A Short Riff on Doors

What if, in another life, I was Harold…and I’ve come back now with an affinity for chalk and not purple crayons? Should I knock three times as the door’s come-hither-and-knock tease suggests? Will there be Opportunity on the other side? Or am I, by that very act, Opportunity itself? Then again, I might be Tony, and Dawn’s just on the other side, waiting to belt one out for old time’s sake. One never knows when it comes to doors like this, now does one?

Photo + Musing ©2019, Jen Payne. Photo from MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA.


travelogue: animals great and small

At Bonnet House in Ft, Laurderdale, Florida, one of previous owner Evelyn Bartlett’s hobbies was collecting wooden temple animals from Java and Burma. The whimsical, colorful animals, which no longer can be exported from their native countries, sit on wooden tables around the courtyard walkway.

• Read More: “Inside Bonnet House the Stately, Yet Whimsical Bartlett Home Is a Reflection of Its Owners’ Artistic Interests,” by Pat Curry, Florida Sun-Sentinel

Travelogue, February 2019, photos ©2019 Jen Payne, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens.

travelogue: culinary bucket list (foodie friday)

One, no doubt, has a travel bucket list — Paris, Rome, Alaska, for example. But, one might also have a culinary bucket list. Perhaps: bahn mi, cassoulet, frog legs. Also: mochi ice cream.

“Japanese mochi ice cream is any flavour of ice cream wrapped with thin and chewy mochi (rice cake). It’s a bit like finger food because the ice cream is not on paddle pops or anything but you just grab the ice cream mochi balls with your fingers. They are super delicious.” (Chopstick Chronicles)

Pictured above, I had a chance to finally sample these sweet treats at the Cornell Café at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, ranked one of the top three museum dining experiences in the country by the Food Network.

Consider me happy.

So, what’s on YOUR culinary bucket list? Comment below!

Travelogue, February 2019, photo ©2019 Jen Payne, Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, Florida.

Find Evidence of Flossing and Explore Our Divine Connection with Nature

Every day, we are reminded of our direct effect on the world around us—the Pacific island of garbage twice the size of Texas, the billions of plastic water bottles thrown out each year, the millions of sea birds and marine mammals killed by our collective debris. But there is a great disconnect: we hear about the problems, we can understand the implications for us and for Earth, but we still consume and discard flagrantly. Our daily habits, our conveniences, our latest and greatest products defy any regard for our legacy on this magnificent planet.

Naturalist and poet Jen Payne responds to this conundrum with a heartfelt and heady collection of writing in Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind. Inspired by Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Mary Oliver, she helps us explore how our human condition can be healed by rediscovering our divine connection with nature.

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Professor Peter Raymond says “The collection of writings and photographs powerfully remind us of our role as stewards and the positive impact we can make on the world around us.”

This curious, full-color book includes 75 poems that are underscored by an absurd and heartbreaking assortment of original and vintage photographs, including a series of discarded dental flossers that prompted the title of the book.

No matter your faith or following, Evidence of Flossing speaks to the common heart that beats in you and in me, in the woods and on the streets, across oceans and around this planet. It is, as National Public Radio contributor David Berner writes, “an unflinching account of our unshakeable relationship to the modern world…God, nature, and ourselves.”

Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind follows on the heels of Payne’s 2014 well-received book LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness and continues a dialogue about our innate and spiritual connection with nature.

Jen Payne lives and works in Connecticut. She is the owner of Words by Jen, a graphic design and creative services company founded in 1993, and a member of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, the Connecticut Poetry Society, Guilford Arts Center, the Guilford Poets Guild, and the Independent Book Publishers Association. Her writing has been featured in several art installations and published by The Aurorean, Six Sentences, the Story Circle Network, WOW! Women on Writing, and The Perch, a publication by the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health.

For more information or to order books, please visit the Three Chairs Publishing website, www.3chairspublishing.com. Books may also be purchase through online and independent booksellers.

Jen Payne is available for book readings, book signings, or small discussion groups featuring poems from Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, essays from LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, or a combination of both. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an event today!

Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind.
Purchase a signed copy today!

TRAILER: Evidence of Flossing

The poems in Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind are, at their heart, love poems to the something greater within all of us. Inspired by Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and Mary Oliver, naturalist Jen Payne explores the essence of spiritual ecology: the human condition juxtaposed to the natural world and the possibility of divine connection. The poems and musings are illustrated by an absurd and heartbreaking assortment of original and vintage color photographs, including a series of discarded dental flossers that prompted the title of the book. CLICK HERE to purchase your copy today!


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13 – Extant

The nautilus shell
is complicated.

Mathematical —
its presentation
mirror of the
greatest storms,
the largest galaxies…

Its whole wide whorl
with past lives
in secret chambers —
where poetry is found
no less.

The poetry of time,
this old soul,
reminder of
roots and bones,
our beginnings
and our end.

Poem ©2018, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month 2018, #13. If you like this poem, you’ll find 80 more the book EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND! Purchased your signed copy today! CLICK HERE