On Living and Dying and Making a Difference


“I think I’m dying,” I said, and I coughed weakly. My children gathered around me, stroking my head and handing me small squares of toilet paper instead of Kleenex. My oldest got me a glass of water as I propped myself on some pillows. I tried to watch another season of Hell’s Kitchen but it made me hungry and being hungry made me feel nauseated. This sickness is not consumption, though that would be a far more literary way to write about my sick bed. This sickness is just a nasty head cold, a head cold I developed because my children are in grade school, and I just cannot help but hug and kiss them even when they are sick, which is always, because they are in grade school.

All that day I camped out in bed, and I read the stack of magazines I keep on my nightstand. I collect literary journals like some kids collect bottle caps. I line them up on the shelf under my nightstand. I stack them under the bed. I pile them on the coffee table. When the magazines arrive I read them while sitting on the couch, feet up, absent to everything else. On this day, I am reading Ruminate Magazine, one of my favorite journals. It is one of my favorites because of the beautiful work inside, the feel of the thick paper between my fingers, the splash of color of the artwork every few pages.

I might never have subscribed to Ruminate had I not met the editor, Brianna Vandyke at a writer’s conference in Michigan many years ago. I met her while walking through the “vendor” room. She was positioned behind the Ruminate table, smiling. I browsed the sample magazines on the table. They were a young outfit back then, just getting started. I had heard of them through a few other writers, and I had submitted to one of their writing contests. When Brianna saw my nametag, she said, “I know your name! I’ve been wanting to meet you!” and then she came out from behind the table and hugged me. At that point in my writing career, no one knew my name. I had no publishing credits to speak of and in fact, I was still unsure of whether I could truly say out loud that I was a writer.

I subscribed that day. And it was in that generous greeting, that moment of recognition and that small, well-loved journal that I began to form some solid understanding of what it means to create something beautiful. It’s something I still value to this day. Truly, I’m grateful for the work of Ruminate.

Because you might never have come across Ruminate before this post, I’d like to tell you that you also might never realize that they are in a funding crisis. Years of working on this magazine for no monetary compensation have taken its toll on the creators, and they are faced with closing their doors. This post is just to say that it will most likely not cut into your Hell’s Kitchen viewing. It will not keep you from your important engagements. If you have not heard about the magazine, the closing of Ruminate will not affect your daily living so far as you know.

What you don’t know is that the effect of this magazine on creative and talented folks is immense. Letting this magazine fall into the waters and not surface again is a loss that is felt at the deepest levels by people who read and imbibe the words there like vitamins, like minerals, like meat. These words sustain us, they bolster us, they fuel us well and whether you realize it or not, the loss makes us all weaker. The loss of good creative work, deep and beautiful work, wears on our communal immune system. We need Ruminate Magazine because we’re weary and worn down and words matter, art matters.

Will you help? You have a couple of days yet to lend a hand to help pull this powerful force from the water. Subscribe today, give a subscription or just toss some coin in this direction instead of a couple of pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. Be a part of something foundational and good where art is concerned. Your small contribution makes a difference, I promise.

And listen, if you’ve never subscribed to a literary journal before, consider this your opportunity. Even Gordon Ramsey would agree that work like this needs your support.

Let’s do this thing.



When I met him, I was naked…

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Very pleased to have one of my poems up on Burnside Writer’s Collective today!

Check it out!


mrs metaphor in the powder room…

Well, that’s sure to get your attention, huh?

It’s not as revealing as all that…or maybe it is. There is this website, run by a number of amazing women I know, called Dear Powder Room.

You can find it here:

Dear Powder Room

And in that lovely Powder Room you are apt to find the most interesting, sometimes irreverent, often random, always engaging pieces of writing around these here internets.  So check THAT out…in fact, check out the piece I have up there this week if you have a moment.

Mrs Metaphor: Cry Alone

If you have experienced miscarriage or infertility or have walked with someone who has, I think you’ll dig this.

Come on in and freshen up…I’ll go with you.







Of Marching bands and Mad cows…

This post is going up a little early since monday is proving to be more complicated than I intended…but that’s a blog post for another day…Count this as our post for MONDAY NOVEMBER 5TH, alright?

Mucca Pazza is best described as a Circus Punk Marching Band. They are based in Chicago, my old stomping grounds and their fearless leader, Mark Messing (check him out playing the Sousaphone) is an old friend of mine. The best way to really understand what Circus Punk Marching Band refers to is to, well, see it…

If you want to know more about Mucca Pazza and you SHOULD want to know more (in fact, you should WANT to get to wherever they are next and see them LIVE if possible) then check out their website. If you do have the chance to see them live, do NOT pass it up. I promise you will be glad you had the experience.

“Why don’t you like me, why don’t you like me?”

Whilst travelling along the YouTube tunnel one day I discovered this video by an artist called Mika:


I could be brown
I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful
I could be purple
I could be anything you like
Gotta be green
Gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don’t you like me?
Why don’t you like me?
Why don’t you walk out the door!

Now, IS there a metaphor here for us?? Well, possibly I suppose but mostly, I just really LOVE the tune. Maybe it is because I am reliving my 80’s favorites lately and he reminds me so much of Freddy Mercury but I have been humming it obsessively this week. Since I hate to be alone in my neurosis most of the time I thought I would firmly implant “Grace Kelly” into your brain as well.you’re welcome.

Sleepy Urbanite

Having spent 18 years in Chicago I can appreciate the subtlety of Sleepy Urbanite.
The gist of this site is that a chicago area artist spends time documenting the urban setting using the digital camera on her phone.

She has 4 galleries to date of her work online, Sleepy Urbanite, Urban Heiroglyphics, Blue City and Found Art but the one which has been receiving the most action is the Sleepy Urbanite exhibit.
The Chicago-based indie muscian and formally trained artist has moved past letting her eye wander to her snoozing fellow CTA riders and has actually compiled a collection of photos she had taken with her phone for all to peruse.
In her words:

“this series was born out of my fascination with the morning train ride to work. i found myself amazed by all of the different faces….the long stares out the windows… people are dreaming all around you on the train. the train, where we are all crammed in, but also so isolated. if you find yourself in this photos, apoligies for the intrusion. if you do not find yourself in these photos, apologies for the oversight.”

Needless to say, this has caused something of a stir…is it legal? is it moral? is it art?

Personally, I am quite taken with the beauty of these images. I find this to be a noble artistic endeavor, worthy of a look and a comment or two. Be forewarned that you may have some strong feelings that crop up around this. Your assignment, dear readers, is to look as though you are in a small gallery on the near west side of Chicago. You have the opportunity to ask this artist questions in her blog. She does respond and she does seem to care what you think of her work…although she is firm in her foundational thinking as a visual artist. She has reasons for doing what she does.

I would invite you to visit and ASK QUESTIONS…rather than place judgements. I know, I know, we all have opinions, that is what makes this free speech of ours such a gift in this country and YET, can we reserve our highly sought after opinion in favor of gaining a little more wisdom in the process?

Before posting, ask yourself your motivations…seek wisdom, not self glory…this is the crux of great art.

New Series…Blogs of Note

I’m beginning to post a series of reviews this week on Blogs of Note.

These are blogs and sites I’ve stumbled upon that I think might be of interest to the typical Mrs Metaphor reader.

Hope you enjoy them…please feel free to comment and even offer up your own suggestions for blogs Mrs Metaphor might frequent if only she knew of them.