January Hits & Misses (#bloganuary recap)

Well #bloganuary has come to an end and while I’m grateful that this event helped bring me over to the WordPress platform and significantly increased the level of my engagement with the blogging community, I’m also VERY happy to see it’s conclusion. I made the best of it and I will give the benefit of the doubt to the WordPress team for having the best of intentions, but some of these prompts were a pretty rough. As a relative newbie to the blogging world I applied my fresh energy to the challenge and tried my best to create some interesting content. Here is a recap of the top three posts from the series, and the worst performer (based on number of views).

No. 1: Living Courageously

The Stats: 32 views

The Prompt: What does it mean to live boldly?

Analysis: This one required some research to get started, which is a different from most of my writing as I tend to write from what I (think) I know. The result was a poetic list that feels right.

No. 2: I Don’t Feel Strong

The Stats: 29 views

The Prompt: Write about what makes you feel strong.

Analysis: This was my favorite post of the series by far. I had no idea where I was going to go with it when I started. I just knew I didn’t feel strong. The result is a bit of poetic prose that really resonates for me.

No. 3 (tie): Sun, Happiness, Coffee, Writing & Gratitude

The Stats: 26 views

The Prompt: What are five things you’re grateful for today?

Analysis: This one just flowed naturally (which I was grateful for)

No. 3 (tie): Past Present Future

The Stats: 26 views

The Prompt: If you could, what year would you time travel to and why?

Analysis: [Spoiler] There’s no time like the present.

The Flop (No. 31): Road Trip!

The Stats: 2 views

The Prompt: What is a road trip you would love to take?

My Response: This was a five-for-one so you all missed a great deal. My only guess as to why this one performed so poorly is that it was very early and I hadn’t established an audience yet (but I can’t explain why it outperformed the first post of the series). *shrug*

Be well,


Missing You

31st post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: How do you feel when you look at the stars?

“Missing You“ – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts

Be well,


Under the Solstice Sun

30th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: Describe yourself as a tree.

Under the Solstice Sun

Stripped naked;

Discarded garments scattered under soiled feet;

Exposed limbs reaching high in defiance;

Cursing the winter solstice sun;

Drawing upon my last reserves

To defy death once more;

Another circle of life added to my core.

Under the Solstice Sun was originally published in Gnashing Teeth’s 2021 Winter Zine.

Be well,


Words Matter

29th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: How are you changing the world?

One word at a time.

“Polaris” – originally published in Thirteen Words

Be well,


Monty Gets Musical

28th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What is on your music playlist right now?

Oh, we really seem to be ending this blogging challenge with a whimper. But ok, I’ll play along.


First of all, Spotify has been nice enough to classify me as a ‘young listener’.  Once in a while I’ll go back and listen to some classics from my youth, but most often I just listen to the current top pop song lists or songs/artists that are recommended to me by my “kids” (the quotes are because they already in their twenties so not really kids anymore).  Also, because I do live in China and it’s a required social activity, I also listen to potential karaoke songs, but most often these overlap with above.


Let’s digress a little. My personal music choices were quite limited growing up in rural Vermont due to limited radio reception. When we were lucky, we would get the top 40 countdown on the weekend without too much static and could record songs onto blank cassettes. The first time I spent some money (most have been birthday money or perhaps Christmas money), I believe I bought J. Guiles Band and Bryan Adams. Ah, the 80’s. Simpler times.  I went through a brief heavy metal phase with Ratt and Twisted Sister as the primary headliners during middle school. During high school I went backward toward The Beatle, The Doors, and The Rolling Stones (The Stones were the first band I ever saw in concert – we thought at the time that it might be their last tour but man they just keep going and going and going). During college I kept my high school preferences, but absorbed the music of my roommate and girlfriend like a sponge which included more pop (Boys 2 Men, Michael Jackson) and rap.


After college I took a break from music. It wasn’t an intentional break. My entire music collection was stolen from my car while in New Orleans during a cross-country road trip. A city with so much amazing music and they pilfered my sorry collection. I took solace in the fact that they were probably severely disappointed with their catch. They got my radio too, though so it was a long quite ride the rest of the way.   The next phase of my life was in Japan and China and my music exposure was limited to movie soundtracks (Titanic) and Karaoke (my go to was The Beatles Yesterday and Hey Jude).  Then the kids arrived and I still have some PTSD from Kid’s Bop playing on repeat.  Eventually, I got myself an iPod and I started trying to rebuild my lost collection, but I didn’t find as much pleasure from the old tunes. There was a period when American Idle was the primary source of new songs coming into my awareness.


Then we come to my current phase. My favorite band is Twenty-One Pilots, which my daughter introduced to me while I was driving her up to college her first year (already over 6 years ago!). I listen to Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits”, which I think is fun and (if watching the video) totally ridiculous. My son and I spend hours on video calls sometimes where he introduces various songs and artists to me (often the same ones which he forgot he already showed me). A couple of years ago I asked him for a playlist for Christmas. My favorite song on that list is “Cigarettes On Patios” by BabyJake.


For Karaoke, the last time I went I sang songs by Twenty-One Pilots (Car Radio), Avicii (Waiting For Love), Bruno Mars (Grenade), Jason Mraz (I’m Yours), and John Legend (Stay).


So there you have it. A little spin around my life in music. Overall, I would say I like music that makes me feel happy and upbeat but also anything that reminds me of a loved one (either because of the song itself of because they recommended it to me).


Now get out of here and listen to your own playlist.

“One Hit Wonder” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts

Be well,


Chatters & Grumps

27th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: Where do you go when you need solitude?

Another weird question. Um. I go where no one else is. Either physically. Or mentally. Am I missing some complexity here?

Moving on… did I ever mention that I published a collection of illustrated shorts? Here is one of the more lighthearted pieces to wet your whistle (click image for more of these golden nuggets).

“Chatters & Grumps” – originally published in Monty’s Very Short Shorts

Be well,


Self Love

26th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: What is your favorite part about yourself?

What a strange question. Am I to dissect myself into different parts and judge them against each other? How does my left pinkie toe compare vs. the birthmark I have on my cheek? What are the criteria? I don’t think I’ve studied this subject before. I’m feeling wholly unqualified to properly execute this request.

So, I’m inclined to cheat on this one. Why not love my whole self? Why play favorites? If pressed, I guess I would have to say my brain/mind? After all, that’s what makes me me and not just a random sack of meat. But if you asked me to give up my left pinkie toe, I’d argue I’m better whole than in bits and pieces. So I’ll politely ask not to be dissected. At least not until I’m deceased, then take all my parts worth anything and give them to those in need. There most be someone needing a new left pinkie toe.

“Mockingbird” – originally published in Thirteen Words

Be well,


I Don’t Feel Strong

25th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: Write about what makes you feel strong.

I don’t feel strong. At least not the strong that this word connotes to me. The “be a man” strong that is pushed on me when I’m afraid. The “big boys don’t cry” strong that shames me when I’m hurt or sad. I’m not that kinda strong.

I don’t feel strong. I’m not hard and impenetrable. I’m tarnished with scars from life’s wounds. Some inflicted by others. Many by myself. They remind me of the pain and hurt I felt and feel. They remind me that life is not easy and smooth. Yet, I’m choosing to live.

I don’t feel strong. I don’t stand firm and tall. I’ve been bent and scattered by the winds of time. I’ve fallen under the weight of gravity. I’ve been pulled and pushed by the tides. Yet, today I stand. Not so tall, but I stand.

I don’t feel strong, but I am. My surface is soft and malleable. I respond to life’s touch. Accommodate and adjust. My core is flexible and resilient. I bend in the wind. Almost aerodynamically, I reduce resistance. Gaining lift.

My roots, once rigid, deep, and alone, then torn asunder, are born again. Young and agile they reach out. Interconnecting me. Providing me stability. Stability that comes from communing with the roots of others. Meaningful. Empathetic. Loving.

I don’t feel strong, but I am.

Be well,


Forgotten Dreams

24th post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: Write about a dream you remember.

My Answer: …

The Sea is Watching

Be well,


Dear Father,

23rd post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)

The Prompt: Interview a fictional character.

I’m stretching this prompt a bit, but this is what I feel like sharing today. In many ways, the Father in this poem is fictional. The creation of a young boy trying to make sense of a situation that didn’t make any sense. Originally written last year.

Dear Father,

Dear Father, is it true? Did you leave to be free of me?

I come from you. Are you ashamed? Do I spoil your good name?

I’m sorry I’m not worthy.

Dear Father, are you listening? What should I do?

Your blood runs within me. Tarnished by my stupidity.

Should I slice it free? Will you answer me?

Dear Father, where are you? Are you a reality?

Or are you just an origin story? A false memory?

Something to make sense of life biologically?

Dear Father, your silence is my answer.

I know what I must do now. I’ll let you be.

This feels right. I see the light beckoning me.

Dear Father, please forgive me.

I promise I tried my best. Honestly.

I’m sorry. I am not worthy.

Be well,