Sharla Dawn Gorder

Writer – Speaker

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© Jem Sullivan

            Yes!  Long slender legs! At last!  I love it. I’m not sure how I feel about the itty-bitty head though. 

            This is about as close as I get to shooting selfies these days.  I’m not all that excited about my looks; and therefore, I don’t expect you to be either.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think I’m hideous.  I actually clean up pretty good—and in the right light with the right make-up and clothes, and maybe a little Photoshop magic—I can see vestiges of the cute young thing I once was. 

            Who also disliked being photographed.  For exactly the same reasons.  I’ve never been excited about my looks, even though, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve never been hideous to behold.  Continue Reading

          It is one of those weary bleary mornings.  I had awakened way before dawn at 3:00 AM by a very rude headache.  I tried to ignore it (the way I try to ignore rude and obnoxious people) and doze back off, but the hammering was too loud, too jarring.  For half an hour, I tangled and wrangled with the sheets (sorry Ted), then I just got up and took a shower in the dark.  I got some coffee, took a couple of Excedrin Migraines and propped myself up against the headboard and tried not to move.  The headache dimmed, leaving its buzzy echo behind. 

            Then the anxiety kicked in; I sat in the darkness mind-tweaking:  How the hell was I supposed to function today?  When would I be able to sneak in a nap?  How will I be able to focus enough to get my column written for the paper? Where will I get the energy to teach my class? Why am I such a lousy sleeper?  Is something seriously wrong with me?  Am I getting sick?  Am I already sick, and just don’t know it?  Is that dark spot on my wrist really a freckle?  Why is it so cold in here?  What time is it already? Will it ever get light outside?  And on and on and on. Continue Reading

           I cried this morning.

           About the birds.

            They didn’t accost me.  And that made me sad.

            Just a couple of weeks ago the feisty little critters chased me into the Gulf.   Yes, that was me, splashing around in my pretty new yellow dress. And no, I had not planned on going swimming in my clothes at dawn.  

            And yes, that was me, flailing around, arms thrashing overhead and in front of my face like a displaced interpretive dancer on hallucinogens. And no, I was not having a psychotic break. 

            It may have looked that way from the dunes or the balcony of your condo, because you probably couldn’t see my assailant. But I swear, I’m mostly sane. I rarely go swimming at dawn—fully clothed and frantic.  Neither do I dance that early in the day (though I have been known to sing). Continue Reading


            Quick, is there anyone who comes immediately to mind when you read the title of this story?  Conjure an image of their face in your mind.

            Now, imagine that everyone you know is reading this post simultaneously.  What are the odds that your face graces the imagination of a friend, co-worker or family member? 

            In other words—are you, at times, passive aggressive, manipulative, gossipy, or duplicitous? 

            If you answered quickly with a resounding, “No!  Not me—but let me tell you about my boss, mother-in-law, sister, or friend,” you can stop reading right now.  These words will most likely be a waste of your time.  And I estimate that it will take the average reader about 12 minutes to read them all.  But it’s your call.

            The danger in writing about this issue, and other dysfunctional personality traits and behaviors, is that, if I’m not careful, I can set the ball rolling in the blame game—a contest that has no winners, a contest that makes victims of everyone.  And self-appointed victims are perhaps the most cray-cray of all. Continue Reading

           I found myself ruminating as I walked (more like trudged) the beach this morning.  I woke up inexplicably sullen and anxious, and my mind was scrambling around looking for justifications for my dour mood: didn’t sleep well, a family member hurt my feelings, my friend never called me back about dinner, I haven’t written a decent paragraph in a week, I still can’t play B minor on my guitar, I gained a pound after eating nothing but kale and arugula all week, the sunrise was obscured by clouds, and what’s with all this seaweed on my beach?

            It was down around Avenida 18 that I nearly stepped on a little treasure in the shore break, one I don’t see every morning.  Amidst the broken conchs and whelks and jingles and augers, tangled in that annoying seaweed, I happened upon a starfish. Continue Reading