Among yet not With People

I pick up on that “among people” even if I am not “with people” vibe too, especially when I’m at Barnes & Nobles curled up with a comic or book or just writing in the knock-off Starbucks cafe section, watching people.

Some people are obviously on a date, others are doing homework in group study. Some are just chilling by themselves. In such an environment, one can just be, without being overwhelmed by maintaining conversation or putting up a front with someone else. In such moments, we are all aware of each other and accepting through our silence and lack of verbal interaction -aside from asking to share the power outlet or to watch someone’s stuff for them on a quick bathroom break.

The hum of dialogue is a soft and melodic bass, the excited voices of children a punctuation and the steadfast and plodding steps of the grandparents a slow, reliable rhythm anchoring the symphony as the coffee pot gurgles its steamy melody.

In the fall, the pumpkin spice latte accents the air, flitting around the sent of coffee and baked goods. The barista chuckles with her coworker as they argue the merits of one band’s lead singer over another. A familiar banter I hope to someday emulate with someone, someday, somewhere…

A sense of hopelessness washes over me, I turn back to the straightforward world of heroes, misunderstood and yet never alone, even when the knife of betrayal plunges into their soul over and over, they are never alone.

A sidekick, a partner, a lover, a brother, a friend, a colleague, an ally, enemy-of-my-enemy-

There is always someone…

I pull my hoodie around me, burrowing deeper into the slightly uncomfortable wooden chair perched in the window. Cars go by, there is something so hypnotic about the zoom of the vehicles from one side of the window to the other.




We played the zip-zap-zop game in drama class, to prompt swift reaction time and to practice reacting off each others’ “energy” I guess. It was a rapid game, accompanied with a clap and slide of one palm over the other in the direction of someone else who caught the “Zip” and sent off a “Zap” to another who received and slided a “Zop” on to someone else.

Hesitate or delay, and you’re out of the game.

“Zip”     “Zap  “Zop”

“-Zip!” “-Zap!” “-Zop!”




Catch a turn of life, quickly return it to someone, somewhere else. Quickly move on before you sink and become bogged down by the intensity of the here and now.



Don’t fail to move along-


Winner is all alone.

The king at the pinnacle of his throne desired a queen to sit with him. So he sent his brave knight to search the land for a woman worthy to become his queen. He waited for 30 days and 30 nights, and on the morning of the 31st day, word is brought that a queen of most noble carriage and unmatched beauty is on her way, accompanied by the king’s most courageous and loyal knight, to meet and wed the king.

How his heart burst to hear the news! His majesty could hardly contain himself. What to wear? What to do? How should he prepare to meet his most beloved queen?

The king was besides himself with joy. He commanded that the entire palace be cleaned from top to bottom, that the finest foods in the kingdom be brought and the most lauded chefs cook a banquet to honor his queen on their wedding day. All the nobles of the land were summoned to the wedding, and all the common folk brought gifts and homage to the palace, in honor of his queen.

When finally the queen-to-be arrives, the king raced forward to greet her. He noticed her delicate hands and melodic voice, her laughter and sparkling eyes. In all her raven haired beauty, none else in the kingdom could match her in beauty.

If he wasn’t in love before, his majesty was smitten by the mere sight of her.

Three days later, the wedding bells rung, and the King married his lawfully wedded Queen. The king was delighted, he achieved the pinnacle, and had at his side, the most divine of all feminine creatures. What more could he ask for?




A month later, the king found himself in the smoldering ashes of his ambition. His most loyal knight, whom he had trusted above all others, held his blade to the King’s throat.

His queen stood by the knight’s side, her delicate hands clasped over her belly, almost 3 months pregnant.

Forced away from his kingdom, with neither queen nor support, the King of one turned to the forest with a broken heart. His army stolen, his love betrayed, he had nothing left but a hollow crown and empty arms.

Show… don’t tell…


Sometimes less is more.

Photo Source


Winter is Coming Here

It still feels surreal, these gray skies and salt crusted roads.

Veer off this beaten path and land into a hidden dell, deserted by nature, oppressed by the wintery fist of iron and ice.

The fallen snow, mostly melted, flank the barren trees huddled in shame at their seasonal nudity. The celebration of gold, bronze, and copper festival scarves has faded into the barren starkness of whip-like branches combing the frigid wind with the desperate clutch of a frantic person as their partner leaves them for the last time.

Only the prickly pines retain their clothed dignity, Continue reading Winter is Coming Here

We aren’t who we think we are

I enjoy singing. When I was a child, I could easily hit the high soprano notes. Okay, maybe not that easily, but it was achievable.

I am soo not a soprano post-puberty.

I can hit soprano -if I don’t want to talk for awhile. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, who knows.

Who knows.

At that point, it was a big deal for me. Sopranos got leads, sopranos got attention, sopranos cause awe and marvel in the listener. What do altos do? They are the most ignored section (in my opinion at the time) of the choir, a glut slated for reduction. Soprano is elite, altos are commoners.

And I was not meant to be a commoner!

Helllloooooo bias…

Of course, my opinion changed when my choir director noted that my range extended down into the tenor range. Apparently, that was special  (not really) and that rectified, in my mind, my own self-importance.

My, I was a pompous little shit…

Now, all I care about is butchering JPOP, growling to metal, and occasionally crooning to Usher’s pre-Bieber hits [90’s mostly].

Priorities… they change.

Amazing, often necessary, to allow adaptability.

I’m not an alto, or soprano or whatever. I’m just a happy, go-lucky singer slash butcherer of music.

All that stuff, those extra labels, don’t matter. Having fun matters. 🙂

Coffee 24: Looking back…

Prompt: Memories

When I was at a university notorious for its rigor and prestige, I felt the weight of failure crushing the life out of me. I couldn’t seem to do well on exams, I couldn’t understand the classes no matter how many nights I stayed up late, reading and rereading the materials every day. The gray skies melded into a gray world with white walls, chalkboards, and lecture halls one after the other.

Continue reading Coffee 24: Looking back…

Absolute Zero

For so long, days and nights have just been marking time on a clock. Scratching marks on the wall, like a prisoner awaiting release despite the fact that the sentence is life.

Waking up to the sun, the moon, the stars -the half-hearted belief that I would awake when I closed my eyes and the half-empty doubt that I would not. Trying to scrape up the need to care about that -what if I die tonight? What if I don’t wake up? Does it even matter?

Shuffling along, the wraith in my own life, the gray of the dawn succumbing to the gloom of noon, then sinking into the darkness of night. An endless repeat, a ceaseless loop, where everything and everyone changed and grew and blossomed and peaked then died. Continue reading Absolute Zero

Oblivion… Is there?

Many weeks ago:

“Oh my gosh! Did you hear about Orlando?” my friend asked as I slurped my vanilla-bean frappaccino.

“What, the weather? Yeah, the hurricanes are bad in FL right now…”

“No, the shooting! The one at the nightclub.”She shook her phone at my puzzled expression.

“What?! What shooting?”

“Yeah, there are 50 dead and 53 wounded! Some Muslim guy walked in and shot a bunch of people in a gay nightclub. They’re calling it the worst shooting session to date.”

I blinked. “What?!!”

How did I not know?

Continue reading Oblivion… Is there?

Identity #7: (Journey of) Melancholy Birthdays

My life, in the days before my birthday. Note, this is dark.

In the days before my birthday…

I joke with my mother that if she hadn’t eaten that extra cookie at dinner, she might not have gone into labor the next day. I don’t remember -obvi’!- what that first birthday was like, but there are a ton of baby pictures with me and Dad. He was real tickled to have a girl.

Every day is a blessing, I’m glad to be alive.

Continue reading Identity #7: (Journey of) Melancholy Birthdays

Am I dead?

In 12th grade, I was invited to my friend, “Lian’s” birthday party. It was scheduled for the weekend, started in the afternoon, and ran on into the evening.

His house sits in the midst of the woods. It reminds me of home.

I enjoy the fun and activities, exploring a new house. I remember my friend’s smiling face. He has the cutest smile. Dark bangs hanging into his mirthful brown eyes. Dimples. Beauty mark on his face. Voice not so much smooth as easy, caramel with coconut shavings.

Continue reading Am I dead?

A Shepherd

Through the lens of internal interpretation, this is how I had perceived the day.

She spoke, words blasted beyond pain. Hollowed from repetition, her fragile facade an onion skin away from crumbling into nothing.

Her words lacked passion. Spark. Vitality’s chamber a dry echo of a long empty well.

I wondered how many times she has been here. On this stage, before this crowd. Saying these words.

These… empty words. Words so meaningful, yet barren of life.

This is not a call to action. This is a funeral.

We remember the smile of a man we never met, the words we never heard him say. We relive his moments, moments that we’ve never seen.

Experience his life, we’ve never lived.

She does a  decent job at resurrection. But, it’s zombified. Distorted. Jerky motion of a smooth existence. Recounting words, through the echo of grief, a skewed mirror of reflection.

Did no one see it? The wraith in her shadow, faded in the spotlights, but still present. Tracking her movements, a forlorn creature of tortured physique.

Could no one see it?

The line stretches away. Shuffle step, shuffle step. We wait our turn to approach. To pay our respects. To pay our money.

Soulless ghouls.

I watch her hands, worn and beginning to wrinkle, as they flow steadily across the pages. Tens of thousands of hundreds. Page after page, I can see her fingers inking the pages, word after word on a sea of white. As I get closer, I spot the weariness in her bearing, like a crushing weight on her once strong shoulders. Her hair has begun to fade to gray and wisps of white interlaced the remaining blond.

I watch her with morbid curiosity, staring with an acute fascination. Is this… is this what suffering looks like?

So vacant. Absent.

An automation.

I’m surprised when it’s my turn, feels like forever in the brief span of time. Taking the book, I slide it onto the table in front of her. She doesn’t even meet my eyes, her hands already moving to begin the ritual engraved into muscle memory.

“What do you want it to say?” The false vibrancy is gone, stripped away. Enamel worn away.

You poor soul. “Write ‘_________________________________’.”

Her hands move upon the page. Mechanical.

I see it now. The wraith. A ghost of her.

She has been climbing that stage for years. Saying word after word. Writing page after page.

Falling on deaf ears. Ears of stagnation, rather than activation.

She’s been carrying her son, all these miles. Bandying him in front of the world. At first, because it felt right. Then, because she was told it was right. But now the conviction’s gone. And she’s tired.

Tired of carrying the corpse of her dead son like a banner before the masses.

Pen stroke complete, Mrs Shepherd hands back my book, her eyes staring past me, to the line of endless book signings, eternal struggle, constant battle.

She will not rest.


Her son… is gone.

Inspirational Perspective

Many thanks to Brian, who gave me permission to use his artwork in this post. @briansostrom: if there is anything I should correct regarding properly crediting you for your artwork please let me know (I do want to do it right).
brian sostrom_Under
“Under” by Brian Sostrom

Inspired by Brian Sostrom’s painting called Under (you’ll want to visit this link, the picture is larger there :-] ). Brian does some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen, please visit his blog and view his work.

His artwork continues to prompt me to deeper thoughts and speaks to my heart.

The past few days have been melancholy.  The holiday prompted solitude, self-imposed, and the negative thoughts that grew thicker than crows on the power lines. I couldn’t help but inhale it in.

Continue reading Inspirational Perspective