Tag Archives: poet

An Ode to Mary Oliver

by Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality


Poetry has always held a special place in my heart. 

Somewhere out there exists a notebook of poetry that I wrote in middle school. I’m pretty sure in one of those poems  I compared the crush I had on my middle school boyfriend to having a vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles on a hot summer day (I was so deeply poetic then…).

Mary Oliver has always been one of my favorite poets and I think from the moment I first read her words, I felt some sort of connection to her (I’ve always loved when writers can somehow make their readers feel connected to them as if we’re long lost friends through their writings.).

2020 has me reading her poetry more and more – yearning to be inspired, but also to feel comfort. As I was searching through her words earlier this week, I stumbled upon these lines:

“The most regretful  people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” – Mary Oliver

Those words did two things for me

  1. Hit me like a ton of bricks
  2. Forced me into deep thought and consideration that it is my duty to myself to keep pursuing writing. To keep striving for plan A, not settling for plan B. 

The time is now, because life is happening NOW. 

So, lately I’ve been trying to keep the fire of inspiration lit in a few different ways:

  • Weekly Goal Lists (sometimes I accomplish half, sometimes only a few – but it’s been holding me accountable)
  • Lighting candles that smell like my favorite wintery smells (pine trees, apple cinnamon, sugar cookie, etc…)
  • Stretching every morning (okay okay this is mostly to keep my back from collapsing completely…but it is helping my overall mood)
  • Reading more (I am a reader, even when I had loads of graduate homework  – it was my favorite way to procrastinate. But, my to-read pile has been getting higher and higher. So, it’s been a nice reminder that reading can be beneficial in many ways.)
  • Cooking soup (this may sound odd, but I have been on a soup cooking spree lately. It’s been both delicious and inspirational – also the warmest of food hugs.)

This year has been one like any other, and it is hard to believe we are in December already. I just hope through all the muck, you are able to find a sense of inspiration in any which way that is a right fit for you. 


As the famous Mary Oliver line goes, “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Pretzels & Poetry

by Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

Let me start off by saying, I know I can’t be the only one who has felt topsy-turvy over the past few weeks.

This year I have been allowing myself to feel those kinds of feelings, but I am regretful that my weekly blog posting has suffered because of it.

I’m keeping it short, simple, and savory today.

A friend of mine that I used to coach with has been baking a lot of scrumptious things and recently she went on a soft pretzel baking spree. I love a good soft pretzel – anytime, anywhere. So seeing her post these delicious homemade ones made me curious to attempt to bake them myself.

I love to bake, but mostly cookies and cakes. So, I had never purchased yeast before and I didn’t know where I was supposed to find it in the grocery store (full disclosure I truly thought you had to go to some sort of organic or hipster grocery store to find it – go ahead laugh, I know.)

Thankfully my friend did not judge my ignorance and told me I could find packets of yeast in the baking aisle of a grocery store (this was my complete duh moment, but still forever grateful for her help in upping my adulting points.)

Shout out to the pretzel bites in the back because I dropped half the dough for what was supposed to be a sixth pretzel…

They turned out decent for my first attempt … except mine were thicker than expected. If you’re interested these are the ingredients I used (some modifications due to recommendation):

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
4 cups of flour
3 tablespoons of oil, divided
1/3 cup of baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
Sea Salt to top them off
(because I couldn’t find coarse salt)

The rest of the steps can be found on Tasty through this link.

And I would like to end this post today with a poem that pops back into my mind every year around the holiday season. A good friend of mine shared it with me and I am forever grateful she did – so this is my gift to my readers, to pass it on to you all in hopes that you too appreciate it.

“I Invite My Parents to a Dinner Party” by Chen Chen
found on Poets.org

In the invitation, I tell them for the seventeenth time
(the fourth in writing), that I am gay.

In the invitation, I include a picture of my boyfriend
& write, You’ve met him two times. But this time,

you will ask him things other than can you pass the
whatever. You will ask him

about him. You will enjoy dinner. You will be
enjoyable. Please RSVP.

They RSVP. They come.
They sit at the table & ask my boyfriend

the first of the conversation starters I slip them
upon arrival: How is work going?

I’m like the kid in Home Alone, orchestrating
every movement of a proper family, as if a pair

of scary yet deeply incompetent burglars
is watching from the outside.

My boyfriend responds in his chipper way.
I pass my father a bowl of fish ball soup—So comforting,

isn’t it? My mother smiles her best
Sitting with Her Son’s Boyfriend

Who Is a Boy Smile. I smile my Hurray for Doing
a Little Better Smile.

Everyone eats soup.
Then, my mother turns

to me, whispers in Mandarin, Is he coming with you
for Thanksgiving? My good friend is & she wouldn’t like

this. I’m like the kid in Home Alone, pulling
on the string that makes my cardboard mother

more motherly, except she is
not cardboard, she is

already, exceedingly my mother. Waiting
for my answer.

While my father opens up
a Boston Globe, when the invitation

clearly stated: No security
blankets. I’m like the kid

in Home Alone, except the home
is my apartment, & I’m much older, & not alone,

& not the one who needs
to learn, has to—Remind me

what’s in that recipe again, my boyfriend says
to my mother, as though they have always, easily

talked. As though no one has told him
many times, what a nonlinear slapstick meets

slasher flick meets psychological
pit he is now co-starring in.

Remind me, he says
to our family.

Is This Thing On?

“You Matter, I Promise”
By Tray Taylor
IG @allusiontoreality

This past month has been excruciatingly hard for a number of reasons. I’ve been getting by this year at a “meh” pace – but these past few weeks I have felt on the edge of crumbling.

And today, well, I almost felt as if I was drowning.

Side note: I’ve struggled with depression the majority of my life and as the years go on anxiety is finding its way into my life too. Not to mention the herniated discs/on-going back issues I’ve had since 23 (when I said I was an old soul, I wasn’t expecting my body to follow suit).

Anyway – it has been a bumpy journey and it has felt like the cycle just won’t stop. And I know I am not alone in any of this, which is why I felt compelled to write this post.

This afternoon I reached a breaking point and I knew I needed to do something.

So, I went outside to clear my head and get some fresh air. For a brief moment I stood beneath my favorite tree just across the street from my apartment that turns beaming bright orange this time of year.

My moment of re-centering

I have felt defeated, voiceless, uncertain, and heavy lately- but in that moment I felt at peace.

After that brief moment of joy – I continued on my walk, turned my headphones up, went back to overthinking just about everything, and strolled to the store to pick up some wine.

So, I lend this moment to you. To everyone who has felt a bit scattered, alone, or just not themselves lately.

Allow yourself a moment to feel and re-center. Whatever that may look like.

(And I’d like to share with ya’ll the song that always seems to soothe my soul in moments such as these … *Joni Mitchell – River*)