The Actual Definition of a Patriot Suggests a Word Overused in Defense of Injustice

I tire of the cry of I, Patriot, which accompanies too much justification of rhetoric. If you call yourself a patriot because you believe you are a person who loves and defends his or her country, then you are, unfortunately, only half a patriot.

The definition of the word has a second clause, which comes after an and, a clause that I believe is all too commonly ignored. Here, then, is the full definition of a patriot:

…a person who loves and defends his or her country AND upholds people’s rights.

I get the sense that many of the people…


This thirty-year-old poem for my adoptive mother was…


A Writer’s Favorite Dinosaur

Okay, it’s an old joke. The Saurus. Thesaurus, get it?

I still use the paper version of Webster’s. The Completely New Edition. It boasts current slang, colloquial expressions, technical terms, etc. It was published in 2003, which surprised me. It could have been published in the eighties, for all I care. I need word choice, variety, and diversity of expression, not necessarily the latest edition, apparently.

You have likely embraced the twenty-first century in a more meaningful way, so you perhaps use an online version. Or don’t. But you should.

Our brains bore easily. And yet we write with an…


Postcards from childhood

My hands get tired every time you ask me to write my name, but never when I am drawing.

Eggplant, Rainbow Blast, Lord Peppermint Flapjack, and Narwhal

If you call exercise ‘Night Adventures’ I will happily put down my tablet to go outside after dark. My contribution to the fun will be the addition of my sister’s old kitty-witch Hallowe’en costume that looks better on me anyway. I know I have to wear my jacket. But the dress will fit over the top of it! And my Pusheen hat. The one with the pom-poms. And my rain boots. Sissy can wear her doctor coat that helpfully says MEDICAL…


Sharpen the hook of your creative writing with this early-learning strategy

Turns out first grade is a very different place than it was when I was an inhabitant. Now they are writing something called a genius sentence. Say what? Don’t feel bad, I hadn’t heard of it either. If you ask The Google about it, you get helpful tips on composing a sentence using the word genius. Or genus, if you happen to have a science background or a particularly sophisticated autocorrect.

Now, if you clicked on this article looking for help with genius-in-a-sentence, no worries. We aim to be an equal opportunity resource, so here you go.

Pineapple Supply Co./Pexels

But for those…


Ignore the What, Embrace the Who

My child is again challenging me. This is not a call for pity, rather it is an exhortation to everyone to make room for others.

She tells me that when she grows up, she is going to marry a man, and “do it the right way.”

When I ask her what she means, she explains that since she is a girl, she should marry a boy. That is what she means by the “right way.” Welcome to pride month.

I look at her wonderingly, wanting to know where this message has come from, and pretty sure I already know. But…


It’s All About the Who

Readers want a character who is engaging. Relatable is good, but an engaging misanthrope will easily take a book across the finish line in the hearts and minds of readers who can’t even begin to relate to such an individual.

Good character development is everything to story, and the first thing at risk to be lost when starting out. As students, our formal education in Language Arts stressed substance over style, hemming us into a small space where the what was emphasized, elevated, celebrated, and lauded.

All this at a cost to us as creatives. Unless the creative aspects of…


María must outgrow the legacy of one mother to fully claim her true inheritance from another.

It had always been there, hanging from her left earlobe. Oversized when she was undersized; something she grew into as it grew into her.

It had belonged to Lourdes. That shadowy imago in whose belly she had incubated. As a hatchling, only days old, she was given away.

María smiles to think of it. The significance. It means that at some time, no matter how brief, they were alone, she and Lourdes.

photo by Aytan

How was it done — bravely, she supposes — having her own child, she knows she could have never pressed that cold metal against a tiny ear, as…


A few weeks ago, I was going on about writing inspiration and the oddities that fire it up in me. Here are the nuts and bolts of said wacky practice in action.

  1. The universe presents me with an idea.

This is also known as I-am-mindlessly-wandering-in-Target-when-I-should-be-writing-the-next-few-chapters-of-my-novel mode. I spy an endcap with an interesting display. The product dominating the shelves is a collection of chocolate chip cookie dough flavored Larabars®. But the boxes are not all the same. In two somewhat evenly spaced rows, like two-egg twins posing awkwardly for a family photograph, are alternate versions of the protein bar. One…

LJ Farrow

Author and artist at blueframe publications.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store