Welcome to Peripatetic Offerings

Who anymore consistently says what they mean?

I decided I will with my writing.
Speaking candidly can be daunting at times.
It took no small measure of courage to expose my evolving feelings and conclusions.
To do that, we must not compromise our sentiments or beliefs.
If we do, we run the risk of missing what we intend to be.
Being forthright in expressing our own opinions can put us in defensive or embarrassing situations.
But on reflection, isn’t life itself a bit clumsy at times?
Come read with me and perhaps we will crawl, walk, run, and even leap together into thoughts that we find on common and uncommon ground.

I have experienced great happiness,
But strangely, a lot of it came from knowing disappointments.
Having lived through disappointments, as we all do
I know my own depths and heights of personal failures and joys.
Some of me can be a bit cynical of humanity at times –
I measure and share my happiness with those I believe have good intentions, especially those with a humorous side.
A constant safe harbor for me is nature itself.
There, my psychic battery never fails to be recharged.
I can doubt humanity at times, but trust the constancy of nature.
Nature has taught me that it is in the measure of time, full of good intention.
But having said that, do realize that a modicum of doubt or cynicism serves a great purpose when analyzing the less trustworthy leaders of ours.
I can see with clearer vision by sorting out the chaff of pessimism from my desire for optimism –
All the while, knowing I have lived through both.
And in that knowing, I can express with less fear
The dark and light side of a life lived fully.

Xenophobia – Wish we could all say….

I have said to some that were clearly Xenophobic –

“I want to like you. You have no reason to dislike me personally.

You don’t know me. Your opinions have been learned without me in them.

Let’s talk about what we have in common in humankind.”


It worked about half the time. That was a good start I thought, and still do.

It is painless to listen if the other asks to be heard.


jms  3-1-2017




We Are Shadow Puppets To A New Regime

Wayang Kulit

Words unfamiliar unless you are Indonesian or South East Asian.

Shakespeare said it —

“All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”


But what of the shadow world we hide behind, or are led by?

Shadow dancers on the silk screen acting out…

These shadow puppet images showing the foibles and understandings

of humanity, and perhaps, the observer.

Sitting in the darkened audience of dancing gyrating shadow puppets.

Feeling our own impulses rise and fall to ancient Far Eastern music.

Thinking we are separate, yet feeling like an accomplice to the clandestine stories played out on the tiny stage…

These therapeutic or disturbing displays of puppet voices, dancing and acting out –

Allow us to live vicariously, safe, and apart from criticism of those who cannot read our minds, yet sit right along side us.

Shadows reflected

We watch and listen and anticipate even the obvious endings.

Tragedies and humor reflected in the dark shadows of our own lives.

Shadows dancing across our minds as they are on silkworm screens.

We see ourselves, but do not want those near us to see our likeness.

Our innards, kept in the privacy of our own internal Wayang Kulit theatres.

All the world’s peoples at times needing relief, much the same as portrayed in the darkened theatre of the Wayang Kulit…

This safe haven, offering relief, like our own movie theatres – sans puppets.

We all have this in common – we must exit outside into the glare of our political futures.

The voices of the Wayang Kulit theatre still in our heads, to syncopate with more renditions of our impending world apprehensions.

And it is true, the world is a stage, and may the hero or heroine, prevail.


JMS  1-1-2017


Corporate Christmas Indigestion

Corporate Christmas Indigestion

We will be eating a holiday meal together again
A corporate Christmas offering
Didn’t we all just pass each other in the hall on our way to lunch?
We will again be looking at our plates and those around us
All uncomfortable, pressed stiff with starch
All in their appropriate seating placements, according to the Pecking Order
Plates filled looking like frozen food dinners
The veggies on one side, the meat on the other
Thinking to ourselves, is the bar closed ?
The attendees, like the food seeming stilted, lacking in warmth
We, all furtively looking around and pondering
Together, we, the corporate penguin look alike types
But what for?  Really?  It’s expected – That’s why
No joy or warmth, and it is Christmas season too boot
We had to attend, and to finish this party that seemed more like a Wake
The grand finale, flat gummy cheese cake to celebrate
Where is the pie?  That gives real comfort upon which we rely
If I had taken a vote
A unanimous decision might surely invoke
That all corporate Christmas dinners must die!
JMS –  December 2016


Himalayan Cave Enlightenment?

I traveled to Nepal in search of something not seen in my Stateside existence. High mountains were climbed to find enlightenment in between my clouded understandings.

And then one day, I peered into a dim hand-dug cave and into the wild-eyed gaze of a bearded, emaciated and practically naked ascetic.

My first thought was that he wanted me to know he was “right living.” And that I was not. Yet, his world of silence seemed cacophonous to me. His eyes let me know I was breaking his serenity. As was mine.

I realized then, we were both searching through our own self-induced darkness for an enlightenment that required no illumination. Just acceptance.

I soon left for home, realizing after having trekked over 180 miles in the rarest of elevated air that I was asking for less “things.” Perhaps this ascetic hermit seeker left me a gift. That state of mind – not having anything to ask for in my mind… became the beginning of my release.


Religion and Churches

Which Hidebound Religion?

Churches –

I have been in many.

Religions –

I have tried many.

It is always the people within the churches who muddle my idea of a Creator’s intent.


My worship takes place in the pew of Nature.

Nature does not evangelize, dictate, or judge.

It is, just is… And that is the bare truth.

No theorizing required.

Nature asks no membership fees. “It” is available every moment of our lives.

What could be better?

Guess that recognition makes me a self-proclaimed “PanTao.”

I have become a Pantheist and Taoist.

Not a hidebound religion.

When I have a question, I go direct and avoid the middleman religions.

A review of my new book: The Fourth Pillar

Mr. Terry Irving is a four-time Emmy Award-winning journalist. He edited and reviewed my novel The Fourth Pillar to be published in 2017. As an award-winning writer and producer, he has won three Peabody Awards, and three Du Pont and Telly awards. He worked as a senior live control room producer at CNN, Fox, ABC and MSNBC. He wrote and edited copy for some of the top anchors and journalists in television news including Ted Koppel, Diane Sawyer, Wolf Blitzer, and Aaron Brown. Mr. Irving has produced stories in all fifty States and around the world from Beirut, Hong Kong, El Salvador, the fall of the Berlin Wall and Tiananmen Square.


The Fourth Pillar – Reviewed by Terry Irving

First, James Milton Smith is very much the Real Deal. He gets both essemtoa; of writing about war; riveting descriptions of the fear, joy, terror, and exhaustion of real combat and the years of internal battle with the “invisible wounds” that all of those who have truly been on the front lines. His writing was wonderful and my job, as editor, was like that of an archeologist—clearing away the undergrowth. Once that was done, there were vivid descriptions, crisp dialog, and a wonderful sense of humor. Sort of an Angkor Wat of a book. Again, the sequences where he opened his veins and described the painful process of coming to terms with PTSD, there is an honest and wonderfully human story of the “push pull” process of seeking help when all his conditioning fights against it.

Jim is the real deal. From the fleshpots of Thailand, to the ludicrous “secrecy” of a war everyone but the American public knew was being fought. Jim has nailed this story.

With all that, it’s not a simplistic diary of one man’s time in combat, it’s a meditation on the meaning of life and death. The constant process of thought, meditation, and reconsideration that Jim has gone through shows his sharp intelligence which flashes through on every page.

All that and a surprise ending.

It was an honor to work on this book and I would like the reader to understand that “The Fourth Pillar” is very much the work of James Milton Smith alone.

Terry Irving
Emmy Award-Winning TV journalist