The Loci of Writing: Plantsing and Politics

It’s a year where satire and parody seem unnecessary – this political season has been aggravating and exhausting. I believe there are personal lessons to be learned and am mercenary about the sources. This last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people with whom I disagree. It would be a stretch to say I feel compassion or kinship or empathy, but challenging my thinking – a bouillabaisse of stereotypes, personal prejudice and simple loathing, is important to me. It’s about the locus of control. I’ve been a bit baffled by… Read More

The Green Study’s “Positively Happy Nice Story” Contest: Honorable Mention

An Honorable Mention goes to Bill over at pinklightsabre. His essay “The Expectations of Joy” reminds us to recognize joy in the moment it happens, because it can so often be fleeting. He was sent a Green Study Coffee Mug, a goofy Minnesota postcard and I donated $25 to the American Red Cross on his behalf. ¬†The Expectations of Joy By Bill at pinklightsabre Joy is so rare and unexpected, on the opposite side of dread, which by definition seems to last longer. It’s why it’s so hard to find on Christmas… Read More

Winners of The Green Study’s “Positive Happy Nice Story” Contest

Thank you to everyone who submitted entries to The Green Study’s “Positive Happy Nice Story” Contest. What I enjoyed most about reading the entries were the diverse perspectives in what brings joy, not just in the experiencing of something, but in the retelling as well. In addition to the top three winners, I’ve added 3 honorable mentions and thrown in some prizes for fun. The six essays selected will be published on this blog over the next few weeks. 1st Prize goes to Kiri at The Dust Season for “A Happily-Ever-After Story… Read More

A Small Tmesis Before Re-Entering the Fray

The muddied waters of a chronic depression have surrounded me for months. My highs haven’t been very high, my lows not too low. A mental shoulder shrug answers when I check in with myself. Autumn is in the air and with it, a sense of relief. Finally a season to suit my mood. Melancholy is in vogue again and the suntanned Pollyanna of summer is out. The weeks following a long Pacific coast vacation became jumbled with school starts and appointments and busy-ness. I was taken off guard even though I’d planned… Read More

Small Talk and Slightly Bigger Ideas

Spring is a dangerous time for writing in my world. It’s the time I’m most likely to quit blogging. It’s the time when every new novel idea looks better than the one I’m working on. It’s the time when dust collects in the study. It was a tepid winter this year in Minnesota. I might need to move further north at this rate. Ride a melting glacier, run a homeless polar bear shelter. I’d like to see some studies on the impact of hot flashes on climate change. All I know is… Read More

The Anatomy of One American Voter

This post is unusual in that it is excessively long. Apologies on that count. Politics have been eating at my brain all week and it made me think about my motivations as a voter. The unethical, monied arena of American politics is picking up steam. Political support is reaching all the frenzy of a stock exchange pit. I find unwavering, unquestioning support of any human or organization to be slightly creepy. This is what puts me off about religion and sports teams and Beyonc√© fans. Essentially, any group that seems to demand… Read More

Shaken, but Stirred

I’m the overly cautious driver who slowly backs out in a parking lot. Most commercial parking lots have the functionality of a demolition derby – narrow spaces despite the ginormous size of some vehicles, blind spots, limited turning space, cart racks askew. Add to that the tank-driving, texting mentality of some license owners (you’ll move, right?) and yesterday happened for me. Backing carefully out, looking both ways, I nearly get rear-ended by a minivan rounding the corner at 30 mph. She honks loudly at me as I slam on the brakes and… Read More

The Green Study Grumps It Up

Lately, I’ve been writing a lot of introspective posts. It’s winter and churning in my own neuroses seems to be the sport of choice. With no lift fees. But I’m irritable and when I’m irritable, I remember every single little thing that has ever irritated me since the beginning of time. I’m going to let it all out here. And then I’m dragging my ass to the gym, because those endorphins aren’t going to manufacture themselves. Wait. Whatever – you know what I mean. Song Lyrics that Irritate Me Ever since I… Read More

Every Truth has a Qualifier

I’ve been thinking a lot about stories this week – the personal stories that we carry with us and roll out for visitors. We’ve told them so often that they purr out of our pores. My story has always been one of being a survivor – of an unstable childhood and low self-esteem. My story is that I grew up poor. I experienced and witnessed abuse and addiction. These things are true, but I’ve found that the story no longer fits who I am or who I want to be. Sometimes our… Read More

Marlon James and Notes in the Dark

A good story makes you ask better questions. It’s scrawled twice in the margins of my notebook. I took notes last week in a darkened audience, attending a lecture by the 2015 Man Booker Prize winner, Marlon James. He received the award in October for his sprawling, intense novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings. One of things on my writing hit list this year was to seek out better writers and better writing. I am fortunate to live in a metro area for some of the big name writers who give… Read More