Chasing Joy: Making Magic With Words

One of my favorite movies and one of the most poignant, if not intelligently conscious films ever written is American Beauty. The film speaks to tragedy and resurrection; superfluous shallowness and unimagined depth. It is about things that seem to mean nothing but really mean everything. What perhaps is its most striking feature—and perhaps most powerful message—is the existence of beauty in everything; even in the midst of darkness.

This is the message that I try to remember, especially in moments when I most like to forget. I want to remember love when I feel I am the farthest from it. What the film validates and what I feel every work of art should validate is life. Life, even when it’s at its most debilitating and horrific is unspeakably beautiful. The more we learn this, the more beautiful it will be. And in that beauty—that dazzling beauty—we will find our joy; the joy that is the kiss of heaven.


I open my heart

My soul

My mind

My body

And inhale all that’s around me

When I open my eyes

I stand in marvel

How did I not know

that all around me

was such unspeakable beauty


The deliciousness

of my childhood girliness

Lies in the sweetness of innocence

That I danced

and didn’t care about rhythm

That I laughed

and didn’t care about humor

That I learned

and didn’t care about position

That I ate

and didn’t care about etiquette

I merely imagined

and dreamed

and believed

In life

and all its poetic magnificence


As I carry my heart

in a word

And conjure up magic

from within the soul

I dare

to remain open

With the ridiculous optimism

of an uninhibited glorious smile


And after I courted misery

And dined in indulgent self-pity

I decided to run full-steam

And chase after my joy

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