teeny tale: needed.

She pulled up slowly; the gravel popping beneath each turned tire. And there she saw it. He had found this spot some years ago, bare: what he took as a kind gesture from nature, a welcome invitation to settle among the towering knotty pines. It was a hardy build, constructed from eastern white pine, kiln dried, its dovetail corner notching a work of his own hands--a practice he was taught by his father who along with the skill, shared the tender story of its assumed origin, one of a farmer who sat, marveling at the wedge-shaped tails of some neighborly doves. It was a simple technique, and a simple means for a father and son to bond. 

From the interlocking hand-cut joints of boxes, to dresser drawers, to the logs of his own home, the size of his projects grew with time, as he had with age. There was much he could do for himself, and that which he couldn't merely filled a thimble--something he neither owned nor would ever know existed. She still longed for the days before his hard-working hands, once smooth, turned calloused and cracked; it seemed both she and his leather gloves became a cozy luxury--something his simple life could do without. But for as much as he didn't need her, she was still in need of him. Yet she sat alone, staring down the narrow drive that led to him; the steady stream of smoke pouring from the flue being the closest to him she would get.


'tis the season.

Another year, another holiday season. Give. Give. Give. But it isn't the presents under the tree that I look forward to most, unlike those of (many) years past. From the awe of bounding down the stairs to snatch the first glimpse of wrapped gifts from "Santa"--and the partially nibbled carrots and fully-eaten cookies--to the awe of the gift of others, Christmas has evolved, but only because I have, too.

I won't discount the pleasure I have in giving the "perfect gift," that gift you just know won't disappoint. But I will say, if all I had was the people who mean most to me, the crackle and smell of a wood-burning fire, mashed with a little "Ruddy the red-nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history..." rocking around a freshly-cut balsam, my grown self would agree that "Santa did come!" 

In the rush to make sure that presents were bought and sent and packaged, I've found there are holiday favorites I'm missing, things that say "happy holidays" to me more than any glossy package. Like finding the least prickly tree that's not too big, not too small, and as close to perfectly symmetrical as possible (although you can always turn the "bad side" toward the wall). It's filling my home with the smell of peppermint, cinnamon...pure confection...and hovering over the first batch of chocolate chip cookies; waiting for the dough to cool just enough to hold it together to make it to your mouth without slowly bending in half, and short enough to keep the chips in ooey-gooey form. 

With the hype of the holidays there should be more taken from them than just the giving of gifts. They should include spending time with family--the family you were born into and those who've become "family" along the way--and friends...old and new. It's about the people, the traditions, the memories. Christmas has always been a guarantee that I'll see those that have staked a claim to a piece of my heart...and that my stocking will have gum and lip gloss. It's the former that I value most, but even the traditional stocking stuffers work their way into tradition. Into a day I've enjoyed since birth, but only began to remember from age 5. And as the years have past, I've realized just how special the holidays are.

Being that I don't live close to family or even some of my closest friends, the holiday season of the past 10 years or so have brought the joy of knowing that I'll return to the familiar place I still call "home." A place I knew well for 17 years. And while I've stopped growing, the trees that I danced around and hung from as a youth have grown taller, marking the time past. Each return home I'm flooded with memories I've created around that exact time in all the years leading up to that point; it's the memories that will last much longer than any material gift given. My nostalgic nature had, at one point, even brought me to slip a piece of wrapping paper into my stocking to stay until December 25 of the next year: a physical object to trigger the intangible of the Christmas before.

This season (and for those that follow), make the extra effort to enjoy the moments the holidays offer, as they are the most honest and "perfect gifts" given. The laughs. The drinks with old friends. The board game with a sibling. Even the embrace from the black sheep of the family, because no matter how you cut it, it's a hug people, and we could all benefit from giving and receiving a few more of them...

Cheers to you and yours!


through the words of others...

These words hang closely to the right of me each day at work, but they've gone unread for over a year. I let the words find a place in the minutes of my scattered day, and I'm sharing them here so they have the chance to find a place in yours:

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded! ~ Emerson


teeny tale: Chinese finger trap.

they were similar but different. and it was that which made them different that pulled them in opposing directions, while oddly pulling them closer like two fingers fallen victim to the woven bamboo of a Chinese finger trap: the greater the effort to pull away, the stronger the force grew that joined them. until they each fell tired. finding themselves stuck in the middle of nowhere between here and there. it was then that the force that bound them released. but rather than quickly retreat, they slowly crept apart, as to not. trigger. the reflex. that had trapped them in the first place.


teeny tale: whisked away

stepping outdoors, exposed, onto the emptied slab of asphalt, the blistery breeze welcomed her back to life with a swift burst, and a shove of assurance that it was right to move forward. every fragile piece of her became nature’s raw ingredients, to mix and swirl, to create what it wished. her tamed tousles were easy prey, pulled apart, played with, and set back in a merry mess atop her head. & she thought if only it were strong enough to pick her whole self up & whisk her away for playtime in a far distant land for a short while before returning her gently to the ground, back to reality, but with an overall head-in-the-clouds, gleeful sheen.


teeny tale: cosmic collision

he turned, arms outstretched, presenting his cupped hands before her. what do you have inside there? she asked. a whole lot of everything. it's my world; i want to share it with you. & with eyes sparkling like the brightest stars, she grabbed half of his "world" and enclosed it in half of hers. & it was the best cosmic collision they'd ever experienced.


teeny tale: live it up

she had been told many times to "live it up." but it wasn't until the day she dropped the moments that were had behind her, let the moments waiting to be had run free ahead & allowed the moment she was in to saturate the liquid life that ran inside her that she finally gave those words the meaning they deserved. & from that day on, her heart proclaimed its thanks for relieving the weight of the past and the pressure of the future; it was happiest pumping for the now.


teeny tale: beauty mark

it was one of those autumn days found in dreams but often never had: the aroma of brown sugar swirling with adrift leaves, torsos jacketless, legs shielded lightly by pantyhose; it’s too warm for tights. she welcomed the day with an overly confident smile, hair bouncing, skirt floating, a twirl came on, & as her downward gaze began to travel up, a gasp. the opaque fabric clinging to her thighs revealed a speck. with a flick of her middle finger she aimed, determined to defeat. but the “speck” was not a speck at all, not fuzz, nor a smidge of dirt, rather a beauty mark—not a freckle; freckles are for faces. & she thought how silly she was for wanting to flick away her beauty. & as that thought began to dissipate with a shake of her head, something landed lightly upon her bare arm. instead of giving a sudden jerk—as she most certainly would have done at any other given time—she warded off the protective urge & slowly cranked her head right, then down. there atop her dewy skin, a ladybug sat. beginning to crawl she knew she ought to wish for something soon…but instead of waiting for the moment to pass, she enjoyed the seconds she had in it. besides, she already felt lucky knowing that not only could her beauty not be flicked off, it also could not grow wings and fly away.



On this first crisp morn.
Her breathe sits, udisguised without warmth.
Her destination plotted with each crunch.
Left. Right.
The open air droops, heavy, lacking song.

Chicka dee dee dee dee dee.
          Chicka dee dee dee dee.

Her songbird had taken flight, black-capped, into the fallen night.

And so she waits.
For the return of a steeper angle.
For her breathe to be taken by brilliance.
For his song to fill the emptiness hang       
                               ing     air.
                                 in the  


Passing Love Notes

I once dared to touch her frosted locks,
Cascading around the rocks that were her shoulders.
A flow of copious curls.
Not knowing the work I’d undo,
All with a single stroke.

The untouchables remained so.
She had set them just right.
The way she set my clothes out each night.
Plain, but brand new.

Lunchbox notes read “I love you,”
And the second-hand jeans around her hips
The years worn on her shoes--
"Notes" undetected by a child’s eye.

A room full of plastic perfection.
Dolls with skirts hemmed with lace,
And long, threads of golden curls unbrushed.
Her reality allowed for the make-believe life I knew.


teeny tale: invisible

wishing she were invisible so her thoughts would be, too. because everything she thought she wore on her face, & she was tired of having to explain herself for the things she never said.


close your eyes. make a wish. and...

And you.

There’s something about the corner of a wrap-around porch that makes you feel like you're sitting at the edge of the world.
And the way the willows shake their leafy hips in the breeze that makes you feel like dancing.
And the smell of a wood fire that warms you, even though its flame is out of sight.
And how a hand resting upon your lap rests upon your heart.


this is what my drive home produced...

The springs of her bed creaked and groaned with every tired tousle, any reasonable readjustment, driving her to submit to the land mines beneath: she made each night's slumber as motionless as possible. This still, however, did not take care of the untamed springs that would poke and prod her like an unanswered toddler--poke, poke. Neither the metal coils nor a being so small possessed the ability to understand such an annoyance. Even so, the thought of removing herself from the hot-pocket cocoon her mere six and half hours of undesirable, rigamortis-like hibernation had created was a difficult one. But it was peculiarly defined moments such as this--along with the seasons when pointy-toed heels outshined round-toed pumps--that allowed her to be, for once, thankful for the authoritative gradient her toes took, allowing her to attack the uncovered air...One. Digit. At. A. Time.


teeny tale: all dressed up

she likes it when her nails are painted a vibrant shade of crimson because it makes her feel all dressed up, even when that which falls between her digits isn't.


I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness...

What's on your bookshelf? Maybe you're a literary snob: your shelves boast with the likes of Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Steinbeck, and White. Maybe the majority of your introduction to great American literature was had and left in the chalky dust of your AP English class over a decade ago. Either way, the works that find their way to call a place "home" upon your shelves have made it there for one reason or another. It's a classic. My girlfriend said I HAD to read this. I had to buy them for my college courses. 

The bound pages one displays only allow yet another set of "covers" for others (i.e., those who have themselves thought consciously about their own visible collection) to judge you by. And it's just another conversation starter for those interested, while some would rather chose to comment on your collection of records--or lack there of--or the tabletop of trophy bourbon.

I'm by no means a literary snob, nor have I left my passion for literature on the high-pressure laminate work surface of years gone by. My collection is a combination of books I've read and acquired through my own means, books snatched up waiting patiently in queue, books borrowed, and those adopted from my partner's own collection. One from the latter that I've seen floating around, that I've even rearranged neatly within our Ikea cubed bookshelf, is the above: Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg. This ongoing contact lead me to choose "Howl," the movie, as my most recent movie drama.

Ginsberg's work was published by City Light Books in San Francisco in 1956. It's uninhibited use of obscenities brought it, along with the publishing house, much attention. To some, Ginsberg's choice of words were found offensive. For this, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the publishing house owner, was charged for distributing obscene material. The 50s were a time of cultural revolution; those who chose to write about it became known as the "Beat Generation." But as once said by Ginsberg himself, and once again in the movie through the lips of James Franco,"there is no Beat Generation, just a bunch of guys trying to get published."

The trial drew national attention and marked a pivotal point in literature: breaking down the boundaries of what could and could not be published in the United States. It allowed for an entire generation to come out in expressive word, even in sexual orientation. It broke ground in the use of acceptable language. It openly announced that the world is not an aesthetically pleasing place to us all; therefore, describing it just as one sees it, be it beautiful or damned, was deemed acceptable. Together this Beat Generation flipped the bird to euphemisms, and banned together toward a world of written word that allowed them to tell it like they saw it. Write it how they felt it. Put words to the sighs that left their mouths. The tears that dampened their cheeks. The howls that boomed from their bellies.

I've already picked up the book I had organizationally tangoed with. The run-ons, the incantations, repetition, even the obscenities sit with me well. And it's because of its existence and what it brought thereafter that is due thanks for such an open invitation.

Seek the movie out. Watch it. And fall in love with the power of words and the writers who masterfully organize them to say that which the rest cannot.


teeny tale: tatter

the rain went pitter patter, as her heart began to tatter. & as polka dots adorned her plain tee, she tittered. & then littered the puddles with her fears; the pool beneath her swelled from the flow. & as she looked to the wealth of drops that had fallen below, she saw staring back that which frightened her most of all...


teeny tale: a single branch

he said it’s funny how life works. how many paths it can take. & all the moments that lead up to those possible paths. there are just an infinite number of possibilities. like a tree, with each branch shooting off in its own direction. although, she said, a tree does have a limited amount of branches. but it still works, because the paths we’d actual take are in fact limited anyway. i mean, yes, the possibilities are themselves endless, but there's usally only a few paths we'd really take and those are the ones that are a bit more defined, just like the branches of a tree. well thanks, he said. & she added: besides, there’s only one “branch” i wanted to choose. & which one would that be? he asked. the one that pointed to you, she said. & when she came home later that day, upon their porch sat their potted star magnolia with all but one branch pointing toward her. she smiled--it was a drastic statement but one of love nonetheless.


teeny tale: "dear sleep:"

dear sleep:

i know it’s been quite some time now since we last caught up. but i’m hoping you’ll come ‘round again. i miss you sleep. i realize i can be difficult at times with my night owl ways & my false perception of how my caffeine consumption doesn’t affect my sleepiness. but i promise…i pinkie promise if you come back, i’ll make it right between us. i’ll put the pen down at eight & stop the mind-editing by nine. i’ll even change the sheets so they have that mild mix of cotton breeze from the dryer & cedar from the chest -- the scent that helps me breathe in deeply & exhale slowly. & then i’ll slip that worn-out tee over my tousled bed-ready hair & pop on a pair of exhausted tube socks to cover my tootsies…just long enough to warm ‘em up until they’re set free by a quick kick. i’ll pull the blinds down & swivel them closed—pointing up. & then close the heavy drapes right before i close my heavy lids. 

so what do you say sleep? can I see you soon? please don’t make me wait…i'll only grow restless, & then we’re sure to never see each other again. & that…that would just be no good. because we’re good together, you & me. & deep down, i think you need me just as much as i need you.

with love,
jessie lynn


teeny tale: closer look

bloated backpacks blocked her view. & then through the window that idled right above her, rode a boy whose face was smooshed up against the glass of the school bus. he seemed to be inflicting this awkward position upon himself; no sign of a bully was present. so she decided to smoosh her face, too, upon the cool glass of her driver-side window. & she then realized the boy could care less about what he looked like or what his jammed up flesh was going through & more about being closer to the world. that's when she decided the boy would grow up pressing a pen to paper, just as his face pressed against the glass, so he could always have a closer look.


teeny tale: brighter view

she was a collector. besides the obvious saddlebags brimming with time & memories, she collected things: from coffee mugs & vintage tea cloths to gold chains & antique brooches. new to this incomplete list: large-framed sunglasses. a pair from the west. a pair for the east. both became final add-ons; polishing off outfits effortlessly, as their primary task was in fact to shield the sun's rays. both answered the demand upon them justly. that said, it was the orange heptagon-shaped frames that leaked a bit o'sunshine, even while she was trying to block it out. it gave her eyes a sparkle, as they graced each eye with their own gleaming ring o'sun. even on overcast days, the days one's face could go sans masking, she carried on her daily routine with sunshine upon her face. the sun of her eyes traveled to her lips & spread its rays there, too. & even on the dreariest of dank days, she & those who passed her enjoyed a bright view.


teeny tale: quick fix

she woke up with a giddy gait. it was the kind of feeling that felt so good she felt guilty holding on to it. so she passed it on. in smiles. in greetings. in words. & in song. all of which continued to share love throughout the day. the songs, however, began single-man raves in offices and apartments near & far. & that alone she decided was more than enough giddy good for one day.

get your giddy on with the Going the Distance soundtrack (up for a limited time).


teeny tale: her story

she read the works of others to find the words to write. and when she finally wrote, she wrote until night fell and morning rose. until nothing was left. leading her to another author. a list of new words. another birthed story--some premature, others induced. until one day she realized the words of her stories weren't sticking. they didn't feel at home, as they were words she had cut and pieced together. words detached from their orgins. each story: a waif. it was then she selected the belongings that were less likely to weigh her down. she moved. saw. did. and with each step she took and every corner she turned she gathered the words that made her life. she wrote them down. they were words that stuck, like a heavy meal to the ribs. she had built a home for which her words felt welcome. and those words lived together, telling a story all on their own.


the inner you.

I’d like to crawl inside and feel the inner you.

I’d like to look through your eyes to see what your sight is set upon when you look forward, what gets caught in it when you look back.
I’d like to feel you ache when you’ve pushed yourself too far.
I’d like to wander in the beyond of your dark eyelids when you finally stop to rest.

I want to read your thoughts for a better translation of what pours from your mouth.
I want to taste your sour that’s my sweet and my bitter that’s your blunt.
I want to hear the words that make your ears stop to listen, finally.

No one will ever know you like the way I wish I knew you.


teeny tale: short time 'til tomorrow

she knew there were 365 days in a year, & that each of those days had 24 hours—never more or less. & that sunlight or lack there of had nothing to do with it, as places in Alaska see the “midnight sun” for months. or maybe it does, but the decision to have 24 hours came before that which named the great peninsula “Alaska.” she never tried to fully understand it, figuring it all ticked down to some artificial explanation that would enrage her to know—know that if humans were born with more digits, there would have been more joints to count, which would have given her more minutes in the day. if only...

Sera Cahoone's "Only As The Day Is Long"


Say it right...

Disclaimer: I'm not up for fighting with auto spacing or whatever wacked-out coding Blogger has that splits words, plays with paragraph spacing, and makes posting photos a b****, so sorry in advance for some of the broken bits.

If you're planning to ever visit Portland, OR, I have a valuable tip 
for you: it'sOR-ə-gən, not OR-ə-gon. Say it wrong and you'll be quickly corrected--and it only takes one correction from a native, or one of the many transplants who've adopted it as 
their own, to remember to pronounce it correctly forever.
When I say Portland you say what? Maine. Or? Oregon. Yes! Is it 
a strange coincidence that these two cities share a name? Nope.Do 
you dare ask which came first? Portland, ME, of course...don't 
you remember anything from those lessons on Manifest Destiny? 
Interestingly enough, Portland could have been named Boston. But a good toss of a coin settled that decision and Portland it 
became--named after Francis Pettygrove of Portland, ME, who had 
claim on the land. Read up on the history for yourself and you'll become familiar with the names of some of the streets you'll 
encounter, when and i you make it to Portland: Couch (coo-ch), 
Stark, Lovejoy,etc.

Getting Around

Portland is pretty easy to figure out, and pretty easy to get around--thanks to its amazing public transportation system and abundance of bike lanes, many of them generous in size. It's split up into quadrants by the Willamette River which divides the east and west, and Burnside Ave. divides north and south. Southwest is the downtown quadrant with the taller buildings of the skyline; northwest is also "downtown" but is more of the apartment buildings/lofts shops, etc. Northeast and southeast you find your neighborhoods and eclectically populated streets like Belmont and Hawthorne--my personal favorites. 

A Few Recommendations

1.) Get a bike. Either rent one down by the waterfront or sign one out at the front desk if you're a guest of the Ace Hotel.

2.) Ride yourself over one of the many bridges lined with bike and walk lanes (I'd take the Hawthorne Bridge for this rec.) and make your way down Hawthorne until the bike lane ends...hang left...and take Salmon up until the 30s and then cut on over (right) to Hawthorne. What you seek: to get your fill at Bread and Ink Cafe, either at the Waffle Window for a quick bite or sitting down for a more casual pace.

3.) While on Hawthorne, leave the two wheels for your two feet and take a stroll to fully appreciate all that this strip has to offer. Pop in to some thrift shops, check out Powell's, and if you go a few more blocks down, you'll eventually hit the vintage motherload: House of Vintage. If you are anything like me, you are fascinated by the old, motivated by the hunt for that one-of-a-kind gem, and thus will find yourself wandering in and out of this store's many nooks for hours.

4.) Be adventurous: Wander off Hawthorne--with the possible motivation to grab a cup o' energy at Stumptown on Belmont--and take in the charm of the quaint neighborhoods that stem from these main streets.

5.) Drink beer. There are more breweries and brewpubs per capita here than any other city in the U.S. Now that's something to be proud of Portland. Which ones did I frequent? Rogue (was brewing a mean Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout--I'm a stout kind of girl); Deschutes (have a Sagebrush [if they have it on tap], a Black Butte Porter, an Obsidian Stout and don't look back); Bridgeport; Tugboat; and I sampled many others when given the opportunity while out and about. One favorite find was at La Merde: Session Black--A Full Sail brew out of Mt. Hood, OR. Best part, other than the taste being right up my alley: it was $2 and change. And after a great convo with the Brooklyn-native bartender, another was given on the house. 

6.) Eat food. One place that was visited on more than one occasion was Jam, another Hawthorne treat. The vegan options and the inventive cocktails are a match made in heaven. It's a must. As for a great dinner joint, on the other side of the river (that being west), Adina. It's Peruvian, and it's phenomenal. They're creative with their dishes, but not over the top. All I have to say is order their Choros a la Chalaca (the mussels), you'll be pleasantly surprised. Lastly, if you want a little Swedish in you, check out Broder--another East-side find. OH, and I almost forgot, the place that was suggested when asking others what not to miss in Portland: Voodoo Doughnut. After two attempts met with lines out the door, I convinced myself that I couldn't be missing out on too much, it's a freaking doughnut for gosh sakes. The lines? Those were just full of people who were feeding the hype that had been passed on to them, just as it had to me. I wasn't falling for it. Then again...I did. Come the morning of my departure, I sheepishly asked the taxi driver if it would be possible to swing by Voodoo for one last attempt. Even he was skeptical...which made him agasp as we turned to corner to see NO LINE and exclaiming that he hadn't ever seen Voodoo without a line in 10 years. (Note: It was Sunday around 7:30 a.m. set your alarms.) I left with a yellow snow doughnut, he left with a box full.

(I know what you're thinking. And I don't care, it was gooooood.)

7.) Take time to smell the flowers. Yes, at the rose garden. Portland's other moniker is "The City of Roses." Better yet, mozie through the Japanese Gardens. Take advantage of the public transit and hit the blue or red line to the Washington Park stop, then enjoy a little hike on the Wild Wood Trail to the gardens.

8.) Catch a show. It's Portland for goodness sake, which means there's no shortage of great music. Sign yourself up for alerts from TicketsWest or do the research on the various venues like Crystal Ballroom, Roseland Theater and Doug Fir and stalk their listings for that perfectly timed, must-see show. I caught some music, but unfortunately it wasn't the kind of I've-been-dying-to-see-them kind of music experience I was hoping would align. Nonetheless, Doug Fir was the venue of my chosen Portland concert, and if not for anything else, the beer selection was great and the space was awesome. (Back history: Portland has a lumber history, hence Stumptown Coffee, the Doug Fir, etc.) I'd highly recommend checking the Fir out, even if you don't hit a show.

9.) Hit up some or at least one of the natural wonders of Oregon, be it Multnomah Falls or Haystack Rock on the coast in Cannon Beach. The former was chosen on the last round in Portland, so this time around, to the coast! It's a beautiful sight, and for this East Coast girl, enjoyed the opportunity to stare into the white crests of the Pacific. As for Cannon Beach, it's quaint but definitely couldn't hold my attention for more than a day or two; therefore, I suggest making it a day trip.

10.) Go. See. Do. Repeat. There's a lot to see. A lot to do. And a ton more to explore. Know you will not see everything and be okay with that. After two trips there, I'm still left with plenty to do upon Round #3 to the Northwest. For some great deals and tips, visit Travel Portland.

Cheers and safe travels.

Have you been? If so, what else would you suggest to others?

UPDATE: One very BIG point I did not make involves timing. Time your night out right, otherwise you may be caught off guard as I was. While sampling the night away at Deschutes, a ring of a bell and a quick yell of Gibberish hit the air and hit me cold. To which I, with slight sarcasm, ask the bartender "Did you really just say last call?" That he did. I went on to explain my disbelief is a result of living in a city where places don't close down until at least 1 or 2 a.m.--even our coffee shops. (Hit the bars and you're good 'til 4 a.m.) At that point the chick bartender replies "Well, I couldn't be here until 4 a.m., I wouldn't make it." Portland: You're weak.
Anyway, I suppose it's great for the staff, but unfortunate for select transplants, and visiting night owls like myself. My advice: divide up those breweries and conquer...early.
(Special note: Le Bistro Montage has some late/early hours for fellow night owls.)


renewed perspective.

can you have a renewed perspective on a person, place or thing that, until now, has only bottled up a feeling from a day long ago? just like the captivating power of our sense of smell to whisk us back to what may have been one pure second of our lives, so many other triggers present themselves before us. each tantalizing our inner strength, our ability to let go of the past and renew them for the future. in the end you may find some, in particular, have the means to break you down, slowly, only to reveal they have a stronger hold on the you you were then--holding you back from the present-day you  you could be today.

i have a lot of "bottles" that seem to clink around in the back waiting to be recycled. it's time to cash 'em in and turn them into something new. something concrete. something that lives in the now. not all memories are worthy of a life-long journey: they can carry us so far until the time comes when we must dispel them to make room for the new ones which shall unpack in their place.

test the person you are today. return to a memory you've carried close like a child clung to a mother's hip, or a scarf wrapped haphazardly up and around one's neck--what security has it brought you? how does it have the power to make you pause in a "world that spins madly on"? and is recalling and reliving it worth the price of missing an opportunity to fill the present seconds with what's more? some aren't. like everything else, not all memories are created equally. choose yours wisely: carry those which continue to help you define the person you are today and the person you'll be tomorrow, and release those that hold you back from becoming more than that.

a valuable lesson i once learned: in life, if you're not growing, you're shrinking; it would be a shame if you alone were the reason you've been stunted.

i'll be getting my chance to grow in a week. and i welcome it with open arms--i.e., open arms clutching an empty recycling bin, as i don't intend to throw away my memories, just renew them.

reduce, reuse, renew.


personal tagline.

An AAF (American Advertising Federation) SmartBrief e-mail reached my inbox today and its subject line made it worthy of a click: "25 greatest ad taglines." After right-arrowing my way through the likes of "Just Do It," (Nike) "Time to Make the Donuts," (Dunkin Donuts) and "Think different" (Apple), I began to think about the concept of personal taglines. And when I say personal, I mean for you. For me.

Maybe you'd argue that taglines aren't meant for people. Maybe it's because people shouldn't be sold. They are. Maybe it's because people are far more complex than a single business. Some aren't. I challenge your defiance.

I've never thought about what my own tagline would be; I've never tried to brand myself -- with words or tattoos.   I have, however, entertained the idea of stringing together an autobiography, one composed much like Hemingway's six-word story: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. Where did I end up?: After seven-grain bread, still left empty. Yes, that's the story of my life. I'm literally always hungry, but the seven-grain bread is just an analogy. It's the idea that even with all that I've consumed (again, not in the food sense), even with a keen awareness of the most dense aspects of my life, I'm still left wanting more. And the search for something to fill my "appetite" continues on. I don't see this ever changing; therefore, this six-word story fits the bill. But as a tagline? No.

Taglines. They can make or break you. Done right, they can be the cheapest form of advertising, and the best. Think about it. The taglines I mentioned earlier, did you need me to spoon feed which companies they belonged to? Probably not. Taglines can promise (and sell) you something before you know the "how" or "why?" They can offer you the benefits of using a company or product (tip: odd numbers work best, particularly three) --  or grab you by noting the risks if you don't. And some link a product with an abstract need, company address or logo.

Create your tagline. Make it clear. Don't try to get too clever. Reveal your personality, appropriately. Provide the answer to "why?" Sell it (you). Be it.

My personal tagline:
Because words deserve a creative future.  
And a motto that came out of this self-inflicted exercise:
Punctuating words in an unpunctuated life. 

What about you? Got Tagline?


what does your back end say about you?

When I was 16, my commute to high school was no more than five minutes. I noticed things like “Mean People Suck” bumper stickers and rows of Grateful Dead Bears dancing along rear windows. In college, from home to school was a four and a half hour drive. I primarily looked for college stickers, wondering where fellow born-in-the-80s college students were attending. Are they on their way home? Home for the holidays? Or heading back to school? My commute to my first job: my two feet. I recognized new pieces of garbage along the curb, who shovels their walkways and who doesn’t, and when flowers were beginning to spring from the ground. Now, my commute puts me in the car 20 minutes in the a.m. and 20 or more minutes in the p.m. That’s 40 plus minutes of music, NPR news...and staring at the backsides of cars. What I’ve realized – other than I should invest in an iPod adapter for my radio versus having CDs knocking around ever nook of my car – is that you can tell a decent amount about someone from checking out their rear (pun intended).

It’s not the make of a car, the year, the shiny paint job or the rust forming around the wheel wells, but what people physical choose to display. For example, a vanity plate can tip you off to a person's name, nickname, favorite sports team, lifelong hobby, profession or ill attempt at humor. And how about those white stick-figure decals? The other day I saw one of a woman and two dogs, not much ambiguity there: she’s single and lives with her dogs – that’s one way to get the word out that you’re available. Then there’s the car with the “Mom,” “Dad,” and three “kids” with each child’s top sport represented with the appropriate icon next to them: a soccer ball, baseball or football, etc. And yes, pets included. (It was a large vehicle; I could get why.) 

Moving on to bumper stickers – they’re out of control. You can find a sticky statement for just about everything: religious positions, political stances, movie quotes, bands, and the list goes on. What else? How about the dangly items straying from rearview mirrors: a garter (she’s either married or still hoarding possessions from high school); popsicle-stick crosses and hand-strung florescent colored beads (he has children); Yankee Candle Jar air freshener (she likes things to smell pretty); ear pieces (they value safety); parking tags (he’s a student, then again, he could be a professor, hmm). Just the other day I saw a guy driving a car, no stickers or decals graced his vehicle, but what I did see was a mini boxing glove hanging from his rearview mirror and a silver-plated frame of palm trees surrounding his license plate. My immediate thought: he enjoys boxing and visiting the tanning booth – even in the summer.

In the narcissistic society we’ve evolved to, it’s hard to think that someone would decorate their mode of transportation without any thought as to what it would tell the world about them. That thought alone, paired with what I’ve seen on my daily commute is frightening. But as my Dad says: “To each there own and provolone.” (A statement created clearly for the rhyme rather than reason.) As for me, I like to take the "less is more" stance. The only thing my car "says" about me: ADK.