Tag Archives: PTSD

Review & Giveaway: The Mad Ramblings of a Joker by Brandon Dillon

By Brandon Dillon
Publisher: Paper Airplane Publishing
Pub Date: January 24, 2021
Pages: 156 pages
Categories: Poetry / Psychology / PTSD / Veteran Stories

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Poet Brandon Dillon makes his debut with The Mad Ramblings of a Joker, a brutally honest collection full of metaphor and vibrant imagery. His work covers topics such as PTSD, depression, and heartbreak, and softer moments of hope and reflective peace.
His poetry is deep and unforgettable, a beacon for a dark world that needs a friend to say, “I’ve been there. I understand.”

I had a mission when I picked up The Mad Ramblings of a Joker by Brandon Dillon. I have an online friend who is suffering from PTSD, and I wanted to get more insight on what she is experiencing. I didn’t expect to relate to anything within the slim book of poetry, but so much resonated with me. And I think that anyone, man or woman, ex-military or lifelong civilian, can relate to Dillon’s inner thoughts that he so graciously shares on the page.

You would be hard pressed to find someone who has never said one thing when they meant something completely different. A person who doesn’t deliberately hide their feelings because they know that the other person couldn’t handle them, would maybe sit through them uncomfortably, but then sneak away and never return. I think we have all, at one time or another, wondered about the point of this life and wished for something better, to be a better person.

For someone who rambles, Dillon has a delightful symmetry to his writing. Many of his poems have an opening that is echoed, either exactly or slightly altered, in the last stanza. Or a short line is repeated throughout with a different response – sort of like the congregational response part of a church service (but in reverse). Sometimes the poetry is more free form – whole paragraphs of ideas that are too large to be confined by stanzas. And although he flits between time and place, there is a flow from each poem to the next. It made me wonder if Dillon curated his collection before publishing or if this was the natural order they were written in whatever notebook he might have jotted them down in.

I like how open and honest the poems are. Not a shred of pretentiousness that I often detect in collections of poetry. Like the writer remembered all the rules of poetry from school and deliberately applied them while overusing a thesaurus at the same time. Dillon does none of those things and it is a breath of fresh air.

As someone who grew up Christian but now identifies more as a spiritual person who still has questions, I very much identified with the poem “Pointless.” This line in particular hit me hard, “What if I do not want to live forever; what if I do not want to be reborn?” The other poem that I felt a particularly strong connection with was “New Year, New Me.” The message that we shouldn’t make false promises to ourselves but “Instead, look back honestly on your year and build upon the success you have had, and learn from the mistakes you have made…”

While on the topic of mistakes, there were typos in this book that I feel like could have been avoided with some editing. I acknowledge that rambling might break the conventions of punctuation, but the typos and misspellings that are scattered throughout the pages were distracting. (The publisher has a revised version in the works now.)

I don’t keep much poetry on my bookshelf, but this book will definitely have a place in my collection. I have bookmarked several poems that I plan to share with my friend and other poems that I plan to reread and meditate on later. This is the sort of book that I know I will reference later for different seasons in my life or to share with someone else.

Brandon Dillon is an award-winning poet who writes from the soul about his life as a child born into poverty, his travels around the world as a U.S. Marine, love won and love lost, and the trauma that life brings. If you ask him his biggest accomplishments thus far, he will tell you they are the laughter and tears of the audience as he reads his words on the stage for them. He is amazed when people feel his emotion and in turn show him their emotion.
He has twice performed by invitation, reading his poetry at the FASOLT Fine Arts Expo, and has participated twice in “Color: Story,” a collaboration between poets and visual artists, winning first place in 2019. When he is not working or taking care of his two sons, Brandon frequents open mic readings for poetry and all genres of writing with the group Writespace and performs at open mic and slam poetry events with the group Write About Now, at times reading something he just wrote that day.
He is never far from his notebook, fitting his writing in between shifts at work, kids and homework, and sleeping. Brandon lives in Houston, Texas.
Connect with Paper Airplane Publishing:

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(US only. Ends midnight, CDT, April 26, 2021)


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Racing Forward by Mica Mosbacher

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Mica Mosbacher

Mica Mosbacher was barely hanging on. A single mother of a son, she worked in retail while she established a career as an award-winning writer. Feeling unlucky in romance after two failed marriages, she gave up on her dreams. In her early 40s, she met the love of her life, oilman mogul and 28th US Secretary of Commerce, Robert Mosbacher Sr. A modern day commoner who went on to meet and entertain heads of states and Royals, Mica turned out to be a kind of Houston Cinderella. Mica married her prince and soul mate only to lose him to pancreatic cancer leaving her heart broken. But instead of wallowing in pain, she decided to grieve forward. Her brother, a racecar driver, inspired her to learn to race a Ferrari. Testing her personal limits on the racetrack, she discovered her inner strength to move forward.Life brings losses on a regular basis. Whether it’s a garden variety loss or a life changing one―debilitating illness, divorce, death―it requires a resiliency, optimism and faith.

Excerpts from Chapter 8: Racing Ahead

We were intent on making a difference. My daughter-in-law often says that I like to make waves. So does Ellen [Cohen]! Together we united to create a tsunami. A vocal defender of sexual assault victims… (pg. 95)

It was a splendid ceremony, one that marked a middle-class “commoner” proving she was worthy of a prince. Letizia Ortiz represented the future of Spain in a progressive world. (pg.96)

I suppose that’s what reality is: a dream-like experience shattered with the clanging of an emergency. No wonder we lose ourselves in fairy tales. (pg. 97)

I recall being dropped off within walking distance amid a sea of protestors. I admit I was nervous—the protestors seemed very hostile—but I was also upset. While they may not have agreed with Reagan’s policies and actions as President, making a scene at his funeral was, more than anything, disrespectful. (pg. 97)

We [also] saluted our country, which we both held most dear. It was hard not to be affected, after having so recently said good-bye to an American President beloved by many. I remain impressed with Ronal Reagan to this day. He was able to connect with people and bridge differences. In this era of partisan bickering, our country could use someone like him. (pg. 99)


I’m embarrassed to say that I went into this one not having a clue who either Mica Mosbacher or her husband were. Maybe if I watched the Simpsons (gotta read the book to know what I mean by that) growing up… I approach memoirs by people I don’t know with caution, but my visor came up within the first page. Mosbacher is a great writer and you can really tell she has a background in journalism (she puts in relevant pop culture tidbits here and there to keep you interested). I was impressed with her personal and professional drive, as well as her ability to keep me from thinking of her as a gold digger. I don’t know what the high society pages in Houston said about her, but I’m guessing it wasn’t always nice. Either way, you know she made it out alive and continues to thrive. I was thrown by the cover of this book because the racing bit takes up very little space. (I actually thought she was some famous race car driver that I never heard of. Hmm…) And to be honest, that little bit was what underwhelmed me the most. Older woman having a mid- to late-life crisis buys a Ferrari (she’s kinda loaded because of her late husband) and gets into racing made me pause (although the cause it supports is AWESOME). But I thought her greatest achievements were as a supportive wife to a terminally ill husband, a caring mother, and a political fundraiser.

Michele (Mica) Mosbacher, widow of the 28th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and oilman Robert Mosbacher, Sr., was commissioned as an Honorary Consul of Iceland, Houston and Central Texas, in 2010 by the Foreign Ministry of Iceland. She is an author, motivational speaker and proud sponsor of Godstone Ranch Motorsports, a family professional motorsports team that races for charitable causes.

She currently serves on the boards of the Houston Ballet, University of

Houston; and was appointed by Governor Perry to the steering committee of the Aga Khan Foundation. Mica previously served as a director of the American Hospital Foundation, receiving the board’s highest honor presented by Ambassador Howard Leach at the United States Embassy in Paris.

Focused on education, Mica previously served as on the University of Houston’s Board of Regents and the board of Strake Jesuit Prepartory School. Mica implemented Best Friends, a character education program and the Raol Wallenberg Heroes program in the Houston Independent School District in the late 90s.

Mica has chaired numerous charitable fundraisers including Houston Ballet

Ball, Woodrow Wilson Gala, Museum of Fine Arts Costume Institute and American Hospital of Paris Foundation. With her husband Bob, she co-chaired the M.D. Anderson Milestones and Miracles celebration, honoring President George H.W. Bush, that raised more than $10 million (a record at the time). M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s pastoral outreach group honored Mica, and she was named Pacesetter of the Year by the Cancer Assistance League.

In April of 2011, Houston Mayor Anise Parker honored her with “Mica Mosbacher Day” for her initiation of the prominent public art installation, “On Tolerance,” featuring sculptures by world-class sculptor, Jaume Plensa.

In 2013, Mica was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to the Order of St. John; in 2012 she was awarded the Silver Good Citizenship Medal, the highest honor from the Texas Society, Sons of the American Revolution. She was named Philanthropist of the Year in 2007 by TAASA (Texas Association Against Sexual Assault). Mica was named Knight Commander of the Order of King Francis I.

In 2008, Mica was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame along with Barbara Bush and other prominent Houstonians. A journalist, she has received prestigious writing awards for feature articles. Her career began in 1972, when as an intern at KPRC-TV/NBC in Houston, she was among the first female reporters on camera and radio and while an intern, Mica acquired an exclusive interview during a famous murder trial. She later pursued a career in print journalism and freelance writing.

A longtime horse lover, Mica is a former champion in the American Saddleseat Amateur Walk-Trot Division. She won her first horse show at the Dallas State Fair riding J Miller and was trained by Charles Smith at Tri-Oaks Stables in Houston.

Active in political fundraising, Mica has served as a co-chair on many statewide and national campaigns.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, Mica resides in Houston and Austin.




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