Ojai love

We spent this last weekend with our friends in Ojai. She and I met way back in 1961 when I first moved to Los Angeles. Ironically we were introduced by my ex-husband and his family. Though my first marriage broke apart, our friendship has lived on with increasing love all these years. I always say she was my first friend in LA. We drove up during the rain on Saturday and I was overwhelmed by the brilliant shades of greens in the landscape around us. Usually the land is dry and brown. But not this year because of all the rain we've had. We spent our time together eating and talking and talking and eating, walking around downtown Ojai, shopping for orchids at the Farmers' Market, and finally hugging and kissing goodbye Sunday afternoon. We are so fortunate to have long-time friends who we stay in touch with and who we have loved all these years. I also took a four-mile walk on Sunday morning on my own. You know me by now. I find a way to exercise every chance I get. Here are a … [Read more...]

Finding love and Michael French

Today I'm participating in a group blogging! WOW! Women On Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about finding love in unimaginable places. Why this topic? We're celebrating the release of Michael French's twenty-fourth novel. Once Upon a Lie (Terra Nova Books) is an exploration of the secrets families keep, and the ways those secrets can tear a family apart. Visit The Muffin to read what Michael has to say on finding love in unexpected places and view the list of all my blogging buddies. Visit Michael's website  to find out more about the author. We also have a review of the novel here (and a giveaway). So I've decided to post a couple of poems as my contribution to the topic of "finding love in unimaginable places." One is about the night my husband and I fell in love (it appears in my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On): Forty (plus) Years He folds her in his arms and looks down at her with his deep blue eyes and a small, closed-mouth smile that … [Read more...]

A wonderful 5-star review

Thank you so much for this great review of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide. That makes 206 reviews total, with 66 percent of them with five stars. This review made my day. "as she explores on the page what it is like to attempt to create normalcy within a family life ... Exploring the real life story of the unspeakable tragedy of losing a son to suicide, author Madeline Sharples has written an affecting and heart wrenching memoir entitled LEAVING THE HALL LIGHT ON. A deeply personal and first hand account of struggling with her son’s battle with bipolar disorder and the effect on the family, the memoir delves deeply within the author’s consciousness, as she explores on the page what it is like to attempt to create normalcy within a family life where little exists. She tells her story with courage and abiding honesty never shirking from the hard truths of a life filled with s … [Read more...]

The April PAD challenge ends today

I feel so accomplished. I finished Robert Lee Brewer's April 2016 poem-a-day (PAD) challenge – 30 days of prompts from the Poetic Asides editor at Writer's Digest. Robert's prompts are a little out there but always a challenge, meant to find the quirkiness in my brain. Here are a few of my favorite ones this month, with my poem responses. 6. Write an ekphrastic poem. An ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired by art. You can pick your own favorite piece of art if you wish. Or you can use one of the examples below: Frieda Kahlo How could I not write about Frieda Kahlo? That little dark-haired woman With eyebrows that kiss at the center of her forehead Just above her nose, And a mustache hint on her upper lips. Here she lies prone on sand and shells, A vessel to promote life, The roots and leaves growing wildly From her open chest. I’ve also seen her with a necklace of thorns The blood seeping slowly down her neck. 16. Write a poem about (or at) a food establis … [Read more...]