In March of 2014, I recorded my eulogy to my mother, Linda Joiner White. I planned to create a slideshow to accompany those words and to have that slideshow ready for her birthday (May 7th) and Mother’s Day (May 11th) of the same year. As those dates approached, I felt less and less ready and realized I needed some more distance from her death before I could complete the project with a clear head and clear eyes.

A year later, the slideshow is ready and I will let it now speak for itself.


View the Prezi here and enjoy the pictures at your own pace.

Read the post I wrote last year after Mom and Cancer declared a truce.

Support me as I continue the fight against cancer started by mom, dad, grandma, and countless others.

There are no flowers allowed in the Oncology Wing!!!

There are no flowers allowed in the Oncology Wing!!!

Mom and ovarian cancer officially signed a truce last night after cancer realized that it would never be able to take away her strength, tenacity, spirit, nor will to fight. The terms of the truce were one mortal coil in exchange for eternal life. It was a deal definitely favoring mom. (more…)

This is not how one hopes to meet the neighbor.

But there he is, glaring at me under the porch light, pistol in hand, erasing all the “howdy neighbor” dialogue I’d planned out for our first meeting. Rather, our conversation when:

“Was that you?”, he asked.

“Yeah. I went to the backyard that way so I wouldn’t trigger the light over my roommates’ window.”

“Well, just remember that you could have died tonight.”

I was living with some friends during the early autumn of 2008, the third residence for me and Fortuna in as many months, during my turbulence and terrible post-divorce summer. That night, I got back around midnight from an evening with friends and decided to go into the backyard to watch the stars, drink a beer, and smoke a cigarette (amazing what habits return when your life appears to fall apart).

Seemed like a pleasant, non-life-threating idea. (more…)

DB Cooper Was Not Here

A recent clear, beautiful sunny Pacific Northwest day found me and Lakshmi scaling a steep ridge in search of DB Cooper and his bundle of cash. Though we didn’t find him (yet), the day was pleasant, the climb (700 feet of elevation over about 700 yards) arduous, and the adventure properly adventurous. While I am known to hike in the woods with the pooch, I am not necessarily known as a treasure hunter.

Why then was I out there?

40 years ago, my Great-Uncle Russ heard from a colleague that, the morning after DB’s daring escape, said colleague, from his front porch, sighted a parachute caught in a tree off on a distant ridge. For 40 years, my uncle plotted, planned, and dreamed of scaling that ridge to finally solve the mystery of what happened to Cooper. I knew almost nothing of the legend until earlier this year when my uncle mentioned, almost in passing, that he knew the final resting place of DB Cooper. My great-aunt listened quietly the whole time and managed to contain her eye-rolling to only a few instances.

My insatiable curiosity led me down a wormhole after that first conversation. After 40 years of dreaming, Russ finally found someone who said, “A parachute in a tree seen from over a mile away? That’s the proof? Cool, let’s do it!”.  (more…)

Onward and upward

I wrote a quote on the inside cover of a journal spanning April 26, 2002 to January 12th, 2004. The quote, captured before I started journaling, accurately sums up the content that eventually followed:

To become acquainted with yourself is a terrible shock (Carl Jung)

This journal covers the summer leading up to my marriage. It covers the death of my father a month after tying the knot. It covers a time of doubt: for myself, my marriage, my life. It covers my birthday in 2003-2004 during a trip to Mexico when I rediscovered the ability to relax… after almost 18 months of trying.

Basically, it covers my dropkick into adulthood.

I reread this journal yesterday and reacquainted myself with myself, clearly seeing the incompleteness of my search for self during those years. The profundity of the Jung quote also struck me as doubly true. Here is a record of my search from almost ten years ago when that search was very present and active, now viewed through the lens of those intervening years, a perspective full of insight and sympathy for that past, incomplete me. (more…)

In loving memory of Tim McLaurin*

Snake Got Your Tongue?

I sometimes worry that I spend too much time emailing with my friends when I “should be” doing “real” writing. Yet, just as it was in the lost days of letter correspondence, it is in the process of writing a loved one that I mine deeper into myself and find stories to share with a wider audience. Sharing, after all, is my purpose in this grand exercise called life.

*Tim died in 2002 and I cried when I heard the news. It was the first time I lost someone whom I considered a mentor though I never told him in person that he mentored me. This is the story of how that happened.

In the fall of 1993, I received permission to take a writing class at North Carolina State University. I’d taken ever available writing class at WG Enloe High School (um… go Eagles!) so, while many of my fellow seniors were taking physics and calculus and such at NC State, I got the green light to go and write. The excitement I felt was a lovely precursor to the sheer terror I encountered the first day of class. Here was a room full of adults… and I mean “real adults”, people in their twenties and thirties! Grad students! Adults in the continuing ed program! Then there was me, a 17-year-old with the zits to prove it.

The teacher was an eccentric ex-Marine, ex-Peace Corps volunteer, former snake-handling carnival freak novelist name Tim McLaurin. (more…)

Caught in the Thought Loop

**Psst. Psst. Can you still hear me? Are you sure you want to do this? Think about it. It doesn’t seem very safe. Are you sure you want to try? Think about it. Shouldn’t you just stick with what’s safe? Think about it. I mean, really think about it.**

**I don’t think you’re doing enough. You should hurry up! I think you’re doing too much. You should slow down!**

**Why not make a list? It always help you sleep when you know you have a list to jump on first thing in the morning, right?** 

I know this voice, it is the sound of my thoughts. It is the sound of my busy, buzzing, preoccupied mind. Maybe it sounds like your thoughts too. But there are other voices, voices that appear in my head but come from somewhere else entirely. Strong voices, sure voices, voices saying things that don’t really make sense when I think about it… but somehow I know they’re spot on.

Example: it’s Monday morning and I sit at my computer for another day of typing my way toward making a living. These voices say:

***Feel that connection? Feel that inspiration? Yeah, that’s why you’re here. You live this way because you love it, not because it is the next right move up the career ladder. You live this way because it’s in alignment with who you really are and that feels good.***

But then the voices start to argue.  (more…)