Father

he said

‘my absence is strong and warm.

it will hold you.

it will teach you how to miss.

how to be without.

and how to survive anyway.’

-how my father raised me

–Nayyirah Waheed

I blinked and suddenly 6 months passed since my last writing. Not for lack of material per se, but rather lack of time. The reasons have been good, more than amazing, really. And to those who checked in to see what was going on, thank you! I didn’t realize I had more than a couple of people who actually read my writing, and it was really touching to receive your messages of concern. I soon plan on sharing, in more detail, with regards to all that I’ve worked on lately, but suffice it to say that I’ve been able to return to my roots of design and videography after over a decade of dormancy. I’ve also restarted the old farm at my homestead that my great-grandparents originally built, taking it back to the beginning. And most amazingly, journeyed alongside an incredible and indomitable little spirit contained in canine form. All of this too, with my most beloved partner in crime.

And motherhood marches on as well, my son growing and changing every day. And on this particular day, Father’s Day, I wrestle with so many emotions, every year. Even more so now that I am a mother. This writing has been kicking around my skull for the better part of three years now in some form, so I’ve finally decided to let it out.

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Some Personal Poetry

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?

What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

–Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Poetry as Insurgent Art”

I am unabashedly in love with poetry of all forms. From the staples of Shakespeare, to the metaphysical meanderings of John Donne, to Poe, Ferlinghetti, Rosetti, Aiken, Plath, Frost… the list could go on. Even the new, viral “short form” poems have a special place in my heart, especially those of Nayyirah Waheed. After all, music has always moved me deeply, and what is poetry but music with prose?

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A Summer of Wanderings

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.

Augustine of Hippo

Since I was 5 years old, I’ve traveled almost every summer. Most of the summers of my youth were spent in France, but as I got older, I tried to get out into different parts of America as well. In my teens and early twenties, I managed to hit up every state on the East coast from Florida to Maryland, and then westward into Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Colorado, and eventually, Nevada.

And then it all stopped.

I could get into all the whys and hows, the excuses and the arguments. But the end result was the same, regardless of how it happened. For 9 years, travel was not an option, and my house was more cage than home.

Then the tumult and chaos of last year happened, and I was travelling again out of nowhere. Savannah (multiple times), Charleston, New York, Augusta, and, at the end, Oak Island. All were whirl-wind trips of only a couple days here and there, but all were meaningful in some way. A part of me that was suppressed for so long was returning.

This year, with my life officially in restart mode, I was able to pull off some longer trips, both alone and with Liam as my little travel partner.

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Brave

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

–Nelson Mandela

This is a post I started over a month ago. In truth, it is nearly 11 years over due in many ways. This story, this journey, is one that I have never told in its entirety. Before, I have only given it in bits and pieces to a select few people. Now, it is time for the telling, so that I can truly let go of some internalizations that I have held onto for over a decade.

This will not be a beautiful piece like I normally strive for. It’s ugly at turns, and raw. But a very real part of me that has been 11 years suppressed. This is my cancer journey.

When I was 21 years old, I was told that I had pancreatic cancer. I had to come to terms quickly with my mortality; far quicker than I think I was emotionally prepared for at the time. But I didn’t have a choice, really. I had to be brave. For my family, my friends. Above all, for my mother, who was not handling the situation well at all.

As strange as it was, I was not entirely surprised that I was sick. For months, I had been having dreams…

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Mourning in the Digital Age (pt. 3/3)

I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead- . He is just away!
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand
He has wandered into an unknown land,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there.

–James Whitcomb Riley, Away

In late June of 2008, a mere three weeks after I underwent lifesaving surgery, I arrived at the local college campus to meet with someone I had only spoken with on the phone, a man named Jonathan. I was determined to completely derail my career and switch majors from elementary education to veterinary medicine, and he was the last roadblock standing in my way. I had filled out all the forms, dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s, but there was the problem of me being wait listed, as the program only had 64 seats. This “Jonathan” was going to get me into the program whether he wanted to or not.

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Mourning in the Digital Age (pt. 2/3)

There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandchild.

–Victor Hugo

After grieving for Sammy throughout most of my childhood, death, at some point, became merely a distant threat again. I thought of him most days, admittedly do even now, but tears had subsided into smiles as painful thoughts became fond memories once more. Plus, going through puberty and then my high school years? I had more than plenty to keep me occupied.

I took death, in, yet again, an abstract sort of way, wrapping myself up in the communities that were Goth and Geek culture in the early aughts. This was not an embrace of death, not fully. More of keeping an enemy at arm’s length. Using the fear as a shield, and then escaping into a digital wonderland when things got too “real.”

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Reflections on a Past Life

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

— Charles Dickens

I sit here on a suspiciously warm February night, finally taking time to write down all of the reflection and introspection that I have been diligently undertaking over the past few months. My house is a wreck; boxes stacked everywhere as I try to combine two homes into one. To merge all the “stuff” from a past life into a new one that has barely taken wing. Yet, here I sit, because I can’t stop the thoughts from overflowing with every box I empty, every dish put away. By the by? I might have an addiction to coffee mugs and someone needs to help me. It’s normal for one girl to have over 50 mugs, right? Right?Read More »

The Ballad of Gary Lee

Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.

-Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

Not long ago, I shared with you the rediscovery of some old family photographs, including the memento mori of my great-uncle, Gary Lee. In that box of photographs, news clippings, and letters, I found not just the only pictures to exist of this little soul, but also a family story, and a dark secret. This is possibly scandal enough for the likes of Savannah, much less a little one-light town in North Carolina. You know Mayberry? Alright, well think even smaller and you get Broadway.

It all started in the late 1920s with my great-grandparents, Holton and Hermie…
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