I have never met Cynthia Newberry Martin, but it seems like I’ve always known her from perusing her blog she describes as “a net for catching days.” I’ve rarely missed a post since I first read Catching Days and almost always leave a comment. But there have been times I sat in stunned silence and did not respond.
On February 21, 2011, Cynthia posted “Obsessions” and I’ve been unable to shake off her words since that day. In a short, simple post she depicted many of her obsessions:
Pine trees that are all wiry and taller than the other trees so they stick out, different textures coming together, abandoned things and places, stairs and thresholds, rainy days and fog, sunrises and sunsets, doors and windows, trains and tracks, lines of laundry, row houses, fall leaves, a full moon, the ocean …
She followed with photographs to match her words and asked, “What’s on your list?” Awestruck, I could only stare at the pictures. But her words tracked me from winter into spring and then summer and coaxed me to pay close attention to numerous obsessions of my own:
Southern live oaks with thick biceps and elbows, weathered tin roofs atop century-old houses and barns, horse stalls and walking wheels, back roads and antique malls, small-town squares with a courthouse and bookstore, sidewalks and trails, soaring hawks, still owls, an elusive chicken in my yard, Louisiana sunsets …
Cynthia illustrated a blog post need not be long to be potent. Like a riveting poem, story, or essay, it must portray its subject from another perspective, leave us changed, educated, inspired—amazed. Always written with care and revised as if the editor of your favorite literary journal may read it.
I cheered when Catching Days’ author became Review Editor at Contrary and co-editor of Hunger Mountain’s new section, “The Writing Life.” As she continues to grow as a writer on a trek towards an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I look forward to tagging along on her journey as she fills her net, and I fill mine, with more and more days.