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Pop Up Poetry – Valentine’s Weekend 2016

Saturday, February 13th

Brooks Winery, 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Poetry is “on the house” this Saturday, courtesy of the amazing Brooks Winery! Come to their gorgeous tasting room for some exquisite wine flights, a phenomenal view, and excellent conversation. Ask me to type up a poem on my vintage typewriter for you, or as a gift to someone! Give a subject; get a poem. It’s that easy. And what pairs better than wine and poetry? Donations accepted, and don’t forget to tip your server! See you there!

Sunday, February 14th

Broadway Coffeehouse, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

As a teaser for the 2:00 p.m. event “Poetry in Performance,” I will be busking Pop Up Poetry at the Coffeehouse for a special Valentine’s Day treat. Be sure to support the Broadway Coffeehouse with a drink purchase, and tip your baristas!

THEN–stick around for Poetry in Performance, hosted by the Mid-Valley Poetry Society (Salem’s chapter of the Oregon Poetry Association), which will be at Broadway Coffeehouse from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Be sure to attend! You won’t want to miss this event.

Vagabond Brewery, 6:00 p.m. – ?? (this event is awaiting confirmation, TBA)

Enjoy a totally relaxed environment this Valentine’s evening at Vagabond Brewery. There will be cheese, beer, and wine in abundance. Grab a beer, grab a poem, grab a valentine tonight, and salute the Love of friends, of family, and of significant or not-so-significant others. Cheers!


The Christmas Story


by J.M. Murdoch, Rhetorical Redhead ©2015 All Rights Reserved

As written for and performed at the Christmas Eve Services at Salem Alliance Church on December 24th, 2015





‘Twas not the silent night of old

tradition leads us to believe;

perhaps the greatest story told

is the ‘Unspoken Christmas Eve.’

Both fully-God and fully-man,

fulfilling holy prophecy,

the Rock on which the Church would stand

bore humble birth and ancestry.

Come sit, come hear the Tale of Times

retold in careful word and script;

there’s much to read between the lines

revealed anew each year, for it’s

beyond the text, beyond the page,

these people, places, feeling, thought,

define a Faith that’s without age

because of Love, because of God.

‘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 York.] 

0365-XLMy most recent article published to the Salem Weekly focuses on slowing down this holiday season. Spend more time with your loved ones, and spend less money. The best things in life do not have a price tag, but if you are in need of gifts for friends and family, I encourage you to shop local, wherever you live. Statesman_SkatingBy buying from your local (private, non-corporate) businesses, you are helping those shop owners support their own families and dreams this Christmas, and year-round. Help make Salem and its surrounding areas a strong and vibrant community. You can read the full article on the Salem Weekly website by clicking HERE, or by picking up the Salem Weekly newspaper at one of over 700+ locations in the local area.
The article also includes numerous unique and authentic “things to do” for the holidays, which won’t break the bank, but encourages spending quality time with others in order to make priceless, memorable experiences this winter. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Jessica Murdoch


“Is Anyone Thirsty?”

On Wednesday, October 28th, John Stumbo, the Alliance Board of Directors, and Salem Alliance Church hosted the The Alliance’s fourth Livestream Praise and Prayer event based on “Is Anyone Thirsty?” Isaiah 55:1 (NLT). Area churches were welcomed to attend in Salem, Oregon, while the entire Alliance family around the world was invited to participate online. The livestream video can be viewed here. (Poem performed at the 11:30 time-stamp.)

The following original spoken word poem was written and performed by Jessica Murdoch for the aforementioned event.

Spoken Word 54
Murdoch performing her spoken word at Salem Alliance on October 28th. Photo credit:

“Is Anyone Thirsty?”

© 2015 Rhetorical Redhead All Rights Reserved

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…

A Rhetorical Update

A line from a larger piece. ✒

An update for you, my dear reader:

I know it’s easy to see that #PopUpPoetry takes up a LOT of my time (it does…my IG gallery reflects that blatantly, as does my gap in WordPress posts). But that’s not to say I don’t continue to work on other things. It has actually been very hard to resist posting my more personal pieces as of late–because, firstly, people plagiarize FAR too much on the internet for my liking and I can’t afford to be plagiarized because, secondly, I am saving my work to submit for publication. It’s a slow and arduous process, but that’s tells me I’m doing it right. Publication doesn’t come easy…it’s not something to rush, but I am enjoying my steady march because I know I will look back with no regrets at some knee-jerk acceptance to some new-age publisher I knew nothing about. Due diligence is my goal. If I do this right, if I do this proper, paying attention when my moral compass points North…I think I’ll make it out okay, and with a smile.

On top of submissions, I am gearing up to begin one of my novels. ‘Nuff said, there. Otherwise, summer is here and the hubs and I are delighting in house projects in our new home, especially our backyard… #bonfiresandbarbequeandbunsOHMY! Life is busy, but full and joyful! I continue to do commissioned pieces through Etsy. I am forever working on my website/blog. I am networking hard and pushing to get involved in my community. I’m even in discussions to teach mini writing classes to the local youth. LIFE, guys. Life. It is my ultimate Muse and I am blessed by it. So I would like to apologize that my feeds, my sites, my pages, haven’t been the best reflection of my work, as of late, but I hope you now understand why.

From this point forward…I wish to be more candid with you and share what it is I do….REALLY do. Even if it’s just snippets. Because ALL of it plays into my career. Writing is a huge part of who I am, and Life absolutely makes me the writer you see before you now. I look forward to opening up my Pandora’s box for you. I hope you enjoy, in turn. ❤✒❤

As always, with deepest gratitude, 


Hacking (Up a Lung)

HDay 8 – “H” as in Hacking (Up a Lung)

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But illness happens to all of us. (Writers aren’t invincible, contrary to popular belief.) The daily grind of poetic progress comes to a daily grinding halt. Be it due to the seasonal cold going around, or the full-blown flu, or food poisoning (I certainly hope not), we can’t be healthy 100% of the time. And when that happens, well…let’s just say it can really be a damper on your creativity, causing some unnecessary frustration.

As I write this, I’m perched atop a bar stool in a local coffeeshop. It’s a sunny spring day and the afternoon couldn’t be more promising. But my head is foggy from days of being suffocated by mucous, my extremities are exhausted from fatigue, I keep sneezing every three minutes, I’m mouth-breathing, my eyes are watering constantly…to any bystander I must look like I’m having a really bad day. But really, I’m just sick. And this is the first day I’ve been well enough to venture out of my house in the last week and attempt some writing. (Apologies if this blog post amounts to nothing but random yammering in the end. I’m unpredictable today! Weee! And this only proves that illness muffs up your writing routine, and you just gotta roll with the punches sometimes. — That was my wonky and weak thesis statement, professor, if you’re reading this…)

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