Norman’s Song

During a trip to Philadelphia late last year, I rode the rail into town from the airport. In the course of my journey, I transferred trains at the Jefferson Station stop. As I waited, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the notes of a saxophone. Norman played beautifully for an on-the-go audience, many of whom did not stop long enough to notice, or appreciate, him. But there were those who did, too.

The men and women,
Girls and boys,
Shuffle by
Sometimes with a glance,
A brief acknowledgement
Of greatness —
A nod
To the musician.
Amazing Grace
The sweetness of their sound
Filling the halls
With waves
Of love and feeling,
Blessing the passersby,
Without pretense;
Working wonders.
The song of their heart,
Holding out
A hand,
Hoping to hear
The notes returned.

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Intersections of separateness

Those places of coming and going
They connect us,
And divide
The places we avoid
From those where we reside.
We protect
A shining city,
An example,
Torn from the dark,
From those who would threaten;
Its purity
Derived from otherness.
Its calling card,
Its greatest shame,
That it decides
Who gets to stay.

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So far from where I once was
I find myself, now —
But not so far —
My gaze only focused,
My steps perfected.
I am me and me is you.
My feet, not so tender as they were,
The ground not so soft.
Though I am one with
Where I am
Heavy objects hurtle past,
Never stopping,
Never asking,
What I need.
Is peace
Me and you, and I and they
Here and now,
Never stirring or colliding,
But stopping to ask?
The light finds my hand
As I hold it open,
Moving up and down my skin.
I and me, and you and they and

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Being Me


And disappointed.

That who I am is never good enough —
That being me does nothing to measure up.
Our definitions skewed, reality obscured,
Success turned on its head.

That caring doesn’t count for much;
Money does the talking.
One fills my belly, the other my soul —
The echoing refrain.

That, though all lives are equal, some lives matter less.
That preachers preach instead of practice
And talk is cheap.

We miss the value among the noise,
Buried in a cacophony of copies,
Tempted with our eyes and blinded by our tongues.

I want to be
And have that be enough.
But no,
At least that’s what I’m told.

How so
When what I know is different,
What I know is real.

That beauty comes from caring,
Value from fraternity —
Toil illuminating truth.

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Support creators in all forms


Do you subscribe to Netflix? If so, you are one of the more-than-50-million people who do. I have the service, myself, and love it. I prefer to consume television shows (content) from beginning to end and Netflix allows you to do this better than anyone before. Oh, and It’s also only, what, $9 a month?

Basically, Netflix delivers a lot of value at a low cost. But it also does some other things. They have the ability, given the platform they’ve created and the subscribers they’ve accrued, to provide us with something even more valuable: original content. In the last couple years, Netflix has released the multi-Emmy-nominated House of Cards and Orange is the New Black to critical acclaim and cult-like fan followings. There are other projects as well, including Hemlock Grove and continuations of previously created content such as the fourth season of Arrested Development.

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My Name Is Jackson Birch – Excerpt, Draft 2

Here is an excerpt from my second draft. If you haven’t read the first chapter excerpt I’ve already published and/or would like to read it again for context, you can do so here. Please enjoy, share and let me know your thoughts! Thank you.

Photo by Hornet Photography

My Name Is Jackson Birch

A novel by Jabril Faraj, Draft 2

Chapter Four

After a few months at the farm, the sun had fully set on our previous lives and we found ourselves in the midst of darkness. Many of us were relatively handy but this, this was an entirely different plane of existence; we had to learn how to survive all over again.

When you have nothing you start from whatever you have and try to make the best of it – that’s exactly what we did. We’d brought some small items with us and a few more had awaited our arrival. In all, we had in our possession a few older weapons, some tracking gear, other simple tech and the farm, complete with a few cows, a dozen or so chickens and a field or two of corn and wheat. It wasn’t much – it wasn’t what we were used to – but it was more than we could have asked for. We were thankful.

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Why Goals Are Important (Even If You Don’t Meet Them)

I saw someone say recently that “Goals are nothing but dreams with deadlines.” That resonated with me. So often, we put things off until tomorrow – paying bills, making that phone call, doing that thing that needs to be done – and constantly avoid committing or fail to put ourselves out there for fear of being rejected or let down. We think “If I don’t expect anything then I won’t be let down.” But, in the end, it isn’t the time you failed that you will regret; it’s the time you didn’t try.

From the outset, I’ve made a point of setting goals for my writing. I haven’t met all of those goals but, in the course of pursuing them, I continue to get closer and closer to my ultimate goal: publishing my first book. I participated in National Novel Writing Month last November. The goal (for everyone who participated) was 50,000 words. At the end of November, I had about 5,000 new words. At first, I was disappointed – I’d hardly dented the goal I’d set out to achieve. But, looking through a different lens, I realized that, though I hadn’t achieved the lofty goal I’d set out after, I had achieved something: 5,000 more words I didn’t have at the beginning of the month and my most productive month writing since the beginning of the year.

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I Did #NaNoWriMo

30 day method to writing a novel

Hey, there! I know, I know – it’s been a while. I’m sorry. And, yes… I’m still writing.

In case you were wondering, that’s the Twitter hashtag abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month. This writing challenge takes place in November and the goal is 50,000 words over the course of the month. I started with big goals. I hadn’t touched the novel in months and, quite honestly, hadn’t done any good amount of writing in a while.

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