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Personal Statement on Yesterday’s Invocation and a Link to More Information

I felt honored to have Arizona State Rep. Athena Salman read an invocation I wrote at the Arizona State Capitol yesterday, April 18, 2017. I did not expect the outsized reaction something so innocuous received, and I am grateful to her for her defense of it, and to the other legislators who stood by her.

This post by the Friendly Atheist outlines what happened. It includes footage of the invocation and its reception, and the text of the invocation read.

Writing Tips: Senses

When we think of senses, we usually just think of the basic five:


There are more, though (and ESP is not the sixth). Others include:


Pain and pleasure are not mutually exclusive.

Equilibrium is the sense of balance. Is the character standing on a moving train/ground that is rippling from earthquake tremors? Or are they balanced on stable ground?

Mental State
Is the character stable or unstable mentally? Do they act logically? Do they feel empathy? Do their emotions whip from one extreme to another without equally extreme triggers?

Mental Location in Time
Is the character focused on the present or so caught up in thoughts of the future or memories/flashbacks of the past that they lose touch with the world around them? Especially important to consider with characters struggling with PTSD.

Bodily Sensations
Full bladder, racing heart, etc.

Emotional State
Is the character angry? Sad? Amused? All of the above? How strong are the emotions?

Is the character hot or cold? How about the things they are touching?

Including more senses in writing allows the reader to visualize and engage more completely with the story. However, it is possible to overdo when writing a book, or to choose elaborate words when simpler ones will serve just as well. Resist the urge, unless the character would normally describe things in an over-the-top way.


When I first found out about Orlando, all I could think was, “It’s happening again.” There was no shock at the fact the murders happened. They happen, on a smaller scale, every day. Dread, yes. Crushing grief, yes. Fear, and a sense of how frail any perceived security is in the face of everyday hate, yes.

As the day has gone on, however, that fear and grief have strengthened, and with them has come anger and exhaustion. Every day, violence hits minorities in our communities. This senseless act of hate was inspired by nothing more than sexuality and race.

How many more tomorrows like this must hit before we learn to accept those who are different than us? How many more body bags will be filled with gay and POC and trans lives? How long until a body bag closes over my own head?

Still, I will shine. I will shine for the lights that were cut short in Orlando. I will shine for my dead brothers and sisters of every hate crime. I will sparkle so fucking bright that all the people who follow me into the bathrooms with threats and fists will be blinded. I will shine with the fierce love we all deserve, until the whole world shines along with me.

But it still won’t bring the dead back.

Seven Ways to Break a Heart

I can’t fall in love like memories merging.
I only know how to intertwine limbs, not lives.
In your dreams, I was your miracle unwinding:
your favorite glimpse of the afterlife.

I don’t believe in heaven or gods or forever
just in the moments when our touch ignites.
I don’t know what romance sparks in you, darling
I only know I’m watching you say goodbye

I remember the first time we fell together
but not as well as the first time we matched minds
Still, you don’t want friendship with a side of good times
You want me, and I want my own life

I can’t pretend that I won’t miss you
But I also can’t pretend that I can change
I don’t know what this merging is you speak of
But I’m happy enough as me each and every day

If that’s not enough, don’t stay.

There’s a caffeine buzz lingering on the edge of my taste buds, but that’s not what has me wired at 3am. It’s not anxiety either. The feeling electrifying my blood is much more transformative than a drink or nameless dread. It is pride.

I am proud of myself.

See, the cleaning my place needs seems endless and overwhelming, and I’d been unable to motivate myself to get anything done for quite some time. In this past 24 hours, though, I not only cleaned out a closet and shower, but got rid of everything in those areas I didn’t need to keep.

Then came the gym, and although I love exercising, I’d been avoiding this as well. Last night, though, I went there, and not only to use the treadmill. My workout is below:


  • Treadmill: 4mph for 5min
  • Leg Press: 120lb for 15 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 110lb for 15 reps
  • Seated Leg Curls: 110lb for 10 reps


  • Plank: 30sec
  • Push-ups: 10 reps


  • Dumbell Squats: 15lb for 15 reps
  • Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise: 5lb for 15 reps
  • Dumbell¬†Bicep Curl: 5lb for 15 reps
  • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise: 5lb for 10 reps
  • Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 5lb for 15 reps
  • Dumbbell Side Bend: 5lb for 10 reps

I am going to be sore in the morning.