Friday, February 25, 2011

And Now For Something Competely Different

When the student is ready, the teacher appears

By Hank Phillippi Ryan

So we’re talking about resolutions. I’m in the midst of writing a new novel. Almost, almost finished! And semi-frantically wondering what will happen. I think--I HAVE TO FINISH! And then I realize—it’ll be done when it’s done.

So I’ve “resolved”—maybe, “decided to allow,” is there a word for that?-- to discover the flow, and be there. And as sometimes happens, just when I needed it, I found this.

Does that happen to you too?

Maybe this is one of those times.

Learning the Characters (Yue Liang — The Moon) by Koeeoaddi

My hand,
stiff as horsehair
falters and balks.

"The moon," he tells me
and draws the lines.
Listen to me.

I grind the ink,
look into the wet black slab
but see no sky.
I worry my hand
across the page
the sun fastened tight
to obstinate dusk.

"Watch" he insists.
His lesson forms
in rock and light.
I retrace his strokes,
and he smiles —
my crude moon
climbs a crumpled sky.

But later
alone at my desk,
I sketch the spiny shadow
of the asparagus fern,
a cat on the sill
looking into the night

And the moon blooms
like an orchid
my astonished brush.


Agatha, Anthony and Macavity-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan is the investigative reporter for Boston's NBC affiliate. She’s won 26 EMMYs and dozens of other journalism honors.

Her debut PRIME TIME, won the Agatha Award, and was nominated for two RITAs. FACE TIME and AIR TIME are IMBA bestsellers, with AIR TIME nominated for the Agatha and Anthony. (Sue Grafton says: "This is first-class entertainment.") DRIVE TIME's Library Journal starred review says “puts Ryan in a league with Lisa Scottoline.”

DRIVE TIME is now a nominee for the AGATHA AWARD for Best Mystery Novel of 2010!

Hank's short story “On the House” won the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity nominee.

She’s on the board for New England Sisters in Crime and the national board of MWA.


  1. Love love love THIS!!! Oh, Hank, thank you so much for sharing. What a gorgeous poem and EXACTLY what I need to remember . . . . over again each time, it seems!

  2. Going with the flow isn't always easy for me either, especially when the end of the book is in sight!

  3. Yes, it's kind of interesting..sometimes letting go..without "letting go"--is exactly what we need. But sometimes that's the most difficult thing.

  4. Love this! I'm working on a project now and I'm getting kind of anxious to figure out what the darn thing is about.... I sooo needed this today!

  5. I'd like to astonish my keyboard. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. You said it, Hank: it'll be done when it's done! I finally turned in a revision that took a little more time than I would have liked. But I needed every day that I had to figure things out and get it right. Love the poem, too! Good luck with your WIP. :-)

  7. Thanks so much, Hank. I think what you wrote resonates with many of us... This is one of those lessons we have to keep learning over and over again, isn't it? :) Best of luck with your new novel!