Facing death the second time taught me the beauty of each moment.

Life + Death, photo by Hartwig HKD

A cluster of purple candles lit the small curtained-off area of the metaphysical shop. I sat at a rickety table across from Brett, the psychic. I was counting on him to reveal my future and answer the question that had been nagging me for months — should I or shouldn’t I quit my job? I really wanted to leave, but I had nightmares of living in an alley if I gave up my very nice salary. Before I could even explain why I was there, Brett closed his eyes and began nodding.

“So, I’m to tell you that you’re right,”…

Exploring grammar, a long career, and Alsop’s 2020 album, Camping with Dads

Peter Alsop, photo courtesy of Peter Alsop

Verb: A word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence….

Noun: A word used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things….

According to Peter Alsop, nouns label. They are static and limiting. Verbs describe behaviors, and behaviors can be shaped, molded and transformed. But perhaps most importantly, behaviors open up dialogue while nouns limit it.

“I don’t want to know that someone is a Republican. There’s nothing to do with that. It just is. I ask ‘What do Republicans do?’’ explains Alsop. “Now we have something to talk about.”

Though probably known best as a…

A Bit About the Life and Work of Philip Daughtry

Dressed in western duds that would do his ancestors proud, the descendant of outlaws Frank and Jesse James, Philip Daughtry, sauntered up to the bar and surveyed the offerings.

Photo of Philip Daughtry provided by Philip Daughtry

“What’s your sweetest drink,” he finally said.

“Probably a mocha,” said the barista.

“I’ll take one of those. Make it decaf,” he said.

I have to admit, it’s not what I expected my cowboy companion to order.

When I set out to profile poet and prose writer, Philip Daughtry, I knew I was taking on a lot. Where do you begin when the first thing that comes to mind is There…

Felisha hears keys in the front door, and then the Bang! of opening.

“For God’s sake! Who died?” her daughter says, now standing in the middle of the living room, body tense, eyes wide.

Photo by Ben Ponsford, https://www.flickr.com/photos/52469139@N07/20274155731

Felisha holds out the little glass box that once held her wedding rings while she washed dishes.

“What’s this?” Sarah asks, taking the offering from her mother’s shaking hand. She lifts the lid slowly like she’s afraid of what she might find. For a moment, she just looks.

“What’s this?” She finally repeats.

“I call her Lorna,” Felisha says, tears streaming.

“It’s a bug,” Sarah says…

Photo by Juan Llauro/shutterstock.com

I walked in the littered gutter through Skid Row on my way to a dance studio where I took lessons a couple of times a week. Tents and lean-tos jammed the sidewalks and cars crowded the street. I smelled lunch being served at the women’s center, maybe chicken and broccoli. I couldn’t be sure because of the aroma of the food combined with urine, rotting trash, and car exhaust.

“Hey blondie,” called a tall stick-figure man in filthy sweatpants and a Marvin Gaye T-shirt.

“Hey,” I said.

“You got any money?”

“A little.”

“Can I have a little of your…

The benefits of walking meditation

Recently, during what started as a pleasant conversation, a friend mentioned how deeply she loves to meditate. She explained how her mindfulness practice has gotten her through these difficult times.

“Meditation makes me want to punch people in the nose!” I blurted in response.

Photo credit: Kait Leonard, Walking Through Petals

You can probably imagine the look I received.

But truly, meditation makes me furious. I feel ridiculous just sitting there, and I’m always convinced I’m doing it wrong. Rather than finding peace, I grow tense. And while my response may be a tad extreme, I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon for people to give up, feeling…

Photo by Love Solutions, https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/powerful-magic-spherefortune-tellermind-power-concept-763094599

1. Clean dog poop from backyard, just in case he’s left alone while they’re discovering your unfortunate condition.

2. Get rid of ugly clothes in closet, ensuring you’re not buried in something meant for Goodwill (like those vintage pussy bow blouses bought on Etsy during your I-miss-the-seventies phase.)

3. Inform everyone not to pay too much for a priest, as you’re pretty much over the Catholic thing, but confirm that you still want a slamming-cool wake.

4. Write. It would be awesome to get published before you kick it.

5. Quit your job. Even though people say things like “Bless…

Fiction Friday

Photo by Masson, https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/flowers-table-cafe-57126850

Fiction Friday

Hazel straightened her legs under the café table. Sitting cross-legged struck her as old-fashioned, Hollywood heyday ingenue, or everyday white trash. Certainly she was none of those.

HiYaHoney, a dating app of all things. She had sworn she would never. But she had been alone for nearly five years, and in spite of this foolish experiment, she would probably stay that way. But, what if there were someone nice out there? Crazy, she thought, keeping her eyes on the pages of the book she wasn’t reading. She decided it wouldn’t hurt to try, just once. Would he show up? …

Betraying my family opened the door for me to begin the journey from addiction to recovery

Photo by S_Photo, https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/legs-red-shoes-174291752

In Christmas-red stilettos and a short white dress, I up-ended a mini-bottle of gin, checked my lipstick in my car’s mirror, and then sauntered into the office Christmas party. In the elevator, I focused on deep breathing. Tis the season, I thought.

The conference room had been decked out in gold garlands, and early-comers crowded around the tables of the usual beautiful but bland food. I paused inside the doorway — big bosses by the bar, that was unfortunate, secretaries by the tree, my friends seemed to be clustering by the fake fireplace.

Before claiming a spot, I went to…

Loneliness is as harmful as cigarettes and alcohol. Photo by Jeremy Wong

Mental health issues may be the next-wave threat associated with the pandemic

According to research, loneliness is as physically harmful as cigarette smoking or alcoholism, and it is more harmful than obesity. Where does this leave us in the COVID-19 world?

Even as society begins to reopen, we need to stay at home as much as possible and maintain social distance of at least six feet when we go out. As of April 12, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that everyone wear a face mask when social distancing can’t be maintained. As life is starting to get back to something like normal, face masks are still being required for entry…

Kait Leonard

I write about homelessness, psychology, the environment, and whatever else catches my eye. I live and write in Los Angeles with 5 parrots and my dog, Seeger.

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