Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pouch and Hands and Bone

Soft, dusty light in yellow and blue and sad obscurity. Shaking hands heavy
with sorrow reaching for a pouch that doesn’t open easily. Out comes a knob
of cold, white, hard bone. Smooth and deadly and the key… yes the key.
Grip tightens. Pouch falls. Bone is in charge now, bone leads, bone feeds.
Where will it take the hands, the sad hands? We don’t know, we don’t know.
Far, far away we fear. Far from the dusty sad light, far from the dark blue
obscurity…. We are afraid. But maybe the fingers will dance and be happy
in a new place. Maybe palms will be strong and nails will grow smooth and hard.
Maybe the hands will be happy where the bone is taking them. But we don’t know-
they will go, and we are afraid.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Friday, June 2, 2017

Defining "Grit"

     I recently wrote an essay for school defining a single abstract word. From a very juicy list of options including things like "Wisdom," and "Revenge," I settled on "Grit." I enjoyed this process so much I may go back and define the rest of the list as well :) But in the meantime, here is what I came up with:

        All That You Have And More

                                                             Cori Whitlock

Grit is an acquired character trait that results when an individual consistently chooses to embrace suffering and hardship in the pursuit of a challenging goal.

Many people would call grit "perseverance." This is understandable, since grit in action pursues a target despite hardship or pain, which is one of the most common understandings of perseverance. However, grit is a more specific attitude than simply the tendency to not give up. It is a tough style of dealing with obstacles and pain. Grit is also similar to courage in many ways. Both of these traits include an individual facing challenges head-on despite fear, or the danger of loss, pain, and failure. However, it is important to note that grit isn’t an inherently high, noble, or intelligent character trait. Ugliness, directness, and simplicity characterize grit and prevent it from being a universally desirable, lofty virtue like bravery and courage. If grit has an opposite, it is cowardice. Cowardice crumples where grit is steadfast, and brittle where grit is tough. But even more specifically, the action of suicide is the antithesis of grit. There is a large selection of cowardly ways to respond to pain when it comes, but suicide stands out among them. Suicide is the declaration, “I can’t do this anymore”. No cop-out is more thorough, and no form of quitting promises so absolutely that “I will never try again.” In contrast, grit drinks up pain and accepts it. Someone who has grit will do their very best when things are at their very worst. But suicide is the decision that some kind of suffering is unacceptable.

The seeds for grit are planted in you when you determine a clear goal you’d like to achieve. This goal has to be well defined, and you have to have intense conviction about the relevance of the goal, as well as a desire and intention to achieve it. Many people after reaching this point- having found the necessary vision of an endpoint and the clarity, conviction, and intention to achieve the goal- succeed without encountering any serious resistance. But in order to acquire grit, you must encounter an obstacle of some kind between you and the goal, which could be anything that challenges your commitment and conviction to achieve it. Now your choice is twofold: Firstly, you must believe that achieving their goal is still possible (this step can surprisingly be the most difficult choice required), and then you have to decide whether or not to make the sacrifice implied by the obstacle. There are many different ways of proceeding in spite of hardship, but grit will face difficulty directly. Cleverness, persistence, or inventiveness may all help someone achieve a goal, but they are not the same as grit. If you make these dozens of small choices to believe in the possibility, face the challenge directly, and sacrifice what is required to reach a goal so often that you no longer even consider any choice besides facing the challenges head on, then you have grit.

Grit could be described as a man... a grizzled man with a beard covering his face, and scars on his hands. Not tall, but wiry and lean with flinty, sparking eyes and rough clothes. Walking down the road, you couldn’t tell if he was looking at the next patch of ground to pass beneath his boots, or at the furthest disappearing bend. If you spoke to him about the difficulty ahead of him on the path- the trees across it, the bandits that frequent it, and the peril that must surely befall him upon it- he would say, “So be it.” If you asked him which direction he was going, he would say, “Forward”. If you told him he was too weary and spent to make the journey, he would say, “I have more in me.” When you warn him there is a toll bridge ahead, he would say, “I will pay.” And If you told him there was another way to reach his invisible destination, then he wouldn’t hear you. To him there is no other way than this one. His jaw is set stubbornly. He is not clever, and his strategy is simple; He will pay up front. The pain he feels means nothing beyond the sensation. In the mind of Grit there is room for just two possibilities: Overcoming or perishing in the attempt. If you put before him a task that must destroy him, then the man Grit would die on the road to where he was going. Never, even in death would he turn aside to expire on softer ground. To Grit success is inevitable. Because to give everything he has and come up short is as acceptable in his mind as reaching the end of the road.

We can all choose to have grit. In fact, virtually all of us have grit in some area, but cowardice in others. There is no minimum amount of strength or resources required to generously sacrifice in order to achieve a goal. Grit doesn’t sacrifice an amount, it gives a percentage: One hundred percent. Everyone has what it takes- the only question is, will you give everything you have?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Dance Me Soft and Tall

A floating strain of music
Plucked gently at my feet 
And moving I could feel it
In my spirit find a seat

Lofty and melodic
It shuddered through my bone
Living in my veins until
It's purpose became known

To animate my body
Seize it like a doll
Electrify my soul until
I'm dancing soft and tall

The first time I could feel it
Enchanted in it's thrall
Loud and free I sang to you
Dance me soft and tall

Brief it stayed, then fled me
Content to break the wall
The spark expired and left me tired
Standing soft and tall

Friday, April 8, 2016


                                              A frog Autumn found a few days ago.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016


If heavy reigns are lightly seized
When foolishness is often pleased
Where calloused hands have found and squeezed
There Sorrow goes, a plague unleashed.

If work and toil are always eased
When idle wants are swift appeased
Where honest men are mocked and teased
Then Sorrow comes, dark flood released. 

If noble walls have been besieged 
When tyrants rule with minds diseased
Where brokenness has been bequeathed 
Here Sorrow stays, and lives, and breeds.