Monday, March 5, 2018

A Letter To My Future Self

Written: 3/2/2018
To be read: 3/2/2023

Dear Carolyn,
How are you? As you know, I am a compulsive planner, daydreamer, and visualizer. I have already conjured fantasies of what life will be like at 34 years old and it’s shiny and bright. I hope the wedding was as much fun to attend as it was to plan. You and Luke are quite the team. Too bad you didn’t write a letter for yourself at 16. You would have never guessed you’d be marrying your high school best friend. Did you spring for the black and white dance floor? What did Luke think of your wedding dress? Did dad walk you down the aisle? I know he was practicing last time we talked. A few years ago, you didn’t think he’d be here. Gosh, he is still here, isn’t he?

I bet you have a few beautiful children by now and plenty of nieces and nephews for them to play with. Is Luke keeping the kids up too late to watch hockey? He must be a doting, caring father, just like he is with Hippo and Iggy. Remember how lucky you are to have someone who loves you unconditionally and do wonderful things for him unexpectedly. I know you were excited to have kids, but make sure you take time for yourselves to be husband and wife. Date nights to 167 Raw and weekend trips to Sea Island are still a must.

In your late 20’s you took risks, decided to travel, witnessed true miracles, and learned that family is more than blood. I hope you are as happy now as you once were at 29, doe-eyed and open to all that life had to offer. Did you build your dream house with white cabinets and a gas-lantern flanking the front door? Did you buy the fine china with indigo leaves? Are you still living in Charleston amongst a sea of friends? As long as you are with Luke, those things don’t matter. Remember to be content with what you have and appreciate your good health and family. Keep calling mom twice a day and taking the dog back to Pittsburgh to lay on dad’s lap. Visit John over spring break (you are still a teacher, aren’t you?) and take him out to lunch on his birthday.

If life moving forward is anything like the intro to Pixar’s ‘UP’, brace yourself. Know that you are strong enough and smart enough to figure anything out. Luke may wipe away your tears but have enough guts to pick yourself up. Don’t let misfortunes rest on your shoulders, remain positive and remember you have done this before.

So here is a toast to 34. Tonight, go out and celebrate all of the wondrous things that surround you.


'I am' 
I am filled with darkness that rots like an oozing sore that hasn’t been bandaged
I wonder if you have a scratchy gray monster that gnashes its teeth above your head
I hear a scuttling claw click across a cold linoleum floor
I see a narrow hallway that fades into the distance
I want the two-ton terror sitting on my chest to vanish
I am filled with darkness

I pretend to slice open the back of my brain with a sharp fingernail 
I feel the balloon shrivel, air squeaking as it deflates
I touch and poke the gooey red rubber
I worry the throbbing heart won’t leave my head.
I cry when I surrender, screaming face down into a pillow
I am filled with darkness.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Today, the sky is gray with various shades of black and blue punched through. It looks bruised and half-dead. Thunder rumbles, reverberating through my stairwell and I hope it might storm. I have been waiting for a day where the sun isn't poking through the cotton white clouds of the usual joyful Charleston sky and finally, I got it. Rain is a perfect excuse to tuck myself away into the corners of my couch, grab a blanket, and flip on countless hours of horror movies.

The ominous Charleston sky.

Save the slasher flicks for Halloween because summer has its own set of thematic horror. Sitting on my balcony breathing in the thick June air, I conjured up a list of my top nine favorite warm-weather monster movies that will be sure to give you chills. Grab a pina-colada and turn out the lights for this summer monster movie fest! 

9. The Ruins
Monster: Ancient Evil Vines
Favorite Scary Summer Scene: Self-mutilation with a breathtaking Mexican jungle backdrop.
If You Liked This You Might Like: Apocolypto

8. Black Water

Giant Aussie Croc
Favorite Scary Summer Scene: The prehistoric reptile slowly poking his head out from the murky black swamp.
If You Liked This You Might Like: Lake Placid

7. Cloverfield

Pacific Ocean Alien
Favorite Scary Summer Scene: New York's skyline exploding on a warm late May night.
If You Liked This You Might Like: Super8

 6. The Cabin In The Woods

Monster: Mutant Backwood Hilbillies
Favorite Scary Summer Scene: Any of the plentiful humorous lines the co-ed cabin campers spit as they fight off the inevitable: death.
If You Liked This You Might Like: The Evil Dead

5. The Descent

Monster: Cave Crawlers
Favorite Scary Summer Scene: In a space too small for a child, a daring young woman wedges herself between two boulders in a hot, dark, steamy cave, unable to escape.
If You Liked This You Might Like: The Ruins

4. Predator

Monster: Tropical Beast
Favorite Scary Summer Scene: Schwarzenegger fist-fighting the monster in a lush Central American jungle.
If You Liked This You Might Like: Alien

3. Jaws

Great White Shark
Favorite Scary Summer Scene: We're gonna need a bigger boat, enough said.
If You Liked This You Might Like: The Shallows

2. Jurassic Park 
Monster: Dinosaurs, lots of them
Favorite Scary Summer Scene: T-Rex blinking his beady eyes in the rear view mirror of the Jeep as the rain pounds against the ground.
If You Liked This You Might Like: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

1. Pan's Labyrinth  

Monster: The Pale Man
Favorite Scary Summer Scene: Ophelia's enchanting encounter with the naked guy over dinner.
If You Liked This You Might Like: The Labyrinth

Honorable mentions from great rainy day memories of yore:
Rosemary's Baby, Chronicle, and The Beach

This summer, make use of those dismal days by taking a load off and diving into your dark side. 

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