Blogger We Barely Knew Ye

Joy, excitement, hilarity, absurdity, outrage, of the many shades of expression, there is none more commonly shared by bloggers than the rant; even unintentional ones. Sometimes a post takes on a life of its own through the comments of readers and before you know it, you’ve got yourself a full-blown rant-a-palooza. Bloggers who can incite a riot and create a diversion are some of my favorites.

Of course, bloggers who make us laugh out loud top my list of must reads. Others simply make us smile knowingly. They say the very thing we are thinking or capture nature in all her splendor with exemplary skill. They show us the shadow and light our souls crave. The fleeting moments their art reveals bring us to our knees. We are humbled by whispers of angels, “Sleep well until tomorrow,” they seem to say across the cloud swept vista as the sun slips silently to the other side of the world where a brand new day is about to begin.


My heart has been touched by friends I have made through this blog. It has been my privilege to get to know those of you who stop by regularly, and though some days my posts are pedestrian, my frustrations all too common, I think this blogging thing has improved my writing. Some days when I can’t find the words, I think about chucking it all. On those days, I am reminded that we all laugh and cry, complain, console, and rant. I am reminded that each of us, for better or worse, experiences life on our own terms, or if we don’t, we should. There will always be someone who says it better, someone who makes me wish I were a better writer, of this I am certain. Bloggers are dependable like that.

The anniversary of is coming up in a couple of weeks and I am starting to think about how to celebrate as I begin my third year on WP. I thought about hosting a progressive post party, you know, like a progressive dinner party only with posts written by followers about what you enjoy most about Then I thought maybe that would seem conceited. Last year I celebrated my followers with the video montage recycled at the top of this post, you know, because I love them so much. Followers, not video montages. Now though, there are over a thousand of you, and I don’t have that kind of time. Plus, I don’t believe all of you are human so…

Got ideas? Tell me what you think.


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About Bad Stuff

We don’t want to look too closely at bad stuff.  We might see something we don’t want to see. Certainly we don’t want to talk about bad stuff. Someone might say something that makes us think, hey! I resemble that remark. Why ruin a perfectly good delusion? Now, of course I am not suggesting that anyone who reads this blog is a bad person. On the contrary, my human readers are awesome. So awesome, in fact, I keep writing just for the chance to experience your awesomeness.

Every day I read and write. A majority of this is for school. All of it is good, but some of it is bad stuff. What the heck does that mean? Well, it means learning is good, even when it is about bad stuff. The reason I think it is important to learn about bad stuff is so we can tell the difference between bad stuff and good stuff. You may be asking who am I to say what is bad and what is good? I’d like to propose that what is bad and what is good is not as important as the difference between the two. How can we tell the difference? By learning as much as we can about as much as we can? By paying attention to what has already been learned and reported by thoughtful people? By getting picture in picture so we can watch CNN and Fox News simultaneously?

I am not the devil’s advocate.

When we look at human behaviors, we can see which behaviors lead to positive outcomes. Reading is a behavior that leads to a positive outcome. Well, that is unless we read something that makes us sad. When we become sad, we might withdraw from our friends and family. We might stop showing up for work. We might sit for hours staring at the walls, eating only Doritos. Don’t get me wrong, I think Doritos are good, but sitting alone day after day, eating bags of them is bad. How can it be that ingesting something good can lead to something bad?

That is an example of too much of a good thing.

What if we read something that makes us angry? Is getting angry bad or is it good? My favorite answer is, it depends. It depends? On what does it depend? The argument goes… Anger is bad. Everyone knows it. Anger leads to violence, and we know for sure that violence is bad. There is nothing worse. Yet, humans often turn to violence as a way of getting what we want, and isn’t getting what we want good?

Once again, it depends.

So, I think it is the difference between what is bad and what is good that is more important. What is the difference? The difference between what is bad and what is good is our response, and it is our response that makes all the difference.

You may be thinking I am just messing with you. I’m not. I promise. I will try to prove it.

Much of what I read makes me sad and angry. Not the same kind of angry as texters behind the wheel of their mobile phones, but the kind of angry that prompts me to investigate what I can do, if anything, to change a situation. Obviously I have no control over bad stuff going on in the world. I do have the ability to exercise control over my response to bad stuff. Which as I said, I think is more important than what is bad and what is good. But before any of us can decide how to respond to bad stuff, we must look at the bad stuff and we must talk about it.  Where do we find bad stuff? Cable news? Google? Social media? Do we know bad stuff when we see it? Do we recognize it because it makes us sad or angry or even afraid? What do we do when we are sad or angry or afraid? Withdraw? Lash out? What if we took our collective knowledge from the research data over the last bazillion years about bad stuff, bad stuff that anyone with a heartbeat could recognize, you know, bad stuff like poverty, fear, and ignorance, and what if we decided to respond in a way that made a difference?

***Philip Zimbardo’s presentation contains images which may make viewers sad or angry.

Art Credit: M.C. Escher

I’m NOT Exaggerating


There are 10 bazillion reasons to live every day in a state of wonder at the human condition. We, each and every one of us, have the capacity for greatness. Untapped potential, undiscovered abilities, unimagined possibilities are waiting to be revealed, if only we would stop thrashing about until we’re too exhausted to recognize them.

Given a choice, we wouldn’t forfeit our future, allowing our own voice to be silenced, drowned out, shut up, but it’s easy to see why some people decide to check out. Faced with a choice that seems only the lesser of two evils, a person in crisis can become inert, unable to navigate the present. They surrender to the phantom whispers that beckon from the shadows of the past. Alone in a room full of strangers, they slip into a corner and let the world pass by. No one is to blame. Tempest-tossed, the soul seeks refuge. We make believe we are safe, that we’ll be immune if we immerse ourselves in any number of activities to avoid plunging to depths where no one will find us.

1-photo (8)

Suffering has been written, sung, painted and sculpted. It’s woven into the fabric of our lives. I personally rebel against the idea of being a victim of it. The truth is, none of us gets out of this world alive. Better to leave it all on the field than to suffer in silence. Want, need, desire, dog-eat-dog greedy hunger all clamoring for our attention leave us with no time for introspection. Will, pride, and stubborn arrogance force their way to the head of the line, demanding to have their say. It’s enough to make a person scream.

The Scream - Edvard Munch
The Scream – Edvard Munch

it matters not the hour, the age

chaos distracts the power, the rage

counted in heartbeats

life steps onto the stage

innocence breaks away

fear constructs a wall

fire consumes the page

sweetness takes a curtain call

With Love, 

**credit Michael Gard Sculpture


I’ll Write ‘Til The Coffee Runs Out


The deals I make with myself occasionally cause me to achieve a desired result. For the most part though, I am a surprise achiever. Meaning that accomplishing a goal rarely happens the way I expect. Sometimes it isn’t even the goal I expect, but for whatever reason – clean living, appeasing the gods of suburbia, unredeemed karma from a previous lifetime of self-sacrifice – favorable winds eventually blow the tumbleweeds out of my mind and I get something done.

My loyal follower reminds me each morning not to stay hold up inside all day and that is usually when the mental “let’s make a deal” begins. I’ll write ‘til the coffee runs out. Until it runs out of what, I don’t say. Until it runs out my ears perhaps. Before I know it, it’s early afternoon. This signals three things: It’s time to check in with my legs that have been asleep since I poured my last cup of coffee, I’m hungry, and the dialing for dinner dilemma ensues. This is what happened during my last mad dash toward the finish line. Only this doesn’t feel like a mad dash. It feels more like staggering blind-folded out of a mud pit, balancing a birdcage on my head.

So, here’s the deal. I’ll write ‘til the coffee runs out or I’m ready to pick off my characters one by one with an elephant rifle, whichever comes first. Mine is not a tortured soul, destined for disaster. Nor humors seeking discharge from their greedy master. This is no existence so desperately fated. The wing-ed beast inside my breast is merely caffeinated. 

Woolf, Plath and Hemingway never had it so good.

Madder Than A March Hare
Gothic Hare by CJ Bradford @Thought-Full Art

Since the idea to write first became a squatter in a neglected corner of my mind, there has been an unraveling and reweaving happening in my life. The writing of my first book, Summoning the Strength, was fueled by the emotion known for its ability purge demons. (metaphorical ones) Anger. Anger at the loss of my friend to cancer and anger at the lack of progress humanity has made toward ending violence against women. Recent events making that reality even more maddening, have set me on fire.

Well, if you’re reading this, I am grateful to you. The truth is I am humbled by the honesty of those who share their private battles for the benefit of others who may be trying to figure out who they are. The premise for my second book is another unraveling and reweaving of sorts, in the life of a young woman named Emily Branch. She is a fictional character, but her experiences are far from imaginary. She encounters the same highs and lows each of us experience as we figure where we belong in a world constantly struggling for control of our hearts and minds.

The Bunnies Don't Lie
The Bunnies Don’t Lie

Both women and men are tormented with egocentric anxiety, avaricious impulses, and despair. There are those who would have us believe depression is a consequence of disobedience, or worse, that humans are pawns in some ancient feud between a jealous deity and rouge angel. I am no theologian, but even I know a belief system rife with inconsistencies begs to be challenged.

What a way to set us up for failure! The phrase, we’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it anymore, never seemed more appropriate.

Unlike sibling rivalry or adolescent rebellion, the adversary, once spoken of in hushed tones if spoken of at all, holds a family secret. Euphemisms for the volatile phantom abound, but madness has lost its distinction among modern maladies. By degrees, delusional by chance or choice, now everyone is a little crazy. It’s the new norm.

Initiatives to demystify mental illness, or at least profit from it, have created a heightened sensitivity to euphemisms we use to minimize our uneasiness when talking about emotional disturbances that lead to domestic violence, even suicide. Fears once quelled by expressions such as nuts, loony bin, funny farm are socially unacceptable in today’s climate of political correctness that does less to educate and more to dictate insecurities and fears be suppressed until they ignite. Global warming in action.

Photo Cred: Mick Green
Photo Cred: Mick Green

Mental illness, whether acknowledged or kept secret, eventually spills into all our lives. Sure, there are coping mechanisms that work to keep most of us from going all kinds of Jerry Springer, but there is no such thing as a perfect family. Crazies are a not new phenomenon. After all, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree, but the poor misguided youth defense is right up there with the Twinkie junkie claiming mental defect as an excuse to not be held accountable for their actions. The million dollar question of the day is how to address the escalating violent behavior in our society. Shouting Stop! You’re breaking the law, doesn’t seem an effective way to solve the problem. Neither does medicating everyone into a dysfunctional stupor.

To understand how mental illness becomes woven into the fabric of one’s own life, some search for a single point of reference – defective nature, flawed nurture, demonic forces, fluoride in drinking water. Sometimes that single point of reference is a lie. Sometimes we haven’t gone crazy at all. Sometimes the truth is Beyond Belief.

“Many draw the “seen” while I choose to portray the perceived – the meaning the mind gives to the objects – not what the eye sees.”~~CJ Bradford