There’s a bit of a misconception among new writers when it comes to the best channel for publishing business or industry content online. They assume LinkedIn offers an audience that’s limited to the people they already know, and channels like Medium offer a broader audience of everyone on that channel.

This couldn’t be more wrong.

To understand my argument, the first thing you need to know is what I call the golden rule of online publishing: Every reader is earned. If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this. …

“Just wait until now becomes then. You’ll see how happy we were.” — Susan Sontag

What can happen in a week
While you lie lifeless
And unidentified
In a coma and
Nobody knows where you are?

The friends who left
You minutes from death,
At the ER
Will speed
Back into the night
To never be found but
You’ll always be grateful
They saved your life.

Your parents will wonder
At first if you’re
Missing, or kidnapped,
Dead, or alive or
Simply unable to
Make your way home.

Your children, wise souls, Won’t believe the white lies That Mommy is…

We take this sacred, annual journey on foot. Through sand and water, wading around the rubble of homes that toppled over the dunes a generation ago.

The victims of time and erosion, all that remains of the doomed, beach-front cottages are rusted pipes, shattered concrete slabs and a giant cement structure resembling a cross. Half buried in sand and tipped to its side, this isn’t a cross that any of us could bear.

Years ago, our grandparents built break walls to protect us against the elements. In our youth, we laughed at the need to preserve these things that had…

The windchill is -18, and
the snow is clinging
to the pine trees outside
my kitchen window,
pushing the heavy branches
to the ground.

I look past the dirty dishes
in the sink and say,
“It is pretty, the snow.”

“You think everything is pretty,”
my 10-year-old daughter says.
And I pause.

Does my exuberance for beauty
come through to her
amidst the rush of our mornings,
the scramble to get dinner on the table
and the overscheduling of our days?

Am I instilling
this appreciation
in her?

does she mean
to tell me
this word
is hollow?


I’ve been researching the ethics of artificial intelligence recently for work, and the concept seems simple on the surface: Don’t design an AI system that could take over the world.

But my simple understanding of the subject was challenged by an ethicist who asked if it’s ethical to design technology that could lead to massive job loss. Or is it ethical to let a machine decide what targets to take out in war? Shouldn’t there be a human conscience behind those decisions?

To most of us, ethical questions can seem like a simple matter of right and wrong — until…

Piles of thank you cards written

but not yet addressed, stacked and

lurking for weeks on my desk.

Winter clothes washed and folded,

in a green rubber tub

whose plastic lid I cannot find.

Unwritten stories of friends who

come of age amidst Seinfeld episodes, proudly

endorsing a “no learning, no hugging” refrain.

Children’s art projects spilling

out from dresser drawers

awaiting proper display.

Boxes of knick knacks not yet unpacked

from the last time we moved, no longer

worthy of collecting dust on the shelf.

This poem, still lingering

in search of a metaphor to

bring its point home.

Star fish
sea glass
and lies
they wash up
salt stained and
sun drenched
waiting to be discovered

First I collect the glass
mostly browns and greens
the blues and whites are scarce and
the rarest are the reds
remnants of headlights or road signs
from a time when
not everything was plastic
like your heart
hardened and molded to deceive

The driftwood is easier to find but tougher to carry it leaves tracks in the sand when I drag it and I have to decide with each smooth stick whether it’s worth the effort if I’ll use it…

In the wilderness
the devil never offers Jesus
He doesn’t already have.
All of these kingdoms.
Some bread.
Dominion over
life and death.

He places it all on a silver platter
inside your gluttonous mind
and makes it look
so easy.
Why wouldn’t you reach
for what your id desires and
everything within your reach?

Even after you walk
willingly into the wilderness
with every intention to
deny yourself
when the scent of bread
reaches your nose and
the land before you
beckons to be owned
how do you say no?

How does anyone but the very best…

If you ever copied the lyrics of “No Wrong, No Right” over and over in your teenage journal

If you ever moshed in a pit to “Rusty Cage”

If you ever dubbed a copy of Screaming Life/Fopp from a friend

If you ever hung a photo of a shirtless rock god, arms outstretched, on your dorm room wall

If you ever sang “Say Hello 2 Heaven” with a room full of strangers at 2 am

If you ever argued about who — Cornell or Vedder — had a better voice

If you ever introduced your first born to “Outshined” at full volume while driving in the car

Then you know what it’s like to receive a text today that said:
“He was too beautiful to die.”

He was. He is. We all are.

Cornell. Cornell. Cornell.

The waterfall chandelier in the Boom Boom Room. Photo via flickr user Leah Grace.

The club inside the building is called the Boom Boom Room, and the bar on the roof is referred to as The Top of the Standard. The instructions on Yelp say, for a quintessential New York City club experience, take the side entrance of The Standard Hotel, find the elevators behind the dining room and go up to the highest floor. From there, find a set of stairs and climb a few more floors to the roof top bar.

Don’t even try to go after 10 pm, the instructions say. After that, they lock the place down and bring out…

Alison Bolen

full-time editor; part-time writer; live music lover; home office worker; obsessive podcast listener; disenchanted jogger; wife of hillbilly dreamer; mom of 3.

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