Depth of darkness…

Good morning!

I feel like I am late this week because I wasn’t able to make a post on Monday morning!  Worry not (not that I thought you would), I am here and I have been working slowly but surely on the week 9 Dogwood Photography challenge: SHADOWS!

I love shadows.  I think I mentioned in last week’s post that I was going to have a hard time self-editing because I was going to take so many photos this week.  Alas, the week had other ideas.  I did manage to get some, and I have one in mind that I cannot wait to do, I can only hope I have the skills to make the finished product look like the image in my mind… either way, I haven’t neglected photography this week, I just haven’t put out as much work as I wish I had.  I am getting really tired of adulting and responsibilites.


That said, I am going to post what I have now and hopefully I will have my pièce de résistance, if you will, shot and ready to post for Monday’s post.  Week 10 is “Environmental,” the challenge is to show a subject in their natural habitat.  I have to admit, this one is going to be a real challenge in that I am finding myself struggling to find the time to shoot lately.  I may have to cheat that week’s challenge and post an archive photo.  I hope not, because I really wanted this challenge to serve as a means for me to get the ol’ big boy camera out at least once per week.  This one will be a thinker.


Without further ado, the week 9 photos thus far:


BIRDWATCHER ©2016 Melissa S Jeffrey

Gizmo, in his natural habitat (maybe this would qualify for week 10’s challenge hahaha!)


VISCIOUS ©2016 Melissa S Jeffrey

Huey.  I adore his Napoleon complex and how he “protects” me from Tiny the pit bull. Huey reminds me to never let my size hold me back.


JUST VISITING ©2016 Melissa S Jeffrey

Kitty the Bombay leaves his mark in the snow.


IN BETWEEN DAYS ©2016 Melissa S Jeffrey

There are so many “ponds” along Boyfriend’s street, so many looks to look and sights to see.  I love it, especially at night, and Boyfriend braves the freezing cold temps, quite literally in the middle of the night, to go out on photo adventures with me.


SHADOW MOON ©2016 Melissa S Jeffrey

Named after one of my favorite fictional characters, Shadow Moon is also one of my favorite shots from all of the adventures I have been on since starting the Dogwood Challenge.

It was after midnight, a blustery 20-something degrees farenheit, and we were on the side of the road with a metal tripod so cold it hurt to touch it.  There’s a story brewing somewhere in those words.


Unrelated to the topic at hand:

Speaking of words, I am going to make a valiant effort going forward to write more blurbs and what-nots.  When I was growing up, I always had characters living in my mind, and for most of my adult life, one of those characters dictated a lot of my artistic endeavors as my “alter ego,” who wasn’t fearful and didn’t give a damn what other people thought.


Joe A. Lien

Case in point, Joe was one of my favorite high school characters.  I used to write a weekly comic book staring him and his pals.  I wish those notebooks had survived the years…

More recently, it kind of started the day that Boyfriend and I went to 78th Street Studios for their Third Friday event.  I met and purchased sci-fi books by a Cleveland author named Marcus V. Calvert, admittedly, I haven’t had time to read any of his work, but I am really excited to do so.  Anyway, I bring him up because he asked me if I write, and I told him that I would like to.  He asked what genre I would like to get in to.  Oh, the possibilities, right?  I would love to write poetry, I would love to publish a fiction novel, I would even love to write a series of short stories and publish them all together.  Alas, I am one of those folks who always seems to put job before anything else, and I quickly find myself with neither time nor motivation.  The Dogwood Challenge is/was my way of breaking that cycle as much as possible in photography, and I would like to do the same with ALL of the artistic endeavors that I, once upon a time, held so dear.


He told me, quite enthusiastically, that I most certainly SHOULD write.  All the time.  PUBLISH, PUBLISH, PUBLISH.  He told me that now is the time because with the Internet, self publishing has never been easier (hello, blog).

As you already probably know, I find it incredibly difficult to put myself out there like that.  I would love the honest opinions of a teacher or instructor, hell, a mentor of any kind, to give me the critiques I need to better hone my skills in ALL areas… however, like most folks, and especially folks who happen to have anxiety and other assorted mood disorders, I am also completely horrified by criticism.  I tie a lot of my self-worth in to the work that I do.

Well, since I am not a writer and I probably need a hell of a lot of work, I am just going to post a poem from the archives until I start writing new work:


The Miscarriage. 2012

The pain I feel is not long since gone.

Nine months ago, you did me wrong.

The mask that I wear cracks and breaks

So everyone knows I’ve made these mistakes.

But don’t you think twice of the prize that you won.

I’d certainly hate to ruin your fun.

You left me alone to deal with the pain,

And I don’t deserve to be hurt again.

So don’t bother to call, don’t try to write.

You’ve made it clear, this was never your fight.

I’d fight it alone, and that I have done,

And will continue to do, everyday till I’m gone.

I don’t write this for you, just so we’re clear.

I write for the little one not meant to be here.

And since this is mine, this cross that I bear,

I don’t want to see you, I can’t stand to hear


“I’m sorry.”

You’re not.  No question.


So go and have fun, your battle is done

Mine wages on, it will never be won.

I’ll never be “momma” to that girl or boy

Because to you, my life was a toy.

You were my friend, you left me in pain

But rest assured, that won’t happen again.

Two days in a hospital while I lost our child

My trust in you, forever defiled.

When you failed to show to help me cope

Each moment alone, a tightening rope.


“I’m sorry.”

You’re not.  Where were you?


Me, scared and alone, you out on the town,

Me clutching the bedsheets in a hospital gown.


“I’m sorry.”

Fuck you.  How dare you?


The tears that I cry are still hot with grief

But I won’t bother you with it, to your relief.

But you are right about one little thing,

You are very sorry, a despicable being.


“I’m sorry.”

You’re not.  But you should be.



They say to write what you know.  So far, in all of the poems I have written over the years, this one was the only one that I remember really hurting to write.  I wrote it shortly before I would have been due, at the heart of the last depression cycle that I experienced.


My mouse is currently hovering over the “publish” button and I am terrified to click.  Just know that if you are reading this, I finally decided to fight my fear…




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