My journey through the maze of life

An image of the author after kayaking on Pikes Peak, aka. “America’s Mountain”

Why is a bio the most difficult story to write? Characters come to life readily in my mind’s eye, but my own life is increasingly hard to capture with succinct honesty. Do I include the bright and shiny moments that make my life sound, on paper, appealing? The broken and bloody stumbles along the way that resonate with authenticity? A mixture of both?

I love to breathe flickers of my soul into fiction. But, to write a straightforward biography proves arduous. Here’s my halting attempt.

The Hurried Facts

My name is Sarah Paris. I grew up in Maryland, United States. I’ve lived in…


And no, that’s not a spelling error

Photo by Amanda Sofia Pellenz on Unsplash

I felt directionless, and the monster of my devastation threatened to consume me. After college graduation, I’d lived overseas, interned in Hollywood, and worked as a kayaking instructor. All provided rich adventure and life experiences, but only put off the inevitable “adulting” plans I felt increasing pressure to solidify.

I’d decided to defer my graduate school acceptance for another year — which turned into a lifetime. And I had no idea what to do. I decided to sit around and cry about my lack of money, but I grew bored quickly, and my face got all puffy.

Then I stumbled…

A post-apocalyptic tale

Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash

At the end of the world, the sun emanated an eerie flamingo-pink light. The black storm clouds rolled in daily but never snuffed out the weird pink glow. It formed an ethereal halo around the mountain streams and lakes. Desiccated corpses of wildlife, picked apart by famished predators or starvation, littered the mountain woods. The unfortunate deer, bear, and mountain lion carcasses signaled the only signs of the world’s recent fate. Far away from the snarled ruins of cities and suburbia, the Rocky Mountains stood almost pristine and unscathed.

A rag-tag trio of leftover humans clambered off of a Colorado…

The case of the execution-style deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh

Photo by Fabian Wiktor on Unsplash

In the Lowcountry Region of coastal South Carolina, generational wealth juts up against poverty. Long-standing family names still hold clout. And no name has more recognition in the legal community than Murdaugh.

For three generations, a Murdaugh man held the role of 14th Circuit Solicitor. The 14th Circuit Solicitor is the top prosecutor for five counties in the Lowcountry, covering 3,200 square miles of jurisdiction. From 1920 when Randolph Murdaugh held the seat, until 2006, when his grandson, Randolph III, retired, the Murdaughs ruled the circuit.

Famed Southern author, Pat Conroy, wrote about the Murdaughs in his memoir, The Death…

But the CW heroine still rocks

Nancy Drew. The CW. Screenshot by author

Growing up, I loved YA mysteries. In elementary school, these engrossing series included my inherited Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and The Happy Hollisters. My mom loved these books and hoped to pass her love to me. And, she succeeded.

In third grade, I couldn’t get enough of Nancy or Frank and Joe Hardy. I longed to become a child detective. My older brother, Chris, and his friends used to leave “clues” around our sprawling backyard for me to find. I’d run under our weeping willow tree and discover a crumpled-up bank deposit slip. My skills were on fire, but…

I learned to let the waves carry me

Woman under water, bubbles coming from her mouth. Dark, vertical photo.
Woman under water, bubbles coming from her mouth. Dark, vertical photo.
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

When I was six years old, I almost drowned. We were on vacation in Bethany Beach, DE, and I loved the shore. The salt-laced winds, the calming crash of the waves, the boardwalk fun, the crab fests: all brought waves of joy pouring over me.

My swimming prowess wasn’t pretty. Basically, I could swim underwater, do the doggie paddle, and perform a herky-jerky, Elaine from Seinfeld-style crawl. But I lived for the water. And so, every day by ten a.m., we’d walk down four flights of crickety wood beach stairs to claim our space by the Atlantic.

I wasn’t big…


Spoiler alert: it’s even more Inception-y

Photo by Mathilda Khoo on Unsplash

My fingers twitched, and sweat poured from my brow. I had a writing deadline to meet and nothing to say. At a bistro table in a coffee shop, I sat frozen, staring at my laptop.

I became attuned to all around me. An older gentleman sat to my left, drumming his fingers against the side of his cup. I could hear the soccer mom on my right slurping her macchiato. My eyes glazed over as a barista mispronounced Meredith.

“Mura-deyeth? Your skinny, almond milk latte is ready. Mur-a-deyeth?”

From the corner of my eye, I caught two men lurking outside…

Sometimes there’s merit in cheesy, inspirational taglines

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

I felt my head grow warm and my eyes threatened to roll to the back of my head. I was in the midst of a Zoom call with my writing coach, and had steeled myself against clichéd self-help or vague inspirational speak.

She’d shared valuable, helpful insights until this point, but I’d experienced my share of Ted Talkers and psychiatrists before. I’d invested sizable funds only to hear Reach for the Stars! The Only Thing Holding You Back is You, time and time again. Nice sentiments with no real practical value.

“Know your writing ‘why’,” she said.

What? Oh man

The prolific music and tragic death of an original hipster

Elliott Smith with a rare smile. Wikimedia Commons.

“I’m never gonna know you now

But I’m gonna love you anyhow.

-Elliott Smith, “Waltz #2 (XO),” XO (1998)

My world felt gaping and grey. I’d experienced heartbreak before, but never on this level. My first “true” love had broken up with me and revealed he’d cheated on me. We went to the lakefront in my hometown — one of our favorite hangouts — and within two minutes, our relationship was over. I could physically feel my heart pulverize. In my car, I wept until I dry heaved. …


Why Rupert Giles is the most vital Scooby

Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles. Screenshot by author.
Thunderdome is a FanFare series where our writers good-naturedly debate some matter of pop culture and then leave it to the readers to decide. Read each post and vote at the bottom!

“Into every generation a slayer is born… She alone will wield the strength and skill to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness…she is the slayer.” -Buffy the Vampire Slayer Intro

The vampire slayer protects the world from all forces of evil. Monsters stand no chance against her — even the human monsters, who prove to spread the worst kind of darkness. And amid…

Sarah Paris

7xs Medium Top Writer. Freelance writer of all things--fiction is my heartbeat. Believer. MD native in CO. Adventurer. Traveler. Wanderer. At times, funny.

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