New Author Webpage

Meanderings and Muses isn't going anywhere.


I do have a new webpage which will focus mostly on my writing.

If you're interested in reading more about my books, anthologies, and events, please click over to "Kaye Wilkinson Barley"

There are even a few videos of me reading from "Whimsey: A Novel," and from other favorite authors' work.

With more videos still to come.

The new page is a work in progress with plans for still more to come
- I'm just still trying to figure out exactly what that might be -
so check back from time to time, please.

See you there!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Batter Up by Twist Phelan

A Stanford graduate and former plaintiff's trial lawyer (her specialty was suing middle-aged white guys who stole other people's money), Twist Phelan writes critically-acclaimed and award- winning (including the ITW Thriller Award) short stories and the legal-themed Pinnacle Peak mystery series (Poisoned Pen Press). She is currently at work on a suspense novel set in the business world.

Batter Up
by Twist Phelan

I changed into my uniform in the umpires’ locker room—the one for players is boys-only. Everything was major league issue, from my cap and sunglasses to my uniform pants and cleats. I was pleased to see “Twist” instead of “Phelan” on the back of my jersey, and my bat had my name engraved on it, too. I even wore official boxer-briefs with the team name stitched on the waistband. I used the athletic cup as a dish to hold my sunflower seeds.

I trotted onto the field across the lush manicured grass as my name flashed on the JumboTron. I high-fived my teammates and stood on the first baseline for the National Anthem. Then it was fly ball drills, followed by fielding, pitching, and hitting.

When I received the invitation to attend batting practice this summer with the Colorado Rockies, I was over the moon. I’ve been a baseball fan since high school, when I cut class for the first and only time to see the Oakland A’s play in the World Series. When I lived in Arizona I followed the Diamondbacks, and now that Colorado is home, I root for the Rockies. 

Practice was a humbling experience. Catching fly balls that rocketed skyward from the ball machine like cruise missiles was next to impossible. Despite the help of a fielding coach, I missed every one. I have new respect for the guys who do it while 40,000 fans scream at them. The sun really does get in your eyes.

Playing shortstop went a little better. I dove for a line drive—not only did I stop the ball, but I got my uniform dirty. Pitching was fine. The coach was impressed—okay, surprised—that I had a leg kick and could throw it over the plate.

Hitting was the highpoint. I mashed two balls (out of six) into the outfield off a former pitcher for the SF Giants. Granted he wasn’t throwing heat (lukewarm would be a charitable description; around 70 mph) and I’m sure twenty-five years of playing polo have sharpened my hit-ball-with-stick reflexes, but it was still a heady moment.

I refused to change out of my uniform after practice and stopped for a half-dozen unnecessary errands on the way home. En route, I thought about Marianne Moore’s poem Baseball and Writing. It opens:

Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting
and baseball is like writing.
              You can never tell with either
                          how it will go
                          or what you will do;
              generating excitement—
              a fever in the victim—

I have been feeling the fever lately as words fly onto pages like balls fly into fielder’s gloves. Like a team manager, I have a game plan for my writing. And as happens in baseball, it doesn’t always work out—plots go into extra innings, a new character is sent in for relief, computers break when you’re at bat, the batting order of projects must be shuffled. Still, I wouldn’t play any other game, on or off the field. And in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t sleep in my uniform. Well, maybe just the jersey.


Kaye Barley said...

Twist, Hi & Welcome!

I ALWAYS love hearing about your adventures, but this may be my all-time fave!!!


just wow.


Judy Bobalik said...

Twist, I love reading about your adventures. I'm also impressed by your abilities and your sense of adventure.