My journey through the maze of life

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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.

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

A fall from grace for the “thrill of the kill”

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Photo by Jason Pischke on Unsplash

Ocean City, Maryland, 2002. Memorial Day Weekend ushers in the beginning of high tourist season. Among the summer crowds splashing in the Atlantic Ocean, the families enjoying the Jolly Roger Amusement Park, and the scores of young partiers, a murderous couple lurked. According to former Ocean City detective Scott Bernal, most crimes in the seaside town involve petty theft or alcohol. The police force anticipated weekend DUIs but not murder.

Even now, eighteen years later, Bernal and his colleague remember the murders of Joshua Ford and Martha “Geney” Crutchley as the most disturbing case of their careers. Ford and Crutchley…


And all I got was a lousy tee-shirt

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Screenshot from YouTube. Ex-QAnon supporter apologizes to Cooper for thinking he ate babies

My invitation came in a Facebook private message — thanks to Mark Zuckerberg. I “liked” a post from Bill Gates, so obviously, I supported 5Gs hostile global takeover and its link to COVID. I never thought I could make the ranks so easily. I was wrong.

Apparently, I became a “liberal elite” when I voiced my opposition to Trump. I’d always thought of myself as a political moderate. But a Facebook friend informed me that I was an elitist who didn’t love Jesus. Thank God he told me! I would have gone on thinking my love for Jesus was genuine…

By acknowledging them as a part of my life

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Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

I was twelve when I first felt the fog of depression hit. One day, my friends and I decided to walk to the downtown lakefront after school. We were due home, but practicing our first round of pre-teen rebellion, headed to Lake Kittamaqundi instead. The four of us sat around the lake, legs dangling over the water, and took horrible drags off of three Virginia Slim cigarettes Tiffany stole from her mom’s purse.

We laughed and gushed about boys. We talked about our favorite bands. Yes, I had already experienced unresolved trauma in life. …

CCTV caught many of Noah’s last moments, but a mystery still looms

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Photo by Lina Verovaya on Unsplash

June 21, 2020. Belfast, Northern Ireland. In the last muggy days of June, 14-year-old Noah Donohoe was looking forward to his summer. Although schools had closed in mid-March due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Noah was a part of the Duke of Edinburgh award program and eager to meet all of its requirements.

According to the Duke of Edinburgh Award website, the award offers a chance for 14–24 year-olds to have:

A life-changing experience. A fun time with new friends. An opportunity to discover new interests and talents.

The requirements are set-up so that young people may complete them with…

A spark to dust off the numbing cobwebs of life

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Photo by David Moum on Unsplash

I awake this morning to the smell of sea salt and electricity. My cracked window blows an impending storm into my room, and I jump out of bed. For me, a heavy thunderstorm crackles with mystery and adventure — I yearn to soak it in. In my bed, I stretch and catch a whiff of myself. God, I stink. When was my last shower?

“Despair, sadness, and industrial waste,” I name the smell. “I’m disgusting.” I scratch my five-day-old scruff, and the dry patches on my chin plead for a shave.

The sanctuary of my bed begs me to stay…

The music draws you in, and the lyrics won’t let go

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Photo by Meg Jerrard on Unsplash

Eager for a new life chapter, I drove from Colorado to California for a film gig. I sold all of my possessions that wouldn’t fit in my Altima, and embarked on this adventure alone. It was early morning when I crossed the Arizona border into Nevada. I sped past a billboard for Alien Beef Jerky, and rounded the corner of a red cliff canyon.

The pink of sunrise glinted off of the cliffs. The air blowing in through my open sunroof radiated a crisp, fresh hope. And “Moth’s Wings” by Passion Pit blared through my speakers. …


You’ll find the wisdom here huge — or that’s what she said

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“Michael Scott”. Wiki Commons

Good evening, Ladies and Germs! I am Michael Scott. I’ll pause until the cheers and applause die down. But, really, you can clap as loud as you want. You won’t embarrass me.

Welcome to my Ted Talk. Gentlemen, I call you “germs” because we’ve held the spotlight for far too long. Ladies, I won’t explain this to you as I don’t want to mansplain. Mansplaining is when a guy feels the need to explain something obvious to a woman in a condescending manner.

Women need elevation. I know this because I am “woke.” …


It butt-dialed 911 all on its own

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Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash

My phone screamed from my jeans’ back pocket. The shrieks rudely interrupted my first, glorious moments of winter’s aftermath. I’d enjoyed my first day in months without a jacket, extra hours of daylight, and all of the promise that early summer brings. Winter doldrums bested me that year, and Colorado had skipped spring. I yearned for the exciting new chapter of summer.

Standing on a spacious bar patio with my old friend, Eric, I didn’t want to answer my phone. Eric and I were catching up in person for the first time in a year. …

Grungy tunes that speak most to my soul

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Photo by Tom Roberts on Unsplash

A deep angst permeates the music of my adolescence.

Even now, when I listen, I’m taken back to a teenage awakening — a questioning of the world only made possible through amazing music. And buried underneath the woe, a quiet hope whispers. Yes, the world is broken. Yet possibilities stemming from authenticity and healing permeate the music of: Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Bush, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan — even guilty pleasures like the Dave Matthews Band and Toad the Wet Sprocket fill my heart with a mix of forlorn nostalgia and promise.

Each ground-breaking album of indie, grunge, alternative and rap is a gift of my youth. I love all genres and eras of popular music. But the music of the 90s will forever stand as the soundtrack to my life.

Sarah Paris

5xs 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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