Only Fools Can Be Truly Happy

How is the self conceptualized when viewed from someone else’s perspective? This foreign perspective brews doubt and confusion within the subject’s mind. It results in a gradual decline of confidence which, in turn, leads to complacency or inaction. “Only Fools Can Be Truly Happy” draws on this confusion of self-perception and attempts to bring forth the complexity and unpredictability of human behavior.

{Cats}

The experience of being alive is best understood through momentary snippets and unique, individual perspectives. We may not relate nor understand all others due to the limitations of our own perspective, but we all take part in this experience collectively. As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” The following poem, “{Cats}” reflects an experience of life, highlighting there is life that exists even in the ill-lit, smokey corners of a bar.

The Spirit of Halloween: The Holiday’s Significance and Continued Celebration

How does celebrating Halloween allow us to transform reality? In what way does the tradition of wearing costumes, and thus, taking on new personas help us grapple with fears or changes in reality? The magic of Halloween brightens reality, making it possible to confront fears, or change itself, to ultimately appreciate mystery and the inner spirit.

Remembering

In this living state of existence, we are constantly faced with the inevitability of death, although our self-preservation instincts may try to avoid the topic until its inevitability becomes unavoidable. Memories fade and evolve, and we must ponder that which is lost or forgotten as much as that which is remembered.

Drowned Dreams

We will all eventually die, and although that seems an unhappy fate, fiction, fantasy, and celebrations can help us cope with that inevitable end. “Drowned Dreams” is about abuse, fear, and death. Halloween is a celebration where such topics are permissible in circles they would normally not be spoken of, creating an environment where necessary topics are briefly considered non-taboo. My story is in part a reminder that all time is borrowed time, and we will all eventually give our bodies back to the earth it came from, decay being a form of freedom and rebirth.

Death Danced With Me In Mexico

Dia de los Muertos blurs the boundaries between the realms of Life and Death. Altars bearing the photos of lost loved ones keep them close to the heart. Families picnic on the graves of ancestors, dressing as vibrant skeletons festooned with flowers. Death need be neither hated nor feared. Indeed, welcoming Death with joy banishes fear and heals grief.

Asphodel

These watercolors aim to capture the prevalence of death and decay in our daily lives, but also show how even now, we blend it into the background, not wanting to look. Halloween and fantasy help us come to terms with death being all around us by letting us engage with the frightening and alien on our own terms, giving us a sense of control over our loss of control. Additionally, Halloween’s creative side reminds us that death and decay provide opportunities for new growth and life.

The Winning Way

“The Winning Way” examines the slow, insidious chipping away of one’s own conscience through adherence to rigid belief systems, which provide a comforting certainty. It takes a hard look at what humans are willing to give up to feel connected, and how easy it is for us to fall prey to sinister ideas and beliefs when we are hungry, nearly starving with unmet needs. This story taps into a drama currently playing out in the world, as COVID-19 runs rampant, along with conspiracies. Many families are watching as vulnerable loved ones cleave to groups such as QAnon. They ask themselves, “How can they believe these things?” This story is a response to that question.

The Question of Genocide Prevention

Whenever we hear of genocides, they have either run their course or are in progress. In today’s world, we can receive so much news at once that any action seems inconsequential. However, solutions for genocide prevention at the government down to the individual level must be addressed. If we can push for thorough and unbiased education at the school level and universal accountability at the governmental level, we can prevent the spread of ignorance. In the end, it is important to share that genocide needs to be everyone’s problem, even if isn’t labelled as such.

The Water Crisis & Coronavirus: What Have We Learned?

How do governments, societal groups, and individuals respond to national and international crises? “And so I went to Peter’s well” is a polemic regarding the world water crisis, specifically the activities of the Nestlé Corporation and its continuous pillage. The title references an Austrian Folksong that reflects the late CEO’s name, and he quoted another folksong in a documentary which the poet quotes in the epigram. The words serve as a chorus. “Threnody” was written when 50,000 people had died from COVID-19, which was more than the population of the town the poet grew up in. Now, with over 1 million deaths from COVID-19 worldwide, it is important to take a step back and analyze national responses around the globe. Are some nations better prepared to deal with crises than others? What accounts for the differences and how can we improve national and international management to safeguard against inevitable tragedy?