She scooted one inch closer to the edge, keeping her body back and her neck craned forward, attempting to see further down the cliff's edge. Sand and small bits of gravel made their way down the gradual slope of the massive rock she was standing on, slipping out of sight and down the impossibly long descent into the canyon. A peachy, yellow color, the wind-worn stone reminded her of a jaundiced child — a jaundiced pirate child, with weathered skin and a scowl.

Her left hand gripped the short lens of a camera, her right hung motionless, except when it instinctively splayed out, fingers wide, a subconscious defense to stop the fulfillment of her morbidly curious thoughts.

"What if I jumped?" The thought flashed to the front of her mind without warning. It surprised her usually overly-cautious, rational self. But more surprising still was her desire to find the answer.

"What if my foot slipped just six inches? There's nothing to grab onto. The rest of me would tumble over in an instant. What would that feel like?" She ran through all the possible ways she could find herself away from the sickly rock-edge, into the clean canyon air, through the biting winds, down to the valley floor. She could jump. Slip. Fall asleep and roll right over. Have someone push her. Handstand somersault.

Would she fall unconscious before striking the ground? Would she flip in the air, completing the cartwheel she could never master on solid ground? Would she hit parts of the canyon walls on her descent? Were there any jutting out to hit?

One more inch she took, eyeing her white rubber soles with intense concentration, almost as if telling them their job of gripping the ground was never more important than at that moment. "I'm only pondering this. I quite like the ground right now," she thought, directing the silent comment down to the inanimate objects around her feet.

"What if I didn't fall?" She continued, considered the possibility of flight. Skydiving was sort of like flying, and she'd been skydiving. "But that's really just falling," she said to herself, remembering the thrill of jumping out of the plane, the sharp air nearly pulling the skin off her bones, her eyes watering and her extremities yanked heavenward as gravity sucked her down to earth. "I want to fly."

Closing her eyes, she lifted her right foot upward ever so slightly. Her arms spread wide, she let the cool gusts of wind swirl around her trunk, twist down her legs, seep into her hair. "I want to fly," she repeated, this time aloud, barely audible even to her ears. She leaned forward, arms still wide, pushing hard off the cliff's edge.

And flew.

Photographs by Elizabeth Gosney ©2012

Three things prompted this short story. First, traveling to Southern Utah this weekend and getting dangerously close to a cliff's edge (closer, even, than this photograph) 2. Listening to "Peter and the Star Catchers" by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry and 3. Considering what it would be like to do just the opposite of what instinct tells me to do. Jump off the cliff. Don't turn with the curve of the road. Drink the soured milk. And that's the beauty of imagination and writing: You can make whatever decisions you want, wise or otherwise, from the safety of your desk. 



Went bouldering today. Ripped off a perfectly good callous on a V0. A V0! And it was no small callous, p.s. It reminded me of rings and monkey bars in second grade and the pride in showing off your mutilated hands. "See this? I got THIS blister yesterday when I skipped two rings." "Yeah, well, I got THIS one just today, when I swung past three monkey bars. THREE! Eat THAT!" (It was a big deal.)

When I got home, Jessica suggested I pour hydrogen peroxide on it, you know, to kill the germs.

"You do it," I said to her, hunched over the bathroom sink, hand hovering over the drain.

"K. Ready?"

As she began to pour the heinous liquid from the brown plastic bottle, I saw it hit my skin. "Hey, this isn't that ba --- OH MY GOSH!"

The next 30 seconds sounded something like this:

"AaaaaAAAAAAHAaaaaahaaaa! OhmygoshItStingssoBad! Make it stop. MakeITSTOP! Aaaaaahahaahhhahahaaaaaaa..."

As any good friend would be, Jessica was bent over, holding her stomach with one hand, covering her mouth with the other, gasping for breath amidst laughter.

I think next time I'll leave the germs be and avoid a repeat of what was one of the most horrific experiences of my life.


"How do you feel?"


"How so?"

"Socially; for a host of reasons. Spiritually; by my own idleness. Intellectually; well, you know the reasons as well as anyone. And physically; I cannot fly."

"Mmmhmmm. Go on."

"Well, and most apparent is the limitations from this straight jacket. I mean, it is really restrictive. Am I right?"

"So right."

Conversations with Myself No. 2
by e.gosney


I realized I've been doing a lot of writing, but I needs some variety. I needs it. So here's some photographs — photographs from my phone, no less (seriously, you can't get much less than the quality of a camera phone) — chronicling the last few weeks. Dang straight.

(The fortune, by the way, says, "Next week at this time, something good is coming your way." That was on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011 at 8:30 p.m. On Jan. 3, 2012 at 8:30 p.m. I was sorely disappointed. Serves me right for trusting ambiguous messages hidden in cookies. My psychic warned me about them.) 



"That was borderline offensive."

"I'm gonna venture a guess that no one was offended by that."

"No one was offended because no one else is here."

"Too true, my friend. Too true."

"What was your semi-blasphemous exclamation about, by the way?"

"Oh, I scuffed my shoe. I just got them."

"... You are insane."

"You're one to talk."

"... Touche."

— Conversations with Myself, No. 1
by e.gosney


I had a dream last night that we were walking, you and I, around a large house of white hallways and crown molding. There were doors, too, so many doors.

You spoke to me of days gone by, of details that didn't merit repeating. I searched the faces of the people we passed — modern dancers, barefoot and brightly costumed; old men, smoking cigars, fedoras atop their silvered heads; friends, staring mindlessly into nothingness, headphones fused to their ears. These people did not belong in the house. But it seemed, neither did I.

My chest tightened as you spoke, a frustration and nervousness filled my ribs with lead. I did not want to hear what I already knew, but I waited for you to finish, so I could ask a question.

I never did ask that question.

Your every pause for breath left me scrambling for sentence structure, only opening my mouth to have you fill it with more unwanted words. Every opportunity of an empty hallway was stripped away as a corner was turned to reveal unwelcome faces, peeling away my confidence.

I just wanted to know why.

Awaking from the dream was a relief, to escape the eyes of strangers, the maze of hallways, the ceaseless ramblings pouring from your lips. But as I laid silent, cheek pressed into a cheap, green pillowcase, dissatisfaction surged through my limbs. Why could I not ask it? Why would you not tell me?

And why, why did I not open any of those doors?

So many doors.