Words’ Worth

Fernand Khnopff-A Mask, circa 1897

When my husband and I started a local newspaper eleven years ago, I thought it would be the perfect venue to write for, but apparently putting out an issue each month required more than just articles—it took talent we didn’t possess. In the beginning, we were extremely lucky to have a few friends that took on the bulk of the graphic design work at a fraction of their ideal pay rate, but there were always last minute edits in the pre-dawn hours, just before we were scheduled to go to print, and it was never much fun for anyone to have to drag them from their bed and back to a computer still warm from another long night before the deadline. I needed to be able to take over the keyboard where they left off if we wanted them to still like us the next day.

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Your Witness

William Cheselden’s Osteographia, 1733 and The Anatomy of the Human Body, 1740

Some believe that life is the result of a universal accident and the chemical flux in our bodies deludes us into thinking we’re more than just its hapless, unanchored subjects. It baffles me to hear such yielding certainty, especially when it is quite apparent that we have barely breached the most elementary knowledge of how our minds influence matter, and have just begun to wrap our minds around matter itself. Evolution of the body and intelligence as a means of survival isn’t in dispute as it’s a direct example of life reacting to its environment. However, evolution as a means of reaching a perfect finality, whether mental or preternatural, would seem to require some sort of blueprints of what that outcome would resemble, and this working plan would also need to be an inherent part of us via DNA encoding or another recondite system. For those who believe in an arbitrary existence, an orchestrated evolution is an impossible contradiction, and as science has yet to measure the spirit, they are content it doesn’t exist.

Pressed to explore why we contain and produce certain chemicals that allow us to feel grief and tenderness, turbulent despair, wonder and wanderlust, some people feign satisfaction with the scientific theories, which don’t provide a reason, just the method. Press them harder. First, pose the query that if they really believe in all of this happenstance, that we are never the cause, only the result, then what was the initial cause that led to us as a result. What elicited the first reaction?  Next, ask them why we have these bodies that produce chemicals that make us feel these emotions. Above all, what is that placid, offset place from where we observe ourselves, unswayed by the view as one watching a far off tempest from shore where its clouds and wind can’t reach. Science can demonstrate consciousness and subconsciousness easily enough, but it still fails to distinguish between the emotional reactor and this unmoved observer that seems so evident to those who can entertain the possibility that we are more than skin and synapses.  Continue reading



Legions of people wait in abeyance, idly toeing the threshold of their dreams. They kneel with their truest hat in hand, looking for another to weigh its worth and only wear it with their blessing. This validation is usually sought from someone they wish to prove worthy of their respect, but often the nod of anyone admirable will do, whether that reverence is based on true merit or false exaltation.

While awaiting someone else’s affirmative to duck out of the thraldom of tradition, they prospect for success in fields of unquestionable propriety, legitimate careers with worthwhile returns. A clamor of internal and external naysayers refute their innate passion as monomania, arguing if one’s ideal vocation isn’t financially profitable, it ranks no higher than a hobby or diversion, no matter how good their intentions.

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Be Still


Be still in this moment.
And now.

An atom, a terminus
in The Vast.

In this moment.
And now.

A streak of sentience  no larger than a coffin,
sailing the galaxy a billion leagues a year,
with only the stars to remind us we are moving at all.


And now.

Twelve million miles since yesterday,
Follow the sun and the moon,
as the stars are too far.

And now.

Put one hand over your heart,
and one finger to your lips.

Life breathes in your blood.
Trust it.
Close your eyes to why, when, and then.

And now,
Be still.



Do you still look for shapes in the clouds?

What you see doesn’t matter,
What matter’s is that you are still looking,
or maybe it’s that you have begun to look again.

To do or not to do


Putting others before yourself is a noble quality under plenty of circumstances, and I don’t mean that in a feminist-ey way one bit. Yet there comes a point when this quality works against us. When we don’t pursue something we love because we fear what those others might think of us, whether we succeed or fail, we’re no longer being true to ourselves and we soon become something much different than who we really are.

Awaiting someone’s validation for the very thing you know you must do in order to be true to yourself is no way to live. Do what you must or risk never doing it at all, with or without anyone else’s support. Write for yourself. Sing for yourself. Dance for yourself. Whether or not anyone is watching.

Tell me about you and I will better know myself


While I’ve always held on to the idea that I should write about my past, I haven’t actually formed a good reason for doing so, though I think there’s one in there somewhere. I have to weigh to possible end results—from opening myself up to judgement and criticism, to maybe actually succeeding in not just entertaining a reader enough to keep them turning the pages, but to make them feel like they’ve found a part of themselves within those pages, a connection, some relief, some comfort. The comfort would be from reading and then knowing that someone out there went through some tough shit and made something good of it—that possibly they too might be able to mine a small treasure from the muck of their own past, something of value from deep within the involuted mess we call our pasts.

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They may have brilliant jewels

But I have the look in your eyes

They may have mansions and harbor views

But your embrace is my only sanctuary

They may lounge on silk sheets

But I’ll lie next to you under one sheet every night to ponder your pureness

Truer than light



You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It’s too bad that you want to be someone else
You don’t see your own face, your own beauty
Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.