Sunday, December 30, 2012

national spelling bee 1987

i can't hear you

Stopped for gas yesterday and was horrified to hear the gas pump blasting an audio commercial from its tinny speakers. I'm sure you've heard them before too. "Stop inside for an ice cold refreshment. 20 ounce soda on sale for . . . blah blah blah."

nicole smiling

photo: jackie theriot

My sister Nicole has been gone almost twenty-six years, but this year, after spending a lot of time scanning old family photographs -- almost 400 of them so far -- I feel a new sense of closeness to her. I'm thankful to have so many photographs to help me remember.

a clearing in catahoula

photo: jetheriot

They've cleared out a patch of woods between the big bridge in Catahoula and Red's Levee Bar. I rode my bike there yesterday to check it out. So strange to see an empty space where before there had always been wilderness.

meditation room

photo: jetheriot

Paper stencil taped to wall, ready to be traced.

i dreamed . . .

. . . I performed a series of aerial acrobatic maneuvers in an enormous domed skateboard park. It must have been a mile high. Flapping my arms I ascended to the iron arches forming the ceiling of the dome and did backward somersaults all the way down to the smoothly undulating concrete floor where I grabbed a handful of lozenge-shaped reindeer lichens from a glass platter and swallowed them whole.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

au bout de la chaintre

photo: jetheriot

We'd just turned on to the dirt-and-gravel road that leads to the camp when my dad, who was at the camp, called to ask us if we were on the way. My mom, in the back seat, said, "We're almost there. We just turned on to the shant." I said, "What did you call it?"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

project houndstooth, day 3

photo: jetheriot

Monday, December 17, 2012

doctor tea

The moment the woman who savored birdsong was wheeled into the classroom she asked me if we were going to be listening to birds again. It had been three weeks since we’d listened to my mockingbird and bluejay recordings, and the experience had clearly stuck with her, because from that point forward every time I saw her she greeted me with a plea for more birdsong. Last Thursday was no exception.

it was not the hunting

Saturday, December 15, 2012

project houndstooth, day 2

photo: richard ramirez

the woman who swayed to music

Last year I treated a woman who was in a minimally conscious state. This is what it's called when a brain has been so severely injured that it's hard to get more than primitive reflex responses from that person, and that person is able to perform only very basic behaviors, like reaching for an object that's wiggled in front of the face.

Monday, December 10, 2012

tingle in g major

This is going to serve as a congratulatory sound on the habit tracker feature of my Peaceful Habits app.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012


photo: jackie theriot

I've been going through my parents' photo albums, peeling off old photographs.

Friday, November 30, 2012

i dreamed . . .

. . . we watched in horror as a young woman's long blond hair became tangled in a large rotating contraption of wooden spindles and grinding knives on the first floor of a cruise ship.

project houndstooth

photo: jetheriot

This is a mock-up of a painting project in progress.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The 21st century has given birth to a new kind of flatulence. Burps and bleeps slip out of our personal electronic devices like farts from a too-loose sphincter. Call it e-flatulence.

this car

This car moves only forward, and the past keeps slipping away, taunting us in the rear view mirror. Sparkling, it teases us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Generosity isn't about gift-giving or the sharing of material wealth.

Monday, November 19, 2012

dear mrs. theriot

When I was a baby, my mom took me to my sister's third grade class for show-and-tell. This is what three of her classmates wrote.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

easter spontaneous

photo: jetheriot

barbie leg keychain

photo: jetheriot

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the picture spot

photo: sue theriot

Monday, November 12, 2012

ideal doll head

photo: jetheriot

these pumpkins are more like wildflowers

illustration by richard ramirez

Proposed cover art for my collection of 500 dreams. I'm thinking of doing both a gigantic hardcover edition - 16 by 24 inches - in an extremely limited edition, five or ten copies maybe, as well as a paperback version.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

i dreamed . . .

. . . an obese goddess wore a canvas jumper with the silhouette of a petite goddess painted on the front of it in navy blue paint.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

plastic cowboy

photo: jetheriot

Friday, November 2, 2012

me, myself & iPhone

photo: jetheriot

i dreamed . . .

. . . I drank a glass of invisible thorn juice.The glass looked empty, so I picked it up thinking it was lighter than it actually was, and some thorn juice spilled out.

Friday, October 26, 2012

dustjacket idea for revised edition

my father's most beautiful photograph

photo: jackie theriot

Monique and Nicole are playing a new board game in their bedroom after Nicole's second birthday party. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

i dreamed . . .

. . . I drove a Spitfire Triumph from Catahoula to my apartment in New Orleans. Shifting from third to fourth, the Triumph lost some steam, so when I spotted a hitchhiking mechanic on the entrance ramp at Butte La Rose, I figured, rather than coming to a complete stop, I’d better just slow down and have him hop inside.

me one day old

Monday, October 22, 2012


Each of us is given a magic wand at birth.

the man who fell to earth

The script called for the character to attempt suicide by jumping from the fourth story of a mental hospital.

Monday, October 15, 2012

flower girl

We tunnel through the cosmos seeing only a tiny fraction of it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

me & my brother in an airplane

tell me about the time you threw away all your children's toys

photo: jetheriot

WHEN I WAS A KID I loved toys. I played with action figures until I was in the ninth grade. I loved moving their arms and their legs around and coming up with all these stories. In my mind, they all had personalities. And they all had their place in the hierarchy of my toy box. I took really good care of them, knowing that I’d give them to my own kids one day: vintage Matchbox cars from the 60s, action figures, cool stuff like that.

Monday, October 8, 2012

random weed leaf

photo: jetheriot

subtitle for e-book

"Can Peacefulness Be Prescribed?" is the story behind the Peaceful Habits app, an electronic prescription for peacefulness developed by neurologist Jude Theriot for the rehabilitation of emotions in survivors of brain injury.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I'm in the yellow shirt. Next to me, with her arms around me, is my sister Monique, squatting on one knee, and next to her is my older brother Luke. Behind us is Mamom, but you can see only her body in the photograph because her head was chopped off by the camera. We're standing on a dirt road near a trash pile surrounded by yellow wildflowers.

i dreamed . . .

. . . I survived a plane crash and didn't tell anyone, not until several years later when, revisiting the crash site in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego, I ran into my mother, who happened to be crossing over Highway 163 on a rickety pedestrian footbridge. I said, quite casually, "Did I ever tell you about the time I was in a plane crash?" I didn't want to make a big deal out of it.

me and luke in a lawn chair

Thursday, October 4, 2012


photo: jetheriot

A tripod is built to be as unobtrusive as possible. It supports the camera sitting on top of it while staying out of the camera's way.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

the difference between breathing and thinking about breathing

A teacher of shamatha meditation, after instructing a newcomer in the proper sitting posture, proceeds to the second instruction. The abbreviated form of this instruction goes something like this: "Having assumed the proper posture, now place your attention on the breath." Or, "Begin to notice the breath." The gist of the second instruction is to bring greater awareness to the breath, the vital fluid whose passage through your tissues, for the most part, escapes your attention, fading into the background unnoticed.

me with bottle

pink moon

Monday, September 24, 2012

the woman who couldn't see inside her own head, part 3

Q: Tell me what you were like before the stroke, in terms of how you handled emotions.

A: I was very domineering, very in control.

Q: Type A, would you say?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

first day of school

August 1978

i dreamed . . .

. . . a community of elves held a potluck in an old stone church.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

these pumpkins are more like wildflowers

photo: monique theriot

These pumpkins rot so quickly, more quickly than pumpkins from the store, like how buttercups turn to jelly after one day in the vase while a rose imported from Ecuador will remain beautiful for a whole week, even longer if you put that little packet of magic in the water.

the wrangler

photo: jetheriot

big ole dandelion

photo: jetheriot

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

this dead roach in my toilet just will not flush

There's a roach in my toilet, dead. Found it on its back near the garage door this morning. When I bent over to pick it up by an antenna, I braced myself for the possibility that it might still be alive, that it might curl and crawl around when stimulated by the wadded tissue I pinched between my fingers, but, no, it was truly dead.

Monday, September 3, 2012

sunrise habits of neighborhood doves

photo: jetheriot

Sprinkle birdseed outside your home religiously, and it won’t be long before you attract a crowd of regulars. I sprinkle birdseed on our back patio when I wake up each morning, and about thirty birds stop over for breakfast: doves, pigeons, sparrows, cardinals, usually at least one bluejay. The doves are addicted to my sunflower seeds. The sparrows love my millet.

a smartphone is the opposite of a bubble bath


Saturday, September 1, 2012

the level of the whole human being

IN ONE SENSE there’s a clear boundary around the brain. Reach into a cracked-open skull, peel away some membranes, and you can wrap your hands all the way around one. And in school diagrams, it’s clear where the brain stops and the rest of the body begins. The brain is that pillowy ball of pink, sometimes with a tiny tail at the bottom, sometimes not, floating in the middle of the head. In one sense, there’s a clear boundary around the brain. That boundary is an illusion.

how i know it's autumn

photo: jetheriot

1. I start craving ancient music.

Friday, August 31, 2012

rest in peace

Just learned that a former boyfriend of mine, Ray Brizendine, passed away unexpectedly. He was 41 years old. I first met Ray, as did many others, in his role as backward-walking, sass-talking tour guide at Rice University. A year or so later, after I'd enrolled, I met Ray on the second floor of Jones College. It was the day after Windsor castle burned, my nineteenth birthday, and I'd stayed up all night celebrating with friends. Running down the hallway with Angela Hung on my back -- or maybe I was on Angela's back -- we crashed into Ray. Our first conversation was sitting on the floor amid images of the burning castle on the cover of the Houston Chronicle.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

prosthetic memory

A pink balloon pops in front of your face -- pop -- and on a fragment of slate with a piece of chalk you write SEPTEMBER 15. A PINK BALLOON POPPED.

schematic for a german pillbox


an old boat in china

photo: jetheriot

Saturday, August 18, 2012

morning hymn

fan-tailed grackle

photo: jetheriot

how to remain stubbornly childlike

1) Wear a bumblebee backpack everywhere.

Monday, August 13, 2012

the woman who couldn't see inside her own head

Ever since the stroke she’s been unable to see pictures in her head. When she tries to visualize something, she can't. She can see everything outside her head just fine. Inside her head: nothing.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

me on a tree wart

photo: timothy frederick

Saturday, August 11, 2012


My friend's dog Daisy loves to eat condoms. He says he can't leave one on the floor for even one second before Daisy runs over and snarfs it up. He thinks it's the lube that makes the condom seem so delicious to her, or else she's just really stupid. In any case, he'd taken her out for a walk in the park one afternoon . . .

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

replacement parts for the brain

photomontage: jetheriot
banana image courtesy: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

If your plastic doll lost one of her legs in a playground accident, you could pop it back into her hip socket. Even if her leg were badly mangled by a lawnmower or melted off with a blowtorch, you could order a replacement, theoretically, from a toy warehouse in China. Snap the new leg on – she’s as good as she ever was.

the opposite of umbrella

photo: jetheriot

When you feel a painful emotion, your instinct is to recoil. It's painful, so you pull away.

Monday, August 6, 2012

the yellow hour

photo: jetheriot

The sun is peeking above the treeline, no longer orange, not yet white.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

kindergarten graduation

That's me with my mother's parents, Yolande and Etienne Doiron -- I called them Gammy & Gampy -- after my kindergarten graduation ceremony in May 1979.