Petulant Tweets Cited as New Energy Source

Scientists thought they were dreaming, but it turns out that yes, there is a brand-new gas on the block – an emission created by petulant tweets that can be converted into energy. And it just might save the world.

“We thought we’d identified all of the naturally-occurring gases,” said Dr. Han Jimson. “This one escaped our notice because of its extreme rarity – until now. Shortly after the Republican primary ramped up, a researcher at radionuclide station RN75 in Charlottesville, Virginia noticed some off-the-chart readings.”

Radionuclide station RN75 is one of 80 stations worldwide that can detect radioactive particles in the air that may originate from a nuclear blast. A series of tests confirmed the rogue gas was unique, and tracer technology located the emission source – not in a nuclear blast, but in a long series of petulant tweets.

The new gas is actually an element, and will be included in the periodic table under a new column, “Ignoble Gasses.” The “noble gases” are so-called because they do not react with other elements. The new category of “ignoble gases” reacts to anything that gets posted on the internet.


“We’ve named it Igorge, and its symbol will be ‘Ig,’” said Dr. Hanson. “Until now, we didn’t know where the hot-air energy used in emitting petulant tweets went. Now, that mystery has been solved, too. The energy reacts with electrons in the internet of things and opinions, creating Igorge.”

Unlike 20th century experiments that sought to derive energy from pre-social media gas-bags, the petulant tweet gas Ig can be readily harnessed by a process called “air-fracking” that sucks everything we once held sacred into a vacuum, and then extracts from it whatever bullshit capitalism can sell back to us.

Some environmental activists raised concerns about air-fracking’s effect on the overall concentration of available oxygen, but officials from the incoming administration assuaged those fears. “We’re entering a period of belt-tightening to make America great again. If oxygen levels decline, the American people will adapt, as they always have. Meanwhile, Igorge exports will bring in huge amounts of profit, which will trickle down to the average Joe. Igorge will be huge, huge, huge, and everyone will be driving gold-plated limousines soon.”

Scientists say it will take several generations, however, for brain and lung capacity to shrink and adapt in response to a reduced supply of oxygen. The current generations of humans on the planet can expect to experience periodic befuddlement.

Last week, I started writing satire. Bullsitist published my first one, “Operation Keep It in Your Pants.

Three New Poems at Peacock Journal


Truthfully, only “Kicking Out” is new as in drafted, revised, and submitted in the past six months. The second poem in the group is three years old (a toddler!) and has been rejected at least 22 times. Click on the image, or here , for all three.

I love it when an online journal matches  writing  with visual art. The artist here is Deborah Beaver, who hails from Hawaii.

Peacock Journal lives up to its aesthetic as a beautiful online journal. I decided to submit some poems because my poetry pal, A.M. Juster published a poem, “Rounding up the Mimes,” there.

To pay it forward, I spread the good news about Peacock to the poetry group I attend in Florida, and Aliesa Zoecklein‘s work will appear in Peacock very soon. Keep a look out for two poems from Aliesa!

Poetry and Memoir

Trish Hopkinson, gifted poet and model literary citizen, maintains a super blog with boatloads of free information about writing and publishing. This month, I’m one of her guest bloggers, exploring connections between poetry and memoir. Rock on, Trish, and all us writers!


“I write in both genres, and have often wondered what impels me toward each type of expression. Time lapse is one element that seems to convince me that a subject should find its place in a poem: if a specific, momentary observation moves me, that seems less appropriate to a memoir-style essay, and more appropriate to a lyric poem that can make use of what poet Kate Light has called the “imploded image.” Even then, though, seepage occurs. For example, I recently worked on both a poem and a lyric essay using one of those momentary observations: a young cardinal leaping from the nest for the first time.  This fledgling image is one that’s very easy to treat in a hackneyed manner, and maybe my search for a fresh take on this moment is what led me to try both genres.  Last month, after many, many revisions, I submitted each piece for publication in different journals. We’ll see what happens.”

Read the entire post here

“Hidden in a Suitcase” now on HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED

#AdopteeRights are human rights – the right to your own identity, for example, or the right to citizenship that’s being stripped away from international adoptees in America right now. If you’re not adopted, the best way to learn about adoptee rights and the complexity of adoption is to listen to stories from adoptees themselves.

This month, for #NAAM2016,  HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ADOPTED is sharing stories written by adoptees. I’m honored to have one of my stories included here.

My First Click-Bait Title

What do you think?


I wrote this piece last spring and started sending it out this summer. It was about 6,000 words in length. One of the Narratively editors wrote to say they were interested in it if I could cut it down to about 2,500 words. So I did, and I signed a contract giving them the right to title it as they saw fit — pretty standard stuff for a non-academic publisher. My title, btw, was “Not My Heart.” Obviously not very click-bait-y.

The essay has been out for a few days, and it’s driven over 200 views on my webpage. So I’m not complaining  – just curious.

Reaction to the essay has been positive within my own network, but on Narratively’s Facebook page, there are a bunch of negative comments like “Disgusting!” I’m wondering if the title and the blurb below it are to blame – but of course, some readers might just be repulsed by my whole approach to self-revelation or to exploring the complexities of adoption.

I’d love know what you think. Does the title and the blurb below it draw you in, or put you off?

#DomesticViolenceAwareness – What can I do?

October is #domesticviolenceawareness month, although of course we should be aware every month. What can you do to increase your awareness, or to support those of us who’ve been victims of domestic violence? What can I do?

I can donate. Last week, I attended a fundraiser for Peaceful Paths, the amazingly comprehensive  domestic violence support agency in North Florida. From very humble beginnings, Peaceful Paths has grown into an organization that provides shelter, legal assistance, counseling, financial support and advice, and community advocacy for victims of domestic violence and their children. Many years ago, I was on the board of a similar agency in Massachusetts, and I know how important financial support from the community is. Donations from individuals, especially unrestricted donations, go a long way toward providing services as well as the “match” often required by foundation grants.

I can read other survivors’ stories to learn about the diversity of domestic violence experiences, and I can share those stories. One of the survivor speakers at last week’s Peaceful Paths event has a blog, It contains personal stories as well as specific advice on many of the issues faced by survivors. Check it out!

I can tell my story, as I do in my memoir, Walk Away, and in other published works. Our stories change people’s minds and lives. This seems especially relevant in today’s political climate, where assaults on women are being dismissed by some. But the truth about violence against women, which is often intimate partner violence, is being spread by literally millions of women. Have you seen the Twitter threads, and the articles about them?


If you’re a survivor, and you’re inclined to tell your story, there are many places to do so. If you don’t know where to share your story, send me an email at michelejleavitt at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to tell you what I know about getting your story out to the world. Like James Baldwin said, our stories are “the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.”

Need help? Call 911 in an emergency. To connect with local resources in your area, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or visit them at



Death, Poetry, Memory

North American Review posted my short prose piece on death, poetry, and memory at their blog:  Below is the poem that’s the subject of the blog entry.

Near-Elegy for Brother James

Just seven days ago, my palm
consoled your shoulder blades, as if
it read your future. This year of deaths
is almost done, and you are not dead yet,

just out of ICU with kicked-in ribs,
an eyelid split, and still hung over.
The screen porch steams with sausage,
shrimp, and corn, our family celebrating

one more baby with a feast. Across
the dusty street, our little girls
collect the cotton bolls a combine
left behind, and bunch them up

in thorny, white bouquets. Our last
surviving brother picks guitar.
The baby’s grandma cannot stand
the travesty of nothing hard

to drink. She leaves. You stay. You’re quite
a trooper. You draw the line at
coming back indoors with me to hear
our newest mother’s poem on hope.

(P.S. Note the shout-out in the blog to Kim Bridgford‘s excellent journal, Mezzo Cammin, where more of my elegies for family members are published.)