Passion and Paper Tigers


Fear preys on passion, but it is a paper tiger. ~Vautaw

I received a check for $25 today from the Poetry Society of Indiana for winning 1st place in the Linda Bannon Memorial Category with a poem I wrote specifically for the contest called, “Overflow“.

In my mind, I wielded the check like a sword to shred the paper tiger that has pursued me since the day I dared to publish my first word. Apparently, it worked, but I know a legion of paper tigers exist for every word I dare to share.

I am taking advantage of this momentary victory and boost of confidence by dreaming big, writing like I am already famous, and visualizing my name among the greatest writers of all time: Hemingway, Vonnegut, Faulkner, Joyce, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Eliot, Bronte, Woolf, Plath, Atwood, Angelou, Christie, Cartland, Steel, Vautaw…

That last one is me, one of my pseudonyms, fits right in doesn’t it?!

Whew, I got that out before the next paper tiger spotted me and fueled my inner critic with enough adrenaline to make me want to escape through the open tab to check my email or scroll social media… anything to avoid the thoughts of inadequacy, of not being good enough to even think of being in the same sentence as the “greats” or “real” writers, of dramatic despair of dying with my words and stories left unsaid…

But, wait, I have my sword. I may not even cash the check. I may post it on my vision board as a reminder of an Amelia Earhart quote, “Fears are just paper tigers“. So, write to your heart’s content. Write the words that you want to share with the world. Write the stories that make your soul shine.

En Garde!



ROCKY The Junk Yard Dog BALBOA


Rocky “The Junk Yard Dog” Balboa

Stacy Savage, a poet and friend, loves to write what I call CAUSE POETRY which is writing that in addition to entertaining and/or inspiring the reader, benefits charities. I also love Cause Poetry. It is my favorite writing to do. Stacy and I collaborated on a nature (another passion we have in common) writing project a few years ago Naturally Yours that benefited a fund that enables elementary kids to visit state parks to learn about nature and wildlife.

Stacy has created a Facebook page where she hosts POETRY CONTESTS FOR A CAUSE. Her latest EARTH DAY writing project is near and dear to my heart. The cause she is helping with this contest is Wildlife In Need. This organization had a devastating fire in January that resulted in loss of wildlife, structures and supplies. They started a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild their sanctuary.

I know how it feels to lose precious animals in a fire. In August 2014 we lost our two dogs and angelfish in a¬†fire that made national news and left us with only the clothes on our back. So, when Stacy mentioned this project, I was all in. I made a donation and wrote the poem below in honor of Rocky, our “junk yard dog” that we miss everyday.

If you like to write poetry, I encourage you to enter the Earth Day writing contest and check out Stacy’s Poetry for a Cause page.

Write on.

Kathy G


Rocky “The Junk Yard Dog” Balboa

I loved to watch our miniature
American Eskimo Spitz
with his flowing white cape
play with kids and chase snakes
through the field.

We called him our junk yard dog
because as soon as he got home
from being groomed,
he would roll around
in the dirt like a pig.

He liked to hang out
at our automotive parts shop
and would jump in any car
with an open window. Then hide,
hoping to go for a ride
before he was noticed.

He was small, but acted
which is why we named him
after the fictional fighter
Rocky Balboa.

Tragically, Rocky died
in a devastating fire,
but his spirit lives on.

I think of him often
running wild and free.

He was the kind of dog
humans should aspire to be…

Caring, protective, devoted,
fun-loving, adventurous,
magic moment maker.

I miss you my furry friend.
Someday I will see you again.