the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


the drowning man.

Tamara Wood’s About the social change you want to see prompted me to dig down deep before I started to blog, to a funky old BBS in Ann Arbor, MI that’s still running somehow.  I think I might be able to submit this to the No More Shame project as well, if there’s still time.

I was really inspired to write poetry then.  Looking back now, I see that even then I was writing about my inner pain, although I didn’t feel safe enough to write about it more directly in prose.  There were a few poems I wanted to choose from, but the following sums up so much with mental illness, trauma, fear, and so many other things I was dealing with:

[Mar 8 19:09 EST 1999, from the poetry conference at Grex (with one small edit)]

the drowning man.

a plethora of feelings
still come to engulf me
or drag me in
when i find them unexpectedly

sometimes they come like a great wave
crashing down on me
or a swirling whirlpool
spinning faster and faster
or there are the times
i am forced to wander
through the jungle of life
and i misstep
into emotional quicksand
that gradually sucks me in

so many emotions flowing about me
but so often dark and murky
i can't see
and i'm not sure how long i can
tread through them
as i gasp for logic

take my hand
i'm drowning inside

[note: this was inspired by U2’s “Drowning Man”]


a time painted grey

just another time painted grey

i work hours they call swing

which is anything but

swinging on a star —

my dream land is cloudy

even when the sun is shining

i try to find patience

for the IDIOCY of the masses, who

when entering seem to

leave their brains at the door (!)

so many visitors

but so few of them friends

with little time to talk

(and once again

the day fades to black)

so lonely am i.

my dearest compadres

are on another timeframe

they work when i don’t

and go have fun when i do.

i send my money away

to pay back sallie mae,

i can’t seem to get a date

(i’m trying; don’t want my mother

to pester me like she does)

so what will i do with myself?


a bright spot here,

a bright spot there

but mostly a time painted grey.

[Transcription of a hand-written poem, written sometime in 1993 based on my best recollection, perhaps during the spring.  I was working at a convenience store and quietly visiting church meetinghouses to practice the organ.]

many thanks to stephrogers and No Virgin Mary for encouraging me to bring out some old, paper archived poetry

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Spin this one up for me, DJ Matticus: The Depths of Funk

Loosely based on the Trifecta Challenge and The words wouldn’t come. at the Matticus Kingdom.  All definitions at

English: A multi-volume Latin dictionary (Egid...


(noun) a strong offensive smell

Code of Conduct: Don’t be a pinhead. RadCon recommends that everyone follow the 3-2-1 rule. Everyday, aim to get three hours of sleep, 2 solid meals and 1 shower.

See also How the Journal Jar REALLY celebrated V-Day


(intransitive verb) to become frightened and shrink back
(transitive verb)
  1.  to be afraid of :  dread
  2.  to shrink from undertaking or facing

I don’t think I can express to you all how personal this is, how… I can’t. I don’t seem to be able to express how much this is moving me without seeing who is ready and willing to dig down in a much more esoteric way. (The Hero With A Thousand Faces)



  1.   a :  a state of paralyzing fear b : a depressed state of mind
  2.   one that funks :  COWARD
  3.   SLUMP <an economic funk>  <the team went into a funk>

The words wouldn’t come.  They felt forced.  They felt false. (The Matticus Kingdom, The words wouldn’t come.)

RadCon was nice, but often after a convention… comes con crud.  (jak’s homemade chicken noodle soup)

Ugh, I’m sorry you’re sick. I hate being sick. I would be the character in a zombie apocalypse movie that survives all of the slashing and biting and then dies of indigestion. (Aussa Lorens, Cross Examination: HOOKER, in comments section)



  1. music that combines elements of rhythm and blues and soul music and that is characterized by a percussive vocal style, static harmonies, and a strong bass line with heavy downbeats
  2. the quality or state of being funky <jeans … have lost much of their funkTom Wolfe> (which references back to Funk Level 1)


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My Funny Valentine: Monday Monster Mashup meets the Weekly Writing Challenge!

In today’s entry, I take the Monday Monster Mashup and mash it even further with the Weekly Writing Challenge!

As usual, comments are closed at the tao of jaklumen. If you aren’t already following us at Jak & Cimmy’s Journal Jar, why not do so now? Thanks!

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jak & Cimmy's Journal Jar

What’s your Valentine’s story?

Today’s prompt comes from the WP Weekly writing challenge: Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine?

First, the MASHUP:

Then, the photo:

12 roses for 12 years 2nd shot

Now, the story:

Our wedding anniversary is on December 12th.  Sometimes, it gets eaten up in the Christmas fervor.  In 2010, we had a church Christmas dinner on the 12th.  While Cimmorene said she was fine with attending a ward Christmas dinner on our anniversary (and we did), I didn’t think this was sufficient.

So come February, I decided I needed to make up for it.  I figured I would act early, and beat the Valentine’s Day rush.  On a whim, I stopped in to the local Just Roses flower shop, and asked for 12 white short-stemmed roses, in a vase.  They had such on hand.  Wow.  I told one of the florists, as she was ringing up my purchase, “If I do this right, she’ll…

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More Four Kingdoms Haiku

Cimmy has been very kind to write some more haikus for our Redemption of the Four Kingdoms series, this time, for our story’s protagonists. Once again, this was inspired by Rob’s Genre Haiku Challenge 2013.12: Epic Fantasy.

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Cimmy's Stories

If the last batch of haiku read like prayers, this batch should read more like prophecies.  Here are some haiku written about some of the characters from jak’s epic fantasy novel, in alphabetical order!


One of Ogg’s children,

son of a human woman,

Will take a knight’s place.



A child of darkness,

as mercy’s wind-blown daughter,

Provides lost ones light.



A man of the sword

will learn to walk the dream path

and the road of death.



Orphaned half-elf thief

will walk the survivor’s road

and will show others.



A half dwarven priest

Will seek to serve true justice

And will find mercy



A half-giant knight,

Representing justice,

Will serve at His seat

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Starting the transformation (Zero to Hero Day 5)

The Day 5 assignment for Zero to Hero is as follows: try out at least three other themes — even if you’re happy with the one you have. Include at least one you would never think of using.

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I am keeping things light on the writing today, dear readers, but I am taking a tip from my wife Cimmorene and including snapshots of the theme previews.

I’m taking a risk and going with an entirely new theme for a while– the last one in the slideshow, called Greyzed. It definitely seems to change the dynamics of how my posts look– some of it I very much like, and some things I did that fit the old Superhero theme do not fit as well for this one. It’s also cough butchier, bolder, more… masculine.

I welcome your feedback, even if you say you hate the new look. That’s okay. I’d like to take all your thoughts into consideration, as long as you don’t mind if I don’t necessarily go with them. Yes, note I’m not asking questions here. Please, step up, let me know.

One more quick word: Days 6-8 and Day 10 do include challenges that have to do with more Appearance customization, so I will write more about the Hero’s Journey stages (stage 11 according to Vogler) that involve transformation, resurrection on the Outer Journey and Final Attempts and last minute “dangers” on the Inner Journey.  Day 9 and Day 11 start going into exploring the blogosphere more deeply and commenting on other blogs, so then I will correlate stages concerning Return.

There’s still lots of work I plan to do, more changes, more customization (Superhero theme might be back!) and several projects that have been on the back burner for a while, so, stay the course with me, dear readers.

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!

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The warrior-priest of the sagebrush steppes

I am fighting off terrible pain today, as well as nausea and other consequences of that pain. Here’s a post from the archives– something I wrote when I was still blogging at VOX.

the tao of jaklumen

Read this as an epic tale, or a real life account, as you will.

Once, I was an Idealist, but not in the Platonic sense.  I still believe in the spirit element of all things material, but I was as Troile’s children, who fought for the ideals of an ancient kingdom, or even a world, like Caprica.  I was wont to despair if others did not share my ideals.  I was prone to pontificate, or at least to preach those ideals boldly.

But I was to know pain.  Seeds of destruction planted in my youth began to grow to fruition, and my dreams seemed to shatter against the rocks.  Although I wrestled with demons and claws of damnation, I had vowed to never forsake the Light that had shone in my soul, though I might chase through clouds to get to it again.  But a growing sense of iconoclasm…

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Exercise #63: The Oracle’s Dilemma

Cimmorene has come up with another story as we slowly reveal our hidden world of the Four Kingdoms, an epic fantasy that speaks of social justice, mercy, and redemption. Like many stories of high fantasy, we touch on many elements of the Monomyth cycle, or “Hero’s Journey”, expounded by Joseph Campbell.

Cimmy's Stories

Exercise 63 Instructions

WARNING: This post is more than 1700 words long.

Ashsula walks down a path lined with granite slabs. Trees stand around her at intervals, seeming to beckon her forward with their branches. A light breeze catches at the long, brown tresses beneath her hood and plays with the hem of her gray robes. At the end of the path stands a marble courtyard in which two small, white marble basins stand. Light reflected in them tells her there is water in both. A small girl child stands between the two basins also garbed in a long gray robe, identical in all respects to the one worn by Ashsula, save that the hood rests against the child’s back rather than being up, as is the custom. The breeze tugs at the blond curls she has allowed to obscure her face and at the fabric of the gray…

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Haikus reveal a hidden Heroes’ Journey

A December haiku challenge for the epic fantasy genre from Rob’s Surf Report via SciFi Haiku: Babylon 5 at Laith’s Ramblings

I present not just one haiku, but three:

Cytropus’s eye
Will gather Ogg’s children home
By means none expect

Gracia and Daedin
Father Sky and Green Woman
Justice and mercy

Half-breeds, all of them
Each born humble and oppressed
Shall be champions

— based on the unfinished Redemption of the Four Kingdoms series by J.R. (jaklumen) and J.A. (Cimmorene/wavemistress) Pratt

If you would like samples of the work so far, please let me know by the contact form or please make a reply here– I will either send them to you or make them part of future posts.  Let me know what you’d like! Thank you.


A Month of Letters: Photography

It seems quite a few Ex-Voxers are into photography. Some are professionals (we got a beautiful card from littleoddme), some are passionate hobbyists, and some just love the ease that digital technology brings.

NOTE: Many of us opted to carry over the letter-writing into March.