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Telling Stories in Istanbul | jodicowles.com

Which is why I focus on the other 99%

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

I’d just graduated from a couples-churn-out-factory masquerading as a university and was being forced to attend a marriage seminar by my lifelong best friend — chiefly because she was the speaker and needed someone to run the sound equipment for her — when I received the, hands down, best marital advice I’ve ever been given.

Let me be clear, at the time I had no real interest in the topic. Not only had I just endured four long and nuptial-filled years, where I was not even given the satisfaction of pelting friends with rice because that was when we were…


And why it took until now to admit it

Close-up photo of Matthew McConaughey at the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony red carpet, by David Torcivia via Wikimedia Commons.

I remember sitting in the theater while Matthew McConaughey gave his closing argument in the movie, A Time to Kill. He was describing in detail a horrific attack on a small black girl, asking us to imagine it happening at each step of the way, and I was weeping.

And then he choked out a line I still remember, 24 years later:

“Now imagine she was white.”

And it made a difference.

Not in a way I could understand, not in a way I had ever been conscious of before, and certainly not in a way I could articulate. …


Asking for a friend

Exhibit A: Unidentified Animal. “Credit:” Author

I have many skills, but Exhibit A above will quickly show you that drawing is not one of them. As I was looking at my masterpiece this morning, it got me thinking — at what point is my 19-month-old daughter going to start judging me on my (in)ability to draw an adequate cat or notice that 75% of my animal sounds are indistinguishable?

And how soon after that will she start judging me on things that really matter, like my lack of fashion sense or the fact that she’ll be able to speak three languages better than me?

I’m quite…


As it turns out, a pandemic is similar to every other crisis in life

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

In early March, I was averaging three or four hour-long runs a week, right on schedule for an April half marathon my husband and I were planning to enter.

This morning I barely finished two miles on the treadmill and it felt like I could taste blood in my lungs.

Stupid pandemic.


Photo by Zachary DeBottis from Pexels

Is Your Garden Failing?

Several days ago in passing a friend mentioned the term cultivating faithfulness.

It quickly brought to mind an image of ground hardened almost to cement, and after a moment staring in dismay, I recognized the scene.

It was the plot where my fledgling and always finicky self-control plants used to grow — never thrive, mind you — but there were usually a few sickly leaves on each plant.

In these days at home, I’ve let myself go in many ways, excusing it with the uncertainty and stress, turning an intentional blind eye to plants withering day by day, while I…


A Short Story.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

The sand is mesmerizing. The way it moves, drifts — hovers, almost — over the surface of the beach. One might almost be forgiven for thinking it was alive because it moves like it has intelligence, or maybe more like the wind moving it has intelligence.

Directing. Guiding. Showing it where to reach and leading it through its complicated dance with the water always coming and going.

The wind is relentless — it hasn’t stopped blowing all afternoon.

And I realize, suddenly, that it’s a lot like our Enemy. That realization causes a shudder to pass through my body, completely…


Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

It’s time to stop using US and THEM.

I would like to know what you think.

Not what the media says you think, they who gain ratings every time they can get us to fight one another on camera. Not what the politicians and leaders say you think, they who benefit from glomming us into groups and then pitting us against one another. Not even what I think you think based on what group or box I’ve previously used to categorize you.

And no, I’m not talking about the memes or the “she says it better than I ever could’s” that many of us tweet and share on…


Here’s One Tip That Works For Me.

Photo by Philip Ackermann from Pexels

Last weekend I was nearing the end of a six-mile run when, for a few moments, I was overwhelmed with the thought that I couldn’t take one more step. I was so tired, my feet hurt, the freezing wind was blowing in my face — and not to be too graphic, but there was some painful chafing going on. And worst of all, the finish line was too far away to bear thinking of.

Those of you who run know what I’m talking about — it doesn’t matter how far you’ve already gone or how close the end, when you…


Literally Literary and The Writing Cooperative prompt

Photo by Javier Cañada on Unsplash

Her left foot started to swell, that was the first sign that something odd was occurring.

She had been young once and used to have an admirable amount of mobility. She spent most of her days sprinting around the neighborhood, visiting all her friends, taking soup to the sick and cheer to the weary. She used to love to go to the ocean and watch the sunset, letting the water lap against her toes until they went numb.

She didn’t understand why, but she’d been slowing down of late. She hadn’t felt like running, or even walking fast, and sometimes…


Photo by Olivia Bauso on Unsplash

Why you should consider long term commitment in this instant age

“There was a boy, maybe six or eight, chained to a tree.”

My father could hardly get the words out. He was showing me the blurry picture he’d taken surreptitiously out the side of his pocket, trying to describe the scene through his tears.

“He had epilepsy of some kind and he kept falling into the fire whenever he had a seizure, so they chained him up to protect him.”

My parents and I were in North Africa volunteering with a group providing medical care. …

Jodi Cowles

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