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Showing posts from 2011


Thirty-one days. When was the last time you spent thirty-one anything on yourself? I'm spending 31 whole days on me.

Welcome to DashaFEST.

I was in my early twenties when I first expanded my birthday from one day to the entire month. Indulgent and absurd, yes, and yet I've been shamelessly committed to this self-celebration for almost two decades. Some years have been resplendent, some more privately powerful. All, however, have been filled with reflection, adventure, assessment and rejoicing.

This year, DashaFEST falls during a time when I've made a conscious decision to match the passion of my work with a renewed enthusiasm for the amazing humans surrounding me. Operation: Social Life, I call it. We don't often recognize our habits of existing until they bear the rigid grooves of a rut.

I've been carving out such a rut for myself for quite a few years, I suppose. It hasn't felt like one because the nature of my work is social and I am so wholly fuele…


Wrote this piece for the Omaha Encyclopedia Show. The theme was "The Future" and my sub-topic assignment was "Apocalyptic Wasteland." Of course, the imagery of veered my language into unexpected territory. I love it when that muse+creativity thing works!

Thanks for "virtual" invite Omaha!

by Dasha Kelly

Stretched tight across the horizon
Find trip wire of ancient desires
threatening to spray schrapnel into the clouds
Rain down fatal wreckage across your once-earnest fields
Denial lays waiting for you
Dividing this distance
from blissful reminiscence
You don’t dare hold on to that grenade again
You're still peeling back skin from that last burst of hope

You count our paces now

100 shuffled footsteps atop starved earth
keep your rugged feet pointed away from certain death
you let your breath hang in measured gasps
Epiphany pinned against this stale atmosphere
you cherish
is left
Hindsight has never been more clear


Going to a funeral today. The father of one my girlfriends. Her father went in for some outpatient procedure last Tuesday, was released on Wednesday, collapsed in his bathroom on Thursday. I've only met Lori's father once or twice, but have been friends with her for more than a decade. We descended on her this past weekend with rum (her fave) and plenty of tissue. We didn't need the tissue, surprisingly.

So, I'm not ready for today. I haven't seen her unraveled, but I know she's going to be a mess and I won't be able to help. Add to that, i can't help but think about my own parents. I'm blessed to still have them (and to actually like them a lot); I can't fathom -literally canNOT compute- the concept of either of them not being here.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, ashes and dust and mortals and all that. I'm just not ready.

There's been a story or a poem about my parents scratching underneath my skin for a while. I'm just not sure how to a…

Chapter Two: Lions

CeCe’s mother entered the living room full of light and purpose. She greeted CeCe with an unusual boom in her voice, while pulling her hair pack into its usual collar-length ponytail.

“I think there’s extra sunshine out there today,” her mother said. “Let’s go outside to get some!”

CeCe just watched her mother at first. She was typically stupefied, initially, by this random alertness. Ever since the flowers started to push up from the ground, CeCe noticed that the awakened version of her mother was vibrant for shorter and shorter times. Her mother’s magic might only last a few minutes, instead of the whole morning, definitely not the whole week or a whole day anymore. Sometimes, her mother’s light wouldn’t last for a whole game of jacks.

While her mother floated about the apartment --bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, kitchen again-- CeCe was counting to a hundred. Mrs. Castellanos had showed her what to do after the 20s. By the time her mother re-emerged from their shared bedroom we…

Chapter One: Thumbtacks

2011 is The Year of the Manuscript! I've been courting this character, CeCe, for more than a decade now (I know!) and finally got the momentum, time and headspace to finish her story. I'm five chapters away from finishing, so thought I'd share excerpts along the way as I edit. Here's the first two pages of Chapter One:

CeCe mumbled a tight-lipped thank you to the tall woman who had stooped down to help her from the concrete. CeCe had crashed down on all of them when she tripped and fell through the accordion fold of the transit bus door. Unlike her sneakers, these stiff, black pumps were not familiar with the grip and lurch of a halting city bus. CeCe and her tennis shoes had grown up on these transit buses. The new, grown up heels mocked her stride and her balance, catapulting her into the cluster of strangers waiting to board.

Once on her feet, CeCe pretended to examine her ankle, not making eye contact with the tall woman or the others beginning to bo…