Tag Archives: Inspiration

There’s No Month Like April


In the northern hemisphere the weather warms, the grass greens. Life is in full bloom with flowering fields, fresh produce, animals awakening from hibernation and mating. A burst of colors on the horizon. Spring is in full swing. Warm showers water the terrain. In the Midwest the risk of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms increase.

A semester closes, and graduation is around the corner. Taking a trip down memory lane, I recall grass stained jeans, prairie dogs, swinging in the park, and field day in elementary, spring mixers and track and field in middles school. In high school prom and last preparation for finals and projects in college.

Cloud watching during the day and stargazing at night, enjoying cookouts and ride with the windows down. The sound of children playing, sprinklers, dogs barking, the chirp of crickets and birds, and lawn mowers returns. The smell of barbecue and fresh cut grass permeates the clement breeze. Light jackets replace coats, dresses exchanged for sweats, and shorts, and blouses in place of jeans and sleeves.

A quarter of the year is over, and it’s a wonder what the remaining part will yield. April is a time of global and personal triumphs and tragedies. The third week has historical ties to horrific events. It is also a period of reflecting on those who entered and exited my life.

It’s a month and season of transition and transformation. A merging of innocence with maturity, loss and gain. The antithesis to autumn where everything slows, cools and dies instead all is revived in a new form. There’s no month like April.


Six Years and Counting

Six years have passed since I conceptualized Skepticism. Although, I would’ve liked to have published the manuscript by now, the long wait for the edits to fall in line and to be at a place in life where I can dedicate time to promoting it has been worth it. I’ve determined a little over a month after graduation come Wednesday, June 27, 2018 on PTSD awareness day, Skepticism will be available.

Saturday, November 19, 2011 like most seventeen-year-old high school seniors I was fretting over what was to come after graduation. I was weighing my option granted my SAT and ACT scores, cram studying for finals and end of semester projects. Amid, all the progression something within me had shattered. Just a semester ago, I had experienced several negative incidents in relation to writing. Those failures broke my spirit. My passion wilted, and I questioned my ability.

Writing had always been my love. I wasn’t the best yet I worked with my awkward prose, syntax and bad grammar to form compelling short stories. I admit a lot of my past stories were subpar, but without them I couldn’t have churned out two novels and I’d hate to imagine how mediocre I’d still write had I not wrote Skepticism.

I glared at the bright empty Microsoft word document. I’d told my mother I’d never write again. It was the source of my shame. How could I fail at the one thing I had going for me? Most of 2011 had been a painful turn of events. Writing was my release. It was the only way I could express myself. Communication wasn’t my strongest suit.

A writing prompt formed in my mind of an angry eighteen-year-old, Ivy League freshman. He’d share my childhood trauma, misfortune, and misanthropic thoughts. Yet rather than relying on faith and a belief in a God he’d cleave to his skepticism and disdain for religion to explain the unresolved trauma, unexplained events and hallucinations. His denial of not only a higher power but his diagnosis of PTSD would be his greatest asset, but a source of great frustration to both himself and the reader.

In a way this prompt allowed me to explore a world foreign to my own. A world I’d never dreamed possible to comprehend. Each chapter I wrote brought out new questions. I entertained perspectives outsidemy realm of comfort and researched concepts I’d otherwise ignore.

When someone writes a novel whether it’s about magic or coming of age, there’s no way it won’t transform them. Committing six years and counting of my life to Skepticism has been one of my greatest investments. Sure it’s not on a shelf yet. There’s no saying  Skepticism it will be a huge success. If fame and fortune were my end goal, there’s no way I would’ve stuck with this project this long. All the sacrifices I’ve had to make and time spent writing could’ve been used graduating college earlier, making a steady income, interning, or building relationships as I’ve balanced working on my novels with being a fulltime college student. In the process of working on Skepticism a second novel blossomed, Volatile. Not everyone has been understanding of my work as an author. Many view it as a hobby, pipe dream and excuse for not working a “real” job. The discipline of sticking with a project you’re not profiting monetarily from for over half a decade isn’t easy yet I can’t imagine where I’d be today if I hadn’t gotten over my mountain of fears to write Skepticism.



How did I get to this point? Torn between two worlds. Both are as promising as frightening. Pulling in me in opposite directions. Like an internal tug-of-war. I can’t seem to make up my mind, which way to go. Both come with wins and losses. All I want is the best outcome. If I chose path A, I will have to sacrifice everything I’ve known for a potential more vivid future. If it’s all a mirage, I’ll lose everything in pursuit of a pipe dream. However, if I cling to what I known on path B I’ll miss out on an opportunity that might only come around once in a lifetime. However, things are starting to pan out, but still aren’t where I want them yet. This monotony with the same-old-same old routine is tiresome. Something’s got to give? Yet I’m fearful of acting rashly. Familiarity brings comfort with certainty. Yet my longing for change grows by the day and I’ve outgrown this waiting period where I stand at this mental crossroads indecisive.


Oh future, where are you? Who are you? Why are you ever changing? What factors am I partaking in that will lead me to you? You are always on the run, fleeting no matter how clever, well planned I am. You are always one step ahead. Oh, why do I spend time obsessing over you when in reality we will never catch each other even on my death bed there is eternity, which I cannot fathom because its outside the parameters of time. Then there is you past, you always catch up to me, you always follow me. It seems you define me. I can’t ignore you and pretend you never happened, but what good is that? If it were not for your occurrence, who would I be now? Sometimes you’re my best friend that makes me content, then you are my enemy, reminding me of what I could have been? But is that really so or do I take you for granted since I believe everything happens for a reason. Then present you are by far the most complex and trickiest. You get neglected and ignored, pushed to the side and taken for granted. Who are you? Who am I? We are always together we are soul mates until the day I leave this earth. Its like a marriage to death do us part . Through my trials and errors you are always there as a reminder time hasn’t stopped and life goes on. You are my mirror. Where I go you are there whether I want to face you or not. We are one. You sometimes feel like a gift and other times a curse, but either way like a film I’m watching for the first time you bring out all my emotions and deepest thoughts. We aspire and grow by the second. Time is a conundrum that is overlooked, misunderstood and taken for granted. Its not linear.


Memory Lane

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. Depending on the day you might get a tour of the gorgeous villas, mansions beside the countryside with lots of fun times attached to them. A ego stroked and laughter in the air. If I could’ve stayed in that moment forever I would’ve. Then there are the darker parts of memory lane teaming with rodents who swarm dilapidated buildings that were once the sought after for business, but were closed from bad investments. It’s painful on that side of town with all the abandoned housing haunted by trauma and broken dreams.


My tummy rumbled as I dashed to the wooden table beneath the cool shade. Mother had packed lunch for our day at the zoo. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Although I wasn’t a fan of jelly, in that moment it would satisfy my hunger. I took a seat banging my knees together. She withdrew a container with five sandwiches, and handed one to each of my siblings.




As I removed the crust from the sandwich, the vibrant feathers of a peacock arrested me. The beautiful birds were the only animals the zoo allowed to walk freely, and they had taken note of us lunching.

A stray bird broke from the group and waddled closer to us. Glancing around, to see who was watching I scooped up a piece of crust and tossed it to the bird. It pecked at the grassy knoll with delight.




“You shouldn’t be feeding the peacocks,” my mother scolded.

“I know, but they are so cute,” I said.

“Just because they are cute doesn’t mean they aren’t harmful.”

“I guess,” I sighed. If she turned her head I planned to cast another crumb or two to the bird.

Fifteen minutes later we stretched our legs and arose to continue exploring the Henry Doorly Zoo.  We hadn’t made it to my favorite part yet. The penguins. When was old enough to work, I hoped to get my dream job at the zoo.

“I can’t wait until we see the polar bears,” my little sister said.

“I know, Isa but the penguins are cooler.” I laughed. Isa folded her tiny arms over her chest and my younger brother Tony chuckled at what I had said.

“What’s so good about birds that can’t fly,” she said.

“That’s what makes them so special.”

“Whatever.” She shook her head.



        Blaring music interrupted our exchange and my two brothers scurried ahead to see what all the commotion was about. Isa and I followed behind them wedging through the throng of onlookers gathered around the sea lion complex.

“It looks like they’re having a show,” my older brother, Nate said.

“Yay!” Tony cheered.

“Good thing we are just in time,” my mother said. Her phone rang, and she walked away to take the call.

Down below a young woman with a whistle directed a group of sea lions. Some would balance a ball on the tip of their noses or do a flip for a treat. The sun glistened against their rubbery flesh. They had a slight odor to them like all of the other animals. One stood out from the rest as he shifted his weight, flopping behind the others. I’d seen him before and he grew to an object of my laughter. I had nicknamed him fatso, and watching him filled me with joy.

Without a second thought, I pointed at him and shouted. “Look at fatso!” He meandered along. My younger siblings joined in the jeering of the animal. I nearly collapsed from chuckling so hard.

“You all should be ashamed of yourselves,” an older woman grumbled. I ignored whoever made the remark continuing to snicker, but Nate gripped my shoulder.

“Dani, you made that woman cry,” he interrupted my merriment.

“Who?” I asked confused.

“The woman behind you,” he said. I swiveled around to see a large woman with tears gathered in her eyes. Her face was bright red as she stared directly at us. Another woman placed her hand on her back, but she pulled away. “She thinks you were calling her fatso.” My brother said.

“I’m sorry I was talking about the sea lion,” I shouted at the two women. Both women seemed unmoved by the apology. The crying woman rushed away, unable to contain the whimper that broke from her lips. The woman with her rushed after her, and turned and shook her head at us before catching up to her.

I cast my eyes to the ground as the pain on the woman’s face was etched in my mind. Who thought a silly nickname could do so much damage. Although, the name fatso was never meant for her it still had ruined her day.

The sea lion show was coming to an end and people were starting to leave, and now I no longer found calling the heavy sea lion fatso amusing.

“Mom” I darted over to her just as she was getting off the phone.

“What is it Dannie?”

“I did something awful today,” I looked down at my tennis shoes.
“Awful like what?”

“I made a woman cry.”
“How so?”

“I was making fun of a sea lion and this lady overheard us and thought it was about her.”

“Did you apologize?”

“Yes, but she ran away.”
“I’m sorry that happened, but you can’t change the past.”
“I feel so cruel”

“Dannie, rather than focusing on the past, the best thing you can do is be better person from now on.”


“By being thinking about the impact your words can have on others,” She said, patting my shoulder.

“You’re right,” I smiled, as I saw that day different than I had before. While, I wished I could take back what I had done from then on I would consider the feelings of others when I spoke.


Rippling down my spine
In concentric patterns
Never the same
Sometimes changing shape
S or corckscrew
Sometimes frizzy
Standing up defying gravity
Never a dull moment
Voluminous and shining
While some hide their spirals
I embrace the beauty of mine