Inaugural Issue: The Rush

Hello friends and writers,

I am so honored to have a poem in the inaugural issue of The Rush, a literary magazine published by the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles. They typically seek high-energy pieces that reflect the rush of life. To my delighted surprise, they are actually able to pay writers. Many fledgling journals or magazines are unable to pay writers until they have published several issues and accrued a following. This first issue is special to me for another reason – my poem appears alongside the experimental prose of someone I had the privilege of work-shopping during my graduate poetry workshops, Judith Roney. You can find her piece, “How to Operate with a Blown Mind,” here. You can also find my poem, “SE 14th Avenue Evenings,” here, and the entire first issue is available on their homepage.

I haven’t written an update in a long while, but there have been many blessings for me and Josh recently. I am excited to sit down and gather all of my thoughts soon. Until then, happy writing.

With love,



SRR Volume 36, Issue 3 is live!

Hello friends and writers,

My poem, “Staring into the Sun,” went live in the volume 36, issue 3 of The Sandy River Review, the undergraduate literary journal run by students at the University of Maine at Farmington. My poem starts on page four, and check out all of the other lovely literary works and photographs that made it into this issue.

Download a PDF version

Source: Current Issue

Engagement Photos & Recent Events


Hello, WordPress! Thank God it’s Wednesday. So sometimes we fall into monotonous routines when there aren’t a lot of disruptions or anticipations, and Josh and I have done just that: wake up, walk the dog, go to work, come home at midday to walk the dog, go back to work, go home to watch The Wire, eat dinner, and finally fall asleep to just go through all of the same motions. What I’ve learned is to be thankful for these quiet days. When I’m upset or stressed, life might seem a little more exciting, but those anxieties are not contributing to my overall happiness.

I do have a bit of good news though! Josh and I just found out a couple weeks ago that we’ll each have a poem digitally published in the next issue of Absinthe Poetry Review. This is the first time we’ve ever been published together, and I surely hope it won’t be the last. As if the timing couldn’t be more perfect, our engagement photos we took near the end of August are ready for your lovely little paws. Our good friend, Jerry, is a wonderful photographer, videographer, and animator. If you like what you see, consider visiting his portfolio to see his many other talents. He braved the entire day with us, starting in coastal Cocoa Beach and later in whimsical Mount Dora. I somehow made it through three outfit changes even though the weather was abysmal—upper 90s, bordering 100 degrees, and the afternoon rain was not in our favor either.

For those of you getting ready to hire an engagement photographer, I suggest choosing a photographer that  you and your partner feel very comfortable with. Though Jerry captured hundreds of very beautiful and mid-blink moments, I found the candid photos more endearing and indicative of the friendship that Josh and I share. A majority of the photos we ended up selecting to share with our friends and loved ones were, really, very silly. We were laughing, looking down, swiping hair away from each other’s faces, and still very much in love. Jerry caught us in our natural elements as opposed to the tasteful rigidity a lot of other couples go for.

For those of you getting ready for your scheduled engagement photo shoot, just remember to have fun. It helps to browse through Pinterest for a little bit of inspiration beforehand, but don’t get caught up in creating the perfect shot. We tried a lot of poses that didn’t work out at all, like me and Josh standing on a dock while I was holding him from behind–essentially a pregnancy reversal. There were a lot of photos where Josh or Jerry had said something ridiculous to me right before, so my natural reactions ended up speaking louder than a hard, romantic stare or a thoughtful sidelong glance. Check out just a few samples from our engagement photo shoot and let me know what you think!

First UCF MFA Reading of the Year


This summer was an absolute whirlwind, and I imagine you must feel the same way. As I mourn the passing of August and contemplate the fact that there are no more semesters for me to look forward to anymore (unless I suck it up and go for the PhD), I was overjoyed to be invited to read at UCF’s first PARCELS reading of the academic year. This will be the third premier PARCELS reading that I’ve been a part of and I am so glad to share the few poems I wrote this summer with UCF’s current creative writing students, alumni, and faculty. The reading series will no longer be held at Stardust Video & Coffee but will, instead, take place at Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts in Winter Park from about 7:30 until 9 p.m. this coming Sunday (9/11/2016). There will be a total of four readers sharing new works in fiction, literary nonfiction, and/or poetry. I look forward to seeing some new and familiar faces!

If you or someone you know might be interested to learn more about UCF and its MFA or Graduate programs, please feel free to visit them online or leave a comment below and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have or refer you to the best possible resource. The MFA program in Creative Writing offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction, and features a curriculum fueled by aesthetic values and focused on students’ original creative work. UCF’s faculty members are deeply committed to cultivating a diverse community of high-quality literary writers and preparing them for careers in writing, editing, teaching, and/or other creative endeavors. They prepared me, and I’ve found good fortune publishing my poems in this very competitive literary market while utilizing tools learned in the classroom in my marketing strategy career. The sky is the limit, and no one can stifle your creativity. Dare to discover your capabilities.

You can also follow the fun events and advice or topic articles consistently posted to the MFA program’s blog.

Jazmin Darznik Pastiche: Lake Baldwin Park

One traffic light away, Huxley undeniably knows where we’re headed. Then again, I assume that he assumes all car rides either lead to the dog park or thousands of highway miles. I put the car in park and he cries in anticipation. Huxley hops from the sand-ridden backseat of my Honda Civic and pulls me toward the closest entrance. As I lift the first latch, he dances and the white tresses of his tail flit quickly. I lift the second latch and he is gone as quickly as a gannet plunging headfirst into water.

A majority of the park is shaded by tall oak and vast buttonwood trees, all shrouded by Spanish moss that hangs and rustles like party streamers left out and abandoned before a summertime storm. Roots run and crawl beneath the loose soil and sometimes jab out above the surface, forming a miniature but treacherous mountain range to navigate. Sparse grass gives way to sand as I venture closer to the water of Lake Baldwin. The lake itself sometimes smells of squandered eggs but also, somehow, sweet like the tang of a dying fruit tree. When I close my eyes and really inhale, it also smells of fresh rain.

Before I let Huxley swim, I exhaust a fraction of his energy. With a curved plastic wand, I heave a muddied tennis ball with all my strength. He dashes through the shadows and his polychrome coat shines in the flecks of sunlight filtering through the top canopy. People pass nearby to walk on the short forest trails. When he turns toward me, ball in mouth, heaving and also exultant, he is ready to swim.

Active owners never wear nice clothes to a park like this. The ladies with Great Danes often wear cargo shorts and baseball tees. The young blokes with pit bulls sometimes don’t wear shoes at all. I prefer to wear clothes I’d run in: stained, ripped, or unflattering in color. I won’t leave without being slobbered on, jumped on, shook on, or pushed down. Galoshes are also essential. I keep my eyes trained on the deeper, murky water, scanning for alligators or anything that could devastate the tranquil illusion of a lake.


My favorite time to go is in the late afternoon, when the wind is still warm and the water is a myriad of reds and oranges. Huxley meets me in the clear shallow after what seems like a lifetime of fetch. Most days, even the swimming doesn’t tire him, but sometimes he’ll visit me while still smelling of mud, lean his weight against my thigh, and look out toward the water as if searching for the sunset. He lies down in the same place he stood, contented by a few hours outside and the companionship of something other than two cats who can never understand him.