i. am. published.
this is surreal.
i. am. published.
i need to repeat it.
so i can believe it.
i. am. published.
i need to taste it.
so i can know it.


and i'm off to celebrate.


(yes. that was a scream. of utter joy! and boundless elation!)



this evening. i made a gruesome discovery. about myself. a gruesome truth: i have lost my innocence.

this is the time of year. when it is a pleasure to watch a horror movie. or two. this has always been the time of year. while intimations of halloween are in the air. and i have always been afraid. and thrilled. and elated. with the delights of darkness. and the bloodrush of terror.

but. this evening. something new. happened. i watched a movie that had always terrified me. and i was unafraid. i found it silly. ridiculous. childish.

is this what happens when we get older and begin to think with more logic and less fantasy? does fantasy lose its credibility? do we lose a sliver of our imagination? does the world of inspiration become moot? do we lose our ability to be moved by something we don't believe to be true? do we lose joy with more thought... and less play?

when i was a child. i did not know to think or make logic out of a horror film. my mind believed what my eyes saw... even on a screen. my mind also believed what my mind wanted to believe. now. i only believe what i see... in real life. and i even question that... it seems. what happens inside us? why do we release that last bit of innocence? and do we release it? or does it release us? is this an inevitability?

it is quite a sad thing to no longer fear... or be moved... by fantasy. it is a sad thing. to no longer fear. period. and if there is anything. now. that scares. and terrifies. and petrifies. and compels me to be afraid. it is this loss. quite simply. of being afraid. and if there is anything. now. that saddens. and dejects. it is this loss. quite simply. of innocence.



new color. black. to white. though my mind is not monochromatic. still, the monochrome helps me focus. on the color inside my head. vivid. vivid. vivid. and loud. so loud, i sometimes wish to silence it.

but color cannot be silenced. nor can the imagination be put to sleep. both can only be manipulated. and so. to lessen the clamor. black was chosen. black. because it is the color of manipulation. black. because it is no color. and all color.

but then. the nights grow longer. and the days become more shy. and i long for a certain brightness that can't be found in black. and so. for now. i am shedding the black. and dressing in white. i am changing. from manipulation. to energization.

light shines brighter in the darkness. yes. this i know. but that is the eye playing tricks on the mind.


let the light shine in white.
let it shine pure.
let it shine naked.
let it shine bright.



yesterday morning. i went to the hair salon. snip snip snip. i closed my eyes so i could hear the sound more clearly. and the sound was sharp. and clean. just like i wanted to look. and feel. when my trim was done. and she asked me, my hair stylist: so, what are you doing today, nevine? and i said the first thing that came to mind: relaxing. and she giggled. and said: my boyfriend and i just came back from a four-day trip, and i am exhausted. that's exactly what i need to do, too. relax. and i smiled, and opened my eyes, and said: i lied. i wish i was relaxing, today. but the truth is i have things to do. errands to run. and so, no relaxing for me. and she said: how come you don't just go on strike? and i said, what? and she said: yeah. go on strike. don't do the errands. i mean, it can all wait, you know. gosh, sometimes i just need to say it and believe it, nevine. and i thought about it for a moment. and said: okay. i'll go on strike. i won't do the errands. or the chores. or whatever else needs to be done. i'll go home and spend a relaxing afternoon doing things i enjoy doing. 

and so. yesterday afternoon. i was on strike. i didn't do anything. except what i like to do. and without a morsel of guilt.

and today. i am on strike again. without a morsel of guilt.

trimmed hair. clean lines. a smiling face. a happy nevine.

and a humbling... and humble... thought: sometimes i go away. and when i do the walls do not come tumbling down.



sometimes. when i write. where there is nothing around. but the scraping of my pen. and the rustling of the paper. and the padded clamor inside my head. i hear another voice. dissuading me. interrupting my flow. i know it's the voice of my doubts. trying to work its way inside my mind. trying to work its way inside my psyche. trying to overwhelm me. and defeat me. but. this can only happen. if. i allow it. and. i do not. allow it.



i stop
i sit
i listen
i hear
a silence
with a hum
the ticking
of a clock
my heart
inside my chest
the monotony
of my breathing
i feel
an emptiness
filling up
and hope
and wonder
a hole
becoming plump
and round
and satisfied



when i was a child: i used to go out and catch butterflies. i would wait for them to rest on a bush. i would creep up on them. catch their delicate wings between my fingers. and press lightly. then. i would walk home. take a square of aluminum foil. lay the butterfly down upon it. and seal the creature inside. i would open up my dictionary to a random spot. and place the aluminum foil between the pages. and close the heavy tome.

this was a hobby.

one day: many years later. as i was preparing for my wedding. and for moving into a new home. i was going through my things. what will i take with me to my new life? i went through my books. flipped through my dictionary. forgetting about all the swaths of foil inside. and the dead butterflies came fluttering out. deadweights in my lap.

and the memories came flooding back. and i cried. but these were not sad tears. they were nostalgic tears. emotion washed out of my eyes. for days gone by. beautiful days when my heart was innocent. and freedom was captured between fingertips. innocently.

i still have my dead butterflies. i still cry when i look at them. but not because i am feeling nostalgic. no. not that, anymore. i cry because i killed so many butterflies. so many years ago.

i will always keep the tokens. so i can always remember. and one day. i will forgive myself. for taking a helpless creature from nature's freedom. and stifling her between the mash of murdered trees. and the stiffness of fabricated words.



today. late afternoon. i went to a bookstore. i love bookstores. but i especially love used bookstores. i love them because they smell like... books. and that is an intoxicating smell for me. more intoxicating than the dearest perfume. so. i walked about the store. in between the many shelves stacked from floor to ceiling with treasures. and i picked out what i wanted to my heart's delight. and then. i found myself a small piece of floor. sat myself down with my little gems. and began to sniff. sift. sliver. sip. and i made my final selections. took my six books up to the cash register. paid for them. carried them out to the back seat of my car. and drove home. the experience should've ended there. but it didn't.

i have the habit of penning the date and place of every new book i purchase into the front page. and so. this evening. i opened each cover gently. with reverence. and delight. book one. book two. and as i opened the cover for book three and prepared to pen my words, i found this:

November 23, 1995

Dear Daddy,
                   I hope you enjoy this book. I have not read it, but I've read two of Peter Hoeg's other works - and he is a truly remarkable writer.
                                         Much love,

and my stomach clenched. and my jaw hardened. and my first thought was: how insensitive of this "daddy" to give away a book his daughter had offered him as a gift. why would he do such a thing? but my next thought was: thank god i'm not megan.

a judgmental first thought. and a selfish second thought. yes. i know. but this is the type of judgmental thought and twisted gratitude that marks a lot of human existence. we are grateful for the gifts we have. but. often. we are more grateful for the curses we don't have. especially when we find those curses in another's life. and we see that those curses are alive and well. and we thank our lucky stars those curses have not found us. have somehow missed us. and attached themselves to another. drifting into an existence that is far away from us. and sparing us the burden of their existence in our existence.

i am thankful for having escaped one of megan's curses. but i am quite sure megan would be thankful for having escaped a few of mine.



you: your eyes are stars. your body is the sky. and i: i still dream of you. though you are in my life. i still believe you a magic. a spell. a sigh.

we: we touched hands. touched eyes. touched lips. nothing: nothing in eternity. can capture. or rupture. or imprison. that moment. fleeting. but memorized. 

you. and me. no. you and me. with nothing to separate us.


nothing: nothing in eternity. can break our moment. but the gravity of the moment. the gravity. as it happens. as it pulls. as it holds. you. and me.

no. you and me. us.

you and me you and me you and me you and me you and me.

we: we sit. in the dark. we whisper. into the air. our voices. rise into the night. and light it up. like roman candles. fizzing. our voices. singing. 

fizzing. singing.
you and me.
you are.
i am.
we are.



sometimes. i don't want to write. i just want to read. to go inside the mind of another. and unravel it. and learn what drives it. i want to be a secret intruder poring over the words born of someone else's inspiration. sometimes. my own expression does not satisfy me. i need to experience the expression of another. sometimes. my own thought is inspired by the thought of another. by the outpouring of a great mind.

today. i did not want to write. i wanted to sit alone. in silence. and quiet. and read. while drinking tea. and so. i sat. and drank. and while i drank. i read. dostoyevsky. notes from underground. and i read this: i swear to you that to think too much is a disease, a real, actual disease.  and i stopped reading. and got to thinking. thinking about thinking. about whether or not it is, in fact, a disease. because. if it is. then i am afflicted by this disease.

i think. too much. i think while i am eating. reading. cooking. writing. driving. exercising. sleeping. even while i am dreaming. i think.

some mornings. i wake up and tell my husband: last night, as i was sleeping but not sleeping, i got to thinking.... and he always smiles at me. and says: princess, don't you know how to relax? but i never tell him. because he already knows. the answer to his question is: no. i don't know how to relax. because. i'm always thinking. and i can't stop.

i am afflicted. by this disease dostoyevsky wrote about. afflicted. infected. obsessed. possessed. and nothing. nothing will cure me.



this evening. i did it again. i went out for a walk. a very long walk. but there was something different about this walk. i did not allow the road to lead me. i led the road. i walked with intent. and determination. and a solid end in mind. that house. that one on the quiet hill. with the neglected garden. and the weeds and all. i was hoping for an encore of the performance from a few days before. i was hoping for the lovely lilt of music once more. and i was hoping. too. that this time. i would see a face. fingers. a smile. from behind a window. so i walked. and walked. and walked. and when i arrived. the windows were latched. the lights were extinguished. and there was nothing. but me. and the tall weeds. and the hammer of the silence inside my body.



once upon a time. when i was younger. when i was a teen. i didn't give a damn about explaining myself. having to explain myself. to explain WHY. required too much thought. and i couldn't be bothered. then. when i got older. in my twenties. and in my early thirties. things changed. i felt it was necessary. critical. a responsibility. a duty. for me to explain myself. to explain WHY. i felt it was CORRECT. and PROPER. now. as i prepare to enter my forties. i find myself reverting to my teen rebelliousness. i don't give a damn about explaining myself. having to explain myself requires not only thought. but time. and a certain dedication. i find myself asking myself, must i? and why? and to whom do i owe such loyalty and allegiance as to require this explanation? and the answers always leave me with a most certain resolve: i am not required to explain myself. i do not wish to explain myself. i do not owe it to anyone, but a select few, to explain myself. and so. i do not explain myself.



there is a house
on a quiet hill
far from my home
where i ventured
while walking
earlier this evening
an old house
with a neglected garden
weeds ten feet tall
but a vibrant peach tree
flesh-colored fruit
amidst yellow dandelion
i did not know
whose house this was
but i gazed
at the dusty windows
hoping for a glimpse or a glimmer
of open eyes or parted lips
or a curious look on a human face
but not a shadow
or the mist of a breath
came from this shelter
though i searched with my eyes
but i heard in my bones
the softloud music
drum of black and white
piano... forte
streaming from a window ajar
quivering on the autumn air
d.c. al coda
and it was not for
or lips
or human face
to anoint my soul
but rather for fingers
to leave me trembling
in the wake of
their holy hammer



there are smiles that are born when our hearts are caressed by joy. there are smiles that are born when our minds are tickled by humor. there are smiles that are born when we wish to deceive... delude... mislead. but. there are smiles... that are born of their own volition. born of an inner something that can't be explained. they appear on our lips... and in our eyes... and fill the air with light.

this morning: i awakened with a smile on my face. and i touched my smile. and smiled some more. and throughout the day. i kept touching my smile. as if i wished to explore. and every time i touched my smile. my smile touched me back.

i am still smiling. and nothing can take that away.