The Week’s End // A Round-up of Important Reads

Happy Saturday friends! If you’re looking for some interesting reads to check out while you kick back and relax, look no further, here is the best of the web this week, according to me.


Every election cycle seems to be less and less about politics and more and more about entertainment.

Dust is an ethical question.

When addiction is your DNA, the cycle can begin to feel almost inevitable.

Why are humans hell bent on creating a God?

Is it possible, as feminists, to vote for Hillary and recognize Bill’s past transgressions and victims?

The Witch is scary because we’ve all experienced the loneliness, isolation, and marginalization.

I Am Disgusting. I Am Gross. I am Ugly.

Writing gives us a way to relive our past, to remember.

Check out Common’s cover of Solange’s Cranes in the Sky.

These look so good!

Tyler Spangler

And that’s it for this week. Have you read, watched, or written an interesting thing this week? Has something on the internet made you think or feel strongly? If so, drop a link in the comments :)


This list was sent out along with today’s newsletter Moments of Nothing // Zen and Pi No. 16. Please, check it out and subscribe :)

Original image via Unsplash

The Modern Witch

is learning how to witch yourself
in slow motion.
When they say your name
like a curse,
say it back to them
like an incantation.
When they call you cold,
show them how you conjure fire.”

— Brenna Twohy

Every girl goes through a period of flirtation with witchcraft. Some more intense than others. Some only a passing curiosity, some a full-blown obsession. At some point, we all yearn for the ritual and religion, a place for women alone, and a promise of control.

I do not, nor have I ever, subscribed to any religion, but it has been a temptation in my more vulnerable years. I was never more vulnerable than when I was 17 years old. I was on the verge of the abyss of womanhood, barely understanding what that meant or where it might take me. In short, I was a typical teen. I was feeling and fearing the same as every other girl and so, found myself drawn to the mystical and the romantic.

My girlfriend and I would take buses to out-of-the-way stores where we browsed incense, herbs, tarot cards, and candles. We bought boxes covered in the images of the moon to hold all our trinkets and charms. We read books about goddesses and gemstones, the equinoxes, and planets falling into retrograde.

We never really wanted to cast spells or invoke the Gods, we just wanted some control. We wanted to banish all the things in life that were hurtful, stressful, confusing. We hope if we carried the right stones, quieted our minds, and asked the universe—at the right time and in just the right way—to find favor with us, everything would turn out ok.

We wanted to believe we weren’t such fragile things. We wanted to believe there was someone greater than us that we could call help. We wanted to believe there were great and beautiful goddesses, who understood our bodies, our struggles, looking down on us and smiling.

Approaching such possibility and power was scary, though. What we were searching for was tightly connected to our womanhood, our blood, and our ability to bring life. All of the parts of ourselves we feared. All the parts of us we knew men feared too. This country has a well-documented history of controlling women when it could and killing them when it couldn’t. Women seeking or exhibiting power outside of what could easily be explained, suppressed, or directed by men must be courting the devil and asking for death.

From Joan of Arc, to Margaret Jones, to Marie Laveau I wanted to be everything these women were accused of being. I wanted to be strong within myself, for myself, and I wanted to gain strength from other women who found power and peace with who they were too.

I wanted to have a place among nature and to feel the universe living through me.

That isn’t quite what I found.

I lost my love for witchcraft when I realized no amount of casting this or that spell during any time of the month or year, could stop the world from hating me for being a woman. It couldn’t even stop me from hating myself for the same reason.

I grew up and entered a workplace where I heard women put down and saw them isolated and shamed for being sluts or bitches. I saw women working against each other, accusing another of what she must know was in her too. I saw women working harder than the men and the men making just as much. I saw what I had always seen everywhere I looked and went, women living without any control over how they were seen, treated, or perceived. I saw women who had no control over what happened to their bodies or what went on in their minds. I saw women who were less than human in the eye of men and the eyes of one another. There was no great and powerful goddess looking down on all of us and finding favor.

I grew up, entered the real world, and learned that witches weren’t real. No women were loving themselves and connecting with the forces around them. I never saw a woman make a change in her life, or embrace any version of magic in herself.

I learned there was no place in this world where women are appreciated for being women and not condemned for not being men. I learned there was no place where women seek out the power and understanding of the company of other women. I learned we were all happy to go along, reenacting a subtle version of ever witch trial forever and ever.

I forgot about the moon, the equinoxes, the herbs, and charms and set about learning to navigate in a world that believed I was evil, or dirty, and told me so every day. I buried my need for connection to nature and forgot all about the practice that offered me a feeling of safety and possibility.

But I never gave up on the idea that there was something bigger in me, something beautiful and strong. I changed my world through hard work, observation, and persistence. I decided I would not be condemned for my stubbornness, my strangeness, or my sexuality. I decided that if I were accused, I would own it, and if they tried to drown me, I’d swim like hell and let them think what they wanted

I looked back and realized I had could fulfill the needs I had then, of a community, and strength, and acceptance through other means. It took faith, yes, and acceptance and humility in the face of what I could never understand and of what I could never defeat.

I learned a new kind of magic.

I became a modern witch.

I think all women have it in them to do and become the same. I think most have without realizing what they are.

There are new rituals, centered around self-care, creativity, and getting shit done. There are new spells we cast; we call them affirmations, and we say them to ourselves every morning when we rise and repeat them at night before we drift to sleep. We write manifestos and to-do list and have no doubt what we say will come to be. We spill our hearts in journals, poetry, and blog posts, and bare our souls to the universe and one another.

We demand space and the right to express our power without the control or guidance of men or masculinity. We find reasons for seeing ourselves as beautiful, not just for our bodies, but for our minds and spirits too. We use our strengths to work miracles and turn the world into a place where we are valued, represented, and listened to. A place we no longer have to feel afraid, confused, or hurt.

The modern girl takes note of who she is and makes no apologies for putting the internal first. She rejects consumerism for consumerism sake and only buys what helps her express herself and makes her feel powerful. She knows that ritual has its place in this world. She embraces routine and meditation because she knows they work. She remembers the stories of the women who came before her, she learns from them and honors them too.

She looks to the future, marks the changing season around her and inside herself too and makes the most of both. She is mindful and grateful for the world around her and is awed by the trees, the wind, the clouds and the life she takes the time to notice around her.

She holds bits of earth and rock and metal and knows that while may not bring about any good or bad energy they serve to connect her to what has deep under her feet, the Earth, mother to us all, who has existed long before any of us and will long after we are gone.

She remembers where she comes from, where she is going, and what can be accomplished with time and the power that exists in this world, and somewhere deep inside of her.

“Not all girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. Some are made of witchcraft and wolf and a little bit of vice.”

— Nikita Gill


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E.B. White and Writing Among the Moving Stars

Writing is and always has been my passion, in all forms, whether blogging, poetry, or, my newest endeavor, novel-writing. Like any art, it takes practice and a dedication to learning about the craft from those who have come before you.

In learning, I like to teach, so each week I will take a piece of advice from the greats, both living and dead, famous and not, and apply their lessons to my own work and share my thoughts and progress with you.

This week I have chosen a quote from the American writer, E.B. White.

988142From Wikipedia: “White was born in Mount Vernon, New York, the youngest child of Samuel Tilly White, the president of a piano firm, and Jessie Hart White, the daughter of Scottish-American painter William Hart.

White served in the army before going to college. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1921.

White worked for the United Press (currently the United Press International) and the American Legion News Service in 1921 and 1922. Then he became a cub reporter for The Seattle Times in 1922 and 1923. Once, when White was stuck on writing a story, a Times editor said, ‘Just say the words.’ He then worked for two years with the Frank Seaman advertising agency as a production assistant and copywriter before returning to New York City in 1924.

Not long after The New Yorker was founded in 1925, White submitted manuscripts to it. Katharine Angell, the literary editor, recommended to magazine editor and founder Harold Ross that White be taken on as staff. However, it took months to convince him to come to a meeting at the office and further weeks to convince him to agree to work on the premises. Eventually, he agreed to work in the office on Thursdays.

A few years later in 1929, White and Angell were married. They had a son, Joel White, a naval architect and boat builder, who owned Brooklyn Boat Yard in Brooklin, Maine. Katharine’s son from her first marriage, Roger Angell, has spent decades as a fiction editor for The New Yorker and is well-known as the magazine’s baseball writer.

In 1959, White edited and updated The Elements of Style. This handbook of grammatical and stylistic guidance for writers of American English had been written and published in 1918 by William Strunk, Jr., one of White’s professors at Cornell. White’s rework of the book was extremely well received, and further editions of the work followed in 1972, 1979, and 1999.  The volume is a standard tool for students and writers and remains required reading in many composition classes.

His first children’s book, Stuart Little, was published in 1945, and Charlotte’s Web appeared in 1952. His third children’s novel, The Trumpet of the Swan, was published in 1970

White died on October 1, 1985, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, at his farm in North Brooklin, Maine. He is buried in the Brooklin Cemetery beside his wife Katharine, who died in 1977.”

“Writers will often find themselves steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion.”

― E.B. White, The Elements of Style

It’s been about a week since I first started reading The Elements of Style, the famous “little book” originally written by William Strunk Jr. and brilliantly edited and expanded decades later by his student E.B. White. The Elements of Style, I have heard, is the place to starting you are serious about writing.

This isn’t a book about outlining, or plot, or character development, or world building, it’s about the words, just the words. Which ones to use, how to put them in order, what words not to us and why. This book is about the basics, it’s about what comes before your ideas and your

I do not agree with every rule, but the book gets me thinking about what my rules are and about what is the best way to say what it is I am trying to say. I’ll write a proper review of the book when I finish it. For now, I just want to say that, interestingly, instead of inspiring me to buckle down and work on my wordiness, or my tendency to write in the passive voice this book is just showing me see what rules I don’t want to follow.

Am I defiant for defiant’s sake? Am I only being lazy? Am I allowing my ego to get in the way of improvement? Strunk would think so and no doubt he would beat me over the head with the rules until I complied, but White might have understood.

I can’t get past my own certainty that not only is there no singular “best way to write” but that no single person can tell another person how to write. Especially not from the distant past.

Writing is about expressing what is inside ourselves, and some of us are not trying to express something so forceful or sure. Sometimes your writing requires being unsure, passive, and maybe a little timid. Sometimes you need more words because wordiness says something in itself.

I am weary of any rules or ways of doing things that have existed longer than I have. I just can’t believe that anything that was useful or right at one time can be right and useful for all time. Words pop in and out of existence every day and each word’s meaning morphs from one mind to another. The ways we communicate change with every new messaging app, blogging platform, and emoji pack release. Why shouldn’t the rules for communicating effectively change too?

Maybe beyond making your sentences comprehensible there is no blueprint for how to write well and no way to predict what might work and what might not.

Maybe, like in any art or creative expression, it is good to know what other people think is good and right, and how they do things. How else will you know what is possible? But maybe it’s okay if I casually disregard those rules and guidelines even if the only reason I have to do so is that I simply don’t like them or see the point. It’s my writing; I’ll do it however I want to dammit!

I don’t want to sound like a child who refuses to listen to reason, I am considering Strunk and White’s advice very seriously, and I am learning, I just don’t care for the tone throughout the book that any writer who chooses to do things differently is bad or lazy. I get a little perturbed that writing seems to be the only creative endeavor where straying from the established rules and Way of Doing Things is condemned rather than studied or celebrated.

Instead of trying so hard to write the way other people say we should, we should be writing the way we want to and bending all our energy to getting better at that.

I mean, if we truly are out there navigating among the moving stars, one person’s path won’t work for everyone. Don’t think yourself a failure because you know that and choose to go your own way. Get to where you are going any way you can, and make sure to enjoy the ride.

P.S. This post is riddled with errors that both Strunk and White would cringe at. Despite my assertions, I am ashamed. 


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Give Compliments That Matter

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting nothing more than to crawl back into bed and escaping the world.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s imagine that Mondays are the days when we get to start all over again. Let’s imagine all the bad things that happened last week don’t matter anymore and that we’ve been given a second chance to do it all again, and this time, we might even get it right.

From now on Monday’s are for making the changes we want to see in ourselves, and for thinking about the changes we want to see in the world. Monday’s are our new favorite days!

As for me, this Monday has been off to a rough start. I went to bed late last night and failed to get anything ready for this morning, so I struggled. I lost important papers, I had to wait for clothes to dry, and I forgot to set my “5-minute” warning alarm and left the house a little late too. I’m doing my best to remember that the day is far from over and that it’s never too late to reset my mind and mood. I plan to take a walk, then eat lunch, and forget all about the shitty morning.

Caroline Caldwell

I came across the above image on Tumblr last night, and I fell in love with it. It took a while but I finally the source, the artist, and an Upworthy story to elaborate on the artist’s motivations.

Apparently, Caroline Caldwell “decided that people needed some ideas for how to compliment each other on things besides looks and physical appearance.” So, in collaboration with Van Nguyen, she created a public art piece to remind us all that there is more that can be, good about a person that what is on the outside.

I’m not very good about giving compliments. I didn’t exactly grow up in an environment where people said nice things about each other. Giving and receiving compliments makes me feel very anxious, uncomfortable, and sometimes, pretty panicky. Looking around and listening to the way people talk to each other and interact I get the feeling I’m not alone in this.

Complimenting someone makes us emotionally vulnerable. We fear either our compliment will fall flat or be rejected, or that it will be misinterpreted. We are afraid to give away our feelings for another person when we aren’t sure that the other person feels something of equal value for us. We don’t want to care too much. We don’t want to get attached. We don’t want to open our hearts, not even the tiny bit it takes to show someone we see something good in them and to thank them for bringing that good into our lives.

It’s a shame we’ve all become so bottled up and afraid. Life shouldn’t be like this. I should be able to say nice things and have nice things said about me without it being a big deal. None of us should ever feel unsure about what it is our loved ones love about us, and no one we love should feel insecure or unsure how much or why we love them too.

This goes for everyone in your life. Tell your mom why she’s great. Tell your sister what she means to you. Tell your wife what she does that keeps you coming back. Tell your kids why you are proud of them. Tell your friends why you choose them. Tell your coworkers how they brighten your day. Tell everyone you think something good about what that good thing is.

The catch? Do your best to make those compliments about something much, much more than looks and appearance.

Yeah we all like to look good, and we want people to notice and tell us when we do, but I’ve noticed that when people are comfortable giving or receiving compliments it is nearly always about what we look like on the outside. Those compliments are too easy. Let’s dig a little deeper this week okay?

If complimenting doesn’t come easily to you, give yourself permission to fudge it up a few times in the name of practice and progress. It will benefit you in the end, yes. Your relationships will become stronger, and people will feel comfortable to open themselves up to you too but remember you aren’t really doing this for yourself. You are doing this so to make others feel better. You are doing it because it makes this world a happier and healthier place to live in.

If enough of us resolve to be a little nicer and let ourselves be a little more vulnerable every week, we could get very far in a very short time.



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If We Were Having Coffee // Trump is Disgusting, and I Cannot Wait for This Election to Be Over

Hello, dear readers and happy Sunday! Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. I’m late, again, but not as late nor nearly as busy as last week.

I may be in and out, doing laundry and checking the banana chips I have baking in the oven. This is the first time I’ve made them and even if they turn out badly, the smell of warm bananas filling the house for a few hours kinda makes them worth the effort anyway.



If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Trump is a complete asshole and I am shocked anyone is even considering voting for that monster. Whew! Glad I got that off my chest.

I’m sure you’ve heard the disgusting tape, and I’m sure you are aware of all the to say that Trump has in fact done all the things he bragged about doing to Billy Bush, then denied doing in the most recent presidential debate. I have my concerns about Hillary, sure, but I know she will not be the worst president this country has ever had, and I know she will be far better than Trump could even dream to be.

I cringe thinking of all the ways Trump will embarrass the American people should he get elected. I cringe imagining what it will be like to have to hear his hateful rhetoric and that goddamned sniffling during every presidential speech and address.

I hope the next few weeks will go by quickly, I hope you are registered to vote, and  I hope Hillary crushes Trump on November 8th.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been learning how to cook lately. I mean I know how to cook, or I know how to follow a recipe, mostly, but I’m learning how to cook comfortably.

My lady loves to cook, and she’s excellent at it, but she’s been working a lot lately and doesn’t always have the time anymore. It feels wrong for her to have to come home and cook too. So, a few nights a week I am taking over in the kitchen. I’m trying to come up with things to make that she hasn’t made before, that way I’m not comparing my versions to hers. A comparison I am sure to come out on the wanting side of.

On the menu this week are hot wings, sweet potato waffles, and—if we can find the ingredients—this delicious recipe for tacos al pastor.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that absolutely no progress has been made on the NaNoWriMo front. I haven’t quite figured out how to blog, put out a newsletter, work my day job, spend time with my girlfriend, cook a few dinners, and write a novel. I’m feeling overwhelmed and burned out already.

It’s not just all that, though, I’m having a hard time believing I can come up with a good story. I get the feeling that most people feel like they have a good idea, they just don;t know how to write it. I have the opposite problem. I don’t have a good idea to start with. I have bits and pieces and feelings. Once I get my shit together, I’m confident I could mold and sculpt the thing into something decent at least. I’m just not sure I can get there.

I don’t want to give up before I’ve even started, though.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this I have been enjoying a ton of TV shows and movies, which may or may not be related to the above problem.

If you’re looking for some awesome weekly TV programming check out Westworld, The Exorcist, InsecureVice News, and American Horror Story: Roanoke. I watch other show, more than an aspiring writer should I am sure, but these are the newest additions and the ones I am most excited about.

Besides TV we also saw the ballet Swan Lake this weekend and this coming weekend we are heading to the museum after hours to see this amazing looking live presentation on bats. I am so excited!


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that beyond that, my life is incredibly boring and I have nothing else to fill you in on. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to, though. Maybe drop a note in the comments and tell me what shows you’ve been watching, whether or not you’ve been accomplishing your goals, and how much you cringe when you think about Trump sniffling directly into a microphone during the next State of the Union address. Ugh!


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