Discounts on Books through May 6th

Over the last few years I’ve had the great honor of getting to publish multiple authors and their books. It’s truly been such a pleasure and my great joy to do so.

With that in mind, I’d like to remind you of some of these books and also to give you a coupon code you can use only at lulu for 15% off any printed books. I hope you’ll check a few out!


Poetry

  • Growl from the Sun by Braeden Michaels
  • The War for Solace by V.R. McKoy
  • Galdr: Thought + Memory by Michael Raven
  • Memoirs of an Addicted Mind by John A. Graser
  • A Fistful of Ponies by Dan Provost

Poetry and Art/Photography

  • Euphoria in Blue by tara caribou
  • Derecho by J Matthew Waters
  • Eyes See Soul by Jhanjhri Shah
  • Creation and the Cosmos (anthology)
  • The Invisible Exhibitionist by emje mccarty

Short Stories

  • Tangled Together by emje mccarty
  • The Shadows of Blackout Island (anthology)
  • The Hawthorne Project (anthology)

As always, you can check out the complete list with all links on the Published Works page. Please give a few of these talented authors a read or visit their respective websites. ~tara caribou

Available Now – The Invisible Exhibitionist by emje mccarty

Raw Earth Ink is proud to present emje mccarty’s newest book, The Invisible Exhibitionist.

Artist and author emje mccarty spent two years digging introspectively into her heart and mind, inking a self-portrait each day within her intimate private journals. With the clarity of hindsight and personal growth, she shares her feelings, observations, anxieties, depressions, passions, anger, angst, and sorrows through poetry as well as vibrant emotionally-stirring inkings.

A couple of my personal favorites are:

I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of emje’s book. It’s a true work of art which would love to live on a coffee table where friends can easily pick it up and enjoy. Photos just don’t do this amazing book justice. Available only in paperback at lulu or signed copies directly from the author.


© 2022 | emje mccarty – You can also find her previous books Confusion Perfume and Other Neurotic Comics and Tangled Together on the Published Works page as well as directly from emje.

Just a Dog Named Ripple

Ripple was the type of dog you don’t easily forget. She had showed up one early-summer morning through my back gate and right on to my back porch as if she’d always lived here. I was sitting at the dining table, drinking my first cup of black coffee and working on my second sudoku. Catching movement from the corner of my eye, I turned to see a small wire-haired terrier of some sort self-assuredly making her way up the path in the lawn, two steps up and onto the porch. She sat down and stared at me through the mesh of the screen door.

“Hey girl,” I sweet-talked her and stood to greet her. I noticed her dingy pink collar with a single silver bone-shaped name tag hanging from the loop, along with about two inches of very rusty thin chain. Her fur, a salt-and-pepper mix, was matted and filthy. One ear stood almost upright while the other flopped in a perfect triangle button. She was much too thin but had a distended belly. When I spoke, her head tipped to the side just a little and she closed her mouth for a moment before she began quietly panting again. Her bright eyes were alert and friendly.

“Are you lost?” I opened the screen door and stepped out. The very tip of her tail thumped on the faded wooden deck. I knelt before her and slowly extended my hand. She shied a little but held her ground. Okay, no petting. “May I see your tag?” I asked gently. She stopped panting and I carefully reached for her tag. RIPPLE, it read. No number, no address. Just, RIPPLE. “Hi Ripple!” I said cheerfully. Ripple stood up and trotted back out of my yard, beyond the fence, to the back alley. I hoped she was going back to her home. If she had a home…

Two days later, I heard a small whine from the porch and once again saw Ripple sitting there. Still dirty and too thin. “Good morning, Ripple!” I greeted her. Her tail thumped twice. “Would you like a drink?” She cocked her head again. I pulled a small ceramic bowl from the cupboard, filled it with tap water, and set it outside. Ripple drank it all noisily, water splashing out onto the wooden planks. I refilled it and she finished most of the bowl, turned around, and leisurely made her way to the back alley again. I filled the bowl with fresh water and left it out on the porch.

After that morning, Ripple began to visit regularly. Every day or two she would show up, with a little whine to let me know she was there, drank her bowl of water (or two), and when I began leaving a small bowl filled with ground-up raw meat and pumpkin, she ate that too. Ripple was polite. She never barked, never overstayed her welcome, never invited herself inside or relieved herself in my yard. After about three weeks, she let me give her a little scratch on the rump or her chest. For just a moment she’d lean into my hand and her eyes would close for a moment before she’d stand up and take her leave again.

One morning I noticed Ripple’s distended tummy was thin. Had she been pregnant? The following morning I noticed her nipples were inflamed and her glands were bigger. Indeed she must have had puppies. Puppies! I asked Ripple about it but she only thumped her tail a few times and left without saying yes or no. This time, though, I turned out the lights in the kitchen and dining room and stood back from the door, in the shadows, and waited. Sure enough, not ten minutes later, I saw Ripple’s nose cautiously peek around the edge of the fence. She stood a moment, staring at my back door. I held my breath. Could she see me?

Tip-toeing into my yard, the little dog went to a large heavy rose bush in the corner of the garden and squeezed into the branches and thorns. I thought I could hear little squeaks and whimpers. A few minutes later Ripple quietly snuck out again. Over the following days, I observed her coming and going quite a few times. I wondered where else she went when she left. I took some straw and squeezed my way into the thorny bush, seeing three little grey mutts curled up together. I spread the hay as well as I could, making a little nest around them while trying not to wake them up. The following morning, Ripple seemed to thank me for the gift by setting one paw on top of my knee as I knelt by her for our morning ritual. I told her she was a good mama.

When we were well into summer, Ripple surprised me one morning. I sat on the top step with my coffee cup beside me and a comb in one hand, as I intended to sit there in the shade and comb out my hair after she left. Ripple sat down next to me, thumped her tail, and looked pointedly at the comb. I explained what it was and what I was going to use it for. She looked at me with those sparkling eyes and then back at the comb. She silently woofed. No sound, just the motion of it. “Would you like me to brush you, Ripple?” Now would be the time she’d normally get up and take her leave. Today, though, she looked into my eyes again. It was as if she were asking me to, maybe just this once, pamper her.

I couldn’t refuse my friend. I took the comb and gently tried to brush her chest. It wasn’t easy, she was so filthy and it had been so long since she had been brushed, clearly. She didn’t move. I kept at it. Sometimes switching where I used the comb, so as to not make her skin raw. I couldn’t believe she let me brush her for a full thirty minutes then she stood up, shook off, and walked down the path. Before reaching the fence, she turned back to look at me, something she had never done before, wagged her tail, then left through the open gate.

After that, Ripple let me brush her a little each morning, in addition to our scratches. Soon her fur began to look pretty good, for a street dog. Then the puppies got older and began to tumble and play in the backyard. They were nearly as aloof as their mother. Each would allow me to give them a small pet, but only for a moment. None of them were aggressive. I watched and wondered what I should do with them. They weren’t my pets. They were Ripple’s puppies. I saw a difference. But I also wanted to be responsible. I asked Ripple one morning about it. She looked up at me and wagged her tail and then left.

The next day I realized there were only two puppies. I looked all over for the biggest one. Had it wandered off? I worried. Ripple didn’t seem worried. Two days later, another puppy disappeared. This time I cried. I felt it was somehow my fault. I should have found them homes. I walked around the neighborhood but never did see them. A week later, the last puppy, the smallest of the three, disappeared. Ripple, for her part, showed no anxiety.

Is this how it is, then? Could it be she doesn’t really care for her own puppies? Or is she so jaded with her hard life that she resigned herself to the loss and keeps going on? I had no answers. Shortly after the last puppy disappeared, so did Ripple. Day after day, I waited for her. Her food and water dishes remained untouched.

I felt empty. I had come to look forward to our mornings together. Her brown eyes and dirty black and grey fur with its wiry touch and haphazard style. The way she only wagged her tail two or three times. She was her own dog. Her spirit was kind and thoughtful. Ripple had touched my soul.

It was mid-autumn and I was walking around the neighborhood, as I often did for exercise and fresh air, when I caught sight of a little dark grey terrier puppy in a front yard, playing with a teenage boy and a younger boy, maybe nine or ten. They laughed as the pup clumsily ran after a stick, tripping, picking it up and carrying it back, its head pulled off to one side as the stick dragged in the grass. Was it…? Could it be…? My pace quickened and then I called out a hello. They stopped playing with the pup and came to sidewalk. “May I ask where you got your puppy?”

The teen laughed and answered exuberantly. “It was the craziest thing; this mom-dog shows up at our door and yipped and whined until my mom came out. There she was with this one next to her. The mom-dog sat down and whined, looking at my mom and then to this puppy. Mom said it was like she was asking her to take it, so she did. Just picked him up and the dog wagged her tail and walked down the driveway and down the street. We named him Jackson!” I had no response. I thanked the young man and turned to continue on my way when he called out.

“You know what else? We weren’t the only ones! Old Mrs. Appleton two houses across,” and here he pointed to said house while continuing, “she said the same thing happened to her! So she’s got Jackson’s sister! Isn’t that the coolest?!” I agreed and continued, completely awestruck.

It didn’t take long to find out Ripple had found a home for the third one as well, two streets up from mine. I was blown away. Ripple had taken care of her pups in the best way she could. She found them homes. And not just any home. Good homes. Loving homes. Once more I marveled at how much she touched my heart.

Just as winter began, with the lightest dusting of snow covering the neighborhood, I heard a whine at my back door. Walking into the kitchen, there sat Ripple just outside the glass. I opened the door, “Ripple!“ I cried, “I’ve missed you, sweet girl!” Her tail thumped the porch beams and I noticed her dirty pink collar was missing altogether. She looked up into my eyes, head tipped to one side, one ear buttoned, the other half-upright, and silently yipped.

“Would you like to come in?” I asked, opening the door wider, beckoning her in to the warmth. Ripple looked up at me as if to say, ‘I thought you’d never ask.’ And then, as though she always had lived here, she did.


tara caribou | ©2022

Beach Textures Photography

With winter fading into spring, or mud season as we call it, and temps now above freezing most of the day, I’ve been spending more time on the beach walking and enjoying the salty air and not being bundled up in all my thickest clothing.


tara caribou | ©2022 all photos mine

Illusion vs Delusion | REBLOG

I asked my therapist to be very direct with me early on in our sessions…. That’s the thing about honesty. If we can own our feelings and experience, there is nothing to fear about truth. If we can step into OUR authentic selves, we can let other people be THEIR authentic selves.

Illusion vs Delusion | Blog

I asked my therapist to be very direct with me early on in our sessions. She told me, “many clients have told me that I can be too direct so let me know if I need to adjust.” I laughed and assured her that there was no such thing.

Directness and clarity do not leave room for my trauma to project its own distorted view of reality onto others’ words. I don’t have to worry if they’re lying to me to protect my feelings if I initiate an agreement of full honesty, no holds barred, and can find it within me to trust that. That’s the thing about honesty. If we can own our feelings and experience, there is nothing to fear about truth. If we can step into OUR authentic selves, we can let other people be THEIR authentic selves.

The things we won’t allow others to have are the things we will not allow ourselves.

Deception is something you can feel. You could attribute it to the fact that we are hyperattuned to microexpressions and body language on a deeply unconscious level. Or you could also attribute it to energetic attunement.

Sometimes people weaponize truth. My family pointed out plenty of my very real flaws that needed work. But they delivered these truths as half-truths. They watered them down with their own ego preoccupations and attachments, with their desire to control. Because these grains of truth were used to support their gaslighting campaigns against me. They were used to convince me that I was the problem, that I was the ONLY problem, and that they weren’t also guilty of many of the same things and MORE. They used them to avoid confronting their own truths so they wouldn’t have to do the work.

That’s a real cowardly use of truth you got there. Be a shame if someone just…decided not to listen to it. 

When these same truths about my shadow, about the personal work I needed to do, came from people who loved me unconditionally, at first I mistook them for similar attacks. Even knowing on some level that they weren’t.

I was lying to myself.

That is what abuse teaches us to do. To protect our reality, we lock down on what we think we know. The hurt we feel in the presence of truth becomes imprinted with the truths themselves. With keywords and phrases. The lens of trauma takes shape. And soon, that lens, those schemas, begin to slot into place before we’ve even had a chance to process what is being said to us.

It steals our creativity. It robs us of our ability to see imaginative solutions for ourselves, worlds where things could be better—who we could be without our trauma lens.

When I started to feel into my body and listen for what is there, beneath the “story” on the surface, I felt the level of courageous love coming off people like my therapist and my friends when they confronted me. When they delivered hard truths. I also felt my deep feelings of shame and worthlessness, the ones I used to project and scatter outside of me. Here was a person who cared more about me feeling good than having the illusion (and sometimes DElusion) of feeling good.

Illusion/Delusion. See, one of them is the lies we perpetuate and the other represents the ones we choose for ourselves. 

When you hold back the truth, you cast an illusion. A glamor. You throw a nice rug over a big moldy hole in the wooden floor and you hope the person you claim to love does not try to walk over it.

Delusion is choosing to dissociate from your body so that you don’t have to feel that lie. So that you can curl up in your own sickness and go to sleep. And you will never be happy that way. Take it from me.

The post Illusion vs Delusion | Blog appeared first on Gray Garland. © Gray Garland


This was just too good to not share. It has been so great to watch Gray grow and change over the years via her blog. She’s open, honest, and an absolute breath of fresh air in a world which does much to offer lip service without much substance behind it. — I agree with her: honesty frees us to be the real us, not the delusion of us. — tara caribou

Our Symphony

Silence abounds until I truly listen
Just within hearing plays a melody
Each beat in time with glimpses of you
Your eyes reflecting the shimmer of sunset
Lips turned up in the faintest of smiles
The touch of your fingertips
Brushing the back of my hand

My heart aches in its grip of love for you
Agony or ecstasy
Venom or elixir of life
Flooding tears or wild laughter
On the song plays, note upon note

My words echo in my ear
So do yours
Mine a promise, an oath of sorts
Yours were, well, your own

How simple in its complexity
My love for you haunts my steps
You hold yourself separate
Nearly aloof
You’ve become my tangled enigma
Black velvet or glittery satin

I wish I knew what it is to be for us
I want to tease out the treble and bass
Notes skipping between and across lines
Each one a different instrument
Rearrange this score
To let our symphony overcome my senses
Until the last echoing note fades grey


tara caribou | ©2019-22 revised

Read more like this in my poetry book, Fallen Star Rising.

Emotions, Love, and Vulnerability


tara caribou | ©2022

Sandbars

completely disintegrated
I became whole
beauty within purpose
the first time your soul
washed over mine

you, a wave crashing
shattering me
a million grains mixed
swirling, swept up and away
you ebbed
rising into collapse
upon my shore, splashing

again, again
you formed then reformed me

an ever-changing
sandbar am I
now with you, the force
which shaped and made me

memories within memories
the grains of you, of me
became eddies
amongst the tide pools
of who we once were


tara caribou | ©2022 revised from the original poem by the name of “sandbar” found in Fallen Star Rising, my first book of poetry

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