A Good-Bye Note

In December of 2010, I graduated from New York University, my dream school. Since then, I’ve spent seven years moving from one small town in northern Indiana to another. When I think about why I’ve spent the better part of a decade in places that leave me feeling isolated and uninspired, I can think of only one reason: I’ve been afraid.

Moving to New York City was supposed to be the start of something amazing. Within two weeks of living there, I hated it. Despite sticking it out (two amazing semesters in Dublin propelled me through), I felt like I was running home with my tail between my legs.


Have to recapture some of those sweet Ireland vibes. But not the hair. Never the hair.

It has taken me seven years to build up the courage for what I’m about to do.

On November 29, 2017, I’m packing up my things (and my dog) and moving to Portland, Oregon.

That’s 2,200 miles from my current location. Two-thousand two-hundred miles from the rock I’ve been hiding under.


Don’t worry, he’s coming with me.

Get the F**k Outta Dodge

My decision was made almost a year ago. If you were hoping I wouldn’t get political, I’m sorry. But I must. When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, with former Indiana governor and gay-conversion therapy advocate Mike Pence on his ticket, it became so completely clear that the conservative Midwest was not where I belonged. I currently live in a small, white, farming community that, judging by its Don’t Tread On Me flags and its comfort with the word “f**got,” is about seventy years behind the rest of the world culturally.

But I want to be positive, too: I want to be able to see screenings of old black-and-white French films on the big screen, take the dog for a hike through mountains, and drive to the ocean on weekends.

I want to feel inspired again.

Portland Mt. Hood

This might do it.


Since moving back home, I’ve self-published a young adult novel and a collection of short stories. This isn’t enough. The constant swirl of creative energy has started to die, and it can do nothing but suffocate without the companionship of fellow artists and a life more connected to nature. These are my goals: to join a community of creatives and to find my place with the natural world.

So, basically, all the hippie-dippie reasons people move to Portland.

Last night, I hit 60,000 words on my newest story. I have two other full manuscripts just sitting around (one of them for kids, if you can believe that). Without an audience, without connection, they feel impotent. I owe it to the characters in my head to find a shot of creative adrenaline. I’m not finding it here.

And then there’s spirituality, the real hippie nonsense. My religious beliefs have been relatively non-existent, but faith is important. I want to experience nature, not just as an observer, but as a being spiritually tied to its consciousness. In fact, I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot more about my beliefs. If you don’t like that (and if you’ve rolled your eyes repeatedly at this post), maybe now is a good time to stop following Achieving P’nosha.

That sounded harsh. It isn’t meant to be.

Coming Soon…

There are more practical ramifications of this move, of course. There will be a restructuring of my creative endeavors, including my writing, podcasting, and filmmaking. A post regarding that will arrive soon.

But here’s the point of all this: I want to take you all on this journey with me. I may only live in Portland for a few years, but I plan to document the hell out of it. I’m not looking for Likes or pats on the back, but I know that I’m not alone in my recent malaise. I speak to people all the time who want to move away, who want to find that spark that has been extinguished. I may fail spectacularly (and all the more entertaining for you if I do!), but I’ll be honest every step of the way.

Portland Sign

If I can do it, you can, too. I’m basically a thirteen-year-old who happens to be almost thirty.

To follow me on this journey, you can check out the following:

Twitter: @p_nosha (warning: I get political here.)

Instagram: p_nosha

Facebook: LavaLamp Studios

And, of course, Achieving P’nosha will continue for as long as you want to hear me babble on about things.

Hopefully, it is all about to get a lot more interesting!

Much love,



The Faces

IMG_2090 (2)

There are faces in the dark where there should be none
The creases of blankets, the empty space outside the window
I see them too often to believe that I’m sane
Make them up for company that scares me away
They’re pale with black eyes
Low-hanging mouths
The kind of faces that would unnerve
in the fire-lit darkness of a bar
Send a chill up your neck
Make you finish your drink
or send it back
A luxury I don’t have
Turning away, closing my eyes
It does nothing to dissuade them

And at some point I know I can only give up
Can only refuse the touching of eyes that would scare me to death
Stop my heart, kill my breath,
take my soul into a gaping mouth of nothingness,
of endlessness
And inside
I would only find more

Faces in the dark where there should be none
The folds of jackets, the empty space at the bottom of the stairs
I see them too often,
I believe I’m insane
If I give them company,
they take me away

They’re black with pale eyes
Red-dripping mouths
The kinds of faces that threaten to scream
from the back seats of cars
Send a chill down your spine
Reach for the locked doors,
try not to peek
A luxury I do not have
Turning away, closing my eyes
It does nothing to dissuade them

And at some point I know I can only give up
Can only refuse the touching of eyes that would scare me to death
Stop my heart, kill my breath,
take my soul into a gaping mouth of nothingness,
of endlessness
And inside
I would only find more faces

Why Am I a Liberal?

Why am I the way I am?
Because I believe nobody has control over our bodies but us.
Because I believe nobody, including ourselves, has control over who we love or how we love them.
Because I believe the cashier at McDonald’s has as much right to sleep easy as the man in his penthouse.
Because I believe art and music and theater are as important to a young education as math and language.
Because I believe veterans should be honored with actions, not just words.
Because I believe that no man or woman should be in prison because they carried a bag of weed.
Because I believe no one should die because their wallets are empty.
Because I believe that no soul is judged entirely on its religion.
Because I believe that no skin color is lesser or greater.
Because I believe that women are the backbone of this world.
I believe it’s about time we acknowledged that.

And because I know that everyone will need help at some point.
Because I am willing to be part of that help.
Because I am hopeful that if I ever need that help, it will come to me, too.
And to the people I love.
Because I know that where I was born was governed by chance and luck, and those who
were not so lucky deserve every chance that I have.

I am a liberal and I refuse to be called by any other name.
Not snowflake or worse, because I will not be judged by my willingness to help others.
I will not allow my open arms to be called a weakness.
I will not allow my love to define me as anything but loving.
I will not be anything but proud of the fact that I am not alone, I am not more important, I        am not smarter, or better, or stronger, or weaker than anyone else on this world or any        other.

I am proud.
I’m proud to live in this time, where, for the first time ever, a black man has broken the            bounds of a monstrous, capitalist industry.
That he did it while holding a mirror up to our unjust society.
That he did it with art.
In this time, where the best film of the year is about a poor, black, gay man and his drug-        addicted mother.
And about forgiveness and tolerance.
And about the way you look at someone when you love them, whether that love makes          any sense to you or to anyone else.
A time where, for the first time ever, a woman will stand tough and strong and forceful at        the center of her own damn poster.
Because all women are tough and strong and forceful, and we rely on them and we don’t          give them our thanks, but here, finally, is one tiny forward step.

One tiny forward step.
I’m a liberal because I know that those steps add up and they make a difference in lives,            entire lives, entire generations, entire worlds.
Because I want this world to be here until the day the sun explodes.
So long as we have the right to love whoever we love.
So long as we acknowledge that love is so rare and so surreal that we should protect not        just our own, but everyone’s.
So long as our bodies are our bodies and so long as nobody can tell us what we can do              with them, who we can love with them or who we can be with them.
So long as no soul is judged by the basis of its religion but on the merits of how it treats        every other soul it walks past.
And it helps those souls.
And it feeds those souls with light and empathy and understanding.