicity for her wonderful novel for teens, Blue Plate Special, which is told in three voices, one of which is free verse. Time, money, motivation, creative spirit are all important in how much we can give to writing, but of course health trumps all.

It is wonderful to see Michelle making steps forward, and a few days ago Peg Davol and I were able to visit with her and spend part of an afternoon writing in each other’s company.

Michelle had set out a pretty pitcher of iced tea with sprigs of mint.

“That looks great,” I said.

“I remember coming to your house, and you always put mint from your garden in the tea,” Michelle said. “So I did, too.”

Oh. I’d gotten out of the habit, which she’d carried on. Mint. That cool green, that light scent: just what my work-in-progress, which had been feeling a bit too dark and heavy, needed.

This is one reason why we meet. To remind each other of what one of us offered at one time, and to be offered back in turn. To be reminded, really, of everything.


  1. Thank you for that lovely reminder – of blessings. And you reminded me that Michelle’s newest book is on my list of To Read! Must get to that! 🙂 xo

  2. I love how that sprig of mint blossomed into a reminder of the sweetness of friendship. Now I’ll put mint in my tea and think of you!

  3. of course health trumps all

    Yes. I wish it weren’t so… but yes.

    I’m glad that you and Peg and Michelle were able to celebrate one of the good days. And that she gave that small, fragrant piece of your own life back to you. I’ll think of you all next time I gather mint from the garden.

  4. Debbi, you do so great keeping up with reading, I’m glad to know that even you get back-logged. I did like your nudge toward Jellico Road and really hope to get to that this summer. I think you’ll love Blue Plate Special. The three voices, and how they slowly show connections, is an amazing lesson on structure.

    Meanwhile glad you are enjoying C!

  5. Thanks, Lorraine: and there always does seem to be plenty of mint!

    (my sister tells me her children do not appreciate it in the tabouli)

    Hope your summer is going well, and that will can share a virtual porch and minted ice tea soon!

  6. Yes, we’ve been perched, waiting for a good day, and so happy to nab one with more I hope on the horizon. I’m glad you’re still finding your way around a new garden: mine is turning into its familiarly out of control state now that the air is steamy.

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