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The Best Worst Blog Post of All Time

This is, undoubtedly, the best worst blog post of all time. (Why? Who even says that about their blog?) I do. Because I’ve spent over 14 months drafting it. No one in their right bloomin’ mind would spend so much time on something so small and insignificant in the grand scheme of life. It’s like obsessing over a 14-month-old band-aid. Just rip the damn thing off already. (And seriously…you’re disgusting for leaving it on that long. Ew, Jess. Just…ew. #shameshameshame) So here we are. Where to begin. Tiny Head-Voice squeaking: “Start at the beginning and go to the end!” (NO.…

“Poetry Has a New Name”

 “Salem’s art scene is untapped. Portland—forget about it. It’s like elbowing into a crowded sardine can. But not here. This is a river you can leap into, and create a great literary scene.” Henry Hughes, in an interview with the Salem Weekly Click here to read my recent article in the Salem Weekly‘s Art section, discussing our local poetry community. The article weaves through an insightful interview with the ever gracious poet and author, Henry Hughes, who has just released a new collection of poetry, Bunch of Animals, as well as a memoir, Back Seat with Fish. Hughes’ writing continues to capture his ongoing love affair with fishing,…

Book Review: “Back Seat with Fish” by Henry Hughes

I had the immense pleasure of reading and reviewing a new work of nonfiction, released by Skyhorse Publishing earlier this month. Back Seat with Fish is a refreshing take on the fishing memoir, written by the magnanimous Henry Hughes. Hughes’ book is dynamic and engaging, plunging into the art of angling, of navigating relationships and traveling the world. There is no shortage of entertainment, nor thoughtful execution. Hughes is a brilliant storyteller, reviving the once-unpalatable genre of ‘the fishing memoir’ for men and women of all ages and origins to enjoy. Click here to read the full review on Amazon before purchasing a copy for yourself or for…

‘Tis the Season: Spend More Time, Spend Less Money

‘Twas the eve before Christmas and all through downtown, not a single soul resting—no time to slow down! With twinkle lights hung (precarious in the rain) in hopes that next year this won’t happen again. The wish lists were gripped, e’en taken to beds, while visions of bright price tags danced in their heads. Our customs, traditions—how stressors do climb! This season merely asks: “Spend less money; more time.” – Written by J.M. Murdoch (c)2015 – [This imperfect poem is a nod to “The Night Before Christmas,” first published anonymously on December 23rd, 1823 in the Troy Sentinel newspaper in upstate New…

Cheers to Willamette Valley Wine

My most recent article, as published in the Salem Weekly Thanksgiving issue. The Wine Country Thanksgiving spread is a great resource for this weekend’s festivities in Salem and the surrounding areas. Click HERE to read the article online, or pick up a copy of the Salem Weekly at one of 700+ local drop sites and businesses. Cheers!

Autumn Adventures in Independence

Originally published in the Salem Weekly Newspaper by yours truly, J.M. Murdoch. Click HERE to read the article. Happy wanderlusting, Jess

Salem Weekly Articles (by me…to date)

This post includes links to my articles published in the Salem Weekly newspaper. (For those of you who are able to snatch a physical copy from one of our 700+ drop sites in the Willamette Valley, awesome. For those who are sadly out of the area, online will have to do. However, if any of you really like one of the articles online–mine or not mine–I would be more than happy to mail you a physical copy of the newspaper. We have extras at the office.) Thanks for reading! Articles are listed in reverse chronological order: “Poetry Has a New Name” (An interview with local…

Finally Freelance (a belated post)

An apology…and a brief explanation… Thank you to every single one of you kind souls who continue to visit this little website of mine. I’m sorry. I confess I have neglected it this spring and summer, and I would hate to see myself do the same for the coming fall and winter. To bring you up to speed, Pop Up Poetry (#PopUpPoetry & #RhetoricalRedhead on other social media platforms) has grown and expanded and taken off in such leaps and bounds which I never dreamed of experiencing in the first year after launching this endeavor. This summer has been a…

Cória Estates: A Review

Sunny vineyardThat particular Tuesday was an Adventure Day, which means I pack up a small bag of essentials (typewriter, book, pen, paper, sunscreen and sunglasses) and follow the call of my wanderlust muse, wherever she may lead me. On this particular summer day, I knew my destination would be wine country–the sunny, cloudless sky just begged for it. When most Salemites think of local ‘wine country’ we immediately imagine the West Salem hills, which are famous for their numerous small-batch wineries offering Oregon’s staple Pinot Noir.

But today…today I am introducing you to a little boutique winery (without the boutique price tag) in the South Salem hills by the name of “Cória Estates.” I will be reviewing and discussing their wines, their tasting room and amenities, their event options, and a few other notable tidbits I experienced during my visit.

The Rogue Ovary Chronicles: A Tale of Two Cysts

Note: This blog post includes a lot of biological/sexual/medical descriptions that may be considered graphic for some readers…this is a post about my lady-anatomy, after all. I do not spare any details; read with caution if you’re prone to discomfort when reading such content.

Monday, August 3rd, 2015 – 8:30 pm

Irony has a funny way of jumping in to my life to yell, “Surprise!” while my pants are still down.

Steve and I just had a lovely round of marital relations and were looking forward to a nice relaxing evening, probably involving a movie and going to bed early. (Don’t squirm–intercourse is kind of a thing that happens in marriage, people. And I include this snippet because it single-handedly initiated the following story.)

I stood upright to go to the bathroom and was greeted by severe cramping in my lower abdomen. Curious, as I have never, ever experienced cramping before (lucky me, I know…sympathies to my not-so-lucky fellow females out there). True, I was due to start my cycle any day now, but this was something quite different than the usual pangs of discomfort.

Cramping was soon accompanied by extreme bloating in my upper abdomen, and the pain only continued to increase as an hour passed by. I lay in bed with a heat pad on my stomach in hopes the cramping would pass. But I found myself sitting on the throne of my misery, cramping at a full roar with my abdomen refusing any form of calm as nausea and fatigue and light-headedness took over.

I couldn’t even call out to Steve, barely getting out, “Babe…something’s wrong…”

He called an advice nurse through our insurance company, who asked me a laundry list of questions and concluded with, “You need to be seen at the ER. Immediately.”


Steve was a superhero—dashing around the house to pack a small bag of necessities for the hospital as I attempted to confidently leave the bathroom behind without concern of needing it again soon.

This was bad. Let me be clear—I have a high pain tolerance. Like, stupidly high. I know when my body is just dealing with something minor, which is most of the time. But this was unlike anything I’d ever felt, and everything in my body and brain screamed wrong wrong wrong. The pain was so bad I seriously considered telling Steve to drive me to Salem Hospital (which is a desperate move…everyone knows how bad the local hospital is when it comes to ER care…or any care for that matter). The proximity was that tempting. Steve reasoned me out of my insanity, though, reminding me that I would be seen and likely diagnosed at Silverton Hospital in the same amount of time it would take Salem Hospital to simply call me into triage.

Good point. To Silverton…

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