Category Archives: Searching


I do not know how to put good in the world.

I can be kind rather than harmful. I can choose to smile rather than glare. I can throw my money behind causes I actually believe in.

But it all starts to feel pretty passive and insignificant when I measure the bad.

What if, to actually cause some good, you have to act a little bad? Or at least a little “bad.” Be aggressive, upset the apple cart, maybe even offend someone’s sensibilities… Part of me says yes, especially when I see others’ ideas of right lining up exactly with my ideas of wrong. In fact, looking back, I see that my eyes were most opened when my ideals were most challenged – when my emotions were most vulnerable.

Thank you to those who took a swing at what I thought I knew.

One of the biggest problems might be letting others think they already have all the answers. I’ve heard children, so confident in their philosophies, spouting untruths and perpetuating ignorance, and why? Because those they trust taught them in simple answers from Us vs Them viewpoints.

I hope my children see me as accepting of my small understanding, rather than willfully ignorant.

I read about a teacher who wanted so desperately to introduce young minds to the beauty of existence, or at least one aspect of it. The resistance he received astounded me, and made me sad for the resistors. It made me disgusted with the mindsets that had been thrust upon them.

It is good to question. It is good to challenge. It is bad to speak authoritatively on topics we misunderstand. I’ve been guilty of this on more than one occasion. Again, thank you to those who called me out on my arrogance.

We will not always agree on right and wrong, and sometimes it’s worth verbally hashing it out. Perhaps knowing that is the first step to doing real good.

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Scotland Dreamscapes

scottish castle sky

I went to Scotland once. This travel journal makes me want to go back.

Our trip happened in the summer of 2003. The beauty of that place was like nothing I’d ever seen before, and the travel bug took root. I clearly remember our Scottish bus driver frequently referring to his homeland as “God’s Country.”


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every color of the rainbow

Blurring the lines,

graying the area,

cross dressing.

Tipping the scales

…letting them waver.

Getting out of the box and

obscuring, to acknowledge



it was never that simple.

And you’re so,

so very glad

it wasn’t.



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A New Level for Vintage “Little Mermaid” Obsession

waterhouse painting mermaidThis Wednesday post is not technically based in health, science or practicality.

And in the name of all the princess and mermaid and snarfblat lovers out there, I care not. This is about magic and true love.

Ok, well, maybe it’s just me letting a little of the eight-year-old out, but still. There IS a point to this.

Did you see the Huffington Post “Weird News” article about the documentary that explores the concept of merpeople being real? Basically, it plays with a theory that modern humans share a common ancestor with merpeople – a species that took to the water in deep evolutionary history.

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Inclusive, Progressive Humanity

circles within circles rainbow with lines“He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.”

-From the poem “Outwitted” by Edwin Markham, American poet, 1852-1940

This passage was referenced in a talk I heard recently, and it struck me that this should be a tactic adopted by anyone looking to progress humanity.

Duh, I know. Seems really obvious. Still, the context in which I heard the quote was interesting. I think there are two ways we can look at this:

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Fish: Part 2 of ?

painting of a lake

It’s been a while… here’s Part 1.

I awoke with a start to the flapping sound of wings. The gull that had been digging though the crumbs of my basket, scared by some shift of the wind, rose high into the air above my boat.

I immediately thrust my head over the side to look for what I both hoped and dreaded to see. But there was nothing more than water bugs and sediment, ripples from the breeze. I felt relief, but under that a curious disappointment.

My attention quickly changed when I realized I’d been on the lake much longer than I’d planned, and that there was no doubt a group of concerned family members wondering where I was and why dinner wasn’t ready. Only briefly did I worry about knocking anything – or anyone – in the head with my paddle as I made my way to the beach.

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Snapshot Rush

waitress in pink dressWow. I’d forgotten about this one. I’ve touched it up a little (very little), but originally wrote it during the fall semester of 2006, for Prof. Osborn’s fiction workshop.

It makes me miss my days at Russ’… just a little bit.


There is a Rhythm to it. The hum of the overhead fluorescent lights, the sizzle of the burger fat, the clang of dishes and silverware. Buzz, hum, sizzle-sizzle clang! There is no escaping the noise of this place. Sometimes I want to clap my hands over my ears and scream louder than everything around me to regain some sense of control. But the constant and familiar Rhythm sort of keeps me grounded, so I don’t.

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Resurrecting a ‘Dead’ Museum

In my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI, we have an aging building that used to house our public museum. Since the completion of its replacement in the 1990s, the 1940 Art Deco/Art Moderne museum of my childhood has acted as an archive storage and cobweb garden.

Until last month, that is. Throughout much of May, the old museum was open to the public. While only a few of the original exhibits were still intact, the rooms were enhanced with conceptual pieces created by local art students. Most of the artwork incorporated crumbling artifacts, or mimicked them in some way. There were also events like fashion shows and behind-the-scenes tours.

In addition to being a simple excuse to let people back into a building filled with memories, the reopening was part of a progressive agenda. It seems that the 70 year-old structure is creeping into the awareness of those looking to sustain what we have, and at the same time develop new venues. Allowing the art students to demonstrate the building’s potential gave us a taste of what could be.

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On a Micromanaging God:

I do not think that is the way

a Universal Mind

would do things

When I hear a sermon

on coming back to Church

that seems directed so perfectly to me

I deem it a Happening for which I have uncommon Applicability

and nothing more

When the major Religions

and most major humanist Philosophies

and Economies

have a Cycle of Redemption

I’m sure there is no reason for the Mind

to focus so intensely on that moment

my mind Suffices

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All the Fine Men

George Washington would have made a great boyfriend. As a young man he was tall, strong, had thick reddish-brown hair and, at the time, his own teeth. He was very focused on his career and carried good family connections. Even though he received no formal education, he displayed intelligence and practiced excellent table manners. When seriously courting Martha Dandridge Custis, he made it clear that he would take in the two children from her first marriage and treat them as his own. He did, and enlarged his already impressive house to accommodate the family and their frequent visitors.

Of course, eventually, the hair and teeth fell out. He was human. Martha wasn’t surprised. When she first met him, he was a feisty up and coming officer who knew the value of a rich widow when he saw one. For years, he’d suppressed adoration and desire for his best friend’s wife and avoided marriage, but decided to nab Martha before someone else did. Then he left his fiancé to fight the French. But he came back alive, and George and Martha Washington shared a long and affectionate marriage. The solidity and practicality of their situation fascinated me at thirteen, and I would visit their historic mansion, just to make sure it had all been for real.

The first time I fell in love it was with Beaver Cleaver. Something about his round face and spring jacket made my six-year-old heart beat a little faster. I doted over the black and white reruns, that is, until Beaver’s voice started to crack, which gave me the creeps. The entire affair was completely innocent, right down to the newsprint picture my mother found and cut out for me. It hung on my personal corkboard, where Beaver beamed for years, through the decades and thumb smudges.

In the late eighties, Jerry Mathers, the actor whose only claim to fame was playing Beaver Cleaver, put together a reunion show with some of the original cast, plus a whole slew of kids and pets. I don’t remember the premise other than the Cleaver family as thirty years older and just as phony. The show didn’t last, and a small portion of my early childhood memories were forever scarred. Fortunately, by then, I’d fallen in love with Ryan.

Ryan was a classmate from kindergarten through graduation. In first grade he chased me around the playground, once cornering me and kissing my cheek before I could whirl around to pretend I didn’t like it. In fourth grade we became an official item. Group projects and school functions created anticipation as Ryan and I hoped to be assigned to the same group. At skating parties our songs were Brian Adams’ Everything I Do and the Ghostbusters theme. In sixth grade we took first and second place in the spelling bee. I only felt a little bad about beating him, since we both got to go to the regional competition.

I didn’t mind that Ryan was almost a full head shorter than me, or that his hands were always sweaty when we skated together. The fact that I was stronger, but often let him win a good arm wrestling match only made me feel kind and supportive. I overlooked all of his pre-teen shortcomings until junior high. That’s when Ryan met Dawn and broke my heart. I didn’t speak to him again until the night of high school graduation. In the only existing picture of us together, from that final night, he is a few inches taller than me and we’re both smiling.

John Lennon didn’t make a good boyfriend. He was always off touring in Germany and couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. Rarely sober, he mixed pills and alcohol and played gigs with a toilet seat around his neck. His aunt told him to find a real job, as one can’t count on making any money with a guitar.

I’m not sure if I was ever really in love with Josh. He suited me at seventeen, with his Camel Lights and patchouli, tattoo and Honda Civic. I remember being impressed by his ability to smoke, mange the manual transmission, hold my hand, and change the radio station all while singing Ben Folds Five and never swerving out of the lane. He was eighteen and obtained my Marlborough Lights, but never offered to pay for them. When we went to the movies he would look at me and ask which one of us was paying for my ticket. I never offered him any gas money. We didn’t really talk much, but were together every night, sitting in Javasphere Coffee House back when the walls were still blue. Sometimes we made out. More often we just held hands. I harbored a sneaking suspicion that he was bi-sexual. I felt very attached to him. I have no idea why.

John Lennon made a fine husband on his second try, third if you include both rounds in his second marriage. He made brown rice and happy music. He spent hours with his young son Sean, and had a newfound appreciation for his wife Yoko. It made me sad to learn the nature of his death, which occured just two days before I was born. I used to send Yoko Ono personal letters just for the hell of it. In return I received Christmas cards and experimental CDs.

Johnathan was nothing more than the adorable, blond, 18 year old druggy who was dating my friend Christa. If I spoke to him, it was to timidly ask if he’d purchase my cigarettes, or to compare how much we knew about the Beatles. Everyone observed his and Christa’s relationship with a certain amount of reverence, calling them “greater than the sum of their parts” and “meant to be.” Distraught at their eventual breakup, and just coming through one of my own, I sat down by Johnathan in the goth dank of Liquid Room Coffee House, and listened to him talk about Christa, and then about other things. When our talking turned to kissing, everything else took a backseat.

I learned about Johnathan one step at a time. He was funny, and horrible at balancing his budget. His room was a mess, and walled with his own paintings and wax sculptures. His first crush was Laura Ingles as portrayed by Melissa Gilbert. We shared a taste for exotic food, but too often it wakened his paranoia. One rehab stint, a UK tour, and six years later we got married. We included Josh and Christa on the guest list, and played a few Beatles songs for nostalgia’s sake.

Marriage became the thing, our shtick. Teeth and hair may fall out. Pudge will grow, and senses of humor will dull. Hands might even be nervous and sweaty. There is an affectionate allowance for such things. The staples of brown rice and shared creativity can sustain a lot, and we look to our predecessors for simple reassurance.

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