The Murder of Violet Gold

This was written in 2014. I don’t remember the context. I suspect my motivation was something like “Hey! I want to write something that rhymes!”

The Murder of Violet Gold

It all comes down to what you might believe,
If someone were to speak at the right time,
A nudge to help your stricken mind conceive
A notion which I think you’ll find sublime:
That which you thought you saw was never real.
A trick of light, at best. Madness, at worst.
Synaptic firing line shot to conceal
The truth of what you saw tonight, immersed,
As we both were, in horror as she dripped
Her ruby blood upon the kitchen floor.
In anguish as our dear, sweet friend fast-slipped,
With screams and shock, the threshold of death’s door.
It was not I who held the bloody blade!
The killer must have been our dear friend’s maid!

The killer must have been our dear friend’s maid!
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again:
She hated how our lovely friend displayed
The wealth she’d earned through labor, sweat, and pain!
While she, herself, had nothing much to show
For all the years she’s given Mrs. Gold.
She doesn’t even have a home, you know?
She has no car to drive, nor hand to hold!
It’s her, I’m sure, with whom the blame must lay.
For who else here would kill sweet Violet?
And though I’ll justify it in no way —
The mistress stabbed and killed by her own pet —
It’s not so hard to see how envy bleeds
When work alone won’t meet one’s basic needs!

When work alone won’t meet one’s basic needs!
We’ve all been there, now, haven’t we, old pal?
While every dream she dares to dream succeeds.
Hey, who could help but envy that old gal?
It isn’t disrespect! It’s said with love!
You know she’s had my heart since we were young!
And no, those are not blood drops on my glove!
You keep your peace unless you’d see me hung!
I loved her near as much as I love you!
It’s not the sort of love that money buys.
And, dearest friend, I know what we should do.
You must believe my words and not your eyes.
For when you think about the wealth we’ve got,
It’s plain to see we blame the one who’s not.

Downtown Development (Sapphic Stanza)

Ugly cars with rusted-out bodies park here,
Underneath the flowering plums and maples,
Staid beside our manicured, landscaped greenway,
Sharing the sidewalk

Maple boards with thundering wheels break peaces
Gravely spanning chasms between the burdens
Built on wine and barbecue by the fireplace,
Burning through nightfall

Iron gates with delicate motors hum here,
Gliding shut and opening when we bid them,
Boasting signs to terminate rights of passage,
Locking out friendship

Kaküno Sapphic Stanza

Pilot Kaküno fountain pen with Lewis Putnam Turco's The Book of Forms
Pilot Kaküno fountain pen with Lewis Putnam Turco’s The Book of Forms. Yes, this pen was designed for children. No, the book was not.

Last week, I treated myself1 to a copy of the revised and expanded edition of Lewis Putnam Turco’s The Book of Forms2. Yesterday, while at Mitsuwa Marketplace3 in Costa Mesa, my wife treated me to a Pilot Kaküno4 fountain pen.

These two treats go well together.

I’ve reached the part of Turco’s book which introduces the Sapphic line and the Sapphic stanza5, and because I want to actually learn the material in the book, as opposed to just digesting it, I’ll be spending at least a few days taking winky-nibbed stabs at Sapphic stanzas.

If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll forgive me.

I’m comfortable with iambs6. Trochees7 and dactyls8 feel awkward and weird. “da-DA-da-DA-da-DA-da-DA-da-DA”9 makes perfect sense to me. “DA-da-DA-da-DA-da-da-WTF-DA-da-Da-da” not so much. (That “WTF” always, always follows the dactyl. Always.) My archetypal drummer keeps dropping her sticks, and I don’t particularly like the sound of it.

But I do like that fountain pen!

And, since the pen was in my hand when I started writing…

Pilot Kaküno with handwritten sample of “Kaküno Sapphic Stanza”. If you look closely, you can see the smiley face on the nib.

Kaküno Sapphic Stanza

Fountain flows of ebony staining paper
Winking, smiling up from its steely shoulders
Lilac, white and metal in pudgy fingers
Piloting verses

Here’s to the concept that practice makes… well, at least better.


  1. Lewis Putnam Turco’s The Book of Forms. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  2. UPNE – The Book of Forms: Lewis Putnam Turco. University Press of New England. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  3. Mitsuwa. One of several Japanese markets in Orange County. Accessed 15 May 2018. c
  4. Pilot Kaküno. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  5. “Sapphic stanza”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  6. “Iamb (poetry)”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  7. “Trochee”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  8. “Dactyl (poetry)”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018.
  9. “Iambic pentameter”. Wikipedia. Accessed 15 May 2018.

I Got Distracted

I do that a lot. It’s a big, fascinating world with lots to get distracted by. And I, myself, am a big, less-fascinating microcosm with an internal ecology to get distracted by, too.

I’ll bet you might be the same.

So, I’ve been stretching my problem solving skills and debating about how certain I should be before blogging about a questionable fix I’m employing for a no-good, frustrating, disturbing health problem for which I do not want to undergo the prescribed diagnostic procedures, never mind one particular potential treatment.

I’ve written and scrapped the post explaining the whole mess too many times. It’s amazing how something fairly simple and direct can take far too much back story to clarify, and how much anxiety doing so can provoke.

I’ve yet to reach a conclusion on how much I’m willing to share.

So, what does this have to do with illustration?

Well, that’s one of the things I’ve been distracted from. I still haven’t finished designing the iMessage sticker pack I started working on back in March1. I have a couple of potential illustrations done for the second triad (there’s something to be said for working in threes; it’s the number of signs in an element2, after all, and an easy grouping for getting to 12), but can’t quite get my head around how I want to complete that mini-set.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered Concepts by TopHatch3.

Orange squid drawn in Concepts. Work in progress, likely to never be finished. I was playing with Concepts’ shape guides and stroke smoothing at this point, and obviously using layers, but otherwise drawing like I would on actual paper.

Concepts is described as “An advanced, natural design tool for the mobile professional.”4 I’m not a professional, and no more mobile than most other homebodies I know. I actually found Concepts during a quest for a simple-to-use architecture app while I was distracted by the notion of re-designing Angel Stadium5 with a more neck-friendly layout. Alas, that ambitious bit of inspiration never came to fruition, but Concepts was love at first draw, and so, I’ve been busy learning to use, and slowly creating with, my new fave drawing app.

Concepts comes with an infinite canvas; optional, adjustable grids (including dotted and isometric grids); snapping options; shape guides; ways to measure your work; and a decent set of brushes. (My favorite of these is the fill brush. It’s totally changing the way that I work, and doing so in a good, time-saving, error-reducing way. Maybe that’s not unique to this app. Maybe it’s just the first time I’ve actually used that sort of tool with an Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro. Don’t know. Don’t care. If this app is the first to get me to effectively use a fill brush, then kudos to TopHatch for getting through my thick skull.)

In-progess dragon drawing in Concepts. I’m now uitilizing the fill brush, selection tools, duplicating and mirroring, in addition to infinite layers, stroke smoothing, snap, and shape guides.

If you like to draw, and like doing so on an iPad, I encourage you to give Concepts a trial run.

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying drawing with it.

And, hopefully, I’ll come to a decision regarding how transparent I want to be about what I’m now referring to as “Sam’s DIY Hormone Fix” (or, “You Too Can Regulate Your Own Estrogen—But You Might Not Like How”)6.



  1. Light That Monsoon Up! Samusumi. Accessed 3 May 2018.
  2. A Brief Introduction to Astrology: The four Elements. Astrodienst. Accessed 3 May 2018.
  3. Concepts: Smarter Sketching (iOS). TopHatch. Accessed 3 May 2018.
  4. Concepts: Smarter Sketching (iOS). TopHatch. Accessed 3 May 2018.
  5. Angel Stadium. Samusumi. Accessed 3 May 2018.
  6. Psst. It has nothing to do with astrology. Evidence-based medicine FTW.