Her kennel name was Olympia, and she was part of a litter of six.

The previous owner of the mama-dog had promised that he would bring the pregnant pup into the rescue’s care, but then changed his mind and instead dropped her off at the shelter where she was scheduled to be euthanized, puppies and all.

The amazing folks at For Belle’s Sake – Rescue/Rehabilitation happened to see her as they were there pulling other animals that were slated for euthanization. They immediately realized what the previous owner had done, and told the kill-shelter that they would also be pulling the pregnant mama to take with them back to their farm, from where they ran their rescue.

Her mama gave birth at the rescue, and the litter received stellar care, nurturing, and feeding for the first eight weeks, at which time they were posted for adoption on the rescue’s website.

For Belle’s Sake Rescue & Rehabilitation was founded by Christian and Shelby, who are active duty military and volunteer their mornings, evenings, and weekends caring for 60+ dogs, cats, goats, sheep, chickens, cows, horses, mules, and other animals rescued from high kill animal shelters, owner surrenders, or found astray who are waiting for their forever homes.          

 “We started the rescue in 2005 in SC and have been saving lives ever since.  It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and love but for us, it is a family affair!  Our children share the same passion for animals and helping and we are blessed to have them sharing the experience and are excited to be continuing efforts in North Dakota!” Shelby said.

Late last year, our building got a new manager after the former property management company was caught embezzling thousands and thousands of dollars from the building owner. Doralee and her ten-year-old son moved in to become the new resident manager. Over the ensuing months, Doralee, the pups, and I became good friends. She loved my dogs nearly more than I did, and that was something I deeply admired about her. Doralee adopted her pup, Brody, from For Belle’s Sake, and I offered to help care for him, as I was already taking care of my two goobers, so Brody was integrated into my pack, expanding our families tremendously.

I had long considered bringing a third dog into our family (besides Brody as part of our extended family), but decided not to as my plans were to leave North Dakota and relocate to Michigan once I got my current work-in-progress completed, obtained agent representation, and sold it to a publishing house. But then…

For Belle’s Sake owner, Christian, with one of the puppies, for scale.

Doralee saw the litter of pups on the rescue website and admitted that she absolutely LOVED the Saint Bernards she’d raised earlier in her life, and wanted to adopt one of this new brood.

The day of Doralee’s meet-and-greet at the rescue, twenty miles east of town, I volunteered to go with her, as in the back of my mind, I was longing to adopt a pup, as I’ve always had three dogs in my home, and have lived with only two for the past number of years. I knew the moment I saw the two males Doralee was considering that I had to have one. But I didn’t want to bring a new dog into the house knowing I would be changing residences within the year. It wouldn’t be fair to the new dog, and it would be a hardship for Arya, Finn, and Aja (the cat), as they loved their home and all the friends they’ve made here in town.

While we were working out the details of Doralee’s adoption, I made the executive decision to adopt my own puppy, though specified that it would need to be one of the females, as bringing another male into a home with a dominant male already in residence was just asking for trouble. This I’ve learned from personal experience.

So we brought Doralee’s new puppy home on Sunday morning, and Shelby and Christian asked me to come back that same afternoon to look at the females. I knew both of them through my adoption of Finn over a year ago. So they seemed to have already decided to allow me to adopt a pup before they saw the application I’d turned in on that Friday. I came home with Olympia, whose new name was to be Saoirse, an Irish word meaning “freedom.” It’s pronounced “SUR-sha.” Her name (as was Finn’s) is part of my personal campaign to reclaim my Irish heritage now that my parents are deceased.

Saoirse is just over eight weeks old, is Saint Bernard/English Mastiff mix, and is probably three times the size of other puppies that age. I absolutely LOVE giant breed dogs, and though I was worried about bringing such a large dog into an already crowded apartment, I knew I could make it work.

It’s amazing to watch her figure out the world she finds herself in. She’s infinitely curious, has readily tormented all of her new fur-fam, including Aja the Cat, and has decided she wants to be part of the family. I look forward to seeing not only how big she actually will become, but how she’ll fit into our joyous household. I’m pretty sure there will be a ton of photographs coming.

Thank you, Christian and Shelby, for all you do for the animals you rescue.

You can view the entirety of my fur-fam here.

Saoirse, 8-weeks-old, November 2022

Required Reading

If you’ve attended a public or private school anywhere in a country that does not experience a regular shortage of books or papers or pencils or buildings, then it’s quite likely that you’ve heard the phrase “required reading.”

What does it mean?

We know that reading is one of the three ‘R’s (which is a little sneaky, if you ask me, because I got a swat on the hand by a nun weilding a nine foot long wooden ruler if I so much as thought of calling it ‘rithmetic).  The other two are, of course, reading and riting.

In my day, which took place between Kennedy’s assassination and Nixon’s impeachment, we were provided an annual reading list.  For each title, we were to read the book and write a 250-500 word report on it.

Since achieving a degree from some alphabet soup of a university, I’ve never ever EVER had to write a book report.  Ever.  I’ve writtten reports on aging, on medicine, on what to do when your dog won’t stop throwing up in your shoes, but never have I ever been required to write a book report.

Oh, I suppose those of you gentle readers who feel you didn’t actually write enough reports in school can go to Amazon (the online mega giant, not the jungle) or Barnes & Noble and write cutesy little book reviews and pretend they’re well thought out, thesis-laden reports, but you’re only kidding yourself. Why? Because books you choose to read cannot also be considered as report material.  It’s the universal law of something or other.

Whose bright idea was it to tell kids — who will fake their own deaths just to get out of doing homework — that they would be assigned the most boring, soul-numbing, and brain-draining books ever written, and then have to write a report on it.  “It’s required reading.

Has any child since the beginning of time ever done as they were told?

Neoprotozoic Mother: Jeff, you are required to go fetch us some dinner.  And hurry it up, you know how your father likes his rock salad cold.”

Jeff: …

NM: Jeffrey, did you hear me?

Jeff: YES, mom, geez!

2 hours later…

NM: Where have you been? Your father’s out looking for you!

Jeff: I went to get dinner, like you said.

NM: Well? Where is it?

Jeff: What do you mean? I ate it.

NM: You what?

Jeff: You didn’t tell me to bring it back.  I ate it.

Jeff is grounded until the next Ice Age. 

It’s hardwired into our brains to balk at things we’re forced to do. When we know we have to, we rebel like every single living being before us. This demanding that our children must do this or that before they can move onto the next grade isn’t a successful plan. Though the act of reading is important, considering that every day we are faced with thousands of words delievered either through our vocal cords, our fingers (for the non-speakers), and through signs and manuals and what have you.  The iTunes agreement that maybe three people in all of humanity has ever read, contains nearly every word in human language.  And still we don’t read it.

A reading list from my school days might’ve looked something like this:


The Scarlet Letter

The Great Gatsby

To Kill A Mockingbird

Lord of the Flies

Animal Farm

The Catcher in the Rye

Of Mice and Men

I’ll admit it: I was a book nerd.  There was nothing I liked more than to sneak away from my chores at home, climb a tree and lose myself in the words and exciting imagery each auther penned just for me. I was forced to hide my nerdiness, but I was quite adept at it.

So here’s the thing…

Recently I found myself with a ten day hospital stay.  When you’re drugged and then forced to pee in a cup at the demand of a nurse you could swear was also your third grade teacher, Mrs. Eyetic, you find your tastes have changed.  On this particular stay, I found a much-read, dogeared copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau left behind in the cafeteria.  I stuck it furtively beneath my hospital johnnie, hoping they didn’t have shoplifting alarms at the door. It was another staple of the unimaginative reading list from days of yore.  It was one book I detested.  Back then, I imagined that Thoreau’s name was just another euphemism for “thorough,” because he didn’t miss a trick.  Not once in 300-something pages did he say anyting that made a lick of sense. However, I had nothing but time on my hands and Thoreau was as good as anything at putting me to sleep.  So I stole it. And then….I read it.

It’s funny how nearly forty years later, a book you despised with every hormone of your young teenage life could suddenly speak directly to you in words that flowed like the water into the mythical pond.

Since I had pretty much liberated it from the hospital,  and it was in pretty bad shape, I began underlining passages that continued to speak to me in profound ways. And it got me to thinking.

When we’re forced (0r required) to perform some task that my be odious or boring to us, we tend to approach that task with a degree of distaste. Books are the same. When we’re allowed to come to the books in our own time and in our own way, we come to the task thinking we’ve exercised our free will, and are much more likely to not only enjoy the book, but find connections to the writer’s words. Not superficial words like one might find in a tawdry airport paperback. Words that mean something.  And then we might find that several days, or weeks, or months later, those very same words mean something completely different but equally profound. Yet, had we allowed ourselves to be forced to read it earlier than we were ready to, we would have missed those profoundities forever.

Is required reading healthy? It may seem so now that social media seems to have replaced classics like Dickens and Twain and Orwell. Much of our culture disappears minute by minute.

Several years ago I worked in the Colorado Governor’s office and my coworker sat several feet away. As near as I could tell, she was just about half my age, but was incredibly skilled in her job. One day we were talking about something as we worked, and I happened to mention Dean Martin. I think it was a music reference.

“Who’s Dean Martin?” she asked.  I stared at her for several uncomfortably long moments trying to determine if she was joking. However, she seemed sincere.

“You’ve never heard of Marting? Lewis and Martin?  You do know who Jerry Lewis is, right?”

She shook her head, her shiny if severe hair bob dancing under the flourescent lights.

“Sammy Davis Junior?”

Another shake of her head.

“You have to at least have heard of Frank Sinatra.” If she said no, I would determine she was pulling my leg.

Yet she shook her head now.  So I found myself explaining to her all about the Rat Pack and their influence on the entertainment world, up to and including the annual telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. That conversation, as one-sided as it was, was definitely a wake up call.

Like cursive writing, which has been discontinued in most, if not all, of the school systems in the U.S., required reading might very well be going to the same way: obsolescence.

Robert A. Heinlein Writing Advice

You can learn an amazing amount about how to write science fiction from reading Robert A. Heinlein. And like many authors, he produced a list of “rules” that helped him sculpt a career that reflects the times in which he lived, and create a reputation that took him to the top of many reading lists in his chosen genre.

1.) You must write.
2.) You must finish what you write.
3.) You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4.) You must put the work on the market.
5.) You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.


Forging Ahead

Been a tough day of being outside the apartment running errands, getting to appointments, and taking care of myself, mentally, physically, and emotionally. The day got me thinking about the fact that I just made a HUGE investment in my writing career, that will (fingers crossed!) take me to the point where I’m seeking agent representation and the sale of my first book. The end goal is to have everything come to fruition in 2023 or before. I’ve been focused on healing my core wounds, but being able to present them in the bodies of my fictional characters. It’s been 12 years since starting this journey, and there’s a finish line in sight…one of many. I haven’t felt “ready” to tell this story until this past year. Since recognizing that I am ready, I’ve been honing my writing chops and putting to use all that I have learned. It’s a very big deal for me, because Depression, Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS) and cPTSD never allowed me to feel “worthy” of my creativity. Now I KNOW I’m worthy of being successful, perhaps beyond my wildest dreams. I may be less available or visible on social media, but trust there’s an excellent reason for it. I’m ready. And I’m ready to kick some fucking ass. Peace.

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The Age of Throwaway Literature

French writer Claude Simon, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1985, would not be published today, according to an experiment conducted by one of his fans.

Writer Serge Volle sent 50 pages of Simon’s 1962 novel, The Palace, set during the Spanish Civil War, to 19 French publishers.

The verdict was damning: Twelve rejected it and seven didn’t even bother to reply.

One editor said that the book’s “endlessly long sentences completely lose the reader,” Volle told French public radio on Monday.

Nor did the book have “a real plot with well-drawn characters,” the rejection letter added.

Simon, one of the fathers of the “nouveau roman,” was notorious for his meandering prose, with sentences often going on for pages in his masterpiece The Georgics (1981).

Volle, 70, claimed the refusals showed the philistinism of modern publishing, which was “abandoning literary works that are not easy to read or that will not set sales records.”

Paraphrasing Marcel Proust, he said that you have to be already “famous to be published.

“We are living in the era of the throwaway book,” he declared.

Volle refused to say who he had sent the extract to, but a number of major French publishers also rejected The Georgics four years before it helped Simon win the Nobel.

The Palace was one of Simon’s most controversial works, seen by many critics as a thinly-veiled attack on George Orwell, the British author of Animal Farm and Homage to Catalonia, who like Simon had fought on the Republican side of the Spanish civil war in the 1930s.

The same year that Simon won the Nobel he claimed Orwell’s account of his time fighting with the anarchists in Homage to Catalonia was “faked from the very first sentence.”

The British critic Christopher Hitchens later lambasted Simon, who died in 2005, for fighting for the “Stalinists” in Spain, who turned their guns on the anarchists as the war wore on.

“The award of the Nobel prize to such a shady literary enterprise is a minor scandal,” he added, “reflecting the intellectual rot which had been spread by pseudo intellectuals.”


Claude Simon Photo: IC

Writing and the Creative Life

4 Tips On Creativity From The Creator Of Calvin & Hobbes

I saw this article in Fast Company a few months back and in reading it, I realized how important comic strips had been in my adult life. Doonesbury. The Far Side. Bloom County. And, of course, Calvin & Hobbes.

Calvin & Hobbes was created by Bill Watterson. And in the documentary Stripped, which came out in 2014, the famously “media averse” cartoonist, provided 4 tips on creativity:

1. You Have To Lose Yourself In Your Work
“My comic strip was the way that I explored the world and my own perceptions and thoughts. So to switch off the job I would have had to switch off my head. So, yes, the work was insanely intense, but that was the whole point of doing it.”

2. Create For Yourself
“Quite honestly I tried to forget that there was an audience. I wanted to keep the strip feeling small and intimate as I did it, so my goal was just to make my wife laugh. After that, I’d put it out, and the public can take it or leave it.”

3. Make It Beautiful
“My advice has always been to draw cartoons for the love of it, and concentrate on the quality and be true to yourself. Also try to remember that people have better things to do than read your work. So for heaven’s sake, try to entice them with some beauty and fun.”

4. Every Medium Has Power
“A comic strip takes just a few seconds to read, but over the years, it creates a surprisingly deep connection with readers. I think that incremental aspect, that unpretentious daily aspect, is a source of power.”

In translating these four tips to screenwriting and TV writing, #1 would seem pretty obvious: We need to be so passionate about our stories that we are able to fully immerse ourselves in them.

#2 is totally counterintuitive. In fact, one of the earliest lessons I learned in Hollywood was the importance of answering this question about any project we write: Who is the audience? The answer had better be somebody other than “Myself” to gain traction with studio buyers.

#4 is another one that seems rather obvious. Movies and TV have power. If anything, we writers need to embrace that potential, especially the visual elements in our scripts.

It’s #3 that grabbed my attention: “Try to entice them with beauty and fun.” I’d never put those two together in one sentence re movies and TV, but when I read it, the words resonated with me.

Whether the script is a drama, thriller, horror, comedy or another genre, we need to maximize the potential for fun in any story we write. In this respect, fun can be dramatics, thrills, chills, laughs and anything else that grabs our attention as a script reader.

Beauty: I don’t think there’s a definition that does this concept justice in relation to movies and TV. As the saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” But if I were forced to parse Beauty in relation to screenwriting, I come up with these three aspects:

* Authenticity: Create a story universe and characters who feel real, no matter the setting, year or particular circumstance. A script reader cannot allow him/herself to experience beauty unless they believe the writer knows what the hell they’re talking about.

* Passion: When a writer is wholly enraptured by a story’s material, that emotional and personal resonance can help lift a story up and off its written pages.

* Inspiration: Whatever the genre, whatever the story, a reader can experience beauty if they feel the writer’s creative inspiration for that story… if they can identify with some universal truth therein… if they connect with the characters and live vicariously through them in their own transformation-journeys.

“Make it beautiful,” Watterson says. A worthy ambition for any writer.

From “Go Into The Story,” December 8, 2017, by Scott Myers

The Craft 002: Word Counts (Words Count)

Started the day with just over 6,000 words on The Things We HidePlan to top 10,000 before I have to leave for the day job later this afternoon.

When I first began considering myself an actual writer, I had idealized it in my mind, thinking that I wouldn’t have to work anymore, be financially set for the rest of my life. Oh, how wrong I was.

A friend of mine, amazing fantasy author Carol Berg, was an engineer for IBM before she published her first book. It was she who told me the reality of the publishing world. She said that she didn’t start seeing real return on her books until after the third in the trilogy of the Rai-Kirah was published. If you haven’t read her work, you’re truly missing out on something special. It was then and only then that she felt comfortable giving up her job to write full time. I wanted it to happen immediately, as I have such an incredible passion for writing.

When I sit down to write each week, I have in mind a certain word count that I want to attain by the end of the day. I tend to write a couple times a week, starting very early in the morning. I don’t subscribe to the “you must write every day” school of thought.  Nobody has time for that. Not unless you’ve already published several novels or had screenplays optioned by a studio. Writing is a business like any other. I remember promising myself that I would “never” give up my creative side and make writing a business.  A classic case of “never say never,” I suppose. I’ve since integrated the business side of writing into the creative side, which serves longevity in the creative arts.

The day’s word count is always fluid, never set in stone. Many things can happen during the writing process that might influence how many words you are actually able to write. For instance, today I decided that I would create an actual outline for this book in Word instead of Excel.  My previous books were all outlined in a spreadsheet that tended to become cumbersome as I got deeper into the story. This one is created in standard outline format in which I will give brief descriptions of the scenes and the characters involved.

All this will sound terribly dreary to those who do not work in a creative pursuit. However, these are the details of the job, just like any job. We do a lot of things we don’t really want to do, but do them so we continue to get paid.

Some writers don’t like to get bogged down in counting words. I use them as goals, as that’s how I’m motivated. It’s a useful tool to know where you are and where you “should be” in your story. Of course, word count will change dramatically in the rewriting phases. I tend to overwrite, because I feel it’s easier to remove things than it is to add them.

The first draft is used to get the general idea and theme of the plot down on paper (or screen, as the case may be). I already have a good idea of who my protagonist is, and who the antagonist(s) is/are. I may draft some character profiles as I go, which further slows down the word counts, as I’m continuously making notes.


Writing a novel, for me, engages many of my creative senses. As a ritual, I tend to create a mock book cover for the project, changing it as my perception and grasp of the story matures. I spent part of the afternoon yesterday harvesting photos and other delicious pieces of art on Pinterest, which I will someday — sooner rather than later — use those pieces for a type of vision-board, which I’ll create on my computer. It will be set as my background photo so that every time I sign in, I’ll see it. It’s far too cumbersome to create a physical board to hang on my wall.  That takes way too much time and resources for me to sacrifice for a tool.

Another ritual I have, which I typically only use in the colder months, is to burn candles in my office while writing. I favor citrus-y smells, and am currently hooked on Jolly Rancher candles. Especially orange, lemon, and green apple. I’m thinking about the watermelon scented one as well, but will wait, as I stocked up on the others late last year.



The Craft 001: In the Beginning

I write novels, and I write screenplays, but I think in novel form. I have never mastered the art (or the understanding) of short fiction. I have had exactly one short story published. Conveniently, I have taken it and made it into Part One of my latest novel project. However, I love the long-form essay, and have published numerous creative non-fiction articles.  Essays satisfy my left brain needs, while also drawing from the right and more creative side.

What is the process when one sets out to write in long form? 

There is no “set” process, and anyone who tells you differently is selling something. Every writer approaches their craft in their own unique way. For instance, Stephen King writes his first drafts longhand on a legal pad. That, to me, is astonishing, considering many of his novels push 700 pages or more. But, it’s a truly organic way to be in touch with your source material…which is, in plain speaking, your creativity. There’s something about words flowing from your brain, along the length of your arm, and spilling out onto the page in (hopefully) sentences and ideas that make some modicum of sense. Long-hand is not for everyone, especially in this, the Electronic Age.

I tend to create my first draft in one long, non-edited purge. I don’t worry about linear plot details (which come in the re-writes), or deep character details.  Those come as I’m writing. I keep a second pad of paper handy to make notes as I go. Many writers consider this “seat-of-the-pants” writing. Outlines have never worked for me.

Oddly, my stories always seem to come to me first as an eye-catching title. I imagine the title being an enormous box that I carefully unpack as I go. I learn a lot in creating this way. But again, it’s my way, and I was never taught that it was the correct way.  There are certain “rules” in fiction writing, but nobody ever said you had to follow them.

Take the “Hero’s Journey” model, for instance. It has been touted as the real way to create compelling fiction. I beg to differ. It’s good as a guideline, but if everyone starts following that model to the letter, we’ll end up with a universe of unimaginative stories. The Hero’s Journey hasn’t always been around, either.

The study of hero myth narratives started in 1871 with anthropologist Edward Taylor’s observations of common patterns in plots of hero’s journeys. Later on, others introduced various theories on hero myth narratives such as Otto Rank and his Freudian psychoanalytic approach to myth, Lord Raglan’s unification of myth and rituals, and eventually hero myth pattern studies were popularized by Joseph Campbell, who was influenced by Carl Jung’s view of myth. In his 1949 work The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

But what model did writers use prior to that?

My goal is to blog my current novel project from inception to completion.  Then I will blog the process in landing an agent and, hopefully, finding a book deal.


straylight-magazine-cover-scan_page_11In November, 2016, I submitted a short story (the only one ever published, as mentioned above) to Straylight Magazine, which they generously opted to publish. I knew, however, that it was an incomplete story, and it has lurked in my mind like a night thief, waiting for me to take notice again.

It’s a fictionalized account of my childhood. It had first existed in essay form, but no one found it credible enough to be “real,” and so fictionalizing it was the best way to proceed. Before that, it was the first chapter in a memoir that I had written more than a decade ago, but never found the courage to submit for publication. It’s along the lines of Angela’s Ashes, though American in origin instead of Ireland. In retrospect, I’m thinking it’s because, like the essay that came after, it was too real, and therefore, not believable.

There’s a reason fiction exists.  There’s also a reason that it’s rumored that every piece of fiction ever written contains more autobiographical stuff than an actual autobiography.

The other day, I was reading late at night (The Cartel by Don Winslow…an awesome book if you’re into that sort of thing) when an unknowable something flashed across the screen of my mind, and it looked an awful lot like Where to Stand in a War, the essay-cum-short story. I grabbed the legal pad off my bedstand (yes, many writers DO keep a notepad handy for exactly this kind of insight), and made a note to go back and look at it.

Which I did the next morning, that building of adrenaline inside me telling me that I had something solid, that intuition or whatever it was that sent that information to my conscious mind, saw it as an excellent project.

Re-reading it brought me to tears. And I knew – suddenly? finally? – that it would be a novel, then realized that it would become a trilogy. Along with that flash of insight came the working title:


Titles have always been my favorite thing, and I find them in poetry, in song lyrics, in Shakespearean sonnets. And then, like a stream-of-consciousness lightning bolt, the next two titles made themselves known to me. This is how you know you’re working from a place of true creativity: it comes together without having to force it. I liken it to other intuitive insights I’ve had, several of which saved my life. I have trusted my intuition the things we lost cover 1since I was old enough to know what it was. It has never, ever, led me astray.

The main character, one of five Irish-American children, was the same boy who’d been written about in Where to Stand in a War. He was the young protagonist of both fiction and essay. He is exceptionally sensitive to the world around him, to pain, to loss, and to life. As fate would have it, he is born into an exceptionally brutal family. The original first lines of the memoir read:

The first thing I learned as a child was that my mother wanted me dead. I spent the next thirty years trying to fulfill her wishes.

Those lines didn’t make it into the short story. They weren’t necessary. The exposition carried the story just fine. But I wanted somehow to have that short story as the opening of the new novel. Last weekend I sat down and resculpted it.

Before my mother passed several years ago, I read those lines to her, explaining that they were the first lines of my memoir. True to form, she called them “the stupidest thing [I’ve] ever heard!” and went on to berate me for being alive.

She had never changed her ways. She seemed to believe that the world owed her, and owed her big, and we – her children – would NEVER live up to her expectations. Despite the fact that I was the first child in my family to graduate high school (with honors), and the first to put myself through college because, let’s be real here, we weren’t worth the money she’d be out if she helped pay for it. Her response drove home the fact that no one on Earth would ever live up to her unbelievable expectations, in spite of the fact that I truly did spend my first twenty years trying to please her, before realizing it was impossible.

The novel was started on September 3rd…ironically, it was exactly thirty years to the day of my sobriety. See, not everyone is able to see that they are self-destructing through addiction. I certainly didn’t. So many years drinking and drugging myself into oblivion. I had no idea that a child who suffers such extreme abuse over a prolonged period of time develops Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When one experiences a traumatic brain injury (which cPTSD is said to mimic in some ways), self-destruction is but one symptom of an enormous problem.

On August 31, 2016, I experienced a total and complete emotional meltdown. It was severe enough to land me in jail and then, less than twenty-four hours later, an in-patient treatment center where I was to spend the next eight days. While there, I was FINALLY placed on a medication regimen that saved my, and probably others’ lives. While it was a horrible experience, it was necessary. That’s what I took away from it. I was both suicidal and homicidal, and “death by cop” was a viable option. Once medicated properly, those options faded away.

Now, nearly a year later, I find myself wishing to break open the rotted crust of the past and dig through the horror and pain and tears so that I could get closure.

Someone once asked Stephen King why he wrote such horrific stories. He responded – and I’m probably mangling his original response – that the monsters in his books would never be as terrifying as the monsters in our real lives. And he was right. I read his books because it made me feel less alone, that those monsters he wrote about were characters based on my own family.

Cillian Darnell is our protagonist, and he barely survives his home life. The new hook line became:

He is seven when he kills his father.

He doesn’t escape unscathed, though, and who does? He gets knocked around pretty spectacularly and he’s in a sort of fugue state when he does the deed. What he doesn’t realize until later is: he has survived with something other about him. This otherness makes him constantly wonder if he is alive or dead. It’s a question so many people ask themselves at some point in their lives.

The late Freddie Mercury put it like this: Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?

What that otherness is, I won’t say, because I don’t want to give the whole plot line away.

I wrote another 4,000 words on it last weekend, but am not satisfied with how it turned out. The newer stuff doesn’t hold the same potency that Part One has. This week, I will likely go back and delete-delete-delete, starting again from the beginning of Part Two.

This is how we go deeper. This is how we make ourselves look very closely into the mirror to describe every hoary detail.

The trilogy is in the genre of supernatural thriller. Cillian must figure out what’s wrong with him, but first he must escape the evil clutches of the foster family he’s placed with after his father’s murder. He is labeled by the system as a “killer,” “psychotic,” and “sociopathic.”

Is he, or is he simply broken in all the right places?

How Things Change

Remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz where little Toto figures out that the wizard wasn’t real and revealed the man behind the curtain? Just prior to that there was a mystique that the ordinary man created by pretending to be the Wizard of Oz. Even though it was all a dream created by an unconscious Dorothy, I keep coming back to that scene in my mind whenever I think of the state of being a DJ back in the day (which covered the 70s and 80s) when DJ’ing was a new culture, and now where that culture is completely gone, replaced by faux-celebrity.
I’m not here to bash on current DJs nor uplift former DJs. Everything evolves, as does everyone. This is the culture we live in now, where nearly everything is performed for the benefit of a camera, as if the child inside us finally got his or her own television show like we’d always dreamed. I am here to reveal the differences of what we’d become DJs for back in the 70s and 80s was like compared to now.
I was forever performing in front of mirrors, singing into hairbrushes, and “putting on airs” as if a camera crew were just out of sight, filming filming filming. It was a common theme among my friends wherein we’d reenact a certain fight scene or car chase, even though we were much too young to actually drive, our bicycles more than made up for those souped up hellacool cars. And we were the primary actors, doing and saying the things they’d do and say.
But then we grew up. We recognized our fantasies for what they were: entertainment. The curtain had been pulled aside and what we found was adulthood.
35 years ago, we became DJs specifically for the music. I knew, the moment I entered my first club at 16 with a fake ID, that I would someday become the person who made that dance floor move, that I would create a mystique and an escape for anyone and everyone who paid the entry fee. On the dancefloor, we became the music. We acted out the stories the music told. We laughed, we cried, and we forgot about the world for awhile. The DJ was our storyteller, and every night the story was fresh. It was something we’d never heard before, but we were ready. Always ready. During the week, we yearned to be on that dancefloor. We didn’t care what the club looked like. If the music was good, we were there.
The DJ, while he portrayed himself as The Great and Wonderful Oz, he was just another actor in our play. The DJ had no ego, no reason for being except for…the music. We ate, lived, breathed music. We were storytellers. We wrapped those sinuous notes around our dancing children like a magic spell, enthralled until the very end. We didn’t want the nights to ever end, it becoming our Never-Never Land where we would remain young forever.
Typically, we wore ratty clothes because we were behind the scenes. We weren’t there to be seen or noticed, nor were we seeking out acceptance.
It was always about the music. If it didn’t serve the music, it didn’t happen.
Back then, there were maybe 500 DJs in the entire country. Perhaps a few more overseas. We were nobodies, scoffed at because we played other people’s music.
Then the scene started getting noticed. More and more people flocked to the fantasies we’d created on the dancefloors. Now, there’s more than 1,000 DJs per state in the U.S., and three times that many in other countries. It began to form a culture. Not necessarily a music culture, but a see-and-be-seen culture. The “beautiful people” began showing up, seeing who could outdress the others. While drugs had always been affiliated with music then, it became the reason for the music and the scene.
I was scrolling through my newsfeed here on Facebook this morning, and there were no less than 25 DJs on live cams being seen. Their equipment looked impressive as they pushed buttons and slid the sliders up and down, across and back. They were performing. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because that’s what the industry has become. (I blame Simon Cowell)
Music seems to have become secondary to the origins of the DJ. No longer are the DJ booths tucked away in some too-small space where no one but staff could find them. Now they’re the stage, and the DJ the entertainer. Look at the Steve Aoki’s, the Keoki’s, anyone who steals the musical thunder and the spotlight. The industry is becoming so automated that the art form is being lost. The DJ appears on a stage and the dancers all face that night’s performer, celebrity, idolizing him or her and what great sets they played. But the focus is off the music. It’s on the Wizard, even though he’s still an ordinary man.
Where once we had no problem living out our fantasies, now we seem to believe the Wizard is real, that they can save you from a humdrum existence. People never used to applaud the DJ. That would be the height of bad form. Now, it’s all about the applause. “Look at me! See me!” seems to have replaced mystique.
As a writer now, middle aged, I no longer do the club scene because that would just be, well, creepy. But writing is exactly like DJ’ing used to be. Everything serves the story no matter what I “want” to happen. I am but a channel through which the story flows, like once upon a time the music did the same thing. A writer writes to an unseen audience. A DJ plays to a visible audience, but each one is telling a story, and the audience is expected to buy into the story, if only for a few hours.
From my perspective, and from the knowledge I earned as a DJ, now it’s all about the glamour and appearance. We are seen. We are being seen. When people say things like, “So-and-so’s set was sick last night.” But they’re no longer talking about the whole experience. They were merely voyeurs while the Wizard dazzled and enchanted, all the while pretending that no one could tell that he was just an ordinary man.
There are still some DJs out there who understand that music is everything. Yes, it’s cool that one can scratch or jump-cut or hell, stand on their CDJs and spin around for the entertainment of the crowd. But all that pushes the music into the background.
Where is the culture headed? Will we continue to evolve into performers, some day performing on an obscenely large stage in Vegas while people sip frou-frou drinks that cost $30?
Already, there are underground factions steering music back to its roots, and those are the ones I applaud. Because if you haven’t experienced a true back-to-our-roots party, then you are nothing but a dilettante in a world full of them.
I love the scene now, the passion and the sweat DJs put into their craft. But yes, like writers, there will always be those who merely scratch the surface of the craft, and see only the adulation to be gained.

Time Management

I get asked an unusual question fairly frequently.  To my way of thinking, I wouldn’t consider it anything different than anyone else does, but I suppose that once I scrutinize it, it does come across as a rather interesting trait. 

Time management.  

When it’s brought to our attention, we might suddenly think, Hmmm, I thought everyone did it this way. And by “this way,” I mean that we run hither and yon trying to make sure we we get what we need from the store, the kids picked up from school, the mortgage payment to the bank….an entire arm’s length list of things that “have” to be done. 

In my twenties, I was the King of overcommitting. I said yes to everything and figured I’d get it done somehow. That, of course, wasn’t a very efficient way of doing things, and I disappointed a LOT of people.  See, it’s part of the “people pleasing” mentality that many of us learned as children.  It’s not our parents fault, because they probably learned from their parents and so on. However, some of us never outgrow it and we continue to feel that we’re somehow failing all of humanity because we’re not superheroes. 

In my thirties, I was beginning to see that saying “yes” to everything not only kept me hopping unnecessarily, it definitely cost me a lot of sleep.  There’s a certain wisdom that comes with aging.  Yes, not everyone will admit to it, but it’s true.  It’s a hard-won type of wisdom, wisdom our younger selves might have scoffed at. 

That wisdom: It’s okay to not please everyone.  At the end of the day, the only person you only ever need to please is yourself. This might sound, at first hearing, somewhat selfish to say. But what happens to us when we’re not getting our own needs met?  We tend to be overly tired, or frustrated, or cranky or mad. 

Why do you think that shen flying on an airliner, the staff tells you to ALWAYS put your own oxygen mask on first in the case of an emergency?  

Because we can’t help others if we are unconscious. 

As a writer, not only am I required to hold the characters and stories in my head at all times, but I must also get my needs met outside  of writing. The rent must get paid, so I must make sure there’s money coming in, the bills must also get paid….and not all of us can afford an assistant to do those things for us.  Nor do all of us have a spouse to carry some of that weight.  So that means that we must survive on our own in our own ways. 

So it becomes crucial that we don’t allow ourselves to get buried under a crapalanche of stuff.  Ther more things we own, the more maintenance must be done on them.  For cars, that makes sense. Not so much for an aquarium that holds only saltwater fish or anemones. Or a huge yard that must be mowed weekly. There are so many ways we can pare downtown the absolute necessities. I use the need/want method.  What do I need, and what do I want. 

I want a new computer and monitor and printer.  But the one I have is only a few years old, so I don’t need it. Or new laundry machines. Or a mountain bike. 

Time management starts with what we perceive to be priorities.  I’d venture to say that if you sat down and made a list of the things you absolutely NEED and compare it with what you think you WANT, you’d get a really clear picture of what I’m saying. 

Try ridding yourself of one “want” a month.  Something that really brings you no joy or fulfills you in any meaningful way. We have a certain sense of entitlement that is slowly smothering us. We’re becoming buried under things and obligations that should never have been made a priority. 

Take as much time as you need.  Rid yourself of one thing a month.  Or a quarter if monthly is too much.  However, if you go much beyond that, you won’t succeed. 

I made a living for fifteen years organizing other people’s lives.  How can I help you with yours? 

What’s It (Really) Like Being a Writer? 

Those who sometimes get asked that question have a steep advantage over the rest of us.  They’ve “made it.” It’s like asking Brad Pitt what it’s like being an actor.  Or Tom Cruise.  Audiences want to hear about the new house they just bought in Aspen, or the new Ferrari they added to their collection of 21. Audiences want to dream, as if they were starring in their own version of “Lifestyles of the Rick and Famous,” replete with Robin Leach announcing their every bowel movement.  

But those answers are cheating. 

Or are they? 

Who really wants to know that J.K. Rowling was living on welfare and on the brink of being evicted before her first Harry Potter book hit? That’s not glamorous!  That’s what we peasants go through every day.  We want hope! We want potential! This world of ours was borne from rags to riches stories, and we continued to buy into each and every one of them.  We don’t care about the things that went into all that stardom, we just want the icing…you can keep the cake. 

Here’s an interesting tale: 

This is the story of Stephen King’s early writing career.  If you’ve already read it or heard it, skip down.

On January 2, 1971, King married Tabitha King (born Tabitha Jane Spruce). In the fall of 1971 King took a teaching job at Hampden Academy, earning $6,400 a year. The Kings then moved to Hermon, a town west of Bangor. Stephen then began work on a short story about a teenage girl named Carietta White. After completing a few pages, he decided it was not a worthy story and crumpled the pages up and tossed them into the trash. Fortunately, Tabitha took the pages out and read them. She encouraged her husband to continue the story, which he did. In January 1973 he submitted “Carrie” to Doubleday. In March Doubleday bought the book. On May 12 the publisher sold the paperback rights for the novel to New American Library for $400,000. His contract called for his getting half of that sum, and he quit his teaching job to pursue writing full time. The rest, as they say, is history.

He threw the pages away. 

Let that sink in for a moment. 

That, my friends is a Cinderella story.  What it doesn’t tell you are the months and hours he put in BEFORE he wrote what would become the bestselling novel Carrie. Here’s some perspective. 

I began seriously writing (well, what I called serious writing) in 1997.  Of course, that was the same year I tried quitting an addiction to drugs and alcohol cold turkey.  Doesn’t leave a lot of room for creativity when you’re puking your guts out most of the day.  I sold my first story about ten years ago.  That would make it 2006.  I earned $15. I took myself out to McDonald’s for dinner to celebrate. 

My first real novel was begun in 1998.  I’m still writing it.  There’s an incredibly steep learning curve to writing.  Now with the laughable “self-publishing” industry allowing any Tom, Rick, and Henrietta to publish their book, the market is flooded mostly with totally pure, unadulterated shit. Don’t get me started on self-publishing. 

My so-called ‘magnum opus’ is still being written, but…and this is a huge deal breaker for me…I’m don’t feel, even after all these years, that my craft is worthy of the writing of it. No matter how many awards I win, or how many people tell me I made them cry with a story, I still find myself anxious over not being able to tell the best story in the best way possible.  See, that’s what self-publishing leaves out.  Not EVERY story should be told. Or written. Just as not every person should be a writer.  

Here’s a hypothetical question: would you marry your brother or sister and then have kids by them? No: Why not? 

Because something happens to those genes we should not be mixing together.  They get screwy.  The same thing happens when everybody thinks they can write.  The gene pool gets so diluted, eventually stories will make little sense, and we will no longer care. 

It’s true what they say about storytelling being an art form. No, not ant farm. A first grader’s finger painting, while worthy of a place on our refrigerator door, has no business being in the Louvre

My caution to you is: do the work.  Publish traditionally.  Don’t fumble about in the shallow end of the gene pool lest your offspring come out resembling one of Stephen King’s characters.  And NOT in a good way. Some writers deserve the fortune they’ve worked for.  Some don’t. Learn to tell the difference. 

7 (Not So) Surprising Reasons Your Dog Should Sleep On Your Bed Every Night


We’ve all heard that we shouldn’t do it: inviting your dog into your bed. People believe it’s dirty, and it’s just not good for you. People have been saying it for years.

But, what if we told you that maybe that isn’t entirely true.

There are actual health benefits to letting your four-legged best friend spend the night, and it isn’t just you who’s better for all that cuddle time.

It’s better for your dog, too!

And who doesn’t want to do everything they can to make sure their little one is as happy as possible?

So to all you dog lovers who love snuggling up with their warm, fluffy buddy at the end of the day, keep doing what you’re doing.

#1: They Give You Comfort

#1: They Give You Comfort

Whether it’s their warm body or rhythmic breathing, there’s just something so comforting about a dog. They make your bed feel even cozier!

#2: They Fight Insomnia

#2: They Fight Insomnia

Their presence promotes calm, stress relief, and a feeling of safety. So, basically, they take away all of the things that keep you up at night!

#3: Snuggling With Them Relieves Stress And Anxiety

#3: Snuggling With Them Relieves Stress And Anxiety

As therapy dogs have shown, a pooch’s presence is a great stress reliever. Their positive outlook seems to be contagious, and their attentive nature can be very reassuring.

Chances are, you’ll sleep better at night and we all know that better sleep leads to a better day.

It really is a win-win situation for everyone involved!

#4: They Provide Warmth

#4: They Provide Warmth

Their warm bodies and tendency to curl up as close to their humans as possible work as a little radiator in the bed. While this can be tough in the summer, who doesn’t love a little bit of natural warmth on a chilly night?

#5: They Help Fight Depression

#5: They Help Fight Depression

One thing that dogs offer without question is unconditional love. For someone battling depression, this type of connection can feel hard to come by. To receive it, with no questions asked, can work wonders during a particularly tough time.

#6: They Make You Feel Safe

#6: They Make You Feel Safe

Knowing that there is another presence watching over you when you’re at your most vulnerable is such a comforting feeling. Their super hearing and tendency to bark at strangers are all factors in this.

#7: It’s Good For Your Dog, Too

#7: It's Good For Your Dog, Too

There’s nothing in the world that your dog loves more than you, so allowing them to spend that extra snuggle time will make their day. They receive comfort from you in the same way that you do from them, so this sleep arrangement is good for everyone!

Give Yourself a Chance

p-1Life lessons are rarely easy.
If they were easy, they would never have become lessons. Why is that? Why must we be tested so severely in order to grow as humans?
I am a student of the multiverse. Once upon a time I called myself “atheist.” The problem I found with that way of thinking was that it didn’t allow for the possibility of future information. While I personally don’t think there’s an invisible man living somewhere in the sky dictating our every move, I must — as a rational and logical being — maintain that there are possibilities we have yet to discover. So for want of a better word, I consider myself spiritual. Of the spirit.
Theists may tell us that lessons are hard, but “God would never give us anything we couldn’t handle.” Or, “God works in mysterious ways.” Or, “It’s God’s plan.”
Spiritualists of a certain kind may call it “karma,” that what goes around, comes around.
What about this:
We know intrinsically what we need, and we set into motion every lesson we’ll ever need or ever learn without ever being aware of our involvement. We do this because, as our spirit evolves — just like every other energetic being in the multiverse — we bring forth the tools we need to grow.
My family is riddled with cases of mental illness. I used to worry about it, that genetically I was predisposed to it. A couple weeks ago, I had a breakdown. The docs wouldn’t call it a psychotic break, necessarily, but more of a bipolar break. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I already work hard at curing PTSD within myself, but this event came from my blind side, and caught me totally unawares. It was triggered by an act of petty theft that I committed in a moment of desperation and weakness. On Friday, I ran out of food. In my cupboard was a container of dried oats. All I needed was milk and I could have survived on just that until benefits kicked in. I tried all my resources, but was turned down ever time. As I was trudging home, trying to think of how we would eat, an idea came to me, and I acted on it.
I stole a half gallon of milk.
From that act, an arrest warrant was issued for me with 2 felony counts and 1 misdemeanor. The thing was, I knew it was wrong and didn’t attempt to hide from it when the police called. I voluntarily turned myself in at the jail, where I spent many hours (most of them crying).
After release, I fell apart: emotionally, psychologically, and physically. I became suicidal and had the specific plan and resource to carry it out. As I sat on my couch with a gun in hand, finger caressing the trigger, I made a bargain with myself. Rather than kill myself, I would call a crisis line. If they could talk me out of suicide, I would agree to whatever they said.
Within an hour, I was voluntarily checking myself into a mental health care facility. But boy, I fought it. My brain argued against it seven ways to Sunday. After evaluation, they felt I continued to be a threat to myself and others, and asked me to commit to a stay in a hospital to get the care I needed. I fought that, too. Even though I was there “voluntarily,” I didn’t act in a way that let them trust me. I screamed and threw things. I punched a cop. I was put in restraints and isolated. After this six hour tantrum, I finally grew so exhausted of fighting it, I gave in.
I spent 8 days in a treatment facility. The first 24 hours were hardest because I was still fighting it in my head. Then something happened that likely saved my life. I had a moment of clarity in which I saw the Truth. MY Truth. I knew I needed help, and though I fought it, I was getting the best possible care. I was not a prisoner, I was a person who needed help. And I got it.
Every day I thank myself and the multiverse for allowing me the time and resources to get the help I so desperately needed. I needed time away from my life and the situations which caused my breakdown. Through that portal of time was I allowed to heal. I saw so much more clearly than ever before.
It’s been 6 days since I returned home, and the feeling of being blessed has not left me, not even once.
Once upon a time, I supported those who wished to kill themselves, considering it “free will.” I thought that if they wanted out so badly, they should be allowed to do it.
I no longer feel that way. Not because of the bullshit stories we tell ourselves about how suicide is “selfish,” or that it’s “cowardice,” or that it transfers all that inner pain onto those who care for us. Those are the things we tell others whom we want to “guilt” into staying alive. Let me tell you that we see right through those clumsy and ineffective attempts.
What we don’t tell those who are suicidal is that they aren’t thinking with their true mind. It’s an illness, and it’s called that for a reason. When we are ill, we are not doing our best. Instead, the illness is doing everything it can to control us. And since our minds cannot see it objectively, we fall prey to its false thoughts and desires.
It’s all right to be ill. Even mentally ill. That doesn’t, however, mean we must succumb to it. When we become sick with the flu, do we simply decide we’d rather be dead than have to feel that way any longer?
We take medications. We rest. We step away from our hectic schedules for as long as it takes to feel better. We cannot care for others until we have cared for ourselves.
I’m here to tell you that when you feel like living is no longer worth it, GET A SECOND OPINION. Family and friends are not necessarily the best advisors in times like this. Like you, they’re too subjective to see it clearly. But there are hundreds of free resources you can use. You can do it anonymously, or tell them everything. Strike a bargain with yourself. When you’re feeling like you want to hurt yourself, think: I will call someone first and will delay this other action. Listen to them, to what they have to tell you. I guarantee it will be the best, most beautiful thing you can do for yourself.
Here in Colorado, there are several crisis lines. (844) 493-8255 is the Colorado Crisis Service. They will take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Program it into your phone so you remove the step of having to look it up.
The National Crisis Line is: 1-800-273-8255
If those don’t appeal to you, then please call me. I’ll listen without judgment. Here is my direct number:
Promise yourself you will look at ALL your options before you act.
It gets better. But YOU have to give it a chance.

Manifesto for the 21st Century

communityThere’s no such thing as a “real” man or a “real” woman. We are non-binary, gender-fluid humans who try to label everything so that our brains can believe it understands. It doesn’t. All labeling does is provide the illusion of linear order and sense.
Only when we’re able to step away from the need to give everything a name or a category are our eyes finally opened. And now we use these labels to create deep divisions in our thinking, believing that if something isn’t like us, it’s somehow “wrong” or needs to be killed. I know a thing or two about this, as my family was run in this same way.
It reminds me of a story one of my teachers told in seventh grade. It went something like this:
On a remote island that had never been exposed to humanity at large, lived a tribe. All they knew was their island and themselves and anything that existed on that piece of water-surrounded land. One fateful day, a rowboat washed ashore and the people there found another human lying unconscious in the bottom, soaked in several inches of water. They cared for him even though his skin was much lighter than theirs. When he regained consciousness, he was grateful for his life and to those who’d saved it.
This man had struck a reef while at sea and was the only survivor. He knew that there would be people looking for him, and so made his careful way down to the beach every day to watch the horizon for ships that might be the one he was waiting for. Intrigued, the island people followed him and sat with him, though they had no idea what he was doing. Perhaps he waited for a god to appear, and they were all right with that.
Then, one day, he stood up, shielding his eyes from the brilliant sun because he saw a shape on the horizon. It was flashing morse code every fifteen seconds or so. And…it seemed to be drawing nearer. He yelled and waved and jumped up and down, and so did the islanders. He pointed out the ship to them, but they only looked confused. What they saw was something far different than the man saw. Because they’d never seen a ship before, they saw only an enormous whale traversing the sea. And when this vessel drew near, they ran and hid, fearful that the beast would kill them. When they returned to the shore some time later, the man was gone. The beast had killed him and they offered thanks to the creature for sparing their lives.
The moral is that we cannot see what we are not open to seeing.
This way of thinking blinds us to reality. Not just our perception of reality, but reality.
When we listen to the radio or read a magazine, we are taught that we are all very different from one another, even though this is a falsehood. Yet we allow this way of thinking to be perpetuated time and again.
A black man was murdered today…
Gay singer wows judges…
Bank CEO wins lottery…
What do these accomplish? They create a division in our thinking. I’m not black, so I don’t have to care. I’m not gay, so I don’t have to care. I’m not a CEO, so I don’t have to care.
We are all humans. Every life matters. This is our RACE…the HUMAN RACE. I am no more identified by the word “writer” than I am by the phrase “blue-eyed white man.” Unless I allow it to define me, then it’s all just neutrality being forced into something faux-meaningful.
Jim Carrey, in one of the most profound graduation speeches I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, said, “I have no limits. I cannot be contained because I’m the container. You can’t contain the container, man. You can’t contain the container. I used to believe that whoever I was ended at the edge of my skin, that I’d been given this little vehicle called the body from which to experience creation, as though I couldn’t have asked for a sportier model. It was after all a loaner and would have to be returned…
“ What’s yours? How will you serve the world? What did they need that your talent could provide? That’s all you have to figure out. As someone who’s done what you’re about to go and do, I can tell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is, because everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that is left of you is what was in your heart. My choosing to free people from concern got me from to top of the mountain. Look where I am, look what I get to do everywhere I go. I’m going to get emotional, because when I tap into this, it really is extraordinary to me. I did something that made people present their best selves to me wherever I go. I am at the top of the mountain. And I was. And the only one I hadn’t freed was myself, and that’s where my search for identity deepened.”
I am you. You are me. We are no different in any way, and it’s far past time that we stop looking for our differences and look for our similarities. The sooner we do this, the more quickly we foster peace. And love. And most importantly, our humanity.