“I wish I could show you … the astonishing light of your own being.”

astonishing

I read so many things about queer folks and trans folks and genderqueer folks about dating and sex and how the person you love doesn’t love you anymore and how you really want the new binder or surgery or just ran out of your HRT dose or how your heart is breaking or how fucking good your sex was last night or how lucky you are to be in love or how hard long distance relationships are or how abusive M/s and D/s can be or how much you crave something other than what you have or how you’re being overlooked for some good thing yet again. Every day I read the internet, read read read the internet, my Tumblr feed full of college students and poets and dirty pictures, my Facebook feed full of my most favorite people in the world and at least 2,000 people I’ve only met once and had some sort of desire to connect with deeper, I read Twitter and all of your briefest of thoughts about what’s going on in the world.

(I don’t read RSS anymore. Do you? It seems the overabundance of social media has replaced following specific blogs and reading everything they write. I am much more inclined to see what link ten of my friends has shared and click through to read that article, regardless of the source. We are in the internet age of the group blog, where things go viral, where good writing has so little place on blogging platforms but rather blogs are built with bullet-pointed bolded subheading lists, bite-sized revelations we can easily quote. Little nuggets of truth and wisdom. I don’t know what to do with my “real” writing in the online blog world that only values (virals) those. And see, I do it too, only listing my bite-sized social media readings, not any significant articles. So interesting, how morning habits evolve.)

I think about you, my people, my tribe, my lineage, my students, my friends, my lovers, all the time. I read through what you’re saying and I want to sit down with you, I want to say: Hello, how are you. What’s going on for you today? How is your heart? Are you going to make it to the next holiday, your next birthday, with more dove-grace and courage than the last one? Are you building anew the ways to remake yourself? Are you gathering tools so this world doesn’t crush you?

I guess I am. Sometimes I think that’s all I ever do. And while it’s you I am reading, your words and thoughts and heartaches between the lines, your hard-ons and dripping soaking through pleasures, your mouths open yawning gaping hungry, your words screaming hoping for someone to listen, really it is that inner kid of mine that I am looking for, listening for, my fourteen year old self who was shattered by the process of coming into an adulthood with no models, no context, for what I was becoming.

So I read all of you, but really I am listening for the ghost of her, and I see her everywhere.

All that is to say that when I read your words, this Hafiz quote always comes to my mind: “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.”

I wish there was some way I could show you the astonishing light of your own being. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wish I could show myself that, too, on my bad days, on the days when I am betrayed or betrayer and struggle to live with what I know I’ve done. It’s all projection, you’re all mirrors for what I am trying to tell myself, I know that. And I know the struggles. I know it’s not that easy. I feel it too. I straddle the worlds and some mornings cannot get out of bed for the softness of the sheets and the purring cat and the empty space next to me. I am no stranger to having one’s chemistry betray one’s ambition, I know how it feels for one’s body to be the thing standing in the way of everything else.

But still: there is light. I know there is. (There has to be.)

And when I can see it … oh, it is, it truly is nothing but astonishing.

A Little Note About Father’s Day

@imsleather boys.

My dad died a little more than two years ago, suddenly, of a heart attack. He was 60, and not in perfect health, but I was under the impression it was improving.

It was a serious shock. My world was turned upside down. I have lost people before, breakups, deaths, sudden shocks—but I’ve never experienced anything like this before. My world unraveled, my sanity unraveled. Grief has been a fascinating process. I have been writing constantly about it, though I’ve only been publishing about 10% of it.

It has changed everything, to lose my dad (and then my partner), and I’m still getting back on my feet.

This is the third father’s day without him. It’s different—being a Daddy in the leather-kink way to this boy whose adoration and devotion I strive every day to deserve, and to whom I offer my adoration and devotion too—it means I think about Father’s Day in a dirty intimate way that is completely different from my own relationship. And yet, when the words are the same, how different are they really? But they are. And they’re related. Maybe they come from the same wound, somehow, or from the same deep need, from the same crevasse filled with diamonds that can slowly be excavated with the right tools. I’m just poeting here, I don’t really know.

As someone who always had a decent if somewhat complicated relationship with my family-of-origin genetically-related dad, Father’s Day was only a moment to call him, say hey, talk about the latest TV sitcom or how his business was going. But now that I’ve got this other relationship to the day, I am feeling into all of you out there who are fatherless kids, who are unfathered or under-fathered, who are fathers or daddies or papas or poppys yourselves, who have that masculine paternalism to whomever or from whomever in your life. It’s more complicated than the Father’s Day of my first 32 years would have told me. I

I was hoping to write up a gift guide for butch daddy presents, but honestly, my feelings are in the way of any masculine accessory thing. You can always check out Butch Basix for inspiration, and search for belt buckles, cuff links, cigar holders, dopp kits, collar stays, or ties at Etsy, and I bet you’ll come up with a thing or two.

Pro Etsy tip: if your butch daddy has some particular love of birds or Texas or motorcycles, put in “cufflinks+motorcycles” or “birds+belt buckles” and get something really rad. If all else fails, add “customize” to any of those and get something with their initials.

I’m actually in Phoenix this weekend, at a leather boy retreat, so I’m curious to see what will come up around Father’s Day for me in the next few days. I’ll be over here, writing. I hope your brunch is epic and your love is radiant.

Here’s a couple things to read for your Father’s Day weekend:

PS: I love you, boy.

Giveaway! Want a membership for Indie Porn Revolution? Of course you do.

I’ve already waxed poetic about the amazingness that is Indie Porn Revolution, so I won’t keep going into that here. So I’ll just put this here …

indieporn indieporn8

I know, it’s hard for me not to curate images that reflect my personal bias. I suppose I could’ve just taken ten images at random from the “Free Tour” page? But I wanted to look through ’em all and pick some of my very favorites for you. FOR YOU, you guyz. I looked at dozens and dozens of fucking hot sexy queer porn shots ALL FOR YOU.

indieporn7 indieporn13 indieporn5 indieporn9

Femmes, cocks, cleavage, tattoos, really nice legs, curves, more femmes, lingerie. I’m so predictable.

indieporn

I really did try to grab a variety!

indieporn12 indieporn11 indieporn10

What I DO have is TWO Indie Porn Revolution trial memberships to give away. So riddle me this, folks, and I’ll be drawing two of you who at random and passing on your info to the inimitable Courtney Trouble so she can set you up an account.

To enter:

I’m trying out a new experiment and using Rafflecopter to run this giveaway. You can enter one (or all!) of four ways.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Drawing will happen first thing Monday morning, April 28th, so you’ve got the weekend to tweet and share and look at the free preview images over and over again. Thanks Courtney & Indie Porn Revolution!

Happy Birthday, rife!

It’s rife’s 27th birthday today!

So far, we have stayed in bed late, toured the chalk art birthday greetings that I drew all over our sidewalks last night, had an epic “hash brown heaven” breakfast, looked over the composite astrological chart I had done (basically the astrological chart for our relationship) done by a queer dominant (so it includes a bunch of fascinating stuff about our power dynamic!), opened a few gifts, and returned home to do some work before we head down to the opening queer happy hour for International Ms. Leather weekend kink event & contest tonight.

Would you you wish him happy birthday over on twitter (he’s @rowdyferret) or here in this post for me? Mostly because I want him to know how deeply loved he is.

And, if you’re starting to get a little crush on this hot piece of ass, here’s a present for you: a little rife collage of some of my favorite photos of him from the past few years. Some are shots I’ve taken, some he took (with a timer).

Collage

There are so many different cities on this little collage … I see Oakland, Baltimore, Hudson Valley, NY, DC, LA, Houston, Seattle, Oregon, and Brooklyn at least. It definitely accurately reflects how much adventuring we’ve had even in the short two and a half years we’ve been together.

And, it reflects how damn sexy that boy is. Fuck. I feel really lucky to have him, that he chose me, that we are a good match.

If you’d like to do something else sweet for the birthday boy, go check out The GENDER Book’s store and buy some goodies! The ebook is a sliding scale of $0+, the hardback is $30, the posters are $12+, the GENDER Booklets are DIY free or $4 printed, the Safe(r) Spaces kit with resources and posters and etc are $0+. There must be somethin’ over there of interest! Check it out, & support his project and labor of love.

Oh yeah and also: The GENDER Book Release Parties!

If you’re in the Bay Area, there’s a book release party/shower on Sunday, May 4th, and if you’re near Houston, there’s another big release party on Thursday, May 15th. Perhaps you’d like to go pick up your book in person?

Happy birthday, beautiful special boy. I love you so much.

When I’m getting off

Sometimes I just think of the simplest of things.

Your mouth. That look on your face, that look, when you’re giving over even more, just a little deeper, giving in to the sensation, giving in to wherever I’m moving your body, however I’m touching you. Your skin. The way your hands feel in mine. The way my fingers close around your wrist or throat or earlobe. The back of your head in my palm.

I think of these little flashes of your body, of us.

Other times, a more elaborate story.

What happens when I pick you up and drive you somewhere deserted and quiet, an empty kind of creepy parking lot where no one is around, no other cars, and lock the doors before I force your head into my lap. You struggle against me, but you know I will have my way, no matter what you do. You know it’s better to go easy, but not too easy, because then I’ll beat you for liking it.

I don’t really need an excuse to take you, or to hurt you, or to use you. It is so comforting, so deeply validating, to be able to have you in this way. To know that if you are in arm’s reach, I can use you for anything I may need, from fetching me a glass of water to your hands as an ashtray to your holes for my cock or fingers or tongue or whatever I might want to do with them.

Lately, I think a lot about rough sex. Pressure and strain and resistance and using my weight against gravity to hold you down. I think about going too far, pushing too hard, making you gag, spit, sputter, making you cry out and bleed, bruises under my fingers holding you so tight, making you beg and cry, making you take it anyway. There’s something about the release on that level that is different—deeper?—than most other releases for me … knowing I can just pour into someone else and they can hold it, they have to. I love how you do this for me.

You release me in so many other ways, too, though. Moments of energetic intensity come to mind, times we’ve been outside with your hand in me in some way, the earth underneath shooting up and connecting me with … everything. I miss being somewhere with grass, with places to fuck outside.

Hole Hunger

Too much time away from you and I get hungry for your holes. There are so many metaphors for “fitting”—puzzle pieces and two halves, the children of the sun and moon from Hedwig—but that would be too trite and I’m too jaded to believe we’re “made for each other” or that it’s been you I’ve been searching for all along.

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” a mentor of mine said just yesterday.

That doesn’t stop me from saying those things to you anyway. They are fictive truths, things I stretch to be more romantic, much like telling you you’re a filthy faggot slut or that you’re mine, all mine, and I don’t care what you want, I’m going to use you.

Of course the truth is, I do care.

Of course the truth is, we own ourselves the most.

Of course the truth is, well, you actually are a filthy faggot slut, so I have you on that one.

Of course the truth is, all relationships end, and who knows how long we’ll have for ours. What I do know is that I will do my best to love you well, and that for you, for us, that means the hole-hunger I get from not filling you recently enough.

When I fill you, it is the most singular act I can do. It is the only thing I am doing, this focus on how much your body gives, how strong your muscles are, which are holding you up, which are holding me up, and how sacredly redeemable all things are in that moment of sliding in. We start again, like every day every breath. We open deeper, and in that opening find more strength and more of ourselves to give.

I do not understand my craving for a tight fit, resistance to my entry, those moments of giving in and giving over. I only know the thing that drives me, still, after all these years, through all heartache and loss and grief and strife and insecure creative hustle, is the ever-present faith of loving, and being loved, just right.

Coming Out Genderqueer: An Open Letter to My Family & Friends

As published on Facebook, where I could tag at least 20 of ’em.

Dear family & friends,

Especially friends from my childhood and high school years who have found me for whatever reasons on Facebook, and family with whom I’m not particularly close, and coworkers from previous jobs who I have perhaps never had this chat with:

THE “GENDERQUEER COMING OUT” PART

I have something to tell you: I’m genderqueer. That means I live my day-to-day life somewhere between “man” and “woman,” often facing all sorts of daily interactions where the general public doesn’t “get” my gender, from kids in the grocery store asking, “are you a boy or a girl?” and their mom hushing them and turning away, to little old ladies in the women’s room staring wide-eyed and backing out of the restroom slowly, only to then return with a confused and self-protective look on their face, to service industry folks saying, “Can I help you, sir? Uh, ma’am? Uh … ?”

That confusion, that in-between state, is precisely it. That’s who I am. I’m neither, and both. I’m in-between.

You may already know this about me, just from following me on Facebook and doing whatever sleuthing you’ve done about my projects. You probably know I’m queer. But, if you want to know, I’m going to explain a few more things about my gender for a minute.

ON GENDER

If you want to delve a little deeper into my particular gender, I consider myself butch, I identify as masculine, and I consider genderqueer part of the “trans*” communities, using trans-asterisk as the umbrella term to encompass, well, anybody who feels in-between. I’ve been identifying as “butch” for a long time—perhaps you’ve heard me use this word, an identity I consider to mean a masculine-identified person who was assigned female at birth. I consider myself masculine, but as I delve further into gender politics and theory and communities, the boxes of “woman” and “man” feel too constricting and limiting for me to occupy them comfortably.

I have for years thought that it was extremely important for people like me—masculine people with a fluid sense of gender and personality traits, who don’t feel limited by gender roles or restricted by gender policing—should continue to identify as women as a political act, as a way to increase the possibilities of what “woman” can be. That’s really important. And I still believe that is true, and heavily support that category.

Problem is, “woman” has never fit me. I had bottomless depression as a teenager (perhaps some of you remember I was sent to the principal’s office once for “wearing too much black”), plagued often by the idea of “woman” and adult womanhood. I could not understand who I would be in that context. And honestly, I still can’t.

But—even though it is in some ways harder, living outside of the gender norms—this in-between makes so much sense to me.

ON PRONOUNS (This part is important.)

For a few years now, I’ve been stating, when asked, that I prefer the third-person pronouns they and them when referring to me. That means, if you’re speaking of me in a sentence, you’d say, “They are about to walk the entire Pacific Crest Trail, it’s true,” or “Did you hear they just published another book?” or, “I really like spending time with them.”

See? Easy.

Lately, when people ask what my preferred pronoun is, I have been saying, “I prefer they and them, but all of them are fine and I don’t correct anybody.” I don’t mind the other pronouns. They don’t irk me. But when someone “gets” it, and honors the they/them request, it makes me feel seen and understood.

There are other options for third-person pronouns which are gender neutral—or rather, not he or she. “They” is the one that I think, as a writer, is the easiest for me to integrate into sentences. I completely believe in calling people what they want to be called (that has always been one of my mom’s great mom-isms), so I always do my best to respect pronouns, but I still struggle with the conjugations and the way those words fit in a sentence.

Some people—particularly those (ahem like me) who were English majors and for whom grammar rules are exciting—think the “singular they,” as it’s called, is grammatically incorrect. But it’s not. It’s actually been used in literature for hundreds of years. Here’s one particular article on the Singular They and the Many Reasons Why It Is Correct. Read up, if that intrigues you.

WHY THE BIG DEAL?

I haven’t sat any of my family—immediate or extended—down and said, Hi, I’d like you to use they/them pronouns for me. I don’t generally tell people that unless they ask. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I haven’t told you, what I’m afraid of, and what is keeping me from this conversation.

I’m not particularly afraid that you won’t “get it” or that you won’t honor it. If you don’t, that’s actually okay. I am part of some amazing trans* and genderqueer and gender-forward communities full of activism, respect, advocacy, and understanding, and I’m very lucky to feel whole and respected in that work.

And really, I believe that the very vast majority of you actually really wants to know, wants to honor my choices. I think you are probably curious about this. But for whatever reason, my (and probably your) west coast sensibilities are keeping us from having a direct conversation.

So, here ya go. It’s not particularly personal, but it’s the beginnings of something, and it’s my offering to you to talk about this, if you want to.

See the thing is, by not having this conversation with you, by not giving you the opportunity to respect my gender and pronouns (even if you think it’s weird-ass and strange and don’t get it), I’m limiting our intimacy. I’m not giving you all the chance to really know me. And maybe … you want to. Maybe this will open up something new between us.

Or maybe you’ll just go, “Huh. Okay. Whatever.” That’s fine too.

If you have questions, or want to talk about all this gender stuff, I am open to that. Ask away. (You don’t always get a free pass to ask weird questions, so you might want to utilize this opportunity.) But before you do, you might want to check out The Gender Book for some basic terminology, concepts, and ideas.

Sorry I haven’t told you yet. I’ve been telling myself that it “isn’t that important,” but actually it’s been a barrier between us, in some minor big ways.

Sincerely,

That kid who was in English class with you in high school,
Your former coworker,
Your cousin,
Your nibling (did you know that’s the gender neutral term for neice or nephew??),
Your grandkid,
The older sibling of your childhood friend,
Your best friend from 6th grade,
That queer who was crushed on you before they knew they were queer,

Sinclair

PS: Feel free to steal this idea for your own Facebook pages.

Video: Sinclair reads Five Blow Jobs (And oh yeah, hi)

Hello I’m back!

I’ve returned from Seattle, after teaching a handful of classes and visiting friends and having a day-long meeting for a new exciting collaborative adventure (more news of that coming soon).

Rife came with me and we brainstormed all sorts of things for another new exciting thing that he and I are going to be running in January (if you’re signed up for my newsletter, you already know that I revealed the first inkling of what I’m planning there at the beginning of November. And I’ll be sending out an invitation via the newsletter before posting it here generally, so if you want to know, sign up!).

What these new exciting 2014 goals also mean is: my fall 2013 touring is OVER. I loved visiting everyone in so many places and having so many great conversations (Hi Lauren! Hi Aaron & Lila! Hi Taffy! Hi Stephanie! Hi Che! Hi Katie aka the girl that won the porn! Hi Adriana & Appy & Ebony! Hi Jing!). I’m traveling—for pleasure!—for winter solstice, but aside from that, I won’t be back on the road until the spring.

I have a love-hate relationship with traveling/touring. I know it looks all glamorous from the outside, and I know for years I’ve always heard musicians (especially, since we always had Rolling Stone in my house growing up) saying it isn’t all that great, you spend so much time alone on a bus. And that’s one of those things that I’ve always said, Ya know, I believe you, but I’d also kind of like to experience that for myself. Not that I expected them to be wrong, just that I still wanted to see what that was like.

It was easier to tour when I was based in New York. I wanted out of that city as often as possible. Now that I’m in a city where (I think) I actually want to be for a while, it’s harder to leave, harder to be far away. I want a routine at home, I want a workout schedule, I want a work schedule, I want the same thing for breakfast every day for a week because it’s easy and filling and good. I want to get up and have my morning routine all set and go for a run and shower and meditate and write something before I even look at Facebook.

So that’s some of my goals for the rest of November (which is only ten days! Ahh!) and December and January until I start traveling again. I want to write more. Hone my routine. (And hopefully fight off this cold that I can feel is brewing.) I have a pile of questions to answer and ideas to follow through with. I’m really looking forward to being at my desk and figuring some of this stuff out.

I’m going to try to get more videos up in general—more of my spoken word performances, more of my teachings, and more Ask Mr. Sexsmith questions answered by video. Amazing the quality that some little hand-held phone device can record these days, isn’t it? I just keep saying, “We live in the future.” The things we can do right now … I just think it’s really cool.

Rife took video of my performance at Good Vibrations for The Big Book of Orgasms release party last week (last week! Was that only last week? Feels like a month ago), so it’s here for your viewing pleasure. It’s me reading the rife story Five Blow Jobs, which as you may or may not remember is dirty story.

DailyCal wrote up a review of the reading and said this about me:

This is box title
The signal of literary dominance in erotica, Sinclair Sexsmith (yes, that’s Sexsmith — as in someone who works in the medium of sex), swaggers to the front of the room and reads not from the book but rather from a newer first-person piece off an iPad. Sexsmith reads the most edgy story by far, delivering it in exactly the low and loaded tone of voice one uses on a lover in the act.

That would be this story. “The most edgy story by far”? I’m not so sure about that—many of them were awesome and intense. Though I guess not a lot of them were kinky, most of them were about straight-up sex, so maybe that’s why this writer said that about mine.

Okay that’s enough introduction, don’tcha think? Thanks rife for recording this. Hope y’all enjoy.

I want more.

I want more.

Crave it. Seek it. For every inch you give, I want two. For every mile you run, I want five.

It’s not that I’m never satisfied. I am. Maybe the satisfaction comes in the wanting, the striving. The way I give you a new edge and you nod and work and sweat and labor and your best comes from you, just a little more than you expected. That’s when I relax, and ask for it again. Again. Until your best striving is normal and I ask you for more. Always more.

That’s the point, more than the individual acts. I don’t really care if my house is kept precisely or if my water glass has ice and lime. I care if you’re trying. I care if you’re working for it, paying attention.

It’s not that I’m proud of this, exactly. I don’t say this to brag. This tendency often makes things quite complicated, adding unnecessary layers of needs and request—unnecessary to our day-to-day immediacy, but more necessary to my long term satisfaction. It’s why I moved to New York City, remember—I wanted things to be less easy.

It’s not that the work is the point, either, but that striving is the best way for me to stay on the edge. The brink of something new. The cusp of growth. And that is the broader purpose. When I keep you carefully balanced there, I keep myself balanced there too, in that place of holding your safety ropes, not certain exactly how far to push, exactly when to force just a little more, try just a little harder, you can do it, you can take it for me, just a little more, just for me, just for me. And when you do, when I push through that last resistance to open you just a little further, it opens up something in me to meet you, and we swirl, double-helix vortex, touching the infinite, touching god.

Two years with Rife

When I think about the past two years, and trying to put some sort of something together to explain how it’s been, I think in photographs. That one where he’s picking raspberries with his bare hands, crouched in his brown tee shirt, raspberry juice running down his wrists, pink staining his tongue. The one where he and his dog are surveying the moonscape of northern Yukon right before we turned past the “Welcome to Alaska!” sign. The one he called “doing important boy work” where he was sitting in a jock strap and nothing else on the porch at the ranch writing in his leather boy journal, writing reflections on tasks for me or writing about feelings of service and submission or writing a book report, I don’t know what the task was, but I’m sure it was important. The one with his dimples in that orange-red light that I looked at over and over before I really knew him.

I’d put together a collage post, an essay in photographs, but that doesn’t feel good enough, because who knows what you’d see. Maybe you’d see what I see, all the sweet boy tasks and dimpled smiles and creating art, but you wouldn’t see so many of the other things: the quiet contemplation, the complexities, the intensity of inner landscape, the artistry, the precision, the majesty.

It’s not easy, this intimate loving. I don’t know how it could ever be easy. It’s a practice of stripping away blocks, stripping away defenses, reminding myself over and over to let in, take in, open up, drop that protective layer. What a horrible thing to do, and how beautiful. What else is there, really, than to let someone see who I am as true as I possibly can.

This is my best truth, I whisper to him over and over, with each breath, while I sleep, while my lips touch his fingertips, while my key fits his lock. Right now, I am ruined. Right now, I am running. Right now, I am ruminating. Right now, I am rubber bouncing away. Right now, I am rumbling. Right now, I am rushed. Right now, I am a ruby shining. Right now, I am rusted through and I fear one touch will crumble everything. Right now, I just need you to hold me, take your hand and put it there, hold me from inside.

I have loved enough to know not to make grand declarations while I fall. I know I have said the same things, again and again. Falling always feels like that: brand new, awakened, like nothing else ever before. And it’s true. This time, it’s green green in all her shades, babygreen and lime and chartreuse, fresh mown grass, pine and spruce, fern and jungle, tea and olive, so many options. Let’s spend the life of our relationship cataloguing all of the hues and saturations, all of the chroma and light, every kind of value there may be. Let’s memorize the hex and RGB codes and recite them in each other’s ears when we need to remember the secret language in which we speak. This green that is growth and renewal, from budding seed to moss covering the old growth. Every stage, none more valuable than the other. None needing to be hidden. No forest does their mourning in silence, hidden away in holes or caves. Trees fall out in the open, unapologetic. This is my direction. I will now lay down to rest. We heard that great snap on the outer point trail and both looked to the canopy: which one would it be? The clear sound of tree death echoed, but it took a moment before falling. Like a ball bouncing tall tall tall and then less and less until the sound waterfalls. The tree was a waterfall as it descended, mortal, unrooted.

This is what happens. Unrooted I descend, mortal, and no one to be worshipped. And yet he does it anyway. So devoted, he whispers, and I whisper it right back. My noblesse oblige, my responsibilities, the placement in his life I continue to earn daily as I am to be and act from my best self. The deepest of forest greens. Living with him seems small compared to owning him.

I don’t know why I crave the power I do, nor does he know why he craves the submission he does. We puzzle, we theorize, we study, we muse. And we give to each other in these ways that we have always craved. Something in me didn’t know what I wanted was to own, to master. The verb, the job title—not the honorific, not yet (maybe that will come later). But as I study this path, I realize I’ve always been on it. Always been trying to encourage something more, and making do with my own limitations.

I’ve been making offerings my whole life, holding up gifts, looking at paths and asking if they wanted to walk it with me. This is the boy who has taken my hand and said yes. This is the boy who showed me paths he’s discovered, too, but had not yet walked, knowing the essentiality of having another with him. This is the boy who has been offering, over and over, to take more if they wanted it. I want more. I want the edge. I seek the razor on which we can both balance. I seek the calling to be my own best self. I seek one who will stay at my feet not because it serves him, but because it serves me. That is a fine line of difference, but makes everything change.

Right now, I am shining in the oldest forest, crackling descent to the earth, digging up rubies. Doesn’t green shine brighter when there’s red around? Isn’t my heart just oh so ready to pour this blood into the earth? Isn’t there so much more to love than heartbreak? Isn’t there so much possibility, when puzzle pieces find each other? Aren’t we so ready, so prepared and ready, to live our way to the answers, live our way to the creations of our quiet, deepest callings?

I don’t know what happens next. But I know this is the beginning of year three, and I’m listening. I choose.

The end of the great northern road trip (aka the end of last month in photos)

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The last thing we packed up: Mom’s rhubarb-raspberry crumble.


The ferry; our early morning departure from Juneau.

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After sleeping on the ferry, we get on the road. Moonscape + roads near Skagway.

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Then we got to the Yukon, and got a flat tire. Camped for the night and headed on to the junction the next morning … | Where we got the tire patched. Nothing around for miles.

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Stopped for some of the sights. This is the signpost forest in mid-BC

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Saw some herds of bison!

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Baby bison! | Scenery. Seriously. The road just went on and on and on.

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Just … beautiful.

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Oh BC.

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Camped at Laird Hot Springs.

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The path to the hot springs | hot springs!

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QUINTESSENTIAL ROAD TRIP PHOTO (it’s a smushed bug, for the record, not bird poop. An epicly big bug.)

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The driving-to-Alaska bible, aka The Milepost | Mile by mile

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Yellow

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Train

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Women/men? Rest stop bathroom in southern British Columbia, Canada

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I took this just to show you, to make that random reference in My Father’s Son make more sense.

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breakfast. every. day.

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We didn’t miss the entire berry season! The boy was sooo happy.

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blueberries (by the handful!) | blackberries | loganberries

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nom nom blueberries | “ohh I don’t feel so good.” | blueberry tummyache!

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Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park

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Olympic National Park campsite in Heart O’the Hills, my favorite campsite on the trip. The trees were so huge.

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Hammocks are the best | Gourmet camp cooking

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Old growth, so beautiful | “Four legged frolic” came up as a word in dirty pictionary (also called Pervartistry). I mean who calls it a four-legged frolic? Well, shit, I’m going to now, that’s for sure. Also, note rife’s drawing skills.

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Best breakfast ever! With my good buddy Dr. G in Sequim before we got on the road to Oregon | Arriving in our Oregon hotel, first thing I did was unpack the toys. A real bed! Luxury!

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Tree in Oregon farmland

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us, somewhere | wine tasting in about four different Oregon vineyards

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Sunset while arriving in the Bay Area | Realizing this was the first time I’ve driven after dark in more than six weeks

Gaping Yawp

I’m ripe with danger and loss. Others have told me I hold violence like I’m cultivating a babygreen seedling, but I never believed them until now. You could try to pluck me from the tree but it takes no force, I will fall off into your hand. Don’t make a fist, juice will spill down to your elbow, stain more than any wine. And then the loss of limbs, branches destroyed by beetles and careless swings of an axe. A bronzed arm over the mantle because I asked you for it, and you said okay.

Harbor: choose anything but harbor—more like a cauldron. We boil and toil and burn from the inside out. I am no refuge, no dirty inlet with a dike sheltering from sea monsters. I am the sea monster, I am the barnacles on the underbelly you have to dry dock to deal with. I thought I was more for you than you ever received from any cracker jack box, more than a surprise plastic toy, don’t you know how to decipher my usage? But I lost the instruction manual long before we met. Threw it into the surf. Burned it at fahrenheit 451. My trees grow weary of giving up their paper so easily, but they have nothing else to give.

You gave me bloodlust, a hunger for the darkest taste of me, and there’s no turning back. I can’t undo the danger I offered up, my ripe organs eager for your piercing. Give me more. Open up an apple sideways so the seeds make a star. Dive into the honey thick with bees and sunshine. Liquid greens, that color of new growth, any time the daffodils die and birds start turning one glassy eye to the tundra of the north. Come to where the herring are abundant, bubbles caught in the air waiting to explode in a gaping yawp of need. Don’t we all have it, that bottomlessness, that sexy darkness that links back to when we were born. Birth is the real loss of the only time we are truly one with another. Isn’t that, under it all, the only thing anyone ever wants?

The biggest holiday (and the last few days) in Juneau (aka last week in pictures part one)

I’ve got way too many photos from this last week, and not enough time online to upload them and show them off to you. So I’m letting the “likes” be my guide this time, and any with more than 6 likes on Instagram are included.

Here’s some of the most favorite shots from my last week in Juneau. Follow me on Instagram for many more, and will post the rest of last week’s road trip soon.


After weeks of near-perfect weather, it poured for two days. It is a temperate rain forest, after all. AND: Instagram now does video! I never quite got into Vine, but I am pretty excited about Instagram’s video capabilities.

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Salmonberries | Fresh rhubarb from my mom’s garden

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the dog. in a box.

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Douglas mountain … I think this one is Thunder? | Last Frontier Reindeer Sausages | Sunset on the walk home

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Freshest fish at Twisted Fish restaurant


Little golden waterfall in the forest near the Brotherhood Trail. Love the rainforest sounds.

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Forest near the glacier, Brotherhood Trail | Twisted fallen-down tree

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Montage of color & texture from the Brotherhood Trail walk

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The folks who march for peace and the Pride folks joined forces and marched with equality banners and origami paper cranes

The Fourth is the biggest holiday in Juneau, with the entire town coming out to watch the fireworks at midnight on the 3rd of July (because it doesn’t get dark enough until after midnight) and the parade on the 4th.

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Rife had a sandcastle planned for the Sandy Beach sandcastle 4th of July contest before we even arrived in Juneau—lucky for him, we saw about four different porcupines before the 4th, so he was eagerly ready to design this one. The sad part was that the contest was cancelled, but we went down to the beach to build it anyway and there were a dozen or so others there, too. | If I’d been judging, this one would have been first place.

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Treadwell Mine ruins

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Detail of skunk cabbage

On the ferry, as it pulled out of Juneau at 7am, on the way to Skagway to begin the drive through British Columbia again.

There’s much more from the next few days, but I’ll save that for a part two of this post, since my internet connection is slow and precarious and I have plenty more.