The Recluse

It’s 10 years since MS invaded my life.

10 years of drastic changes, friendships severed, relationships unable to withstand, people carrying on and life moving away.

10 years of slow disability which in essence feels like aging sped up. I’m nursing home level disabled in a relatively young 52 year old brain.

A brain capable of critical thought, artistic finesse, and linguistic complexity. A brain actively needing and wanting a life and activity which my body is incapable of. Period.

A brain which remembers all too well the pleasure of walking on a beach or up a mountain… or simply to the store and carry anything as I walk… or even more simply, to the bathroom. Yes, every basic human need, I have to have someone help me in some way.

I’m tired. After 10 years of trying to lead a life of love, happiness and fulfillment, I’m tired.

Tired of being frustrated working 10 times harder for simple tasks.

Tired of watching people leave me behind and continue on with life… without me.

Tired of dreaming and in it I’m walking only to wake in a bed I can’t get out of without help.

A burden, mostly. Something to take care of.

I’m going to create as it’s all I have, but I’m not trying to join society anymore. I don’t care if I sell art. I don’t care if anyone sees it.

I often yell at my chest to just STOP BREATHING ALREADY … but they, my heart, my kidneys and liver all… great shape.

No, I have to wait it out. So as I do, these missives and arts are my final will and testament.

So be it.

Enjoy The View

I am dying and so are you

Won’t you stop with me and enjoy the view?

I know it’s a shock to hear it

You don’t believe that it’s true

But I really am dying, and so are you.

The old folks will tell you

Your years here are few

Some others are wise andWill give you a clue

Saying, “Won’t you stop with me and enjoy the view?”

You may scoff, and shake your head too

It’s the only way out, not a thing we can do

With my first breath I was dying, and so were you

So, won’t you stop with me and enjoy the view?

-Darla Vaughan

The Space

between letters in a word.

the space between the words in a sentence.

the space between paragraphs in a message.

the space between the days from the last epistle to the next.

It’s the space between you and me and everything between and surrounding all.

the space between all is as subjective as the vast cosmos or the infinitesimal  atom.

the space between is individually measured by every sentient being.

It my have a standard measure, universally understood, but it is never equal.

This is why we bob and weave to remain balanced.

Don’t let me roll off into The Space between  .darla_vaughan-1521382312755

Decision by 8am 

Challenging myself to 100 days of art, I began to decide by 8 am to make a general direction for that day’s work, then make it public. It keeps me motivated.

The commitment to embark on this journey is bringing a new appreciation and approach to something that has been my fundamental nature my entire life.

All of the experimentation, honing of skill, blind passion in anger, pain and joy and practice of creation has prepared me to fully embrace and complete this journey.

Keeping the opportunistic freedom of each day….

Decision by 8am. En plein air. Cool front came through and it’s nearly Autumnal out.

I’m not staying inside to paint, but paint I will.

Truly Independent

I have attempted to sell art and handmade goods online since there was an online marketplace to sell.

I had some success on eBay, selling vintage items, music, books, rarely works of my own making. My stuff never sold. just a drop in the ocean of online artists. I never had the time nor ability to dive in deeply and make it successful.

I developed as an artist, came into a passion and style, and finally plenty of time. MS disabled me quickly, but allowed time to art (it’s a verb). Still no time to market myself, what with creating and surviving the hell that is disabling chronic illness.

Finally, a portfolio of art works… with time and the inability to sell, it built. I felt the need to reopen my Etsy store and dive in to marketing myself and my work, from home where my condition has me often.

My first day I sold a painting2017-4-11_103451

a favorite… an auspicious beginning, right?…

No. Etsy absolutely took any joy out of it for me. With their Etsy pay system, supposedly linked to my PayPal btw, it took 3 days for them to disperse the funds to my bank and THEN reported my bank would be holding it for 3-5 more days as some sort of verification process… anyway…

It took a week before I was paid, the next two I sold, 4 days.

The customers paid right away. Etsy doesn’t pay like I used to get paid from internet sales. I was paid directly to PayPal and it was done. I don’t care what or why anymore and this isn’t about Etsy or their policies…. nor the fees I’ve always paid to sell in online marketplaces

This is about me going truly independent. Again, PayPal has been the best system for online payment to pay and receive.

I got a link to be able to get paid for an item directly. I can also receive donations for art supplies and easy payments for commissions.

Simple as that, market myself simply through my social media outlets, hope someone sees, appreciates, purchases or donates.

I used Instagram to successfully auction a small watercolor of a recurring mermaid in my repertoire, Arrlene, The Pirate Mermaid:


She sold and I am so happy to send her to her new home. So, here’s to auspicious beginnings, anew.


Midnight Bark

Navigating in the dark

Sailing in a midnight bark

Through a great, dismal swamp of life

But I love this place

This dank and magical space

A sultry and slithering pace

of a mysterious and wild and wholly natural lover

She stings and she bites and she takes souls to drown

but there’s no place I’d rather be, far and away from town

She blooms and she sparkles and she sings away  the frown

The non-swamp world throws down.


-Darla Vaughan



Midnight Bark

3 AD … after development

Three winters ago I had an infection and got pretty sick and was treated with heavy antibiotics and I quickly healed. By early spring I started noticing small things that weren’t right for a healthy active woman of just barely 41. Eyesight trouble, odd sensations, balance problems… I won’t go into every detail. Turns out I developed Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. The “bad” kind, so you know it’s pretty bad. You name the symptom, I have it. Debilitatingly and progressively. Anyway, I don’t want to take all day, this isn’t a book, it’s a blog.

I’ve written about it sporadically, and it’s been a year, I intend to record the progress at least once a year. This is the anniversary-ish of the actual event which brought MS on, so this is a good a time as any.

Last year, this time, I was adamantly refusing to begin treatment with the medication I actually am currently on, Tysabri. I did it anyway, and I’ve been on it all year. I’m worse than I was when I began, but it is impossible to tell if it is at least slowing it down. At this point I’m still committed to using it a while longer, but I have included a regimen of medical marijuana which I am in the process of chronicling now and will write on it in the future. It is not legal where I live, however I am more worried about myself than and extremely challengeable, antiquated, and unconstitutional state law.  It is helping me deal with symptoms in a way desirable to me with minimal to zero unpleasant side effects disastrous to the body’s health as with many pills on the market. Just read a label.

Presently, I am awaiting delivery of a set of arm crutches and a custom wheelchair that I can handle alone and return to being active, as well as looking for a car with an automatic transmission. I can no longer safely drive my stick-shift car, coordination to the clutch is about gone, so until then I need people to take me places or bring me things. It is not an easy existence right now, but I am making the best of a forced sedentary lifestyle and preparing for the arrival of the tools I need to get back out there again.

A blogger I’m fond of reading reminded me of new year, not resolutions, but expectations. I don’t do resolutions either, however I do have a list of things I want this year. Not ‘to do’ but just want.

I want to finish my book.

I want to display art in at least 3 shows locally this year.

I want to create everyday.

I want to put that wheelchair in as many 5Ks as I can.

I want to love the things I love wholeheartedly.

and… I wanted to tell you that, so… check.


I didn’t come back to pigeonhole this space. I find I’m too multi-faceted to dedicate any part of my life to one area of dabble, expertise, interest, or talent. Tried blogging like that, and found it unsatisfying, not because I couldn’t come up with content, but because I got bored with it.

Like my ideal lover, my space needs depth. I need to express myself in all ways, not just this way or that way. I need response. I need to feel satisfied.

With that, this is not a poetry blog, nor a photoblog, nor a political platform, nor a constant bitching about my health blog, nor art blog, nor beer blog, nor any other category of blog.

It’s me. It’s my stuff and my space. I don’t care if you expect all poems or all photos or all whatever…Don’t expect it, merely expect the unexpected.

Tschüss, Darla