Blogging in December

“My 1946 Smith-Corona Super-Speed” (photo by m.a.h. hinton)

December has arrived in the North Country. Not with the usual cold and snow this year. But warm and mild. We know the other proverbial shoe will drop, but for now we enjoy days of light jackets and sweatshirts.

My second-story office where I write has two large windows that look over our backyard and the dozen other backyards on our suburban block. On summer mornings it is light enough outside to enjoy the view of trees and birds. In winter, it is too dark for that until it is almost time to go to work.

Out of habit, even on weekends, I am usually up between 5:00 and 5:30 and sitting at my desk with my coffee trying my best to write.

I am not sure how it is for other writers, but for me this is my favorite time of day. I have a quiet mind, feel appreciative of all that I have been given, and have hope. For one burdened by nature and genetics with depression, morning tides of hope are a precious gift.

On my desk is a typewriter, a college-lined journal, and a computer. Three ways for me to write, depending on my mood or current inclination.

Also on my desk are the silly and meaningful things that I have collected as talismans and memories over the years: a rock from Sedona, Arizona and one from where the Brule River empties into Lake Superior; a shell from Padre Island; an “antique” picture of my brother Paul and I dressed as outlaws taken in Virginia City, Montana, 35 years ago; a shadow box with patches from the few countries I have visited; action figures of captains Kirk and Picard; a Zippy the Pinhead coffee mug filled with pencils, pens, and a pair of scissors; a ceramic Charlie Russell coaster; my coffee cup; and a rotating stack of books that I am currently working through. Everything I need to write.

Some mornings the writing is easier than other mornings. On the days when it is more difficult I usually end up working on this blog or tweaking some poems.

My silent times here are usually because my other writing projects are going well. Or because I feel I have “extra” time to work on ClimbingSky.

December has arrived. Tomorrow is the first day of Advent.



“Writing Life” (by m.a.h. hinton)

A year ago, I made a decision to do something with decades worth of poems scattered in computer files and old journals. Instead of letting them just gather dust, or be lost, or thrown away as I had been doing for 30 years, I decided to try sending them out.

In the last year, the following publishers have done me the honor of publishing my work. I thank them all.

Published in Last 12 Months


Writing can be a lonely habit. Some writers join writer’s groups or go to workshops or get MFAs. I have chosen to do it in a more solitary way.

There are advantages and disadvantages to trying to write in the way that was chosen for me. I say “chosen for me” because my I am not a by nature a joiner. I could not have done it any other way. I am most comfortable when by myself or with just a few others at a time from my small group of friends and family members.

The advantage is that I think I have developed a style of writing that works for me. The disadvantage is that I will always be blind and deaf to what I cannot see or hear. I am an audience of one. Everything I write is limited by and only as good as that flawed and imperfect audience of one can see or hear.

This blog, as irregular as it is, is the one outlet I have for trying things out. That is why I want to thank those of you who stop by here every now and then. Please know that I appreciate it very much.



Poem: “Lashing Out”

“H.H.H.” (photo by m.a.h. hinton)

by M.A.H. Hinton

and what is this?

another flirtation
with the absurd?

each day
it is the same

the cartoon conman
lashing out
at a world
that has figured him out

his followers
willing to believe
even the craziest
of things

and those
chosen to lead
for more ways
to line
their donors’ pockets


Morning Time

“St. Francis” (photo by m.a.h. hinton)

It has been a few weeks of silence here at ClimbingSky. My writing energies, such as they are, have been otherwise engaged.

I write primarily in the mornings. In the two hours I have between getting up and having to go to work. The coming cold has made getting up in the mornings more difficult, cutting two hours to something closer to one-and-half, and even one sometimes.

I need to write from silence. The kind of silence that comes best in the mornings before I have heard the voice of others. And so began my habit long ago of getting up early, making coffee, and sitting down to write, to read, and to listen.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a silent retreat to a Franciscan retreat center. Reminding me yet again that the silence of the poet and the mystic are the same, for both are prayer.

My work-a-day world wears on me sometimes. It is something that easily make me feel far removed from my “true self” (Merton). My listening mornings help to ground and center me.

I appreciate those of you who take the time to occasionally stop by here. I wish for you peace and plenty of listening time in your lives.