Prairie of the Mind

My second essay, Prairie of the Mind, has been published by Arizona State University’s Superstition Review.

Here’s an excerpt:

My first attempt at meditating was, like a first kiss, too self-conscious to enjoy. I turned off Van Morrison and double-checked that my door was locked. Everyone would be at dinner so, hopefully, there’d be no interruptions. Or witnesses. I lit some incense and, as the aromatic sandalwood floated to the ceiling, I placed a pillow and a candle on the floor in the middle of my dorm room. Sitting cross-legged, as my friend had instructed, I lit the candle with a lighter. Would a match have been more spiritual? With my hands on my knees, guru-style, I took my first deep, cleansing breath, softened my gaze, and stared into the candle.

And stared some more, trying not to blink.

Nothing happened. The flame twisted. The wax began to pool. Something thudded in the laundry room downstairs. Was someone drying their damn sneakers? I relaxed my jaw—why, on earth, was I clenching my teeth?—and invited my shoulders to drop from around my ears. Wax spilled over the lip of the candle, cooling into small teardrops as it fell. I imagined peeling off the white melted pearls and rolling them, warm and malleable in my fingers.

I was doing this all wrong. Refocus.

I took another breath and watched the flame bob and weave on the breeze of my exhale. I was supposed to keep my eyes opened (why was that again?), but everything I saw in my peripheral vision—dirty laundry, Art of the 12th Century, a soft pack of Marlboro Lights, a black sketchbook-turned-journal—sent my mind skittering down unwanted roads.

So, I broke the first rule of Meditation 101 and closed my eyes….Read more

Thanks so much to the editorial staff. They’ve been wonderful.


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