Why You Should Hire Pam?

So we’re guessing you’re here to read some of Pam’s writing? Yes?

Good news, you’re in the right place. And if you’re thinking about hiring Pam to write for you, let me help you out.

Are you looking for someone who can write…

Press Releases? Here. Here. Here.

Blog Posts? Here. Here. Here. Here. Here.

Product Copy? Here. Here. Here. Here.

Social Media Posts? Here. Here.

Website Copy? Here. Here. Here.

Brand Stories? Here. Here.

Band Bios? Here.

And are you looking for someone who can get results?

 Press Received. #1 Ranking for SEO Content. Crowdfunding Goal Reached. Products Sold. Song charted.

Pam also edits.

Check that out here , here, and here.

Pam is a master of multi-tasking and meeting deadlines.

She wrote a weekly blog and edited a weekly blog while getting her Master’s degree in Strategic Communication, working an internship, and also working a full time day job. And she was writing flash fiction on the side.

Pam’s creativity is multi-faceted.

She came up with the name for the queer country band, The Paisley Fields. And she directed the redesign of the band’s logo.

She created/sourced almost all the things on the Vintage Modern shop. She didn’t do the graphic design for the site because well, occasionally she likes to sleep. (And also Jeni Adkisson is much better at it.)


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My Life with Max Wiener Man

Last Saturday, my dog, Max Wiener, hurt himself. I didn’t see him fall, but he started acting standoffish and was yelping sometimes when he walked or you picked him up.

It was obvious he was in pain and something was wrong. Dachshunds are more prone to back injuries, so that was my first thought.

I’ve had Max since he was one year old. He is a little over eight years old now. We have known each other for a long time.

I know that he barks too much because he is trying to be protective, and because he thinks he is incredibly tough. I also know he once jumped because he was startled by an empty bag of chips blowing by. So the emphasis is on HE THINKS he is the toughest dog around. I know he loves to go on walks. I also know that when I first got him, he wasn’t used to a leash. He chewed through three leashes, before  a chain leash was acquired. I know he hates the snow and the cold. I have to shovel him a path in the backyard, so he can go outside in the winter. I know he loves to cuddle and take naps. His favorite spot is lying on my legs, when I have my feet propped up on the ottoman. Preferably with a blanket and the heater blowing on him. I know he loves to burrows under the covers in my bed. I know he loves to dig (inherent to the breed). He dug through two sets of sheets when I first had him. I know he loves to “bury” bones all over the house. He once buried a bone (very cleverly) underneath my arm.

Max knows me too. He knows his handsome face will get him out of almost any trouble. He knows when I use my super serious voice he better actually stop doing whatever he was doing. He knows I like to sleep in on the weekends and usually even lets me. He know when I am in the kitchen and I say, “Oh shit!”  that I have dropped something on the floor. He knows when I am really sad because he jumps all over me and licks my face until I start laughing.

After his behavior continued to be off, I decided to put him in my bed and went back outside. When I came back to check on him, I found him lying on the marble floor in the basement. The last scene from Marley & Me flashed in my mind. What was wrong with him?

I called my parents, who thought I should call the emergency vet. They recommended I bring him in. I put his sweater on and wrapped him in a blanket (thinking the last time he was in the car he was shivering). Even though it was probably 40 or 50 degrees out last Saturday; I just wasn’t thinking clearly.

We drove to the Emergency Vet and waited. If any of you have ever been to an emergency vet, you know what a sad place it is. I heard one woman bring in her dog with seizures. She started crying after they took the dog from her. My heart just broke for her.

After the vet came in, he checked Max out, and noticed he wasn’t responding normally with his feet and was in pain when he walked. He wasn’t sure if it was his back, but he gave me some pain medication to see if it helped.

We passed out about 4:00 am on Sunday morning. We spent most of Sunday in bed. Him because he was still in pain, and me because I was too scared to leave him for very long. The medication did seem to help with the pain, but he still wasn’t moving around and was refusing to drink water.

Monday morning I called our regular vet, and we made an appointment for later that afternoon. 3:45 finally arrived, and I was barely holding it together. I think the women behind the front desk noticed because she put us in a room right away.

Max was shaking at this point. I started crying. All the worst things I was trying not to think crashed down on me. I was convinced that my furry best friend was not going home with me.

The vet came in. I had almost stopped crying.

“Did something else happen?” he asked.

“No. I’m just really worried about him,” I said.

I told the vet he still wasn’t drinking any water, and I wasn’t sure what had happened. He watched him walk around and saw that Max was taking short steps. He checked his response on his feet, and then before he checked his back said, “He might cry out in pain.”

I nodded my head.

The vet started to feel down his back and hit a spot that made Max yelp. “That’s it,” he said.

We had an answer. Max had hurt one of the discs in between his vertebrae. From Pet MD, “Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space. These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.”

The vet gave him some fluids and put him on a muscle relaxer and an anti-inflammatory. I was relieved. We went home.

But apparently with a slipped or herniated disc, there is not a quick cure. Some people recommend restricted activity (kenneling) for up to eight weeks. Max has never responded well to kenneling.

So Max is on bed rest for at least a week, and the vet didn’t recommend we travel. Our Iowa trip to visit my parents, Bridget and Crysta has been cancelled.

Watching your loyal companion for seven plus years cry out in pain when he tries to walk is incredibly hard. It has been a rough few days for the both of us.

I just want him to feel better. I want to take him on more walks. I want to watch him chase more squirrels. I want him to bury more bones. I just want him to be around for a long time.

Last week, some of you may have noticed I didn’t post a blog. Before anything happened with Max, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. Work, school, writing, getting/fixing things for the shop, working on another design/copywriting project and then trying to have a social life too, of course. I know posting a blog a week was on my list of goals, but honestly, it is beginning to wear me out.

So I guess I am calling uncle on the blog. I may resurrect it later, but for the time being, I want to focus on getting things ready for the shop, and when Max is feeling better, I want to take him on more walks.

It’s all about priorities. And that little handsome ball of fur is near the top of my list.

This week’s video is “Andrew in Drag” by The Magnetic Fields. It is the only song I could think of that references a wiener dog. If drag queens aren’t your thing though, it probably isn’t the video for you. But I think it’s pretty great.


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Like A Boss

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about making a big change in my life. Well, the times they are a changin’, my friends.

I am working toward my Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication. And this semester, I am completing my Capstone Project which is basically the thesis project for the program. (Not that I am completely done after this, I just decided to take the Capstone this semester.)

So I had a project figured out and a proposal approved. Cue the angst and the (Wo)Man in the Mirror moment.

I was thinking, what could I do to change my situation? Clearly, the job hunt is not going well. What am I doing wrong? Maybe I should stop looking for a job?

I’m intelligent and hardworking. I’m a good writer, a decent accountant and knowledgeable about web marketing. I have an eye for design and enjoy refinishing furniture. Where could all this skills converge?

James made some suggestions, and then something my brother said came back to me.

“You could clean out some space in your garage for a workshop and start selling your furniture.”

“I don’t have time for that.”

But maybe I did? Maybe if I focused my Capstone Project on writing a business plan for this potential business I could make time?

Like I mentioned before, I called my mom. Then I shot an email to my professor with the subject line  “Shooting myself in the foot?”

He approved the project change and my new proposal.


The shop will sell furniture I have rescued from garage sales and consignment stores and then refinished with paint or stain. I will also sell home goods and clothing, some of it vintage pieces and some of it just well-treated used clothing. All of this will be available for purchase through my website, though I will only sell the furniture to local buyers.

My future customers are people with big design dreams, but limited budgets. People that don’t want to see beautiful, old furniture end up in the dumpster. People kind of like me.

The shooting myself in the foot feeling has vanished. There are a lot pieces to figure out, but I am excited. Like really excited. I started my business plan and have been working on things like gross profit margin and market share. Not even that has dampened my excitement (or at least not much).

And to be clear, I am not giving up on the writing thing. Obviously, I will write the copy for the website and online ads. I am essentially creating a copywriting job for myself. I will be my own boss, which I have to say, sounds pretty fucking great. (Although I am keeping the day job for the time being.)

I’m still doing other writing too. I am here, writing this blog. I sent out another story yesterday, and I’ve got two more almost finished.

I will always be a writer, but now I’m going to try something new, try to keep on changing.

I am also looking for potential collaborators too, so if you know anyone or if you are interested in getting involved in the shop, let me know. And if have some great old furniture that you want to get rid of, please contact me as well.

This week’s video is “The Times They are a-Changin'” by Bob Dylan. The video is not perfect, but Dylan sounds great.

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Fear Isn’t a Reason to Quit

In “Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared,” Caroline Paul writes about being one of the first women in the San Francisco Fire Department.

“I expected people to question whether I had the physical ability to do the job (even though I was a 5-foot-10, 150-pound ex-college athlete). What I didn’t expect was the question I heard more than any other: ‘Aren’t you scared?’”

Read the rest of Paul’s piece in The New York Times here.

As Paul points out, women are raised to be afraid, of well, many things. Things that are gross, things that could hurt us, things that are physically intimidating, etc. Some fear is healthy, of course. Fear keeps us from acting completely irrationally or taking unnecessary risks.

But what about risks that are scary because we could possibly fail? Possibly be humiliated? I mean, let’s be real. What the hell is scarier than failure? Paul writes,

“When a girl learns that the chance of skinning her knee is an acceptable reason not to attempt the fire pole, she learns to avoid activities outside her comfort zone.”

Here lies the problem. As Paul states,

“We think our daughters are more fragile, both physically and emotionally, than our sons.”

When we treat young girls as more fragile, they come to think of themselves that way. They are less likely to take risks because they might bruise their knees or their egos. Paul writes,

“When girls become women, this fear manifests as deference and timid decision making.”

I fear failure, probably a little too much. It has made me timid in my decision making, opting to stay the course, and wait for better things to come along.

It’s not like parents raised me to be this timid girl. My mother raised me to a feminist. To have opinions. To try new things. I mean, my parents let me travel to another continent (without them) when I was in junior high.

Did they treat me different than my brothers? Yes. Some different treatment is necessary. Girls have to learn how to navigate the world we live in, after all. And that’s the point really.

Girls need to learn to look fear in the eye and try it anyway, knowing they might tumble, bloody their knees, and fail. Failure builds character. It makes us stronger. It makes us brave. Paul writes,

“When I worked as a firefighter, I was often scared. Of course I was. So were the men. But fear wasn’t a reason to quit. I put my fear where it belonged, behind my feelings of focus, confidence and courage. Then I headed, with my crew, into the burning building.”

I was talking to a friend of mine about this piece. My friend has two daughters. Her take was she doesn’t want to raise her girls to be fearless, she wants to raise them to be smart and brave.

Sounds good to me. We could use more smart and BRAVE women out there in the world.

So this week, I thought I would try something different. I created a Spotify Playlist. It is my Fearless Mix. You may recognize a lot of these songs from earlier posts. 🙂


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Facing Down the (Wo)Man in the Mirror

I am a big Michael Jackson fan. Jackson was a highly controversial figure obviously, but the man aside, I think most people can acknowledge he made some fantastic music.

My not quite favorite song is “Man In The Mirror.” Whenever I hear it, I sing along at full volume and try not to cry. I feel all the feels.

I confessed to my best friend, James, a few months back about how important this song is to me. I felt a bit embarrassed about it. James told me he feels the same way about “Man In The Mirror.” He finds it inspiring and emotional. I was glad to learn I wasn’t alone.

This last week, I have been feeling very “Man In The Mirror.”

Imagine me crooning, “I’m gonna make a change for once in my life/It’s gonna feel real good/Gonna make a difference/Gonna make it right.”

That’s been me for the most of the week, at least in my head. And let’s be real, out loud too.

As I posted last week, I am working toward a bunch of goals this year. I am trying to some changes.

But to be honest, I have been discouraged, especially on the job front.

On Wednesday, I celebrated the 30th anniversary of Pretty in Pink by watching it at home. It is my favorite movie. Good music, good characters, and a good story. John Hughes at his best, in my opinion. Some of my favorite movie quotes of all time too, guys. It’s a solid movie.

So I’m watching and thinking what a badass Andy is, and how I need to be more badass. I’ve got “Man In The Mirror” swirling in my head. And of course, I’m texting James who is listening to my existential crisis patiently, as best friends do. I can’t stop thinking you need to make a change, girl.

An idea starts to crystallize in my head. And yes, it involves a hell of a lot of change. But no risk, no reward right?

I sleep on it, and call my mom the next morning. She doesn’t think I’m completely insane, or that it is a terrible idea. That is encouraging. Mom approval is a serious litmus test.

So I am going to make a big change, which will require a lot of planning and work. I started on it this week, which is part of the reason I am late with the blog.

I am alternating between excitement and terror, which I think is a good sign. I still have some pieces to get straightened out, so I can’t quite share what the new project is yet.

But making this change feels right.

This week’s video is obviously “Man In The Mirror.” Just try to not sing along.

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8 Goals for 2016 (Because I Don’t Believe in Resolutions)

I don’t do resolutions. To me, resolutions are failed attempts to get in shape, eat better, and swear less. I could probably set all those goals. I could become a gym queen with killer biceps.


I own a treadmill. I use it. I eat ok. Salads for lunch a lot, probably too many nachos for dinner. Swearing, well, I like swearing, and I know when swearing is not appropriate.

I do, however, set goals. I know it is basically the same thing, but I like the sound of goals better.

So in order to fully commit myself, I am sharing my 2016 goals here for ALL THE WORLD to see. I assume everyone on the planet reads this blog, but you know, somehow in secret so I don’t know about it.

  1. Keep writing a blog a week until May 29th. On May 29th, I will have written a post every week for one year. Continuing this seems attainable. I have this one in the bag.
  1. Complete seven stories this year, and submit these stories. Starting a story is not hard. Finishing and editing a story until I am satisfied is a much longer process. I submitted one so far.
  1. Stop apologizing for things that don’t require an apology. I say sorry for things I have no reason to be sorry about. Not sure if it is a Midwest thing or a woman thing or more likely both. I worry too much about hurting people’s feelings, especially people that don’t seem to hold my feelings in such high regard.
  1. Spend time with people that value you and make an effort. I am picky about the people I spend time with, but I tend to give people too many chances. If someone makes no effort, then I need to learn to let it go.
  1. Get my finances locked down. I pay all my bills on time, and I have a 401K. But I was having a conversation with a friend about how good she is at saving money, and I thought, damn girl, you could do that too. You should be doing that too. Why aren’t you doing that too?! Call it my emergency furnace fund which even typing that makes me TERRIFIED the furnace is going to blow. (Send good vibes to my furnace.)
  1. Do some home improvements that improve resale, not just make it look kick ass. I have a tendency to buy things like furniture, rugs, and trilobites. You know, the essentials. These things look kick ass, but don’t really add value to your house. So I’m making more permanent changes. I had an over-the-range microwave installed this week, and another guy came over to talk dishwasher installation. I have a few more kitchen tweaks in mind. I would also like my laundry room to appear to be a place other than where you might find someone’s severed torso. So that’s maybe next on the list.
  1. Get a new job. This one has been on my to-do list for quite some time. I have taken steps toward this. Working on a master’s degree, writing this blog, internships, and various other writing projects. I want this to be the year, guys.
  1. Continue destroying the fear. This goes along with many of those goals, like quit apologizing for who you are. Submit more writing. Use more power tools. Change, change, change. Basically, be a better version of yourself. This is a perpetual goal. I think whenever you can let go of your fears, you find yourself a happier person. And that, my friends, is always the goal, be happier.

This week’s video is “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac.

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Like Stories about Collapsing Lungs and Crocodiles?

I consider myself an optimistic pessimist. Meaning, I hope for the best, even if my thoughts don’t naturally go in that direction.

But lately, I’ve been complaining A LOT.

Sleep is a big part of keeping me on an even keel. If I am short on sleep, I act like a bad version of myself. Reading a good story also turns my mood around.

I try to read every night, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. Or sometimes, I start a new book, and the story hasn’t captured my interest yet. And sometimes, I just forget to do the things that are good for me.

I have a favorite design blog, Design*Sponge. The site showcases people’s beautiful homes, but also explores art, traveling, recipes, and artists. It has also started to focus more on writing.

I ran across a post about writer Rahawa Haile yesterday. She created a site called Short Story of the Day. Her idea was to post a short story from a minority writer every day in 2015.

I enjoyed the freshness of these stories, the ability to startle. Sure there was a breakup story, but the main character also had a collapsing lung. There was another story about a girl whose mom brings home a crocodile.

These stories forced the reader to suspend belief for a moment. To live outside the realm of the every day. Reading these stories allowed me to escape myself and all my petty gripes.

Sometimes, disappearing into a world of crocodiles and collapsing lungs is just what you need.

Last night, I also attended that Dave Eggers and Marlon James book event which benefited the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute. As I mentioned last week, MOI is an after school program that helps students aged 6-18 work on their homework, focusing particularly on creative writing.

Along with Eggers and James discussing their work, three students from the program read stories. The stories were written in letter format. One was addressed to an alien, one to a dragon, and one to the sun. Each was funny and charming.

Eggers and James were fantastic, but I think everyone who attended would agree the kids stole the show.

It was another reminder of the power of a good story. A good story allows you to lose yourself in the moment, to try to absorb all the joy and possibility in the weird, little world of that story.

This week’s video is “Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage.

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Book Nerd Alert! Come See Dave Eggers and Marlon James Talk Books in St. Paul

We are serious about our books here in the Twin Cities. For a woman who loves books as much as I do, that is good news.

Imagine my excitement when it was announced that Marlon James and Dave Eggers would be talking books in St. Paul. You can still buy tickets for the Thursday February 4th event here.

The event benefits the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute, an after school program that helps students aged 6-18 work on their homework. The nonprofit focuses particularly on writing and gives kids the opportunity to publish their own books. According to an article in The Star Tribune, the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute is somewhat based on the “network of writing and tutoring programs that Eggers co-founded, called 826 National.”

Despite his work with 826 National, Eggers is a polarizing writer. Many people find him arrogant. He did, after all, write a book called, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I get that doesn’t come across as particularly humble.

I also understand the need for arrogance as a writer. You have to think your writing is better than the writing of most other people. You also need to have enough ego to survive the inevitable series of rejections.

So Eggers’ ego has never bothered me. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius was the first Eggers book I read, and it remains one of my favorite books. And I mean favorite books ever.

I read it after losing my brother, and I found it funny and beautiful and devastating. To me, it was an honest book about what it is like to lose someone (or two someones in Eggers’ case) you love.

When you lose someone, you try to mourn and not become overwhelmed by sadness. You also need to go on living. You need to find the joyful and funny moments when you can. This is what I love about A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Eggers shows himself laughing and crying and f*cking his way through a completely devastating situation. It is messy and at times awkward. But so is life, and so too is death.

Eggers has also written other books I’ve loved. Two of his other equally compelling and devastating creative nonfiction books are Zeitoun and What Is the What. Zeitoun follows the Zeitoun family through Katrina, and What Is the What is the story of a young Sudanese refugee, one of the so-called Lost Boys of Sudan. The Circle is one of Eggers’ fiction works, and it is basically a modern day 1984. The book is a disturbingly, realistic scenario of how technology could change our lives and not for the better.

James just received the Man Booker Prize for his historical fiction novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings. The novel is set in Jamaica and depicts the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. James lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Macalester College.

I have only just started A Brief History of Seven Killings, and I haven’t read James’ other novels. But so far, I can attest that James is an incredible writer.

So when I saw the event with Eggers and James pop up on Facebook, I knew I had to go. I don’t go to nearly as many readings as I should, but when a favorite author reads, I get there.

So if you’re around the area and a fan of these authors, I suggest you get there too. And oh yeah, it’s for a good cause. Nothing better than that for a book nerd like me.

This week’s video is “People Got A Lotta Nerve” by Neko Case.

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Oh What a World in Which I Can Write Poems about Swimming with Sharks

Last April, I signed on to do the Writer’s Digest Poem A Day Challenge, and I blogged about it on here. For each day in April, I wrote a poem. The challenge coincides with National Poetry Month.

The writer directing the challenge, Robert Lee Brewer, posted daily prompts for us to use, or not use. Writers were then encouraged to share their poems on an open thread on the website. People could comment on the poems and make suggestions.

It sounded like a bit of a nightmare to me, or at least the part about posting your poem online that YOU WROTE THAT DAY.

I have never written a poem (or a story or a blog post or even an email), and then thought, Gee, that is amazing. It’s the work of true genius. I should publish this immediately.

I am not that confident or foolish or both. I edit. Sometimes, I enjoy editing. Sometimes, editing feels like a slow, painful death through sentence restructuring.

(I do recognize the possibility that the people who posted their poems spent all day writing and editing those poems. And in that case, I am jealous of their luxurious amount of time for poem writing.)

And yes, I edit my emails. Sometimes you get that stream of thought going, and it just flows. But oops, you forgot the You part of Thank You, so it just says Thank.

That’s weird, guys.

Or maybe if you reread that email, you’d have realized abbreviating follow-up to f/u is not a good idea. At least not if you don’t want your boss to wonder what she did to deserve a fuck you reply.

I digress.

My point is editing is important. You should edit your writing before the world sees it. The thought of putting it out on the internet largely unedited terrified me. So I didn’t.

And what have I done with those thirty gems of glittery poetry since?

The poems are sitting out there in the cloud, mostly untouched. I have been writing and editing things since then, it has just been mostly stories and papers.

So I let my thirty, shiny poems gather dust.

A month ago maybe, I realized I missed poetry. I opened my Poetry in Progress folder, and the title “Shark-Infested Water” caught my eye.

It was poem about a dream where Agnes (the character I write about often) and I were swimming with sharks. I didn’t remember the dream or the poem, to be honest. I had written just a few lines. But I liked the idea.

Swimming through shark-infested water with your main character. The brain is full of weird, amazing ideas.

I started to flesh it out a little more, changed the title, and workshopped it with my writing partner/friend Rachel. She liked it, but wasn’t crazy about the ending. As usual, she was right.

I’ve been working on it the past couple of days. It’s getting close. And after I’m done, I will submit it. Then it’s back to the Poetry in Progress folder.

I have at least twenty-nine other poems to edit. And it feels like it’s time to get back at it.

This week’s video is a live recording of “Oh What a World” by Rufus Wainwright. It is a fantastically beautiful song, and this is a great recording of it. The performance does seem to have taken place on Halloween though. Wainwright doesn’t usually wear a witch hat when he performs. Enjoy friends!

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That Misfit from Mars

Like many of you, I woke up to the news of David Bowie’s death on Monday morning.

Also like many of you, I never met David Bowie. I never even saw him live. But when I heard the news, I felt a strong sense of loss and disbelief.

I read a story this week where the writer stated she wasn’t even aware that Bowie could die.

It is an absurd thing to say. And yet, as soon as I read it, I realized I felt that way too.

It wasn’t because he was a revered rock star. It wasn’t even because his music was so good that I could never live without it. Well maybe, it was a little bit of that.

Bowie was a man from another planet, made of moon rocks and magic.

His songs were strange and beautiful and struck every chord in your misfit soul. Or at least, in my misfit soul.

I first encountered David Bowie in the movie, Labyrinth. Sitting in my elementary art class, I watched Bowie dance across the screen as Jareth in his wickedly teased wig, artfully arched eyeshadow, and his hard-to-miss codpiece.

We watched Labyrinth for years in art class. It was a movie filled with music, magic, and mischief. A perfect pick to entertain a room full of kids.

There is at least a five-year span of students that attended my elementary school that know every word to “Magic Dance.” We have our art teacher, Mr. Castenson to thank for that. Him and the mesmerizing man himself, David Bowie.

Bowie was a musician, an artist, a storyteller, and a visionary. He was everything we wanted to be, whether we knew it or not. He was the words we couldn’t sing. He was the guitar licks we couldn’t master. He was the costumes we couldn’t wear. He was all the rules we were afraid to break.

Bowie took conventions and norms and crushed them under his stacked heel.

Without him, our world feels much duller, much quieter, and much less filled with magic.

This week’s video is “Magic Dance” by David Bowie. May he rest in peace.

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