Nature Inspires Life Inspires Art No. 1

Earlier this year in April, I moved to Spain to attend the Escuela de Ceramica de la Moncloa located in Oeste Parque in Madrid. Two months ago on October 1st I put my hands back in clay. For the past ten years I’ve been living life, having taken a 10-year sabbatical from ceramics. Technically my work was good but it and I were missing something.

I couldn’t quite place my finger on it but now I know.

Now I know, who I am. Now I know, what I want. Now I know, my own soul.

I share my soul with you in three parts:




Fresh for day
Past tall aspen trees
Down windy mountain roads
Cold sunny wind shining on my face
I think of you

I hear your song
On wind rushing by
Calls of early morning birds
And the low rumble of the car engine
Navigating turns


Utah Aspen Forest

Lift Your Lamps Beside The Golden Door

Dear fellow countrymen,

I am an American citizen because Americans adopted me in the late 1970s and gave me a better life from the one in store for me in Seoul, South Korea. I may be a naturalised citizen but in fact I was a refugee too. If you don’t know anything about our history or the situation in South Korea at that time I recommend reading up on it. As human beings first, we are all obligated to know the past so we can avoid making the same errors.

Like many South Korean children I came here without any papers. There was no adoption procedure. I don’t have a birth certificate. All I have are naturalisation papers. I had a different life, belonged to a different culture that is older than our country’s, and was given a different name….Nichole Hastings is the name that my adopted parents gave me.

The close-minded, insensitive, inhumane comments and reactions I have seen online against helping refugees to escape a situation our country created is heart wrenching. If you are one of those, I’m crying tears of sadness for you and those refugees who have lost their homes and loved one. And I’m crying tears of joy for all those who want to help them.

I know these harsh and ugly things you are putting forth is just a product of frustration and fear. Frustration because our government has been failing to take care of us for many years now. Fear that the ones who have destroyed these refugees lives will do the same to your own. But open hearts, open minds and open arms are what will make us better people, a nation as a whole, and members of the human species.

Please don’t give in to your frustration and fears, examine where they are coming from and turn away from hate. We as human beings on the planet have more important things to worry about – climate, water, land and air pollution. Not these petty wars driven by close-mindedness, greed, and misguided conclusions of what we’ve been told is important in the world: money, fame and reputation, domain, etc.

The birth of the American nation was one founded by refugees. We are all in fact refugees or sons/daughters/grandchildren, the descendants of refugees. However many generations removed. I hope you’ll think long and hard about the following:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“’Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

My port of entry to the United States was Denver Colorado. I have tried a few times to see the Statue of Liberty and for one reason or another it never came to be. Perhaps because you’re so generationally far removed from your own immigration and status as a refugee you’re unable to understand the hope and happiness the engraving on the Statue of Liberty has for so many.

Maybe you’re just trying to put food on your table and keep a roof over your head. Maybe you’re feeling as frustrated with the system as I am. That’s okay. But however you feel and whatever your circumstances are, these do not excuse insensitivity, meanness and selfishness. So, please, do yourself and others a favor, because one day you might be in similar circumstances, have some compassion and kindness for others. And be a better you.

Peace, love and being the change you want to see in the world.

He Also Said “I love you.”

controlling behavior
sprained hand
broken house
won’t let me out of car

blocked door
stabbed things
choked out once to unconsciousness
while he strangled
me three times

broken toe
punctured car tire
three blows to the head
in the face twice
punched in the back in bed

nose bleeding
black-and-blue eye
held at blade and point
of his knives many times

dark red
knife cut
gushing blood

he said
“We fight because you’re too masculine.”
“My mother hit me as a child.”
“If you tell people, you’ll be seen as a victim.”
“If you tell others, they’ll walk away and leave your life.”

and he casually issued
double suicide
death threats like
“Why shouldn’t I kill you first,
if I’m going to die?”

Why Ice Cube Got It Right When He Said Women Are Bitches, Hoes and Tricks


Over a month has gone by since I ended my relationship with my boyfriend and kicked him out of the apartment here in Madrid Spain. I thank myself everyday for having the wisdom to move to a foreign country for more than a relationship. So while the boyfriend has now since disappeared (actually still in process because most of his stuff is still here) I have many reasons beyond him to stay where I am.

Three and a half years ago I knew I wanted to change my life. I was halfway through my five-year plan to reside in Norwich Vermont and add stability to my life by working a desk proper desk job when an idea came to me to combine travel, living abroad and gong back to my passion. And I always knew I would not stay in Vermont beyond the five years.

I enjoyed living the village life, my accounting jobs were great, and I had many wonderful people in my life but the wanderlust and desire to do something creative again kept coming back. Each year the feeling returned, it came back stronger. So I tried a few things to satisfy the craving. I drove cross country with a friend, put my head down and dug in deeper at work, published a book of poetry, went to NYC as often as I could, and found pleasure in gatherings with friends. I tried out different romantic relationships but things didn’t work out.

Alas! My desire to change my life, to pursue my dreams would not leave me be.

On April 1, 2014 my life changed. I had just published my book of poems the day before and was attending a friend’s reading and I met someone. We had great political and philosophical conversations. We laughed when we realised we went to the same high school. He was a musician and I love live music. He said he was back from Spain for a while and didn’t really know anyone in the area. So I invited him to go with me to an Open Mic at one of my favourite spots in the world Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland, Vermont. I was meeting girl friends there and he said he’d invite some friends too.

The next evening, while sitting at Skunk, getting messages from friends that they were unable to make it, and his friends bailed too, I thought to myself…is this a date? It seemed eerily like one and well, it was. We went out to a movie after that and the rest is history, or rather, a story for a different time.

So fast forward about a year and half to now, here I am sitting in my apartment alone here in Madrid writing this. I’ve been reflecting all week on the fact that a girl who called herself my “friend” was never one. Maybe in her mind I was somehow her friend but she completely fooled me.

I met this “girl friend” while visiting my friend in NYC. My friend and I had met at a mutual friend’s party in Vermont when he was up from Brooklyn for it. And again met up later when he and another friend came to a poetry reading I did last fall for about a hundred people opening for Jim Rooney. My friend and I spoke again in January. I was headed to NYC with the boyfriend to attend a costume party on a super yacht that would launch from Pier 40. My friend was overjoyed to offer me a place to crash for the night with him and his new girlfriend. We talked on the phone and he was speaking so quickly I could hardly get a word in as he went on about how wonderful she is. Clearly my friend was in love. I was happy for my friend. The excitement in his voice. The joy. I couldn’t wait to meet this girl who had so transformed him.

The first evening all four of us met was lovely. We had a wonderful morning together the next day before the yacht party. My friend’s girlfriend was sweet, kind, generous, and friendly. I could see why my friend was so in love with her. They were very cute together.

That evening, after we returned from he yacht party, my friend’s girlfriend strutted around in front of my boyfriend in her underwear. At the time I thought nothing of her nudity or being scantily clad. I’ve been at many a gathering where someone decided to take off all their clothes and go for a swim, lounge about, etc. But as the evening progressed, she could see that my boyfriend was getting turned on and she kept the ball rolling. My boyfriend and I drove back to Vermont the next day, and that really was the start of my romantic relationship starting to fracture and fall apart. I can see it all now in hindsight.

My boyfriend and I were already in an open relationship and had been for some months. Unfortunately men always seem to forget that an open relationship is a two-way street. So when opportunities arose for me to have something or spend time with others, he did not like it. Our rules were, no sex with each other’s friends and don’t bring it home. But after that trip down to NYC, he began to complain constantly about how much easier women have in hooking up than men do. That the situation was unfair because the only attractive women he knew were my friends. And that he was inhibited because we spent so much time together (he called me daily and wanted to hang out constantly) so I always encouraged him to go out separately without me. But he didn’t.

Obviously my boyfriend and I stayed together. We came to Spain in April of this year. Our desire to continue having an open relationship remained. But his complaints and supposed “restrictions” that prevented him from meeting someone else to have sex with did also. Nothing changed, for him. Other than after that trip down to the city, and the subsequent farewell party the weekend before we left, my boyfriend and my friend’s girlfriend started emailing each other.

How often? I don’t know. About what? I couldn’t say. But as time marched on, they began to talk more and more frequently. I know that some of the talk was about sex, because they both mentioned it to me, but friends do discuss the topic of sex. And trusting as I am in other people, my boyfriend and girl friend, I thought nothing of it.

So all the while this girl is calling me “friend”. And I was there for her as a “girl friend” when she said her relationship with my friend, her boyfriend was falling apart. She wanted to see other people but he wanted a monogamous relationship. She complained about him not getting his life together fast enough after he followed her to San Francisco from New York City. She works for a pharmaceutical company and he is an artist. She moved out there for a job.

I sent messages to my friend asking him how he was doing because surely, this must all be very difficult for him. I didn’t hear any response back so I figured he was doing what I do when I have issues with someone: discussing them with the person one is having an issue with.

Then one day my friend’s girlfriend said to me that she had moved out their apartment and into a new one. She was leaving him but she told him she was just moving into a new place and that he would move in later when the lease on that one finished. My friend advice to her was to tell him immediately that the relationship is over so that he is no longer living under a false pretense that you and he have something. She said “You’re right,” and “I will.” She also said she felt guilty about the situation so she was paying for his cell phone.

Then a few days more went by and my friend’s now ex-girlfriend said to me that she was getting sick of paying for his cell phone. She was going to let him know she was turning it off and he was being unreasonable about giving her back her things. I said that was fair, giving him notice, and surely he would return her belongings. Around that same time my boyfriend asked me if it would be okay if she came to visit and stay with us in Spain around Thanksgiving. Of course, I said “Yes”. My door is always open to friends. But then I spoke with my friend and we had a long talk where I got to hear his side of the story. I asked about the cell phone and he said it had been turned off a couple of weeks ago. And that she had been refusing to communicate with him.

A couple weeks later, I told her that I kicked my boyfriend out of the apartment after he hit me and I had broken up with him. She said she was surprised to hear this but then thinking back to many of our conversations, she had often confessed to slapping her boyfriend, my friend. I had told her violence is wrong. And to broach the topic and get it settled, I said that if she planned on coming here and having sex with my now ex-boyfriend it would be better if she stayed with him or in a hotel. She said that she had no plans to have sex with my ex-boyfriend, that she was in love with some other guy, and had decided not to come to Spain after all (huge relief for me). She also made it clear she planned to remain friends with my ex.

A week ago, my ex-boyfriend made an off-hand comment, “(my so-called now ex-girl friend) said, what do I have that Nichole doesn’t have?”

A lightbulb exploded.

And I realised that this girl was not my friend. She had never been my friend. I’m not saying she’s responsible for the demise of my relationship but she was part of the problem. The unintentional gift she gave me was a burst of creative inspiration which resulted in a poem called “False Friend”. And when her WhatsApp message arrived a few days ago saying “Hi Nichole! How are you?” I side-swiped left and hit “Archive”.

Yesterday my ex-boyfriend came by to pick up a couple things from the apartment. I fed him breakfast and we talked for a while. Because while the violence he did to me is wrong, I am a forgiving person who thinks that people can learn, grow and change. But in the course of conversation, he told me he had shared my poem with my now ex-girl friend and she said it was “cute”. And she wrote a poem in response to mine and had asked him if he should send it to me. She also said to him that I had always tried to “cock-block” my ex from having sexual relationships with other women in our open relationship.

My thoughts are as follows: that saved me the trouble of sending the poem to her which is another item off my busy To Do list, they’re still talking about whatever, she’s still stirring the pot, her response poem is her trying to impress and relate to my ex with her “poetic skills” otherwise she would have just sent it to me directly, and she is absolutely not a friend nor a person who I ever care to associate while she exists in her current state of being. And her description of my poem as “cute” is a way of snarkily trying to invalidate, minimise and gloss over her underhanded BS way of supposedly being someone’s friend.

So, yes, Ice Cube got it right when he said women are bitches, hoes and tricks. Of course there are exceptions. Not every woman is any one or all of those. And men can be all of those too. But sometimes you meet a false girl friend who is just clueless about how to truly be someone’s “friend” and pretends to be yours because she really has no idea who she is or what her values are. Thus, you may talk to her, giving friend advice, about why she has shallow and superficial friendships when she brings it up, but as long as she is ignorant of her behaviour, she will remain the architect of that very poor design and will never be a true friend to herself or others.

The fact is, females (and people in general) who treat their so-called “friends” in unfriendly ways give the title “friend” a false meaning. Some of you may be saying that there were multiple indications that my ex-girl friend and my ex-boyfriend were not my friends. But I say, “My greatest asset and biggest flaw is my belief in the goodness of people.”

My mother once said that I am naive because I give people too much credit. Perhaps I am. But I’m okay with that.

I believe that people will make the right choices and do the right thing if given the chance. So I’d rather give people the benefit of the doubt to step up because it’s not me who’s losing out when someone decides to be petty and underhanded; It’s their loss….of my friendship and the opportunity to be a better version of themselves.

So what’s the lesson in all of this?

Don’t be a bitch, a hoe or a trick and you may find that you have a deeper, more meaningful and authentic relationship with oneself and with others.

Self-Sung Hero

You’ll always be the hero
In your own epic tragedy
You’re the architect and constructor
Of your own travesty
There’s nothing I can say
There’s nothing I can do
It’s sad
It’s sad
To see what you do to you
But that’s your choice
To stay asleep as you are doing
And it’s your choice
To say that you’re not choosing
It’s your choice
To make up lame excuses
And it’s your choice
To listen to false friends’ voices
But there’s nothing I can say
And there’s nothing I can do
It’s sad
It’s sad
Because who’s losing out is you
By doing what you do
To me and to you
With what you choose to do
Published in: on 11/08/2015 at 10:29  Leave a Comment  
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