Taming the Shark

A few weeks ago while flipping through channels I came across a program on National Geographic  about this underwater photographer who wanted to learn how to put a shark into a trance.  Alongside an expert, he'd geared up in a chain-suit and bravely entered the sharks' realm, bait in tow.  By following her instructions, slowly stroking the gigantic animal's snout and forehead he attempted this seemingly impossible task.  He was doing quite well until a part of his chain glove brushed against the … [Read more...]

Your True Path: Recognizing the Difference

I used to get lost inside a laminated image sticky-tacked to my 7th grade English teacher's podium.  It was one of those inspirational posters every teacher had up in their classroom with insights like "What's right isn't always popular and what's popular isn't always right."  I don't recall learning much else from the year I spent in Mrs. Green's class but I remember this poster.  It was a photograph of two leaf-covered trails, shaded by towering trees with lush green leaves. Between the … [Read more...]

How to Write a Book – a Single Cicada Calling

The blue light of morning filters its way through the lush, green oak leaves outside my window.  The sound of the whirring ceiling fan combined with the humming cicadas confirm summer's hot arrival. It's been so long since I've been in Texas to witness the commencement of the relentless summer, summers that were once so familiar to me.  I'd forgotten how powerful ninety-five degree heat is, how it zaps you within seconds, draining you dry of energy.  I'd forgotten how cold air conditioning is … [Read more...]

An Incantation – a meditation on mummies, permanence and impermanence

Navigate your way through the immense amount of antiquities at the British Museum and you’ll eventually turn a corner where you'll find yourself entranced by the charcoal eyes, raven hair and the gold jewelry of ancient Egyptian mummies. Their crossed arms clutch thousand year-old secrets and you can’t help but feel something like tenderness when you look at their tightly-wrapped feet, reminding you of a swaddled infant. You’ll be transfixed under their empty gazes; they seem to stare right … [Read more...]

Graffiti Love

Italian graffiti artist, Blu, is featured on Colossal today.  Seeing such obvious statements of the social and political reality in Italy reminds me of the importance of art when it comes to educating the masses.  Go into any church in Italy and you'll see frescoes covering every square centimeter.  Ancient walls and ceilings were not only canvases but opportunities to display a message, tell a story of hope, redemption, death and resurrection.  The paintings were commissioned with religion in … [Read more...]

You Can’t Run Into a Burning Building If You Don’t Love Things on Fire

At first it starts off small; manifesting as rebellion against what most would call "normal." At some point you can no longer pretend to accept and in this awareness you subconsciously commit. You reject.  You leave.  You close a door and open a window. Not to jump out, even though yes, you've thought of that too, but to let in the outside.  Get air. You do things you never thought you would or could. You leave the family that made you because they abandon you first, have … [Read more...]

Love it / Hate it: an Infinite Combination of a Mere Twenty-Six Letters

Today.  On my way to Seattle.  I'm venturing out into the outside world for the first time in a very long while.  I haven't had much to write about lately because I haven't experienced much except for the inside of my own head which sits atop my body which has been, for the last six months, confined to a small bedroom at my mother's. Let me back up here and say that I've been uninhabiting the world quite on purpose.  I've been in what I call Creation Mode which requires an extremely heavy … [Read more...]

Why We Love the Olympics

While I watched the opening ceremonies I wondered what it was that compels the whole world to care so much, still, this far into the future of the original Olympic games?  Why are we so enchanted?  After all these years, why are we still a captive audience?  Regardless of the history, regardless of culture or country, humanity as a whole seems to need these games. In May 2013 I spent five days with a group of American students at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.  For five days … [Read more...]

Autumn in Tuscany – A Writing Retreat for the Senses

Disconnect* so you can reconnect. September 14-19, 2014 Spend 5 days and 6 nights in a Tuscan farmhouse nestled in the Chianti region of Italy.  Immerse yourself in the Tuscan landscape, local food, fresh air.  Limber up during daily morning yoga and let your writing be transformed.  Fiction and nonfiction workshops will be held by me and Dulcie Witman, MFA, fiction writer and advice columnist.  Other activities available onsite include hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, Vespa … [Read more...]

13 Things 2013 Taught Me

1. No matter where you are or what your situation is, good or bad, it will not be forever. 2. A good laugh is sacred. 3. Sacrifice is often necessary but not at all costs. 4. Life's most brilliant ideas can be hatched by taking a hot shower. 5. The best writing comes not from writing but living. 6. When you start drinking skim milk instead of whole milk, magical things begin to happen. This is how to be proactive when it comes to change. If you're feeling stuck, unstick … [Read more...]