Things of the Week 9/7/16

Nature: My weekend included a hike near the Woodbine Falls area of the Beartooth Mountains. I love that this trail winds along the river for the first half a mile or so. It’s beautiful and loud–the sound of the water definitely clears the mind.


Watched: Street Fight–a documentary by Marshall Curry about Cory Booker’s 2002 campaign to become the mayor of Newark, NJ. I remember now why I don’t often watch documentaries–the more controversial the topic, the more I yell at my TV screen.

Reading: Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel. Was introduced to this in grad school by James Patrick Kelly, who was a faculty member in my program. Don’t know why it’s taken me this long to read it other than now feels like the right time.

Mental Health:Clinton just made a very important announcement — and hardly anyone is talking about it”The Post’s View, August 31, 2016, on The Washington Post

Possibly one of the more optimistic articles about government/the  election I’ve read in awhile (and possibly why it’s not getting much coverage). I particularly like everything that’s happening in this paragraph:

“The big-ticket item in Ms. Clinton’s plan is $5 billion for community health centers providing substance abuse and mental-health treatment as well as traditional medical care, which jibes with elements of reform initiatives emerging from Congress. To address a shortage of mental-health professionals, meanwhile, she would smartly encourage telemedicine, among other things. Ms. Clinton also proposed pumping up the budget for basic scientific research, some of which would be diverted into studying the brain. Aside and apart from the debate over mental health, Democrats and Republicans have often been able to agree on funding basic research such as this.”

Current Obsessions: eating dry cereal, candles, tea,

Thing Happening Today: First day of school.

Things Happening This Weekend: 

Pulitzer Out Loud Presents: Slam Poetry Workshops

I consider myself a poetry dabbler and I’ve never tried Slam, though I have great respect for it. Very much looking forward to attending these workshops.

Brew Ha Ha 2016 – Oktoberfest

Drink beer to support literacy? Don’t mind if I do.



Things of the Week 8/31/16

Made up word: un-bungler–a person who is a fixer but isn’t as badass as Olivia Pope

Current Obsessions: recipes I can make from things grown in my garden, bergamot oil, the TV show Superstore

Trying: Ekphrastic poetry. I’m collaborating with local artist Michelle Dyk to create poetry from some of her beautiful collage work. A sample of my current inspirations:

Rabbit hole: articles on The Guardian containing research about dogs

  1. “Dogs understand both words and intonation of human speech” 
  2. “Study showing decline in dog fertility may have human implications”
  3. “Labradors may be genetically ‘hard-wired’ for greed” 

Wow: Beyoncé at the VMAs

Learned: Chuck Tingle lives in my town. 

Re-learning: Learning Management Systems (the irony is not lost on me)

Things of the Week 8/25/16

Thing I’m Sharing: Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink by Kristi Coulter, August, 21 2016 on Quartz

Watched: The Imitation Game–appreciated this film, especially the soundtrack. Found myself somewhat distracted by images that reminded me of some cast members in other movies with a WWII or pre WWII setting. (Keira Knightley in Atonement, Matthew Goode in Brideshead Revisited). 

Culinary Delights: burgers and milkshakes for my husband’s birthday, a fresh baguette courtesy of the baker at my new fave coffee shop, peaches, popcorn

View this post on Instagram

Happy Birthday weekend to this guy, love you!

A post shared by Ashley K Warren (@ajoybliss) on

Reading: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore–I’m told by the praise on the front cover and reviews on Goodreads that I’ll like this because I liked The Night Circus.  Passing no judgements yet.

Prepping: materials for my return to teaching at the college level. Overwhelmed by my own millennial tendencies to hyper consume I now have collected more articles than I’ll likely have time to teach. Under consideration:

  1. The article shared above (Cause and Effect Essays)
  2. The Near Certainty of Anti-Police Violence by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Argumentative Essays)
  3. Why Women Still Can’t Have it All by Anne-Marie Slaughter (Cause and Effect Essays)
  4. How Michael Brown’s death, two years ago, pushed #BlackLivesMatter into a movement by Josh Hafner (Process Essays)

Fun Brain Injury and Whiplash Side Effects: cheek numbness, dropping everything always. (EVERYTHING. ALWAYS.)

Things of the Week 8/10/16

Funny: The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day I Woke Up as a Debut Author: Jade Sharma Tries to be Happy About the Publication of PROBLEMS August 4, 2016 on Literary Hub 

Alfred Hitchcock’s, The BirdsWas awoken by a flock of sparrows battling in a tree directly outside my bedroom window. Went to the bathroom and discovered one had managed to maneuver itself under the screen and between the storm window and the actual window. It looked like a living shadowbox. Only days before while practicing yoga I watched a sparrow try to enter our house in a similar manner.

Looking Forward to: roadtrip to Missoula with greyhounds in tow, stopping in Bozeman to eat at Roost, and listening to episodes of RadioLab on the way.

Reading: Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink by Jeff Johnson. This book has a brilliantly colorful quote that demonstrates the use of tattoo industry slang. Terms indicated in italics:

“Dude, it was a Dee Dee on speed dial unholy bloodbath. No pork chops, a mid-shift seismic California bumper sticker taco valve explosion, a fucking parade of drunks brimming with Chud potential and I ran out of boy butter after the second fight in the lobby. Bonus hole city to boot.”

Also reading: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Found: that mouse we were “over” last way of our olfactory senses 😦

Mystery: there seems to be evidence of something large bedding down by our fence. Could be animal or human due to our location.


Listening to: 

Things of the Week 8/3/16

Writers Being Writers: fave quotes from An Interview with Annie Dewitt by Brandon Hobson, 7/25/16 on The Believer Logger 

“I think it’s important to talk about the reality of being a writer. The glossy author photos don’t really speak to that. To the sacrifices that are made. And the times when you watch your family and friends who have chosen other paths make money, get married, move up and out in the world, have kids. You wonder what direction your life is truly going in and have to grapple with some difficult choices, all without knowing whether or not you’ll succeed. That’s, to date, the hardest thing I’ve had to face. My own self-doubt. ” – Annie Dewitt

“I’ve always admired how writers like Schutt and Salinger accomplish so much through the use of the unsaid. As a child, you have so little of the world explained to you. Your perception of events colors everything. So much of what you know is defined by the perimeter of what you don’t know, which is always expanding.” – Annie Dewitt

Reading: Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion by Alain de Botton

Rereading: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (thanks, Chelsea Clinton)

Nature: while walking by a city park near downtown I saw not one but three hawks hanging out behind the bleachers near the high school. They sat on the chainlink fence and watched as the crows picked over scraps. Whenever the crows found something good, like bullies the hawks dove and chased the crows until the crows gave up their lunch money.

Having My Mind Blown: “From Tree to Shining Tree” a podcast by Radiolab, July 30, 2016

Current Obsessions: my local library, evening walks, drinking water, ice cream (any number of flavors)

I’m kinda over it: the mouse we saw in the house a few days ago, despite many mice-preventing tactics currently underway

Bingeing: Gilmore Girls (3rd time), this time with my husband and in preparation for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Pompey’s Pillar: Visited Pompey’s Pillar National Monument for the first time, and during Clark Days, a miniature festival celebrating Montana history. I was maybe a little underwhelmed at the pillar’s size, but the graffiti courtesy of Lewis and Clark was pretty cool.


Brain Injury Accessory of the Week: earplugs



Things of the Week 7/27/16

On Gender Roles: Why Men Want to Marry Melanias and Raise Ivankas” by Jill Filipovic, July 21, 2016 on The New York Times

Walking: saw a frog, a fox, was greeted by wet golden retrievers, listened to cicadas, took photos of rusted cars used as a levee, obtained multiple mosquito bites

A trip to the zoo: my adult self and child self negotiated the complicated realities that are Zoos this weekend. As an adult, I wished freedom on the bald eagles, the long horned sheep, the lynx, while as a child I marveled at the tigers.

Played: a domino game with my nieces. They clobbered me.

Feeling Patriotic: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at the Democratic National Convention

Whoops: Nova had to get a few stitches after a little tumble. Fortunately, he’s taking it well.

Fun Brain Injury Side Effect: when performing complicated movements with more than one body part (like dancing), sometimes my limbs move out of sync, usually some moving faster than the others. If I watch myself in front of a mirror, it’s like watching a video shot with the slo-mo setting on my iPhone.


Things of the Week 7/20/16

Watched: The Big Short–In 2007 I was a new college grad, and when the housing bubble started to burst I was too focused on getting a job to really understand what was going on. I appreciated the ersatz education I got watching this movie because I admit I wanted a dumbed down version of the financial crisis. The most obvious pedagogical technique the movie used was explanations of financial jargon provided by random celebrity personas conveyed directly to the audience (i.e. breaking the fourth wall). The technique was a bit polarizing, as was the movie. I liked the film, but I also appreciate the criticism the film received so I’ll leave these two articles for further explanation/consideration:

“Why Does the Big Short Break the Fourth Wall” by Tom Bond, One Room With a View

The Big Shot Review-Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale can’t save this overvalued stock” by Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Listened to: Switched on Popa podcast on the making and meaning of popular music I heard about this podcast on another podcast (Pop Culture Happy Hour) and have been really enjoying the depth with which hosts Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding discuss music. There most recent episode “Around the World with Drake” addresses music appropriation.

Downloaded: Prisma-Art Photo Editor – having way too much fun with this one. I feel like this app is the fix for anything/anyone who isn’t photogenic (though selfishly I think my dog is very photogenic.)


Reading: Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker–an epistolary memoir written in the second person point of view. Basically, this book is two of my favorite literary techniques mashed together. And I have to agree with the celebrity praise on the back cover, it is truly poetic (Mary Karr) and tender (Colum McCann).

Street Art:

I suspect the text and the stencil were created by separate artists but what a thought provoking combination.


I think we have a street artist in the making with this one.

New Skill: key wording. I’ve started working for my husband, who owns a film production company, and one of the most help things I do (read–task I’m qualified to perform) is enter relevant search terms into the databases that host his stock video footage. This is turning into a great word-association exercise. EXAMPLE: make a list of all of the relevant adjectives or nouns associated with the word sun.

Brain Glossary: new term: “Brain Push.” Similar to “Brain Squeeze” except the direction of discomfort is vertical instead of horizontal. Like stacking books on your head instead of tightening a belt.

Fun Brain Injury Side Effect: When writing by hand, inadvertently replacing or adding letters to common words so as to create something like a foreign language. EXAMPLES: withing (within), yar (you), warnt (want).

Things of the Week 7/13/16

Word Count: 723 in one sitting. A new high score since the brain injury.

Walking: “Walking While Black: Garnette Cadogan on the Realities of Being Black in America” by Garnette Cadogan, July 8, 2016 on Literary Hub. 

Gardening: We were a little late to start the garden this year, but better late than never. Purchasing plants in July leaves few varieties to choose from but we were able to pick up some tomatoes, bell peppers, El Jefe peppers, basil, lemon verbena, blackberries, and zucchini.


Current Obsessions: coconut anything, eating two flavors of ice cream at once,,

Poetry: Snare drums sound like school’s start

Slang: While doing research for my second novel I discovered the following:

Tattoo slang, like most other kinds of slang, also varies greatly based on region. In a TIME interview of Portland tattoo artist Jeff Johnson, Johnson states that many individual tattoo shops and artists have their own slang terms that wouldn’t be understood outside their particular shops.

Joy: Creating slang for a tattoo shop has become my new writing exercise.

Catching Up On: Castle

First Time: Making an herb wreath. I felt very Martha-Stewarty while completing the task. Next time though I’ll take an anti-histamine before I begin.


Fun Brain Injury Side Effect: transposing words that sound the same and are also frequently used in my vocabulary. EXAMPLE: Yoga, stop eating that. TRANSLATION: Nova (the dog), stop eating that. Repetition for the sake of correction only leads to reuse of the incorrect word. EXAMPLE: Yoga, Yoga, Yoga! Leave it.

Things of the Week – 7/6/16

Happy Wednesday after the Fourth! Tis the season for BBQs and outdoor sports (sports…well, um, maybe next week). Enjoy!

Neighbors: these guys have been squatting on our block for the past few weeks. Every day when I walk Page it’s like the ducks are playing chicken with him. (avian pun intended)

For Your Brain (and mine too): “What You Read Matters More Than You Think” by Susan Reynolds, June 30, 2016 on Quartz

For the Conspiracy Theorist In Me (and you): “The Fugitive, His Dead Wife, and the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory That Explains Everything” by Evan Hughes, June 28, 2016 on GQ 

Current Obsessions: my new FitBit, artisan cheese, things that are teal.


Downloaded App: Calm: Meditate & relax with guided mindfulness meditation for stress reduction. I especially like the Open-Ended Meditation with the option to play bells at various intervals to remind you to stay present.

Catching Up On: Carpool Karaoke clips. I swear I’m always the last one to the party.

Glossary: The Husband and I have started a TBI glossary to keep track of the short-hand we use to refer to my various symptoms.

Squeeze: the headache that doesn’t feel like a headache but is more like someone has tied a belt around my noggin and is slowly tightening it

Zombie: when more than one crucial faculty goes offline, usually a combination of one leg and my ability to speak so as to create a brain-eating-monster effect

Mirakuruwhen my visual field is distorted in way that makes me question reality and often brings on superhuman like aggression (see also Jekylling)

Blender: loss of ability to sort through any thoughts, yet they are all circling at once, vigorously

Jekylling: an inability to control my emotions, often presenting as unexpected and brief outbursts that leave me perplexed afterwards

Rockstar: needing to wear sunglasses indoors due to a sensitivity to light

On the List: used as a response by The Husband to me when I ask about a new and unusual symptom.

*Note: there are more I just can’t remember them. 🤕😜

Things of the Week – Yellowstone Edition

Last week I decided to start a series of weekly posts capturing various inspirations and observations from my daily life. As I continue to recover from a TBI, I’m finding this to be a helpful practice for my memory and attention. The poet and yogi in me is also appreciating the increased awareness.

This week’s Things are taken from my trip to Yellowstone National Park. I’ll be posting pics from the trip to Instagram for the rest of the week. I included a few bonus Things at the end, too. Enjoy!


Shirtless Tourists: all twenty-something-year-old men

Safari Hats: all affluent-looking middle-aged men

Superhero T-Shirts: Batman, The Flash, Captain America, Superman, and Star Wars (twice)

Awkward Find In the “Everything Store” (though possibly a very good book):


Selfie Sticks: more than I expected

Offensive Tourist Behavior: less than I expected

Inappropriate Footwear: presumably on those who don’t frequent nature

Zealously Appropriate Footwear (and Clothing, and Accessories): presumably on those who don’t frequent nature but did their research

Jogger/Stroller: on a hike down to the Brink of the Lower Falls. That mom was hardcore

Abandoned Hats: usually around geysers, carried there by unfortunate gusts of wind


YouTube: Watching This On Repeat 

Researching: Airbnb, humane correction techniques for unfavorable behavior in domestic parrots

Getting Lost In Sentences:

“Dad’s voice was a midnight school, teaching deep fathom hours, and the subject was life.” -from Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

“On the day before Josef caused a disturbance at the breakfast table, after months of nauseous breathing drills that made his head tingle and of practice that left the joints of his fingers aching, he had walked into Kornblum’s room and held out his wrists, as usual, to be cuffed and bound.” from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

A Little Freaked Out: “The Growing Risk of War in Space” by Geoff Manaugh (The Atlantic, June 21, 2016) (I must be in the “over-caffeinated and paranoid” crowd.)

Neurologist: “Keep writing. It’s good for maintaining creative synapses and neural pathways.”

Shout Out: Week of June 27 on Bright Languid Segments Green