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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Death of a co-worker: A letter to my friend

I know it’s been a while since we last saw each other. Yet, you have remained in my thoughts since leaving work. I think of you especially when I buy a cup of coffee. I remember when I would come to work with all my bundles and bags of teacher materials, and of course, coffee. You would give me this grumpy look and say, “So you can buy coffee for yourself and not for me? Okay Dara, I see ya!” At first I thought you were serious and I endlessly apologized to you. “Okay, tomorrow I will buy you a cup of coffee. How do you like it?”

You never actually told me how you like your coffee. All you would say is, “It is okay Dara, I’m just messing with you.” We’d laugh and then I ask about your day. Although it was early evening, it always seemed like your day had just started. Maybe that’s because you had to stay until closing. Maybe because you were the director of the after school programs, or it was an excuse to pick on me about not buying you coffee.

There were some days you weren’t in a joking mood. “What’s wrong?” I would ask you. I could always tell when you were aggravated or really upset. When you were aggravated, you would just yell, “I don’t know Dara!” and mumble some words I didn’t understand. When you were really upset, you would say “Fuck this shit!” It's those days I was most concerned about you. You would sit at your desk, quietly, staring at the computer. You wouldn’t even turn around to say hello. When my class ended and I’d say good night, some nights you’d say the same or wouldn’t say anything at all. One night, I patted you on your shoulder and said, “It’s going to be alright. Trust me.” That’s when you turned around and smirked at me, “Really?” I smiled back, “Yes. Whatever that’s bothering you will pass. Now who do I need to kick for ya?” You laughed and said, “Everybody!”

Do you remember how we met? I was a new teacher at this new location, your location. I was about to walk up the stairs to my classroom when you stopped me half way. “Where are you going?” You looked annoyed and I instantly felt intimidated. “I have a class on the second floor. I’m supposed to be starting a class tonight.” You seemed uninterested and looked at me as if my response wasn’t good enough. I smiled and said, “My name is Dara Fulton. I am an ESL teacher and I’m starting a level 1 class tonight. I work at the Manhattan office but was sent here to teach.” There was an awkward silence for a while until you said, “Okay. Do you know what room you’re in?” As I said yes, you started to walk pass me. I quickly asked, “Oh, what is your name?” You glanced back at me with an abrupt answer, “Brian.”

From that moment on, I liked you. I don’t know why. You weren’t that friendly. You were abrupt majority of the time. At times you questioned my ability to navigate my way around the school; it was a big school. And sometimes you would ignore me when I greet you. I think the ice breaker was that evening when you asked me about coffee. The next time the coffee discussion came up was the last Spring I saw you. I was sitting on the steps in front of the school. I arrived an hour early before class. It was a nice day, the sun was out and it was breezy. I liked sitting on the steps and watch people walk by. I also enjoyed seeing my students arrive to school. You came outside. I had my head down reading a book and listening to music on my iPod. 

“Oh so I guess you can’t say hello to nobody!” I looked back and there you were smiling at me.” I said, "Oh please! Like you always say hello to me!” We laughed as you started to light your cigarette. I added, “And I honestly didn’t see you standing there!” You puffed on your cigarette and said, “Yeah right Dara! Of course you didn’t!” You asked me how I was, and next minute I knew it was time for me to head inside. It seemed like in that short amount of time we talked about each other’s day, our frustrations, concerns, happy moments, and pretty much anything that came to mind. You smiled more that day. Despite your usual frustrations, you seemed calm. You didn’t curse much. When I jokingly offered to kick someone for you, you said, “Nah…it is okay Dara. I appreciate the offer.” I felt happy.

On my last day of class and as an employee at our agency, you stood in the lobby watching my students hug me and say, “We will miss you teacher.” I saw you watching, but couldn’t look at you. A couple of my students offered to walk me to the train station. As they were walking outside I told them to give me a few minutes. I turned back. The security gentleman gave me a hug and I wished him well. As I turned to you, you said, “Don’t Dara.” I smiled at you while holding back tears. “I want to thank you for being you. Thank you for always looking out for me and for believing in me. I appreciate you more than you know, and I will truly miss you.” I don’t remember what you said immediately after that. I just remember hugging you and you saying, “You will be missed.” I said my goodbyes and before I walked out the door, you yelled out, “And don’t be a stranger Dara.” I smiled at you and said, “I promise, I won’t.”

That was the last time I saw you.

A colleague and friend of mine who used to work with you, called me the other day. I haven’t spoken to her in a long time. In fact, I haven’t spoken to anyone from our agency. Although I never spoke to you about all that was going on in 2012, I think deep down inside you already knew. As we were talking, she told me you had passed away. For a moment I thought I went deaf, because I didn’t want to believe you were gone. She said you died in 2015 around the spring time. I had no idea you were not well. I told her I was sorry to hear of your passing, but it didn’t hit me until now. It’s like God told me you were really gone, and I had to accept that.

I owe you an apology Brian. I didn’t keep my promise. I stayed away for my own reasons. It had nothing to do with you. I should have kept in contact with you, stopped by the school to say hello. I should have brought you that cup of coffee. I feel guilty for not bringing you that cup of coffee. That is my biggest regret and I hope you will forgive me.

As I write this letter, I am holding back tears. It’s just like the day when I last saw you. I’m not ready to say goodbye, but instead say I’ll see you later. That’s how I like to remember you. I want to know that I will see you again and hear you say, “What’s up Dara?” as you light your cigarette and vent about life. Most of all, I want to remember your smile. That I will always cherish. I’ll see you later my friend.

Rest in peace Brian.

Friday, January 6, 2017

I’m Back!!!!

Hello friends of the Creative Corner! I know it’s been a long time since I wrote on here. 2016 was an interesting yet reflective year. Happy New Year 2017. I am grateful to be here and be back to writing. I missed it. It’s something about typing words on a blank page that satisfies me. Blogging is cool and I enjoy it. When I get to share reflective moments in my life, inspiration, or poems, I feel empowered knowing people are reading my words, my inner thoughts, getting to know who Dara is. I thank you for being here.

Did you know that as of December 2016, Dara’s Creative Corner blog made 6 years? Wow. Here’s to another 6 years!

So what’s been going on with me? Hmm…how can I say this in a few sentences? I am working hard towards my dreams and goals which includes getting my book published. I am still creating. My design, “Squiggly lines, dots, and whatever else” is now copyrighted (YAY) and I have an artist blog on Tumblr ( I am still unemployed (Boo!!!) but now focusing on other ventures. Shh…it’s a secret for now. I am single…again. I broke up with my ex-boyfriend days after my 35th birthday. It’s sad and still have love for him… sigh, that’s life. I tried the dating scene. That’s a story in itself! Oh and I recently discovered 3 gray hairs on my head. Stress perhaps or a sign that I’m getting older? Whatever it is, I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about love in 2016. Now that it’s over, what lies ahead for me in 2017?

Creative me aka DaraSunbubbles

My outdated video camcorder and makeshift "studio" :)
One of the ways I deal with life’s many ups and downs is by being creative. I like to call myself a collective, because I like to do many things and I have many interests. I love to write, I love to teach ESL (English as a Second Language), and love to create (crafting, drawing, photography). My art is me. I call it DaraSunbubbles Art. Another interest I’ve always had is talking and helping people. Since I’m always told “You talk too much,” I thought why not make a career out of it…well, somewhat. I revamped my YouTube channel during the Christmas holiday. I posted 5 videos varying from getting to know me, why I decided to return to YouTube, cooking, and inspirational messages. I welcome you to check out my channel, Dara K. Fulton. It’s similar to this blog except you get to watch my big head talk, ha ha!
My latest videos including how to stay confident when you don’t feel like it:

Goals for the Creative Corner and YouTube channel

The goal for both this blog and my YouTube channel is to share and offer inspiration to people. I truly believe in the power of inspiration, because it helps build confidence, self-esteem, and gives one hope. Life can be hard at times, and it’s a good feeling to know that you are not alone. Oftentimes, I feel alone especially when I get depressed. When that happens, it can make one (me) isolate self from people which can make the situation worse. It’s no secret that I’ve had my share of ups and downs, and I expressed them here. When I started this blog in 2010, it was right after I lost my job, my boyfriend, and found out I needed hip surgery. I lost friends in the process, became depressed, and dealt with emotions I didn’t think existed. I channeled all my energy into this blog as an escape to find solace within myself. Over time, the more I shared the more people were touched by what I was saying. Maybe I was giving them something and didn’t know it. I may never know. What I do know is, I truly enjoy sharing inspirational and reflective moments with you. It’s sharing a part of me that I don’t get to do in person (or shy away from). I find it easier to share these elements with you here. It gives me peace.

I welcome you to join me on this creative journey. I’m confident that you will gain something from it whether it’s on camera or on this blog. I welcome comments or a simple hello (my contacts are in the “Get to know me” bio). I look forward to a great 2017. I believe this will be the year that DREAMS WILL BECOME A REALITY. Believe in it. Strive for it. Keep going.

Always stand tall.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Author’s note: I was inspired to write this poem during the recent events that occurred in the U.S. and abroad. This includes but not limited to the Dallas,Texas police shootings, racial tensions, the bombings in New York City and New Jersey, and the violence in Turkey, France, and all around the world. It moved me. It made me mad. It made me cry. So, I drew a picture. Then I decided to write a poem about it.

(c) DaraSunbubbles Art
Pow pow, boom boom
Every one runs in a cloud of heavy gloom
Set off by bombs and gun fire
Running to safe ground is the only desire
People afraid, unable to say
To describe or feel about what happened today
Police make many efforts, protestors take a stance
Communication is lost
Will there ever be a second chance?
Wounded soldiers are the everyday folk
Victims of a world that’s suffered a stroke
Broken and unaccounted for
Senseless violence has no cure
Blood soaks city pavements
Shattered glass and concrete are its only remnants
Death may lie beneath the surface

But terror haunts the living conscious 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Blooming Dara

Happy April friends! I know it’s been a minute since I posted on the Creative Corner and there are tons of reasons for that. However, instead of boring you with tedious details, I rather give you a snapshot of what’s been going on in my world. Since my last post which was April 2015 (a year flew by already, wow!), so many things have happened from artistry, travel, to falling in love…yeah it’s been a cool journey thus far. Many have asked me about my book project, Life’s Reflective Twists. I put it on hold to focus more on my art work and develop into a full-fledged artist if there is such a thing! Since putting the book on hold and the events that occurred after, I have more materials to add to my story. So, I’m back to the revising stage or as I like to think of it, the fun stage. It’s my hope to have it completed and off to be published by year’s end. That would certainly put a smile on my face.

I titled this post “Blooming Dara,” because like a flower, I believe I am blooming more into my womanhood. I am more set in my ways, and comfortable in the skin I am in. The trials and tribulations of life still exists. I still struggle. I’m still unemployed and continue to look for work. Yet, I have a better handle on things than I did in years’ past. When faced with adversity, one must learn how to look within self to cope, to keep going, and smile when you don’t feel like it (that is the hard part). I continue to smile and when necessary look in the mirror and tell self, “You are beautiful. You are smart. You got this.”

So what has changed since 2015?

For starters, I’m about to embark on a new age. I’ll turn 35 on April 22nd, a milestone indeed. I am comfortable to call myself an artist, because I honed in on the type of art I like to create. I love it so much that I am venturing into the entrepreneurship world. Wow. Just staying that gives me goosebumps! I’m still an ESL teacher, because every day I meet a new person or store clerk whose native language is other than English. It goes from pleasantries to helping them practice their English speaking skills. I also think saying, “Hi my friend” when entering their store or small business makes a difference. The other day, I visited my favorite diner in Brooklyn and a waiter, whom I haven’t seen in a long time, passed by my table. I tapped him on his arm and said, “Hi my friend, long time no see!” He gave me the biggest smile and said, “Hi, how are you?” He doesn’t speak much English but his smile alone made our brief exchange worthwhile. So much so that he gave me extra coffee. Smiling, like English is truly the universal language.

I’m a writer, and write all the time. I constantly buy notebooks or make notepads to jot down to-do lists, goals, or write down reflective moments. I also have a journal. My room is a post-it haven of notes (friends who visited my home knows this well)! I like to write something I call “Nightly reflection” on Facebook where I share thoughts, self-affirmations or something motivational that occurred during my day.

On a personal note, I’m a girlfriend to someone who I adore very much. Yet, I’m often called “spouse” or in his language Yoruba, “iyawo” which means “wife” to his friends and family. He is the reason I had the pleasure of traveling to his home, Nigeria. I visited Lagos, Nigeria last December. It was my first international experience, and an experience that truly changed my life in more ways than one. That is a story on its own, and I will certainly blog about it on a later post.

Year 2016 so far

I am constantly working on my art, from creating to research, to taking classes on how to market my work, and of course networking. I’ve taken a more serious approach in putting my art out there for the world to see. I believe if my artwork is being looked at and (hopefully) admired, I already won half the battle. I don’t have a sales background. I don’t know how to persuade someone to buy anything I make, but I hope my art will be good enough to sell itself. Free classes in sales and marketing definitely helps newbies like me. I love recycled art, taking used items and making them into decorative works of art. I love bottles and jars, whether glass or plastic, to paint and add accents to them. I like home décor. I use these jars and bottles as vases, incense holders, storage for my hair brushes or pens, or leave it as it is. In February, I opened an online store with It’s called Dara Sunbubbles ( I sell my bottles and jars on the site. I plan to add more items in the coming weeks.

Doodle to design?

One of the challenges to being unemployed is boredom. I took out one of my handmade notepads (I made it from a cereal box and old computer paper) and started to doodle. From that point on, I continued drawing squiggly lines and dots. Each pattern is different. There is no previous sketch or idea, I just do it. And it is very relaxing. Ironically, I made my first doodle/design on April 24th of last year. I guess April is special for many reasons. I kept at it until I bought a sketchbook and continued to draw more of these lines and dots. 

I came up with the name “squiggly lines, dots, and whatever else,” because in all my doodles there’s at least a squiggly line or dot within the pattern. I love doing it so much that I drew it on a t-shirt and button down shirt, ceramic dishes, created magnets, bookmarks, and mouse pads with the design on them. I love making the bottle and jar art, as well as my “squiggly lines, dots, and whatever else” design. I look forward to marketing them further.
To learn more about this journey, check out my artist blog on Tumblr:

Hopes and Personal Affirmation

I continue to grow as a woman, and hope to grow as a future entrepreneur. I hope my art and writing will take me to new heights. I have ideas on how to promote my work and remain true to my life’s goal which is to make a difference in this world. My affirmation to self is to remain strong, smile through the struggle, and not to lose faith. I remain in prayer which allows me to build confidence in self and in what I do. I welcome feedback and support from friends, family, and even strangers. I believe in any form of art, it’s a collective of ideas, interpretations, and opinions. There are no right or wrong answers, just guidance and pathways. 
I want this blog to grow and reach more audiences, because I believe in the power of reflection. It takes people, experiences, emotions, happy and bad times, struggle, and so much more to make us become the people we are today, at this very moment. I’ve learned so much from so many people in my lifetime. From those who I am no longer in contact with or friends with, to those who are in my life currently, I learn something from my experiences with them. I look forward to learning more and gaining insight along this journey. I look forward to the near future.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New York City As of Late

Author’s note: This is an extension to my NYC Poetweet. The views expressed here are my own.

Let’s see, let’s see
What’s been going on in our city lately?
Subway fare hikes, nothing new
Update on 911 system is long overdue
Noise complaints goes unheard
Some of those courtesy ads are awkward
Potholes is still a driver’s nightmare
Still can’t afford a subway fare
Snow has left a mess on our sidewalks
Revamping garbage pickup is in the talks
Construction is happening without effort
What’s being done about those getting hurt?
Protests of injustice is seen all around
Many demonstrate by laying on the ground
Hurt and anger is an everyday occurrence
Trying to find strength through patience
The city is changing with businesses lost
Can no longer withstand the high rent costs
The vision of affordable housing is underway
People are losing their homes everyday
The City of New York is still an interesting place
Depends on how it’s viewed from one’s face 

My #NYCPoetweet via Twitter: Fare hikes nothing new/2nd Ave subway is long overdue/Potholes a driver’s nightmare/Still can’t afford a subway fare.


Sitting by the window
The clouds are thick and gray
Sounds of buses pass by
It’s another slow day 
Table of empty plates and tea cups
Mind is quiet with nothing to contemplate
Another bus passes by
Its twelve minutes after eight
Rain begins to fall
As droplets hit against the window
Thoughts enter the quiet space
Traffic is moving by slow
Pictures hang on the walls
Memories of yesterday’s love
A smile forms on the face
Birds fly from the clouds above
Innocence is naïve’s best friend
Heart guides the journey of feelings
Love effortlessly without sacrifice
Happiness comes from the simple things
Another hour passes as the rain falls
Eyes stare at their picture
Memories of yesterday’s love
The outside is now a blur

Monday, April 6, 2015


There are no stars in the sky’s dark blue
The incense fills the room of a smoky hue
Another night arrives as the candle burns
Read the messages of yesterday’s concerns
Poetic thought and imaginary stories
Complied together like a mini series
Still curious about the story within
That remains beneath tough skin
A desire to unfold a mystery
While trying to preserve their history
The messages that remain unsaid
Messages that are still waiting to be read