Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Ode to the Librarian Revised

 Ode to the Librarian

By Mary R. Davidsaver


The forecast calls for a fine hot Iowa day.

Dog walkers pass by on their early rounds.

A dragonfly hovers over my garden.

Gold finches dart between host and nectar plants.

I savor a light caress of coolness,

Before the heaviness of corn sweat descends.


One Monarch touches down on a milkweed leaf.

Then quickly launches itself at another.

I left those “weeds” to stand tall and straight this year.

If prairie winds knock a few down,

I save the leaves to feed caterpillars.

Not so many this season.  


Few found my urban spot.

A small space devoted to Monarchs.

My contribution to raising migration numbers.

This morning I released six new butterflies.

A milestone for this meager year.

I share that on this day of remembrance.


The day we gather to celebrate a life of service.

Honoring a librarian to generations of children.

Who nurtured their curiosity with books.

Gave them a peek into the author’s craft.

Sent them out into a world not of their own making.

They have the chance to challenge, to create, to change.


Six Monarchs flying into the unknown.

Each having the chance to make a difference.

I knew little of the librarian’s life.

Only enough to know she would be pleased.

She always had a ready smile and a kind thought.

Happy to share a moment of joy with any one of us. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

2022 Monarch Releases


I have released 26 Monarchs as of 8/20 with 2 in the chrysalis stage and one still munching on leaves. I have a Monarch momma out in the garden still laying eggs. Which is good since we had a late start to the season in the Davenport, Iowa area because cool spring weather.

I released this year’s first Monarch on 7/25. Last year I had released 23 before that date.

I collect eggs laid outside in my suburban garden dedicated to milkweed and from other people who ask me to take in their eggs.

Last year, I lost a lot of caterpillars with them turning black and dying. I had one with OE. I also had caterpillars parasitized.

This year, I’ve only lost three to turning black and dying: one hatchling, one large cat, one in a chrysalis on the second day. No sign of OE this year. No parasites.

I took in four large cats, close to final stage, just to see how they are doing health wise in the main garden. I believe that is where my failures came from. (I had them isolated in containers.) The hatchling came from nearby and was one of four eggs I hatched. I’m not sure if it died because of something I did or didn’t do. I have had trouble in the past with hatching eggs, leaves drying up too soon. I did better this year with daily moisturizing small individual leaf sections with each egg and placing them on whole leaves, everything stayed viable longer. I then placed the hatchlings on milkweed cuttings I gathered from the yard (escapees from the garden area). This was very much like the racks of test tubes that are sold on some sites, only I’m using small bottles.

I began noticing the differences between caterpillars last year and figured out which ones were going south, or somewhere else. It’s interesting that the majority of my released butterflies this year have been larger females and are not staying around. Out of 26, I’ve seen 5 males. Not like past years at all.

I’ve had a registered Monarch Waystation since 2014 and started raising caterpillars in 2019 when I got tired of not seeing any adult butterflies.

Monday, August 15, 2022

A Review Of: The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing by Richard Hugo


What I want to remember:
"A poem can be said to have two subjects, the initiating or triggering subject, which starts the poem or 'causes' the poem to be written, and the real or generated subject, which the poem comes to say or mean.... [discovery]. C1, P4

"Once you have a certain amount of accumulated technique, you can forget it in the act of writing. Those moves that are naturally yours will stay with you and will come forth mysteriously when needed." C2, P17 [I've tried calling it training the unconscious/subconscious parts of the brain. And yes, they will be there when you need them.]

"No semicolons. Semicolons indicate relationships that only idiots need defined by punctuation. Besides, they are ugly." C5, p40 [:)

Nuts and Bolts, chapter 5, was my favorite chapter.

Chapter 4, page 30, gives us the writing exercise from Hell. Hugo goes on to insist it often got his students to produce their best work.

Other quotes worth remembering:
"You are someone and you have a right to your life." C6, P65
"Writing is a way of saying you and the world have a chance. All art is failure." C7, P72 [Don't be so hard on yourself.]

I found this little book helpful for those occasions when I pretend to be a poet. It's useful for the other times as well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Bouchercon 2022


I’m the author of two cozy mysteries set in the village of Bishop Hill, a former communal society of Swedish immigrants founded in 1846 on the Illinois prairie of Henry County. I consider that place and its history as important to my work as any other character.

I haven’t been to a big mystery-based conference since the solar eclipse almost overlapped Killer Nashville in 2017. I was part of a panel then, I don’t recall the exact title, probably due to the last-minute changes that shuffled me off in a different direction from my original request. I’ve waited months to find out how I’d fare with my Bouchercon 2022 panel placement.

When I first looked through the list of my fellow panel members for the upcoming Bouchercon in Minneapolis, I couldn’t figure out why B. A. Shapiro seemed so familiar. I went to my bookshelf, to the area where I keep the special books, the ones I used for reference, background, and fact checking—and there she was!

The Art Forger was one of the few books I’ve ever allowed myself to mark up. I remembered how her information on noted forgers of the past and the prevalence of forgeries in general were eye opening and aided the development of my forger in Clouds Over Bishop Hill, my first cozy mystery.

I checked through my blog posts and found that Shapiro and The Art Forger came to my attention through a library sponsored book club. I went on to mention her and the book three times on posts between 2014 to 2015, basically the time period between NaNoWriMos, National Novel Writing Months. I credited her with helping me work with POVs and providing some technical terminology. Much needed since I didn’t have a strong background in painting.

This time around I and my book are part of a panel that will discuss the merits of The Mystery of Multiple Points of View and Multiple Timelines.


Along with B.A. Shapiro (The Art Forger), I’ll be sharing space with

Marty Ambrose (Lord Byron Mystery series),

William Boyle (Shoot the Moonlight Out),

Julie Carrick Dalton (Waiting for Night Song),

and Stanley Trollip (Wolfman), as moderator.

[These titles only represent a small sampling.]


This Bouchercon conference might be the best ever for me. I can’t imagine having a better experience than spending quality time with these authors.


Bouchercon 2022 Minneapolis, September 8-11

Find links for Clouds Over Bishop Hill and Shadows Over Bishop Hill at:

Or find me at the conference.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Ode to Rochelle A. Murray, Aug 6, 2022


The forecast calls for a fine hot Iowa day.

Dog walkers pass by. Out for early rounds.

Same with gold finches. A dragonfly hovers over my garden.

All savor the light touch of coolness. Before the heaviness of corn sweat descends.


One Monarch visits the blooming plants. Briefly rests on milkweed leaves.

I left them to stand tall and straight this year.

The prairie winds have knocked a few down. I save the leaves to feed caterpillars.

Not so many this year. Only a few Monarchs found my urban spot.


I devote my small garden to Monarchs.

It’s my contribution to raising the migration.

Today I released six new butterflies.

I share that with you on the day we gather to remember Rochelle.


To celebrate her life of service as a librarian to children.

Who nurtured their curiosity with books. Gave them a peek into the author’s craft.

Then out into a world not of their own making. Six butterflies fly into the unknown.

They all have the chance to challenge to change to make a difference.


I only knew a little of Rochelle’s life.

Just enough to know she would be pleased.

She was always there with a smile and a kind thought.

She’d be happy to share a moment of joy with any one of us.

Releasing a Monarch butterfly at Davenport's Fairmount Library.

July 29, 2018