Psst! Do you like music?

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted–first I got sidetracked when I was told my thesis was due earlier than anticipated (by a month! but don’t worry, I finished it–and passed my defense), and then I had to catch up on homework, and then I’ve been attending a YOGA for Youth teacher training and it’s been busy (forty hours? two weekends? check!).

Excuses, excuses, of course, but it’s my way of saying if I could have been here, sharing ideas and experiences with all of you, I would have been. =)

I’m still in a frenzied state, of course, attempting to stay on top of everything as graduation and Teach for America barrel toward me, but I want to take a quick moment to share something with you–call it my three-day-early throwback Thursday.

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A Shot of Stress

As part of my Year of Re-creation, I’m embarking on a journey to reclaim stress and change how I respond to it at a physiological level. This sounds like a daunting task–I mean, seriously, changing physiology?–but it’s actually an application of the age-old adage “mind over matter”: By adopting a new stress mindset, my body will learn to react to stress in a new, more empowering manner.

So if this isn’t alchemy, I don’t know what is.

But magic or not, the first step begins now.

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For the Love of Books

It’s Valentine’s Day, and since my husband-to-be and I are still some 1600 miles apart and both generally loathe the holiday anyways, I figured I’d play around with some of my other loves–such as my love of books, both writing them and reading them.

Because, honestly, who wants a box of chocolate when you can be given a book?

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Fireworks on Display

I am a body of light / let this be my cocoon

Sometimes I want and sometimes I need and sometimes all I can do is smolder. I once wrote a poem (and it later became the first I’d ever perform) called “Waiting for Exposition“:

It’s like watching fireworks being / launched into the sky / on the Fourth of July. / I know well enough to expect / explosions // // I know I’m no firework / no explosive / no lightshow / yet I still feel the fuse / burning down my crown like kundalini / I can feel the altitudes fall around me / as I soar higher from this drug that / sane people call oxygen and / psychiatrists call life.

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Ask Rachel

I don’t watch the news–the news is depressing. It’s one bad story after another, and the points of importance are pushed aside for the next sensational headline.

Instead I follow stories. I try to understand the exposition, the unwritten prologue, the implications of chapter three, the critical reviews of the page-turning epilogue. And lately, I’ve been reading from a new library–rather than merely perusing the shelves of LGBT identity, Jewish / American intersectionality, and the occasional op-ed on immigration, redistricting, and presidential campaigns, lately I’ve been reading about race.

Here I’ve found more stories, maybe, than I bargained for (and as I write this, I’m reminded of some good advice to beware of the danger of a single story): there are tragedies with names like Travon Martin, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice; settings as varied as McKinney and Ferguson and Baltimore; and narratives simple and complex, like Black Lives Matter.

But the story today that’s swimming through my newsfeed is none of these.

The setting is Spokane, and Rachel is her name.

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Mental Malfunctioning

The dog days of summer are upon me, but instead of howling at the moon, I’m lying curled up in my bed without the energy or motivation to get to all these things I want to do. I’m making steady yet slow progress, but I can’t seem to get into what’s most important.

I watched a brief video the other day by Josh Davis, talking about “When to Skip Something On Your To-Do List,” and his advice is simple: If your mental energy doesn’t match the task, then stop. Put that energy where it’ll be most effective and come back to the other tasks when you’re mentally prepared to efficiently work on them.

But, see, this is where my mind starts to malfunction.

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Dialectic

It’s the patch of fabric scratching a patch of skin that’s agonizing and incestuous but you can’t get enough.

It’s biting the side of your mouth with your back teeth, the sting of flesh splitting, the intrigue of electricity pulsing in your skin, the sweet discharge of ferrous blood onto your tongue.

It’s the first few breaths after orgasm, lungs empty, yearning, muscles locked in place and paralyzed, every inhalation aromatic and awe-some: you’re smelling oxygen for the very first time.

I’ve been in a mood lately, fostering new views, melding old ones: Creation is destruction, there is attraction in repulsion, beauty exists in the most ugly and painful things.

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Severing Ties (and Making New Ones)

It’s been a year since this blog was reborn, the seams between its faces undone stitch by stitch: In an instant, The Writingwolf: Words & Wonders became solely dedicated to nonfiction, while Silent Soliloquy was born to be a library of all my fiction and poetry.

My blogs have only flourished since then–my audience has grown, my writing has improved, and now more than ever, I’m producing regular content on both blogs without needing to link them back and forth for traffic.

Now I’m ready for a new change, the next step in the Writingwolf’s life cycle.

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Epilogue: One Year Ago

When I began this journey, I promised I would offer no vindication, and to this I feel I remained true. I stripped aside the commentary and let it fall out as I remembered it–sometimes building beautifully harrowing images, other times feeling I fell short in capturing the turmoil I truly felt. But I did my best, and I’m thankful I made it this far.

But there are still more sides to this story, some that slip outside the narrow keyhole through which I looked back this past week, and these stories need to be shared.

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Prologue: One Year Ago

If you scroll to the bottom of this page and look at my archives, you’ll notice I published 16 posts in December, 2012; 13 posts in January, 2013; and nothing in February. In March I posted twice. “Life is a dance and I misstepped,” I wrote in the first. “The good thing about any dance is that, so long as the song keeps playing, it doesn’t matter how many steps you miss, you can still jump back in and pick up where you left off.”

Except I never said what that misstep was.

I’ve made a few allusions here and there, I’ve told a very select few people in person, and a select fewer in my communities online. But I’ve never shared it here. Of all the places on the internet, it has been nearly impossible for me to be most honest in the one place fueled by and founded upon my honesty.

So this week that changes. This week I share everything.

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