Never let your fear decide your future.



TO RUN SWIFTLY and strong. Effortlessly even though you are putting everything into it. The created wind is chilling on this cold calm morning in the Ozarks. The new light brings with it new life and awe at just being alive. Four limbs dedicated to speed, not our two, not our fear of losing balance and tripping falling flat. Strength enough for two effortlessly pushing forward. Generous to a fault, no hesitation about giving your all for this guiding vertical creature. For you feeder, warmth giver, shelter provider, encourager to do what you love – run. Putting a hoof down and bringing it up again to put it in another place. Simplicity. Nobility encapsulated, without knowledge of past victories or records broken. Only now, only this workout, swift – ever so lightly airborne gliding. Gravity never taking hold, touchdown softened by the forward momentum of never being in the same place for more than a millisecond. --SHAY

For most of us, nighttime dreaming brings us closer to our identities and our power than any activity in the waking world. – Walter Mosely


My father would stop the Rambler station wagon at historical markers and make us get out and read them while cicadas jeered and traffic whizzed by. Then for the next half hour down the road he would regale us about how it fit (or didn't fit) into his historical world view. It almost never didn't. I liked the ones that said “500 feet to the east such and such place was pivotal in such and such event.” Now it was either a large nursery or the overflow parking lot of a long-closed outlet mall. Nature reclaiming what once was and always will be hers. And the event? Because we lived in Virginia, was probably the planning or carrying out of a terrorist attack. You see, history began and ended with the war fought one-hundred-teen-some years before. Reading the historical markers you'd have thought the South had won. And if you counted the Confederate flags on the backs of pick up trucks, the street names and the local high school football team name – Rebels – it certainly had. Yep, “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” (William Faulkner) continues to be a mantra even if the term 'mantra' came and went as I did from that otherwise wonderful place. I'm not sure why he always stopped. Perhaps, because he was a depression child, to pick up something from the roadside; a driven over screw driver, a bungee cord with a couple more bungees left in it, or to stretch his good leg. He never spoke of the war that took his other one, satisfied to let history end a hundred-teen years before. --SHAY

You have to live a life of meaning – Jimmy Lai, millionaire businessman on why he protests in Hong Kong


I'M the one that picks up the mic. I do lots of things around here. Lately more and more. I've been on the stage crew at The Paladium for near 25 years. I was here when Sammy Davis Jr. had a laughing fit an' his eye popped out and rolled across the stage and fell into the orchestra pit. Sammy left using his other one he had had made to match his bloodshot one when he had a hangover. We searched and searched. Didn't find it til the next time Clifford hit a B sharp on his trumpet and it bounced off the music stand, came flying up and the conductor caught it in his hand. I was here when Redd Foxx really did have a heart attack “Elizabeth, I'm coming to join ya, honey,” we all thought it was part of his act. I was here when the greats would come down from 7th Avenue to try out their material. Gleason. Caesar. Reiner. Silvers. Whoa, we would let 'em know when it didn't go over. And that Rat Pack mob would sit right down there. Tables set up and forget the booze laws and they would egg-on the acts to do their bluest material. Yo mamma this yo mamma that. Sshiiiit, blame the victim. It weren't your mamma spreading fudge all over town. Everybody knowd she don't cook. Yo mamma never do anything yo daddy didn't put her up to. Hey hey, classic. Yeah, but that's when it started to go downhill. Nowadays every other word is a curse word. Richard F#&^% Pryor. Just white faces in the audience anymore, money coming way too easy. Nuthin' good's gonna come of that boy. --SHAY

Here be Monsters. Thus the night, although it did not entirely belong to him, obeyed his commands. – Jean Genet from Querelle


UNREAL doesn't say half of it. By design, each person can do their own thing. Individualism to the core. The point of VR may not be to stand out more than just yourself and those around you who care to know the real you. The star everyone has come to see is one track. The crowd as a whole is another track (with and without autotune+) and your local group is yet another. Gen 5 AI has everything to do with what is experienced through the VR glasses, changing your view of a person's 3 /4 beat to 4/4 without dropout. Take the glasses off? Everyone is masked and silently striking at air. Some strike virtual rings, bells, drums or strings right in front of them, others play the VR rays which flash from the stage or ceiling overhead. These have no beat per se, so you'll see people sticking to the beat or flailing their hands wildly. Anarchist following in the path of Robert Del Naja would be proud. May even be here. If you're famous, VR concerts are the last great potential to blend in. VR Froggy (hacker extraordinaire) may or may not be here but certainly his spirit is. Every star dreads the beginnings and endings of a set. For whatever reason hackers don't mess with the middle of a performance. Don't want to piss off the crowd THAT much. Usually they hack the 'call button' (something used if there would be an emergency) to interrupt what everyone sees and hears, no matter what track they're on. But the main performer has so much more to worry about than the total dissolution of the show. Playing the virtual instrument of the day 'The Rings' is daunting on its own, let alone in front of thousands of spectators/imitators. Rings defy physics. A set of concentric circles of golden glowing rings that rise/fall in rhythm with the music that is itself generated as the player strikes, plucks and rubs the rings. Your hands are not your real hands. VR hands are avatars and can have a variety of configurations, err, tools. Arrangements may change at anytime with voice control or body language. Tonight you are the main event -- Birdy, no, not Big Bird as your detractors joke, instead you specialize in bird songs and images that fly out and over the audience at optimal times. As you step to center stage, you peek over the VR glasses and see many mega-fans in costume. You smile, thank them all, and begin. --SHAY

Happiness is not traded on Wall Street


A GOD stood on the precipice, to the West the sea, with a low carpet of fog blown swiftly up the cliffs to dissipate in the morning sun. The sun's rays seem to bend around the God and cast a glory onto the fog bank. To the East a deep blue sky with brilliant white thunderstorm clouds already rising so fast you could see them grow. One deep breath of air, then a sigh, the God contemplated the many years work that lay before him geoforming this river valley and the next two to the north. JJ really wasn’t a God, but his task was just as Herculean; in charge of re-creating a Polynesian island to prehistoric standards a task that would take a mere 60 years. Release dates and monitoring points determined, seeds for first, second and third generations planned. Mass production of insects scheduled and genetic testing and selection criteria made. He remembered smiling in geoforming school about the ironic use of industrial mass production methodologies to ‘cure’ the ills of industrial mass production. But being an actual Geoformer was very different, and, despite the help from bots, coordinating the mass production of life forms and the support that was needed was a very hard work indeed, giving him an actual appreciation of the day-in, day-out, week-in, week-out, year-in, year-out work that must have been required to upset the very ecological balance of the entire planet. It took a thief to catch up with and steal back nature! Standing on the point of exposed rock, he looked proudly over his domain and thought “everything has prepared me for this day, my father a geneticist, my mother a landscape architect, my grandmother a roboticist, my GGGF a Chief and my GGGGF an ocean navigator.”

If you wanna stop this, then stand up” Because I’ve got one thing to say to you. Never forget who you want to become!” -Shoto Todoroki


MAKI’S head went back, her voice grew strong and she transformed into her stage presence from the years that she had gone around the world with her ‘consensus discussions’ wherein she began her career as a storyteller. As she spoke, projections filled the room. “It takes five thick trees to hold up the roof of a bai. Is there a man braver or stronger or more focused or caring or flexible than Aluluei? He holds the power to overcome the sea that wars upon the earth leaving the forest roots bare and withering; to overcome the wind that is powerful enough to blow one’s skin right off one’s bones; to overcome the sun that stands still in the sky and laughs, baking those bones to dust; to overcome the loneliness of the stars standing with so many but still so chillingly apart from one another; to overcome fiery men who cheat you out of your inheritance, the only dignity left you. No matter how long the voyage, take care of your vea so your spirit may return to the bai, our home. Each generation goes through a time of tests. How will Makikit be tested? Sea, wind, earth, or fire?”The hologram of Aluluei faded out. Had I to do it again? What choice does one have but to resist? --SHAY

My motivation might seem trivial compared to yours, but I can’t lose, either. I have to live up to the hopes of those who supported me.” – Izuku Midoriya


A PEOPLE very close to nature. My great grandfather was a traditional Polynesian canoe navigator who could navigate using just the stars and wave patterns. My full name is MAKIKIT LORO RAI ANIN, it means ‘kite that rides the north wind’ Maki for short. Tukawanu, my birth island, is northwest of Fiji. During my mother’s pregnancy with me, an endangered Hawksbill sea turtle came ashore and died. It was a very rare sight. They said it passed its soul to me, and accounts for my longevity. Remember how long ago it was, back before networked bots, or sun shields, or even sequestration, back to the early twenty first century, 2012 to be exact. A person had to earn lots of money for a very simple life, some people died from basic diseases, some places even starvation, and education wasn’t free, in fact it was very expensive, can you imagine? Education is the key to everything and they put limits on it. I thought I was lucky, being born about as far from war and pollution as you can get, but still not far enough. It was because we were so close to nature that we were the first to get pushed in,” Maki made a cresting wave and wipeout motion with her hand. “Thank God for third generation eco-guilt, I'd still be in that Fiji refugee camp if it weren't for Ms. Bailey's Tar Sands guilt complex!” – SHAY

I'm not exactly sure what I'd do, you know, but something interesting - something that's all mine. Something that would make some kind of difference in the world. It'd be nice to have a new name, to start with, one that's not all worn out from being called so much.” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting


FALLS SLOWLY, the dizzying sounds of the throngs ring in mass urging you to remember this day forever. Olympic teammates stand at both your sides in high heels, trying to match your height, you balance against a flimsy float railing with your new Petri Seven 35 millimeter automatic for a quick snap of your people --cheering the loudest from the back of the crowd. Your three Olympic gold medal swing back and forth with the lurch of the float. You get a wave of nausea, oh, no, you couldn't be --1960 and out-of wedlock birth was a virtual disaster in your social circles. You stifle the thought and smile broadly. That's what your manager wanted, he had said your smiles are worth tens, maybe hundreds of thousands. You'd wait till the end of the tour to tell him, and, well, Jesse Owens had retired after just one Olympics game and you had already had two. Meanwhile a bit of red confetti got stuck in your beautiful glossy front teeth. --SHAY

Let your thoughts spend as little time on your pillow as possible. May your dreams fly freely and long. --Shay


ROLLER SKATING HEART is on her 3rd heart surgery to correct a congenital heart defect. Each surgery allows her to skate a little longer, jump a little higher, and carry a bigger load as she helps her mother with grocery shopping. Each item on the shelves has been shaped by knives. The cut broccoli so they can have a delicious salad, sliced potatoes, well, so they can be full, and yes, even the Cheerios. The box was printed and sliced before being folded by origami-like machinery. In RSH's case, knives were used not for sameness, but for uniqueness. To celebrate her unique thinking –outside the box. Boxes, after all, are for babies to keep them from harming themselves. RSH is a big girl now, one with scars from her surgeries, sure, but many many more from her skating prowess. Skating prowess you say? Didn't she make mistakes to earn those scars? Well,yes, but one person's mistake is another person's risk-taking. Like skating through the hospital corridors after dark or skating to the top of the jungle gym in the school playground. She now sees that as attention-getting-behavior. Maybe that's why she likes summers she spends at Camp Taylor, where kids like her feel free to compete and not have to prove themselves 'just as good.' A place where they don't feel limited by what scars they have where. We all have scars. It simply means we have tried something new, waded into the deep end, or went the extra mile into an unknown. And lived to tell the tale. --SHAY

"I wished she'd never stop squeezing me. I wished I could spend the rest of my life as a child, being slightly crushed by someone who loved me." —Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine


ARE WORDS WHAAM, BAMF, WHIFF, love, BOOM, BIFF, DUNK, triumphant, CRUSH, POW, DAZZLE, safe, SHAZAM, KTANGGG, PING, accommodate, SPLASH, LUSTROUS, BRAINIAC, soul embracing, KRUNK, MALARKEY, ZILCH, caress, ZAP, SMASH, CRASH. Cartoon conflicts until all is quiet. You are the crime-fighting hero you always wanted to be. You are the calm in the middle of chaos, around you peace prevails. No guns here. We all have superpowers, words like belonging and let me take on that burden, you've carried it enough. Wherever there is pain, peace also resides. Wherever there is discouragement, exaltation. Wherever malice, angels are waiting to step in. Not just for a few of us but all of us together. This is a majority minority world and it has no place for hate or bickering or even feeling ill at ease with 'the other.' Our cartoon world smiles down at our real one, laughing as we are ashamed to admit we barely live up to a tenth of our ideals. But that tenth, aah what a tenth! --SHAY

Don't pray for the dead, it's too late for them, pray for the living that are facing a crossroad. --SHAY


BEFORE the excited kids squeal and giggle thru the clear plastic strip curtain, ready to grab at any butterfly they can; before their parents and grandparents ooh and awe and warn their little ones not to touch; before the crowds at the feeding stations or the gift store, you behold your smile-making creation: The Butterfly Parade Butterflyarium. You, of course, do more than just whisper to the butterflies, you put out the feeding stations of pineapple, apples and strawberries which provide much of the sweet fragrant smell that greets the visitors. You enter the caterpillar room, with chrysalis display where all the real action is, and replace the milkweed with munch marks where caterpillars have eaten. On the way back you grab potted flowers to replace the ones that have faded at eye level, Verbena which make good landing pads in the Fairy Float (love those azaleas above and forest floor setup above that) and Pentas in the School Bus Float with different varieties in each seat section. You assess the vines growing on the ceiling and make a few snips to clean it up. All the while whispering little love poems to the pretty and the plain butterflies that love you back by alighting on your arms and face. --SHAY

Where do our deepest beliefs come from? Generally from childhood, and then not from what our parents and teachers say, but from what they do and who they are. – John O'Donahue


THE BEST BAKER award hung on the wall along with other sayings. Grandpa always said she was the best he'd ever had, no matter what it was she cooked. You always thought the award was real, it was the gold standard you compared everything to, no matter how worldly your taste buds roamed. Tonight you dream of making biscuits with her. This is the day she told you about the one time (once!) that she entered the Putnam County Fair with Rhubarb and Wild Strawberry Pie. Have you ever known her to make something different than the Southern classics? Pecan pie or moon pie? With her indomitable Appalachian spirit she presented her newly made rhubarb and wild strawberry pie so as not to compete against the powers that be (the judges niece, Beatrice). But somehow it had leaked. Beatrice also entered a rhubarb and regular strawberry pie (from frozen strawberries, no less) and won best in show. On the shelf sat the last jar of rhubarb and wild strawberry jam that was made from that same batch from that same year (the year you'd turned two). “Can't let that jar sit 'round any longer.” Mamaw had said. Needless to say they were the best biscuits ever. --SHAY

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you." —The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne


TO CHANGE things you need to make the future more important relative to the present--Eric Rhoades. It was an off-hand remark that stemmed from game theory; to enlarge the shadow of the future. It was a shortening of a long quote, however: “To change things you need to make the future more important relative to the present, that the future creates a bigger shadow on the present than gratification today.” It started in one of his salons, which itself grew out of his wife's fantastic cooking and their shared desire – not to eat everything she cooked. So they invited people over in what they called 'left-over parties' and everyone else called 'being analyzed.' Eric was not the easiest person to get along with. He spoke his mind and interrogated his fellow teachers to no end. They were mostly fellow teachers. Who else would put up with such a deep and callous questioning of their core beliefs for a helping of homemade noodle lasagna, vegetarian meat balls in burnt orange rosemary sauce, and Lanna coffee tiramisu? But despite the constant pecking, usually at the end everyone there had their minds changed a bit, and even though they joked about solving the world's problems each night, one night they actually did. Mutual cooperation can be stable if the future is sufficiently important relative to the present. Eric's expansion was to detail reputation between aspects of a person's life, much like was already happening in social media of the time. The pendulum was already swinging back, toward the proper, after so many years having been, um, improper (to put it kindly). Another addition was how we treat the lowest members among us that most defines our character. Gone viral it was taken on as a new currency, not just one way of rewarding each other, but THE way. And the rest was, well, history. --SHAY

'What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.' – C.S. Lewis


THE SPEECH could be condensed into just a paragraph. “Justice is easy for those with power. It is the powerless (real or perceived) who need others to fight for them. But they will not accept help without feeling connected to you as a representative. It takes an awful lot of time and closeness to understand your constituents needs and ways to improve them; to have a voice when your ideas and concerns count for so little. When you've known no other. We who do have a voice that is listened to, who have so much to give, have a duty to the powerless to shine a light for others who have power to make the best decision, right decision to help the greatest number of people rise from the poverty that is ignorance.” The ding of the elevator echoed down the hotel hall. The little man met us happily, spun around and said, "Men often become what they believe themselves to be.” and without looking back, “What is it you believe yourself to be?” It was an off putting question I didn't expect from such a peace-loving little man. No response didn't seem to phase him. We entered a nondescript hotel room. The great man sat down on the floor at a spinning wheel, holding a mass of cotton in his left hand, he turned the wheel slowly with his right and said, “You too can lose your fuzziness like this ball of loose fiber and with concentration you can focus your mind into a fine, strong thread. But only with coordination and submission can you become part of a great work of art,” pointing to a kurta hanging on a hook by the door. --SHAY

Speak only if it improves upon the silence. -- Mahatma Gandhi


FUNNY, you hadn't been aware that your favorite singer had branched out into acting. Amazingly he is good with pithy wit between takes. And at breaks he does make himself available for questions from his fans. Yes, watching a sitcom being made is very much like Groundhog's Day repeating the same lines over and over as the director, lighting, sound and actors make slight changes. Each time your guy is patient yet fresh as each line is spoken as if the first time. What you find most fascinating are the green screen scenes. The star plays their own angel/devil who swooped in on fine wires to sit on his shoulders albeit 8 times the scale. Each take is only a third of the conversation, not in your order, so the ultimate decision is left up to you to decide – go with the good – the bad – or spectacular in between. -- SHAY

“A well-spent day brings happy sleep.” – Leonardo da Vinci


HE insisted on wearing his uniform. He insisted on a lot of things. The silverware needed to be just right as did the order of his bathing and their daily walk right on time. He had always been a special patient, which made this an awkward friendship. She was supposed to be the special one. She had come from a well-to-do family in Wisconsin, he from a tribe in Montana and on into the Dakotas. Her stereotypes were all she had to go by; it was 1919 after all. She had befriended him when the ward was full. He never had talked, but they communicated just fine despite. He had needed more attention, now she was able to provide it, for the ward wasn't as busy these days. She really should be leaving, her family needed her too. But she stayed for him. Into your wheelchair, the rickety wicker cracked and split - things had been made quickly during the war. He swings his one leg into the chair. If she left there would be no replacement, the others here aren't so, what would you call it – open minded? She stays out of friendship more than duty. The past isn't past and the war continues in his head and out.

I feel like there is always something trying to pull us back into sleep, that there is this sort of seductive quality in all the hedonistic pleasures that pull on us. - Bell Hooks



HER smiling face reflects the unconditional love and anticipated potential that you embody. You instantly relax and you are swaddled and held gently as she rocks you back and forth, singing:

This I wish for you -

Be brave and stand true

for everything you'll believe

Many will try to turn you but you are always strong

This I wish for you -

Be humble and someone's rock

There are many rolling stones

You are grounded in love and will need to stand strong

This I wish for you -

Be loving to your core

I will be with you in spirit

If you need me down life's path to help you stay strong

You smile back, coo and gurgle in an attempt to mirror her words and expressions. You purse your lips and are rewarded with a breast, yes, from your favorite side.

Done drinking from the nectar of life, you doze, only to startle awake for but a split second before she responds and holds you tighter still. With that added pressure you feel completely safe and at ease and the whole world is yours. Someday.

Stars and beautiful souls are born out of chaos. -- David Lucas


MUSIC has traditionally been used to develop peace, empathy and reconciliation. The day has been long and full of complaints, if not outright arguments. Nerves were on edge. People were ignoring each other. But our daughter Shanony knew what to do. She sat down and started drumming on her knees. A nice steady beat. One that could be harmonized at a higher octave or lower. Your choice. She sat alone for quite some time before anyone joined her, even her closest friends and family because they weren't sure how it would be perceived by others (guilty as charged). Always others that are looking – whether they really are or not (usually they're not). At one point Shanony had to add vocals, although quietly and hummingly through her nose. [Don't try this in your sleep, it may tickle and wake you back up.] But always the steady beat. Almost a drone. And slowly, cautiously, members joined. Some eagerly, some reluctantly. All wound up smiling as the night wore on, their rifts sutured up just a bit.

You know that thing that you would do if you had more courage, freedom, or resources? Do that.


YOU are the infiltrator of a 1930s gangster racket. A dapper dresser with a blue felt Fedora (a lucky 4-leaf clover tucked in the lining) your pin-striped suit's lapels pointed toward your broad shoulders, intimidation is what keeps you out of the sink. Only the commissioner knows of your undercover status, but after three harrowing years you've finally reached the inner sanctum and tonight's the night you spring the trap. You walk through the make-shift casino, stopping to bet red on the roulette wheel. You win, earning enough for a couple after-hours drinks at the city's most upscale bar as a reward. Considering it an omen, you node to the undercover agents by the door and tell the bodyguard outside the cage that you'll cover him while he goes to the john. Then the lights go out...

"What if I fail?" / "What if you don't?" – The MoonQuest


BY day (and by that I mean night) you're in the horn section of Wyld Stallyns. As anyone over 30 knows, the Excellent Adventure stars Bill and Ted are the successes they are because they own a time machine. They use it to get more stuff (and to make a better world) but they haven't made the best use of it, not like you would. When they go off on their jaunts, you wait, ready with some brews to meet them when they return (you and Death). For some reason they come back hours later. As anyone knows, you can spend an eternity somewhere and return a second later. Knowing them, they're probably arguing over the actual time they left. They once came back before they left and had to battle with each other to determine who had to go away and never come back – but that's another story. After the debrief, they're usually tired and need someone to lock up. So this is the time that you take 'er for a spin. (I would go to New Orleans for the beginnings of Jazz) Where would you go?

"The sun was rising behind her now; she could feel the heat on her back, and it gave her courage." —The Princess Bride by William Goldman


IT is said we are all heroes. I guess throughout each and every iteration of the genetic masterpiece that is us, there were heroic acts that now define us as antecedent heroes. And so we were, even as we grew from a single precious cell to (nine months later) a trillion precious cells working in harmony to simply exist, while a whole community of providers prepared for our real advancement to heroic status. It is there, in the womb, that we are most aware of our oneness with all life, where wisdom resides. Our thoughts are of the Angels that guide our soul. At birth begins distraction, confusion and lack of confidence. Gravity rears its ugly head and reminds us we are not in God's Heaven anymore, we cry knowing what we have lost – how far we've fallen, while all around us mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and friends smile over us, unknowingly taking on the work of Angels. It is said we are all heroes.

Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all. -- Vincent Van Gogh


WE couldn't cut the cord if we wanted to. Our propensity to push the limits does have a limit. They say that space is empty. When in fact it is full. Full of light that doesn't interfere with itself (other light) or dark matter (whatever that is). Some light that has just reached us is from stars that have long ago gone out, and only now we are seeing its ancient glow. Stars are the constant to our humble time frame. Stars are our ancestors that contained earlier iterations of fusion that created the heavier elements of which we are all made and get such short shrift (take carbon, no, please take some more, we've too much of it). Pick any star (the ones we can see with a naked eye are all part of our local cluster) and know that it played a part in the shaping of ourselves at the most elemental level. Be the nebula star nursery, the rising clouds and fantastic vistas that we all once were.

“Life would be so wonderful if we only knew what to do with it" - Greta Garbo

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ADreamANight thanks you for sharing this dream with someone you know who needs acclaim. May they dream deeply and wake in joy.