1A                       NEWS​​

  1. QOTD: "A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that fetuses make a "laughter-face" when their mother eats carrots and a "cry-face" when they are exposed to the taste of kale." Are we surprised? The same is probably true for most adults.

  2. The polls have closed in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine where 4 million people were asked to vote for or against joining Russia. Putin will likely announce the results on Friday but at present, early results go in favor of joining. The Ukrainian government as well as their western allies have called the voting a sham controlled by the Kremlin, and for this reason did not monitor for ballot-rigging, and will refuse to recognize the results. Zelensky and friends fear that the results will enable Putin to change the narrative from "invading Ukraine" to "regaining Russian territory from Ukraine", but whether this will trick the Russian people into supporting Moscow's actions is yet to be seen. Ukraine's Foreign Minister said, "We need an extremely serious, effective response with specific things that will hit the Russian economy. The softer the reaction to the so-called referendums, the greater the motivation for Russia to escalate and annex further territories." Well, now we wait patiently for Friday I suppose. In related news, a Russian gas pipeline to Germany sprung a leak. Ukraine is accusing Russia of sabotage and calling it a terrorist attack.

  3. The founder of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, and four associates are finally on trial for their connection to the Capitol attack on Jan. 6. They are charged with seditious conspiracy which carries a max sentence of 20 years in prison, and accused of "spending months recruiting, training and conspiring to use force to prevent the transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden." The stakes are high for the government as well. If they fail to prosecute, it "would undermine the Justice Department's assertion that the Capitol attack posed a uniquely dangerous threat to American democracy." As always, stay tuned. Jury selection began yesterday and the trial is predicted to last 5 weeks. Another group of Oath Keepers are set to stand trial in November. Two have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating.

Untitled design (44).png
Reflections on A Mother’s Grief, 5 Years Later

I’ve been told that there are stages of grief, and that one must experience and pass through them all to grieve “appropriately” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) and adapt to a new reality. Some of those grieving stages I dodged; some I’ve been in the whole time and where I remain to this day.


Although Bobby died 5 years ago, it dawned on me recently that my grieving process actually began 19 years ago, on the first day of his first cancer diagnosis. This revelation caused me to contemplate the nature of my own grief.


To start with, I skipped right over Stage 1 - Denial – and never looked back, if only because our situation was impossible to deny. Here was my little 5-year-old who had been exhibiting strange and persistent symptoms for weeks, and after endless tests and scans, the resulting cancer diagnosis was, well, undeniable. (That said, I do have frequent, recurring dreams that Bobby is still alive. Perhaps my subconscious is the one in denial. I’m not sure what to make of it.)

(Continue reading here..

By Liz Menges


Untitled design (45).png
Meaningful or Meaningless

19 years, 10 months and 13 days
One life
Two options
Meaningful or meaningless


Friendly greetings
Smiles, please, thank you
Helping a friend, helping a stranger
Meaningful or meaningless


A beautiful day
A good friend
A new friend
Meaningful or meaningless  


Playing music
A good meal
Loving every minute
Meaningful or meaningless 


Good grades
Not good grades
Meaningful or meaningless 


Losing, winning

Meaningful or meaningless 


Connecting with others
Being kind
A nice comment
Meaningful or meaningless


Our problem
Helping others
We not I
Meaningful or meaningless


My fault
Taking responsibility
Having courage
Meaningful or meaningless


Enjoying others
Saying yes
Meaningful or meaningless


Knowing when to speak
Truly listening
Meaningful or meaningless


Working to understand
Not passing judgement
Sharing curiosity
Meaningful or meaningless


Loving and caring
Giving and sharing
Trying and doing
Meaningful or meaningless


One life
Two options
Meaningful or meaningless


By Peter Menges

A Reflection on Bobby’s Death.png
A Reflection on Bobby's Death

Bobby died five years ago. This short piece is a reflection on all of the positive ways that event changed me. Jake, how could you say that??? If I could turn back the clocks and somehow reverse his death, I’d do it any day of the week. In no way am I glad he died and I’d take him being alive over anything that I’ve learned or gained since. But it’s significantly more difficult to reflect on the benefits of a tragedy than it is to dwell on all you’ve lost, so I’m going to try.


When it occurred to me that Bobby would probably die, it struck me how closely I dodged that bullet. The consensus seems to be that Bobby got cancer the third time as a result of treatment from the first and second episodes, and the second time most likely as a result of the first. Nobody knows how he got it at age five but if it was lifestyle, we had the same one. If it was heredity, we were nearly identical. What gave him cancer, I somehow avoided. People get near death experiences in various ways. Some get hit by a car, recover from a disease, etc. Mine was the day I realized Bobby would die. And like other near-death experiences, Bobby’s death put my whole life in perspective. It still feels selfish writing like this; to consider only myself in the context of Bobby’s death. I want to reiterate that this is just one of the narratives. I could write something on what it’s like to witness your parents grieve the loss of a child, or on how I’ve become closer with my family, or on the time without such a close friend, or on his suffering that we all witnessed, but that’s not the purpose of this essay.

(Continue reading here...)

By Jake Menges

Become a contributor!
Send us your work!
Get out of the bank! 
Upload File
Thank You!

The Experts on Music:


"Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."

Jimi Hendrix


"Where words fail, music speaks."

Hans Christian Andersen


"No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible."

W. H. Auden


"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."

Bob Marley


"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."

Maya Angelou


"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

Berthold Auerbach


"Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die."

Paul Simon

Meet the Muses

Bel Esprit not only strives to provide a space to read and publish art, but also to inspire; Inspire all who stumble upon our pages to write, draw, read, seek out art in all forms, to pull from others as a source of inspiration, and to learn.

In ancient Greece, the goddess of memory, Mnemosyne, and the ruler of all the Gods, Zeus, had nine daughters called the Muses.  These nine goddess were thought to be the embodiment of all knowledge and the source of all inspiration.

The Muses became the categories in which each form of art falls, including that which is published on Bel Esprit.​

Muse 1.png

The struggle is lonely, the cause is worthwhile, the artists are emerging, and the outcome is in front of you.

Untitled design (1).png

All funds go to costs involved in keeping The Bel Esprit Project

up and running, and paying the writers for the pieces you enjoy.

Liver and Lungs

Original Song by Andrew Menges

(Scan the code to listen)



Blood runs red in the street

The people celebrate their Eid

And I'm over at a friends to eat

The meat's cooking on the grill

Left for a moment to long

And the plates come piled high

With blackened liver and lungs


This memory shoots to the top

Like a diver who knows his oxygen's about to run out

And it's all I can think about

When I know what you're going to say

By the tremor in your voice

Like 13 years ago

Blackened liver and lungs


Mid July 2003

The last time I saw you cry

We were too young to understand

That you thought that he could die


I'd known what you were going to say

But this time I also know what's implied

And although you failed to cry

The third time's no easier

And this time I'm old enough

To know that we're both thinking about

Blackened liver and lungs

By Andrew Menges

Untitled design (41).png
Looking Back

Looking back it’s safe to say I had no idea what was going on. Bobby was first diagnosed at age five with Stage IV Neuroblastoma. Andrew was twelve, I was ten, and Jake was seven.


I didn’t know then and I still don’t know now any of the specifics about that cancer. I remember Bobby complaining about pain in his hip and limping around, but he was terribly unathletic so to me his limp was easily mistaken for bad running form. I remember tearing up when my mom told us the news in the kitchen but what those tears were for or where they came from is beyond me. At that point cancer didn’t mean all that much. Somehow I knew Neuroblastoma was rare, and I knew it was abnormal for a five year old to get that specific type, but all other relevant information never found its way to me. We were clean slates taking it all in as it came.


And looking back, I suppose I should applaud my parents. While I have no experience in the matter, having a child with cancer must have been an absolute nightmare. It most certainly could have disrupted the normal functioning of our six-party family unit, strained each relationship - parent to child, sibling to sibling - and it would have been completely understandable if the stressors they were facing trickled down into the consciousness of the three healthy kids standing (not so idly) by. But while I cannot fully speak for Jake and Andrew, and I sure can’t speak for Bobby, as far as I was aware none of those things happened. Through all the years Bobby was sick or plagued with some weird thing or another - years that spanned the majority of our childhood and into adulthood - in and out of surgeries and hospitals, undergoing all sorts of treatments, pins stuck in strange places, swallowing one unidentified medication after another - this mosh pit into which my parents were unceremoniously thrown registered in my ten-year-old brain as nothing more than snap shots of various adventures and some vividly funny memories.

(Continue reading here...)

By Emily Menges

Sick of staring at a screen?  Get the Bel Esprit Newspaper delivered to your door each month.
Subscribe here
Untitled design.jpg
Sign up for the Monthly Newsletter!

Thank you!

Trew ad.PNG
The Choices We Make

Here’s something that I believe to be true: for everything you do in life, you have a choice to be selfless or selfish. When individuals make the choice to act selflessly, it draws people in, it creates community, and it can be inspiring. These people often become our heroes and, if we’re lucky, our friends. Sometimes, finding the strength to put others before yourself is a great task. More often, this struggle between yourself and not yourself produces the script in your head and sets into motion each little action and decision you make every day. That’s how I think about it, anyway.


And this isn’t a new idea, obviously. Humankind agreed long ago that we’d all be better off if we helped each other. A more knowledgeable person could help trace this idea through the world’s religions and societies, but I find the most inspiration from the people in our lives. A well of inspiration for me in the past few years has been Bobby Menges.


I never met Bobby. I came to know about Bobby through his father, Peter. The Menges family, particularly Peter, are passionate snowboarders, and they outfitted themselves in gear from our company, TREW. Peter became a close friend and business partner, and I heard all about Bobby and the outsized impact that he’s had on the world. You can’t help but be inspired by how Bobby lived and, in turn, be drawn to his legacy.

(Continue reading here...)

By Chris Pew