Today the Daily Post featured my recent poem, Chaos, in a post about poetry for uncertain times.  I was honored because the poems that sat alongside mine were beautiful, and because the editor who assembled them is one of the best curators of the internet I’ve ever stumbled across.

I was also incredibly critical.  This is nothing new.

I won an award for writing when I was a child.  The teacher insisted on reading it to the class and I hid under my chair until she was done.

At the BlogHer conference, they printed my words on a six-foot-tall board, and every time someone stood close enough to read it, I stood in front of it, blocking their view.


A post shared by My name is Ra. (@rawra.avis) on

Had I been a child still, I would have knocked it to the ground, or pushed it against a wall, but I wear wrinkles now.  My body has served too much time to give even a moment to the whims of my mortification.  My mind is dedicated, though.  It can hold a state of embarrassed shock for days.

The truth is, the story for which I won an award, back when I was a kid, was a terrible story.   The truth is my post which was selected as one of the 2016 BlogHer Voices of the Year was important, but poorly told.  The truth is, the truth is, the truth is…

The spotlight burns me.  I never seem to tan.
The spotlight dehydrates me.  I’m at risk for spotlight-stroke, every single time it hunts me down.

It makes little sense why I would then decide to have a blog– a catalog of vanity, a veritable lightning rod for incoming spotlights.

It makes little sense why people keep turning the light my way, and I don’t say that to argue the point, to fish for compliments in the overflowing sea of your kindness.  I say it because it feels true, and scary. It is something that terrifies me, and so it is something I write, in hopes that my writing may lead me to a better truth.

Four and a half feet of me is still seven years old,
hiding under a desk,
waiting for you to hear the words I wrote,
knowing that the spotlight is on them,
and so the spotlight is on me as well because I live so heavily in everything I write.

I live in every story I tell, and I take the energy from its center.

I am a vampire, trying to see myself in a reflection I painted.  I am a vampire, and the spotlight is my sun.



  1. Your words have their place among us, as does your face. And it’s okay to be “the face of the franchise”, when it is a franchise that is built upon a foundation such as yours. Thank you for every word you have given us so far, and for all the future words… face attached… to come.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You weren’t ’round these parts pre-prison, but yikes– getting to the point where I share my face as often as this would have never happened had it not been for my last few years. Unless you mean my metaphorical face. That, I stick in everyone’s business all the time. 😉

      Thank you for reading, Mr. Friday. I think I’m going to fix up the Chaos poem so that you can read it with me at the next TLS, if you’re willing. I’m thinking you can slowly list out all the stuff that makes it chaotic to me, while I read out just the bare bones. Like “She tries to see freedom” (while you’re listing out all the distracting stuff)… “She tries to see…” (more stuff) … “She tries to see freedom but…” (more) “She only sees chaos.” Do you think that’d be a do-able rework?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh good! I’m excited to make that sow’s ear of a poem into a sow’s ear with rhinestones on it. 🙂 Not to say I’m not grateful for that poem and the Daily Post prompt that inspired it… I really am. I can breathe when I see the picture now, somehow, miraculously.


  2. This sounds lame but maybe it’s because you live so heavily in what you write. Your words shine through. People want to know more. Of course I could be wrong…but I’m not. We are our worst critics. In high school, I wrote about a winter scene in the living room window. It was written through the eyes of a child. The teacher wanted to publish, but I wouldn’t let her. She said it represented my innocence. People aren’t allowed to see that part.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We really are our worst critics, because you should have seen my eyes light up when I thought there might be a chance I could read that winter scene. I bet you wrote it beautifully enough to snap us all back to innocence. Love you, chica.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You write heartfelt sentences, which stretch into memorable stories, poetry and word structures. Loved this, since in its essence I think many who dabble with words, for public consumption -feel this way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a funny thing for us to do. Build a playground in the sun and then write ourselves into the story as vampires. But yep, I bet a few of us do this. Thank you, Sarina, for reading. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Know in your heart as I do that spotlights will forever scorch persons of substance. Bright lights dazzle electric off those without insight or purpose. Sleep well beneath illumination cognizant of your open mind and heart, let spotlight rest its weary head on your shoulder. Spotlight gets so very tired of empty shelled nincompoops.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The idea that I’m fated to shine is so much nicer than the idea of accidentally falling into a ditch where the spotlight is illuminating things anyway. Which is pretty much how my mind sees events, usually, ha! 🙂 Thanks, Sreejit. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Maya Angelou and Oprah have probably written somewhere something about you being the spotlight, about not being afraid to shine your light.

    I think you’re brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re brilliant, too! 🙂

      Shining isn’t so bad. I just worry that maybe I’m not the most qualified. A senseless worry since there’s no such thing as a limit to light, but there you have it. 🙂


  6. I do what scares me the most because it makes me feel alive. I’m also my own worst critic. Regardless of whether you deserve the spotlight or want to hide from it, your style of writing is amazing and needs to be shared with others. 🙂 You’ve got a fan right here!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A lot of us feel the same way. I’m uncomfortable with compliments no matter their origin. But I’ve learned to just accept them even if I don’t agree, because people don’t like to be told their opinions are wrong.

    I think you’re a fantastic writer, but you didn’t hear me say that because I don’t want you hiding under a desk on my account.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not everyone’s writing is a conduit for attention, or a focal point. I think it means you’re writing what people want to hear, and perhaps a little of what the world *needs* to hear. And that matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That you fail to seek the spotlight is precisely why your words strike with a THUD. I hope you never get that tan, lest your words become empty, spotlight-seeking mumbo-jumbo like so much out there we are forced to contend with. Your words are light themselves, and they outshine the spotlight of our praise. They are bigger than we are, we have to look up and out or into the infinite inner space to see and understand them. Their light exposes us. If anyone should fear…

    Just know that the spotlight on you is heart-shaped and designed to draw more to the life-bringing power of your words.

    “Love is a flame that burns everything other than itself. It is the destruction of all that is false and the fulfillment of all that is true.” – Adyashanti

    ❤ you, Ra.


  10. Ooph..powerful. I don’t know, it may sound really weird…but as I was reading this post..some where in the middle of it, I couldn’t wait to finish I did my usual fast read..just so I could comment, because me..being me…I HAVE to do things in

    So, anyways…the FEELING I that your fear of the spotlight..comes from a past life. And I’m thinking it wasn’t a good experience with the spotlight..which is why this fear. Yet your soul has something to do..something to say…and it knows that it is what it is that you are doing…Work on this settle whatever it was that happened then…and we here to cheer you on and give you more spotlights..teehee.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Staying grounded is good, but acknowledging when you have done something good is good too. Keeping a balance is hard but you do a pretty darn good job. So keep doing what you do. Also — have you thought that maybe there is no spotlight, but rather you are a lighthouse? You have a strong guiding light that beckons people to safe harbors? That’s what I think. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hmmmmm . . . . . I think many people, you, me, most of us actually, shrink from having the light shone upon us. My theory is it’s because then everyone will see our perceived flaws that we’re desperately trying to hide. It seems to be part of the human condition, and there really are very few people who do well in the bright light of fame. Hang in there. I think you are so talented, and so driven to write despite your fears and flaws, that you just have to get used to it.
    (((((Hugs))))) Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The spotlight, like water, is just seeking its own level, which is why it shines on you. It’s just more comfortable with other lights. Maybe it’s lonely.

    Congratulations sweetie! *hugs* ❤

    Liked by 1 person


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