Writing at the Ledges  | Mid-Michigan Authors & Poets

C. J. Tody

Click here to visit Carey’s Castle

Click here to check out my poetry book Firelight on Bookrix


Overall, creative… C.J. is a multimedia artist, personal and professional performance consultant, human resource development professional and ’DreamSculpting Interactive’ faculty.  She embraces experiential ‘excursions’ into creative discovery to guide the serial reinvention we often need to navigate a focused transition, which is the substance of some of her nonfiction and fiction.

“Knew I was a writer when – trapped in the annex of an old antique shop during a college program peering tediously through filtered lace at the nearby castle with nothing for my entertainment but imagination – I began a story about an antique doll who escapes down the underlying tunnels into a world of adventure.“

“Also enjoy spending time with family, developing youth assets, designing, sculpting mixed media into functional form, globetrotting, reading, dancing, variety, and painting.  Here are samples…

MOMMY EARS excerpt

The deepest love of all                                        Yes, It takes a dose
is to set yourself aside                                        of love and strength,
to answer a young child’s need.                        the courage to believe,
.                                                                         …And most of all,
.                                                                         a set of Mommy Ears!

WHERE? excerpt

Where are you, O, my love, my one,
Who comes a friend and never leaves?
Are you figment or do you breathe,
A vulnerable soul in warm solid flesh?

I know you deep inside, you know …
You can’t elude unconscious flow,
You mean too much to me to forget,
Deep, ‘way deep, where I see you yet.

Hidden  under sparkling, image-rich sleep,
I touch your temple, remove its tension,
Transform a sparkle, brush into your eye.
Where are you, O, beloved one?

‘Escape’, a passage from TreasR Mtn, the Enchanted World of P…

Shielded from the view of prying eyes, he slept peacefully behind the curtain of an upstairs window.  Thirsty gulps belied his calm outward composure as he breathed fresh air.  Restless grunts and moans gave away his turmoil.  As he napped, he dreamed…

Shadowy memories flooded his dream world.  Once again a child of three, Blackberry Brambles ran through the night.  With all his sturdy strength he pumped his short legs in an all-or-nothing effort to escape his old adversary, the storm which only a short time ago killed his parents.  Beside him ran their nurse clutching wiggly bundles of babies under both arms.

Suddenly he was alone, immersed in the boiling fury keeping pace overhead.

Sweeping his agile little body side to side, he zigzagged like ricrac down the dark country lane.  He ran wildly, desperately racing to outwit the fiery monster.

Suddenly he noticed an airborne light a few inches ahead, shining hazily through oppressive darkness. As he ran the dim outline grew bolder. As fast as his short legs allowed he followed, traced its path through the fiery fog.  Lightning split the darkness around him, struck a nearby branch, illuminated the lane ahead. His only hope, the tiny light vanished into the glare.

His heart pounded in his ears.  Desire for escape filled his entire being. Simultaneously, ancient sensations activated by the hazy light crept over him and, strangely enough, hope mingled with his numbing fear.  Blackberry leapt sidewise and escaped into shadow.

Lost.  Alone… so DARK!  Berry ran so fast he almost flew.

“Hmm…,” he managed a thought or two between strides. His pursuer, the storm cloud, lagged behind just long enough to allow a vague sense of comfort to surface in the little boy, blanketing his inner turbulence. His mind cleared slightly and he uttered, “I know the light…like starlight?  Star fawl down? “

Notes from a long-forgotten nursery tune swept his memory.  He felt a hot pressure, as if he were once more wrapped tightly against nurse.  Silent words flowed through him.  “… ol’ song, ‘bout my…my heart, ‘bout follow’n…a star?”

Desperately he whirled, searched, spotted the little light flickering faintly off to one side in a brushy clump of dense brush.  Berry lunged for a handful of foliage.  He wiggled inside the bushes and, carried by escape momentum, rolled over and over.  Every time he crushed the soggy little creature inside his backpack, great spattering raindrops squeezed out. Tabitha Teddybye lay quietly inside the pack, as the star-like light settled near Berry’s pajama-clad arm…

But then the storm found him again.  Suddenly hundreds of writhing, jumping, rebounding, electric, snakelike lightning bolts forked to the ground around Berry, lit the air as bright as noonday.  Tension mounted.  Fear slashed at his heart with every flash, as if the tines of a fork pierced him.

Around him rose bright flames, spreading danger on every side.  Without thinking, out flashed his hand to grab at a haloed bit of moving fluff.  Just as he did so, away from the inferno he sped, fastened for dear life to the tail of a sooty, fleeing jackrabbit with his kicking legs waved in the air like a kite tail on a blustery day.

Fragments of exploding rock blasted his leather slippers to bits.  Flames blistered his bare toes; wind and rain battered them raw.  Fiery, whirling winds whipped and battered his wet, soggy robe.  Falling cinders singed the seat of his silk overalls and the back of his hair.  Yet he ran on, seeking safety at last…

From the safety of his window seat Berry shivered slightly, as if he still wore the soggy clothing.  Then the sound of a bicycle horn roared under the window and he awoke with a blam, wham jump-up start.  Cobwebs cleared his mind as he jolted alive again to welcome his new friend Kerri into the bedroom now bathed in the last rays of a dimly dying sunset.

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