The Pitfalls and Promises of Self-Help

I’m a self-help scavenger. Over the course of a lifetime, I’ve read hundreds of self-help books. Like many people, I started life off on uneven footing and always had the sense that I had to make up for something that I was lacking – something that was preventing me from being the confident, self-actualized, happy person I thought I should be. It’s taken decades to understand how to make self-help advice useful and how to discard that which is not. There is a wide variety of books out there, one for every… Read More

The Garden of Little Sorrows

The morning brings an ache that moves around each day A back, a knee, a shoulder – knuckles swollen, as if I’d won the fight.   I ramble along the path with a limp and an unfortunately located bite from an insect that was there before me but as revenge, won’t be there after.   The plants I moved yesterday slump over, too traumatized by the extra sun to give a damn, but hungry for me, the water god, to bring showers.   The sun sears the back of my neck medium… Read More

I Hate Summer and Other Pointless Gripes

Perhaps I’m just a bit miffed that vacation just turned into a road trip into the desert. With wood ticks. Perhaps it is that I’ve been reading too much news or thinking about the impending apocalypse of incompetence that will be raining down on our heads. Perhaps it is that I have gone astray on so many personal intentions that I have decided to externalize my anger. Whatever the reason, I’m blowing the gunk out of my pipes so that I can think clearly again. Welcome to my rants – they’re all… Read More

Staying Technicolor

My week off from blogging served no particular purpose. While I wrote about reading more and chilling, I also had to hit the road to do a two-state tour of family members I hadn’t seen in years. We visited Iowa and Kansas, which welcomed us with open, sweaty arms and no pretense. It was 102 the day we headed home from the Sunflower State. We stayed in a cabin on a lake near Lawrence, Kansas for a few days to avoid a hotel, furtively dashing from car to cabin in an effort… Read More

Pie Hole Shutting Time at The Green Study

The Green Study will return on July 1, 2018. I’ve been writing my ass off the last few weeks, both here and offline. It’s time to take a breather from everything. I have a stack of books, my bird-watching binoculars, and a false sense of limitless time. Perfect for a vacation of sorts. This is when I go off the rails. And wow, is it exciting. I drink caffeinated drinks, eat a lot of cheese, stay up past 8, and think about how I should probably move in order to get rid… Read More

Bullies, Bystanders, or Bravehearts?: Questions of Civic Participation

There is an argument I consistently have with myself regarding civil discourse. In theory, I believe in civility. I believe in thoughtful discussion. Whatever vulgarity or cuss words I’ve used here, have always been of my own volition, albeit I have taken more opportunities of late to use them. I am an angry person. I believe in justice and I loathe deliberate ignorance. For all the understanding and tolerance we are supposed to extend to people who tell us liberalism is a mental disease and that they’re giddy about these current circumstances,… Read More

Putting the Brakes on Burnout

It’s only Wednesday and thus far, the week has been exhausting. My calling and letter writing and meeting-going has drained me of inner resources. In order to effectively make calls and find the right rhetoric regarding the immigration policy separating children from their families, I’ve had to read a lot of news stories, look at “other side” arguments, and really dig in. Yesterday I stumbled through calls, likely irritating already overworked congressional interns. I popped more old-fashioned letters into the mail, intent on contacting senators every way possible, phone, email, and U.S…. Read More

The Borders of Decency

I’ve been reading about the U.S. immigrant situation and the separation of children from their parents for the last two weeks. My response, from the safety of my own study, has been to sign petitions, send money to the ACLU, write testy letters to my own representatives which, in a purplish-blue state, involves preaching to the choir in some cases. It’s not enough. I believe the inhumane immigration policy enacted by this administration is the¬†Japanese internment camp of our time. It will be our national shame for years to come. While we’ve… Read More

Anxiety Raccoons

I’ve been eating a lot of anxiety lately. Family members are in hospice. A friend is having some troubles. My child is getting ready for a big audition. The news says that the people in charge would like me to sit down and shut up and do what I’m told, and that compassion and empathy are character flaws in weak, elitist snowflakes like me. Anxiety, like guilt, is one of those garbage emotions if not quickly followed by action. Sometimes that action is a mental one, like carrying your fears to the… Read More

The Limits of Knowing

This post is about suicide and mental health issues. I was listening to the live stream of Roxane Gay speaking in New York last night at the PEN World Voices Festival. She said “When you write and gain attention for it, it can be really overwhelming because everyone thinks they know you when they do not.” She writes about very personal issues¬† – of her sexual assault, her body issues, her feminism. Even with some intimate issues subjected to the public eye, she is a private person. She said that what she… Read More