Cover of “The Scientist” by Coldplay

Recently I started getting into singing. I decided to start making videos of me covering songs on YouTube. Admittedly, my singing technique needs a lot of work, and I feel kind of awkward in front of a camera, but I had a lot of fun making it, and hope to improve on both singing and video making as time goes on. Here is my first video, a cover of “The Scientist” by Coldplay. I hope you enjoy it 🙂



I fear having nothing to say.
M loneliness has eased into an urge
to connect, to understand someone
and be understood in return.
But what is there to talk about?

Fragments drift through my mind.
I try sifting through them to find words –
and not just any words will do.
I want to find the right ones.

But every time I fish something out,
it turns out to be
just another soda ring in the ocean,
and I am left on the shore again,
fingers dripping,
trying to grasp something meaningful.

Copyright 2014 by Shannon Dennis

On Mental Illnesses as Adjectives

As someone with multiple mental health diagnoses, I would like to address the use of mental illnesses as adjectives. I’m talking about the times people say things like “oh, there she goes acting anorexic again,” about a picky eater, or “I’m O.C.D about that,” if they are really into cleaning, or “He must be bipolar,” about someone who is acting a bit moody. It is not acceptable to use the names of real illnesses, which can be debilitating, in such a trivial manner. There is already enough stigma and misunderstanding around mental illness. Casual use of the terms contribute to inaccurate perceptions, such as that someone who is depressed is just sad, and can make themselves snap out of it if they only tried hard enough. They are struggles that real people go through, and their names should not be tossed around like that. Words have power. If you have used a mental illness as an adjective before, I ask you to consider how it makes the people who actually have it feel, and to think about your word choice. We can all help contribute to dismantling the social stigma if we make a conscious effort to be mindful of our language. Thank you for reading.

The Butterfly

As Elias lay in his hammock of flames
between the charred and dying trees,
he felt something soft graze his cheek –
a yellow butterfly’s wing,
tipped in black.
He turned his face,
and squinting through the smoke,
he could just barely see
the trace of its fragile form
before it fluttered away.

Copyright 2014 by Shannon Dennis

Quote of the Day

“Closure is something that we cultivate on our own, like a Chia pet.”

   Anna Pulley, sex columnist

I came across this quote a while back, and it’s the first thing that gave me some peace about how my last serious relationship ended. We had dated over the summer. I liked the way he could go into long, impassioned tangents about history, look out for my stop while we were on the bus so that I could rest, and make up stories with me where we could geek out and build our own fantasy worlds. The last time we really talked, right before I started school, we were making plans for his birthday.

But after that conversation, I suddenly couldn’t get a hold of him again. He emailed me once to say that he was having problems with his phone and laptop. That was it – he didn’t say anything at all about our plans. After that, I never heard from him again. I was worried that something bad had happen to him, or that I had done something to offend him. I tried a few times to ask him what was wrong and if we could talk about it. After a week of silence, I sent him a final ‘if I don’t hear from you by x date, I’ll assume it’s over’ email, and when that date rolled around, I threw in the towel for good. I saw him on the bus a few weeks ago, so I know he’s not dead. I consider him dead to me emotionally, though. Since he didn’t even bother to break up with me properly, I don’t consider him worthy of the title of ‘ex. In my mind, I just think of him as ‘ghost.’

I have dated around since then, but I have been a little nervous about getting into a relationship again, because now the possibility is always in the back of my mind that whoever I’m with might drop off the face of the earth on me. It makes it difficult to relax and enjoy a relationship. I want to work on my abandonment issue so I can move forward with my life. This quote really helped me start the process. It made me laugh, and the worst of the pain has subsided. Now, every time I think about it, (or any other situation which makes me wonder why it ended the way it did) I imagine myself watering an Chia puppy instead. It actually works, sort of like a Patronus charm. I might just get one to put in my room!

Poem of the Week: This is Just to Say, by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

This is an imagist poem where what you see is what you get: a passive aggressive plum pilferer, probably scrawling this as a note while licking the plum juice off his fingers. The plural, “plums,” bugs me because he could have left her at least one, and still indulged his temptation in a halfway decent way. Some people say that this poem implies a level of intimacy between the narrator and his wife since he could predict what his wife would do with the plums. I personally think it implies the opposite. He may know her motivations and desires, but I think the intimacy from that is canceled out by the fact that he would sabotage a simple pleasure at the start of her day and then offer this smarmy, mocking apology. If this was written in the age of Twitter, he probably would have added a “Sorry Not Sorry” hashtag at the bottom. As annoying as it is, I still felt compelled to highlight this poem because it makes me smile at the same time. I have a thing for poems that can cause that kind of tension.

Photo: Plums, by Andy Price via Flickr Creative Commons

Peace Activists Imprisoned for Nuke Protest

On Tuesday, a federal judge sentenced three peace activists to three and five years of prison time and a joint fine of $53,000 for basically…embarrassing the government. With no experience in security, they managed to break into a nuclear plant in Knoxville, Tennessee. They set off alarms, but they still had two hours before they got caught, in which they spray painted, hung banners, and hammered off a chunk of the Enriched Uranium Metals facility, among other activities, to protest America’s reserve of nuclear weapons. The demonstration exposed a flawed security system. The contractors were replaced, security forces were retrained, and The National Nuclear Security Administration added several security measures.

U.S District Judge Amul Thapar said, “If all that energy and passion was devoted to changing the laws, perhaps real change would’ve occurred by today,” and that he hopes the threat of jail time will “lead people back to the political process I fear they’ve given up on.” It is certainly preferable to change the laws legally, but I think this situation is one of the exceptions because it is against international law to not have proper security at a nuclear plant, and a threat to the public safety. Going through the political process may have taken a lot longer; the activists were able to get the government’s attention quickly, which is the most important thing in a potentially hazardous situation. The government was far more in the wrong here, and they are going even further in by punishing peaceful citizens who have done our country a favor.