10 – In the Company of Spiders









Dropped and bounced on a fine line
between fear and fortitude.
We have been interacting ever since —
she to my left while I lean ever so slight to my right;
she out of sight so I step to the kitchen for a spell;
she now along the wall and towards the window,
and I with a cautious eye.
I do not know how long we will play at this —
living in the company of our fears.
If I spoke spider, I would offer her quid pro quo
I will not murder you today if you stay





Photo: Long-bodied Cellar Spider, Pholcus phalangioides. Photo and Poem ©2018, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month 2018, #10. If you like this poem, then pick up a copy of my new book EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND today! CLICK HERE

Bear Thy Name Is Fear

If you asked me 15 years ago what my biggest fears were, I would have said 1. Spiders, 2. Public Speaking, 3. Flying.

If you asked me 10 years ago, I would have said 1. Spiders, 2. Public Speaking.

If you asked me last year, I would have told you that I love flying, had made peace with spiders, but that I would rather die than get up in front of an audience.

So, flash forward to this:

Yes. That’s me. On stage Wednesday night in a production of Thornton Wilder’s The Long Christmas Dinner by the Moses Gunn Play Company.

Now, if you’d seen me 15 years ago, in fetal-curled panic at the thought of giving a 3-minute presentation — you would understand the size of the bear that was wrestled on Wednesday.

But “a funny thing happened on the way to the theater,” as they say. There were grand moments of at-all-cost avoidance and embarrassing failures. Six months at Toastmasters and healing humor. More embarrassing failures, lots of baby steps, wise coaches, Rescue Remedy…and a few surprises. Like a 3-minute presentation. And then a 30-minute presentation. And then lines read in a play in front of a live audience.

Fear is a powerful opponent.

So is Perseverance.

©2018, Jen Payne. More of Jen Payne’s writing can be found in her new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, available online from Three Chairs Publishing.

When It Comes Around Again

It was one of my first major life lessons, from one of my first mentors. Her name was Janet, and she said to me: “The Universe is trying to teach you something.” At the time, I was caught in a vortex of situations that were all very similar in nature. People were unhappy, people were… Continue reading When It Comes Around Again

France on Fridays: C’est La Vie

LES DEUX AMIS EN FRANCE Such is Life • Wednesday, May 31 The weeks leading up to le grand voyage were a whirlwind — the kind that comes with the anticipation of leaving one life behind in order to discover another. But the usual excitement of vacation’s adventure was buried somewhere under all of the… Continue reading France on Fridays: C’est La Vie