Like many others, I’ve found this to be a most challenging year. The very fabric of our country has been—and continues to be—stretched over untenable circumstances.

Untenable. Here’s how an online thesaurus frames the word and its meaning.

: indefensible, insupportable, unsusatinable, unjustified, unjustifiable, flimsy, weak, shaky.

I’ve gone on a Facebook-free digital diet for a number of months. You probably can guess why: I  can’t sustain a requisite equilibrium, against the flow of so many furious posts. Also, my internal outrage-meter is sensitized by so, so much that is unconscionable, I needed to find ways to protect my mind and heart.

Here are some things I’ve substituted for Internet frenzy:

Increased reading. From The Sun and The Atlantic Monthly mags, to newly released fiction and non-fiction, I’m better with quality writing nearby. Food for the mind and heart helps.

Poetry. I’ve learned that when much life must be processed, a little time works wonders. One technique of mine is writing quick haiku poems. The non-threatening structure of that form appeals and invites play. Five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. Preferably with nature reference, but not necessary. Looks so simple! Words like a bouncing ball, framed by the world that touches our skin. 

Here are a couple, written in a small Moleskine® journal just after Thanksgiving.

pluck out bitter thorns--

prefer, instead, a new peace.

days, months, years, and grace.

our beloveds reach

plateaus of experience, 

challenged by passage.


Another personal solution: play with fabric and fiber. 

A new acquaintance in my region has opened a coffeehouse/ meeting center/ gallery. My book, photographs, and other creations are available for purchase there. Plus, there’s a sweet baby and a steady stream of artistic, musically inclined people in the place. And vinyl nights. And open mic.


The Spot, it’s called, in Williamsburg Square mall, Owensboro Kentucky.

I fashion kid-friendly toys and books, pet-related goodies, warm snuggly scarves and mitts. Each item requires full attention and ingenuity, happily applied. Quite often, when my eyes and hands are occupied, inspiration arrives about some bit of writing underway. The Muse loves creative activity of any kind.

One more substitute for frenetic panic, during the present political debacle: get physical.

I’m seeing a physical therapist for issues around damaged joints, etc. After a few sessions, I re-discovered greater presence in my body. Comfy chairs are only so for about an hour, before muscles demand increased activity. I’m searching for nearby solutions during the coming “cabin fever” months, and will post/ email my results. (Thinking, tai chi classes twice a week, without a forty-five minute drive each way to participate!)

And this. 

“Me, too” resonates with virtually--nearly every--woman I know, as applied to having experienced funky offenses. I’m putting together a dovetail-joint-tight presentation. My intent: meeting with those who are acknowledging, often for the first time, travesties in their past. Guest speaker panel, generative program, plenty of take-aways: that’s part of the vision.

I’ll be glad to keep you informed as this “What’s Your Story?” event takes shape. And I welcome your comments. 

Stay strong, write on, be kind. And Merry Christmas, too!


Christopher Simon