Sailing With My Father
Historically a quiet man with an
extraordinarily dry wit
When sailing your quietude
became fierce, sailing on
The hand with a piece of shrapnel
from a war on the tiller, holding
Face turned windward, eyes
noting obstacles, checking
cat tail direction
The rush of wind caught to
fill the sails
We were happy.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dedicated, in Love and Memory, to my father, Mahlon Hendrickson Dunn, Jr., 1914-1992 / Until we meet again.
© Jessan Dunn Otis, August 6, 2018
Weeding With My Mother
I learned to weed a garden
squatting next to my mother
Once I began to learn what was wanted
and what was unwanted
The rest was easy
Get my hands dirty
Smell the earth
Make clean spaces
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dedicated with Love and Memory to Helen Constance Smith Dunn ~ 1912-1980 / Until we meet again.
© Jessan Dunn Otis, June 30, 2018
The beauty of this place
Sweet, salted sea air Pine and palm Sugar sand and St. George Island – sand dollar, shark tooth “TomTom, how you doin’?” “I’m doin’ alright.” Tillie Miller Bridge between here and Tiki – Plump, Gulf shrimp and Apalach oysters Hickory smoked chicken and ribs (no rub) and sunfried jellyfish
Seagulls Sea terns Great blue herons Dolphins spyhop and blow every now and then Distant light on Dog Island in a 2:20 AM blueblacknight
Sopchoppy Eastpoint Panacea Alligator Point
A few days back Julie and Artie left, again, having returned from leaving once before and we all walked this beach, beyond the pine tree point, further than any of us had gone before – sea-silvered driftwood, beheaded brown pelican in the brambles of sea grass and pine needles Warming sun Cool, hard-packed, low tide sugar sand under bare feet Sassy leaping pine-stained, sepia rivulets
The laughing gull has returned each morning, greeting and reclaiming its territory and, more than likely, calling out “Sea urchin!” to the others that, eventually, return — glide, drift, rise and drop, land Eat, stay — then, again, depart — leaving this length of calm, shallow bay to terns, herons and egrets to forage
The beauty of this place is as intricately delicate as the silent glideflight of eleven brown pelicans in singular formation, skimming the shallow wave crests – moving from east to west – becoming, eventually, a pulsing line disappearing into the horizon
The beauty of this place
The red smirch of Crystal hot sauce spilled at the edge of a previous high tide line, scattered with Apalachicola oyster shells from our early evening appetizers, has been consumed by the storm-driven, rough chop of last night’s rain, wind and the approaching full moon Wind out of the Southeast, breaking diagonal crests of gunmetal gray and the red buoy strains on its chains as the tide shifts and the channel churns
There is violence in the beauty of this place, too – ships lost, lives swallowed whole, coyotes grab dogs, alligators grab anything
Waves meet land and visibly reverberate back into water, again –
making unmaking remaking
A broken buoy drifts Freed until it’s caught on low tide sea grass before this tide turns The sun breaches darkening, layered afternoon storm clouds to the West, while brilliantly illuminating the etched, white sandbar over there
Burble of language bounces inside my ear – “Hey! How you doin’?” heard so often it becomes as familiar and unnoticed as the wave and the air and this light
The beauty of this place is as much a mystery to me as you
Bert and Kathy, Hattie and Zack – come and met and gone Orange and onion salad, frittatas made and shared Al and Sandy, Sharon and Larry, Scotty, Doug, Gen and Ted Sun-warmed, woman laughing with Pat — LaVerne with her easy, flashing Apalach smile Kim and Tony and oystering all Monday morning across from St. Vincent because the rip was too chopped
Three brilliant, crested egrets graze along this shore, dolphins pass and blow and continue on, as heedless of us as the swarm of terns that rise and twist and glide away to feed further down on this storm-tossed, driven gloss
WOYS, Oyster Radio, 100.5 FM, plays softly as the shrouded sun journeys further West The playful pinwheel whirls and chatters, stick jammed between the weathered 1st and 2nd boards of that well-worn picnic table Just outside this open window, burlap oyster bag flaps
Steelwater, forbidding wind along this coast of Carrabelle Another invisible finger whips this water, etching new (yet ancient) patterns
Tide turns, distant sandbar, barrier beach revealed Unseen fish school as flocks follow and feed, far off
Damp, salted air Thin, singular electric line that leads from shore to dock light Whisper of wave and wind
The beauty of this place
No matter where I go nor what I do, the beauty of this place will taste like home as salt is in my tears
The apparent void dissolved The horizon I can never reach will always draw me in, seeming to want to go further than my eye can see, when the greatest daring starts within
The beauty of this place…
~ ~ ~
Dedicated to: Suzanne Creamer, Stephine McDowell, Marlene Moore, Jennifer Moro, Albert Otis, Jennifer Pickett, C.J.(Joe)Pouncey, Sassy, Judi Rundel
~ ~ ~
HoHum RV Park/Carrabelle, Florida/January-February, 2004
(c)Jessan Dunn Otis / 2004-2017
Think of all the things you’ve done to “make money”. That, in itself, is a ridiculous concept. We don’t “make money”, the government does. We, you and I, earn money.
I started earning money as a girl – granted an allowance for accomplishing certain chores. Chores done, allowance paid. No chores done, no allowance. Some chores completed, partial payment.
At 19 I landed my first “adult” job as a clerk-typist at a social service in Providence, Rhode Island. Paid weekly. Still living at home with my parents in Warwick, RI. Within a few months I fledged myself. Time to go out on my own. One room apartment on the East Side, shared bath, no parking. Independent. Earning money. Paying my own bills.
Some time later I began to see and understand better about what money, as a thing, did to folks. The earning of it, who had more of it, who had less of it and how those two conditions stratified and segregated people from and against each other. Judgements. “Better than” because one had more money. “Less than” because of having not so much money.
This is nothing to say about how the getting of that money perverted folks – what one did to get more, as if the flash and bling and apparent “power” that all that money was had made a person, somehow, superior or more influential, ultimately.
I still earn money and appreciate what it allows me to do – support a household, buy food, purchase something beautiful, share it to support a charitable cause or new initiative. There are times, however, when I think about the earlier tradition of barter – I have something you want, you have something I want, we determine a fair value, make the deal and each of us walks away satisfied and happy. Simple. Neverthemore, in most Westernized societies, barter has faded and it’s the dollar that rules.
Next time you think about money, think about what it really is – a coin or a decorated piece of paper – and, what it takes to earn it, how the having or not having it creates false and devastating divisions between us (as people and as nations); and, what’s the true value and human cost of “earning money”.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(c) 6/8/ 2017
written by: Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer
A new spin on K.I.S.S. ~ essay
Sitting in my science class in junior high school, my desk was at the back of the room, situated to look down one of those long hall ways.
Someone was out of class and shouted out, “You’re stupid!” to someone I couldn’t see. That echoed ’round that long, empty hallway and smacked me right in my gut. What an ugly word to shout at someone.
Years later someone shared K.I.S.S. with me and there was that ugly word again. Despicable.
I’d have none of that.
From that time forward I changed that last “S” to “Sweetie”. So much better.
Words have power. They can heal or they hurt.
Mind what flows through your lips. You are responsible for what you speak and what you don’t speak.
K(eep) I(t) S(imple) S(weetie).
May 1, 2017 – #poem
So much to say
So much Silence in between
Solitude is my constant companion
Balance in all things
Letting thoughts and breath
run out and back
Sun on skin
Joy-filled hoot from behind
Mating calls of this bird and that
Distant roar of plane pushing into
brilliant blue of this afternoon’s air
One mourning dove lowing
soft and close
Thank You for this life
This one I’m living at this moment…
…this moment …this moment
Each of us is in service to someone or
Who do you serve?
…only this moment.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(c) 5.1.17 – Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer
There are a lot of things that can distract us these days. Should “leaders” fall into that grouping?
More than a few “leaders” employ the strategy of distraction, tossing out red herrings willy-nilly and expecting the populace to follow.
I’m not falling for it. Listening with a long memory of “leaders” who have come before, the art of the strategy of distraction is one that is particularly dishonest, disingenuous and demeaning.
When asked a direct question, give a direct answer. Simple enough.
We certainly live in interesting times. Leaders need to lead forthrightly, without talking down to the populace nor intentionally and/or unintentionally employing their particular spin on the strategy of distraction.
FRESH NIGHT AIR ~ #poem
There are moments that will always twang a heart –
like the sound of a plucked steel string guitar
echoing far beyond the resonance in a
fresh night air
That was one of those moments,
embraced by winds of an oncoming tropical blow –
day filled with bluest sky, dancing clouds and
dancing crowds When, unexpectedly, an
invitation is extended and accepted
That rhythm that thrums through all of us was
thrumming through a quiet, gentle, loving tenderness
in that fresh night air, as a whisper
whispered close and low
(Time to go
Time to go)
Steel string echo plucks a heart
in this fresh night air
I am there.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
© Jessan Dunn Otis/September 7, 2016
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Chasing the gold ring: some thoughts on #SEO and all ~ essay
After 20+ years of collaborating with clients to create custom content for a variety of readables and collaterals that communicate (and, a tad more mischief), I think about SEO as part of the foundation of how the bots and search engines “see” content on your site. You know, of course, that there are many more search engines than the most popular.
It is words that feed the bots and analytics. Since every site has an intention and/or focus, the density of the keywords is essential. Within measurable limits, there can and should be a certain percentage of keywords per an average 500-word article on a site. Sometimes that density can be a bit higher and still not be considered “over-stuffing” by the bots. Too high, however, and the bots will “reject” the density; and, in fact, penalize a site for using way too many keywords.
There are companies (small and large) that you can pay to create keyword and SEO content. Thing is, when you stop paying those companies, your site ranking drops, at best, or plummets. Of course, there are certain keywords that are very competitive to pay for for SEO and keyword density, to up the ranking on search engines. The more universally popular and/or desirable a keyword is, the more expensive it can be to pay someone to rise up your site via search engine rankings for that keyword.
The very best SEO is organic, keyword density; and, that means creating content that consistently and regularly centers on the variety of keywords associated with your site, focus and intention(s).
Also, there are things called “short tail” or “long tail” keywords. That’s an extension of SEO involving content that, somewhat, “surrounds”/extends your keyword(s), employing variables of your keyword(s). This is accomplished mathematically and, again, can shift and change as more and more content/sites are jumping onto the ‘net. Much more explanations can be found by putting “short tail” or “long tail” into your search engine.
Search engines are constantly and consistently shifting and refining their bots for keyword density and SEO. In other words, what was true at one time may have shifted and may not be so true at this time or at a later time. Metrics, analytics, keyword density acceptability and all are capricious and everyone is chasing that “gold ring”.
Another item to note re: searchability and search engine ranking is that most folks do not go to the first, second or third listing via a search engine for keywords. It’s thought that those placed there are either paid search rankings (i.e. “false”) or too expensive for whatever one is searching. The best placement via a search engine search is #4-10; nevertheless, over time, that can change, too.
REMEMBER: Words drive the ‘net. Organic, custom content, with prevailing, accepted keyword density is the best. That means creating original, SEO content. Study the history of the world wide web, on which the ‘net “floats”, and one will better come to understand and employ SEO.
Or, you can ignore all the apparent rules and, simply, write what you want.
Now, go and create original, custom content, that tells a good story – again and again and again.
NB: This article, in a slightly different form, was written as an e-mail response to a dear Friend’s question about how I learned about SEO and how they, too, could learn about it. Thanks, DK, for asking.