Now, More Than Ever

Jan 25 2015

Three years ago when 14 Words For Love was a new idea, a Facebook experiment, the world was not significantly different. Wars, terrorism, bullying, hatred, domestic violence, people being told they'd go to hell for loving someone who shares the same anatomy or for transitioning into another gender. Obama's second term would (tragically) timestamp the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, among other people of color who found themselves, like Trayvon Martin, beat up or killed as a threat to society.

Post-racist society? Not Even Close.

Fewer shootings? Fewer suicides? Nope.

What's Your Piece of Peace?

Sep 2 2014

When I was a kid, I couldn't wait for it. Trailer-thin walls, parents telling me what to do, annoying brother and sister hogging the phone or the shower. Someday, I'd have peace and quiet!

When I was a freshman at Illinois State, I didn't realize how many people were everywhere, the cafeteria lines, my tiny shared room -- although my dorm room wasn't tiny compared to the one my sister and I shared at home. The ubiquitous throngs of noisy humans.

I used to hide myself on the sixth floor of Milner Library, back when librarians would shush with relish, reading feminist literature for the sheer thrill of doing something daring (I was reared Church of God; it was the '70s) in peace and quiet.

After 25 years of mothering, I recently had the privilege of taking a sabbatical from work to practice writing. Now that I'm back to full-time work, when I sit down with a notepad or a computer to compose something, I still get that peaceful thrill.

Peace Without Privilege

Aug 31 2014

I knew the card was motivational sap, but I bought it. When I got home with the groceries, my husband found it between the napkins and a box of detergent. “Who’s this for?” “I thought we could send it to Anna,” I continued apologetically, “I wish it used the words success and failure instead, but I was drawn to the idea of persistence.”

“You can send it to her if you want to,” he said with a smile, which meant he wouldn’t sign it. It’s been sitting here on the raised kitchen counter, staring at me for the last two days:

A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.

Putting additional pressure on a kid who’s just started college is absurd. Even though Anna knows we don’t frame success as competition and we don’t expect straight As, this tidy little aphorism reinforces a cultural deception, a delusion that there are two kinds of people in this world and you, too, ladies and gents, girls and boys, can be a winner! It’s about YOU and how hard you’re willing to work.

How American. But, no, it’s not even that inclusive. It’s Caucasian American, as long as you’re not too different (e.g., LGBTQ, disabled, disfigured, disproportionate in height or weight to media standards).

Instead of throwing the card away or striking through 'a winner' and 'a loser' and scribbling in success and failure (which doesn't work on any level), I stare at it and decide there's something still valuable behind the flawed nouns: Trying. To keep on keeping on. The question then becomes, “What’s worth trying for?”

Early Giving

Feb 11 2014

Instead of waiting to hand out 600 or more valentines on Friday the 14th, I decided to spread our 14 Words For Love throughout the week. Some of you have asked me about distribution (is there a plan? is there a certain way to give out poems?)... all good questions whose answers are all about what works for you. Yesterday I dropped off a batch of 14-word valentines for my friend Sheila, who sends cards to soldiers all year long. While I was out, I dropped off a handful at my local P.O. along with bakery treats (Lloyd, Rosemary and Angela are the BEST). Then I drove to WUNC radio where Gurnal Scott buzzed me in to drop off 30-40 valentines for the staff. Today, I'll drop some by a local hospital.

Big Thanks for Your Poems, Prose and Patience

Jan 29 2014

Our Valentine's Day event is off to a fantastic start, thanks to you!!

Already, dozens of you have signed up here and hundreds of you have posted poems on our "playground" on Facebook.

Because we are trying to improve this website, some of you have experienced problems either signing in or seeing your posts immediately. I'm pretty sure we've fixed all the problems, but don't hesitate to contact me at if you encounter any glitches!