The Aftermath of Life and the Writer

I spent a good portion of last week writing in a hotel lobby in northern Minnesota. My family was upstairs asleep, quite accustomed to my compulsion to be up early and writing. We were there for my mother-in-law’s funeral. She passed away early last week and between all the planning and rushing about, there was little time to reflect. Now that I’m back home, back to our everyday life, I feel a heavy blanket of depression and am desperate to be alone. Exhaustion has flattened my senses, as has the constant requirement… 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

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

Reading is in the Job Description

It’s a rainy day and the last day of school. My hours of solitude will soon be a distant memory, until the crispness of autumn air returns. Soon, I will be sharing endless space and time with a teenage changeling. I’m anxious about that, about how rattled and on edge I can get when someone is always there. And thus the argument begins, should I read or get some things taken care of today? Whereas I’ve begun to write regularly and have elevated the task to the top of the to-do list,… Read More

My Trip to Twitter Land

After deleting my Facebook account, I decided to evaluate Twitter. I’ve tried to look at it over the years, but it never hooked me. A pulled hamstring and twisted knee have made me more stationary these last couple of weeks, so it was a good time to review it again. I followed some people and organizations, read through trending Tweets, and have come to the conclusion that Twitter is not healthy for me. I deactivated my account. The final straw was reading a Tweet that a woman had posted. Her 4-year-old said… Read More

Good-Bye, First Novel

The beginning and ends of my nights are spent in a semi-conscious dream state where I solve major issues like where my daughter’s spring jacket is and what I’m going to plant in the garden. I have to admit to being slightly bitter about the domestic nature of my mental wanderings. Sometimes, though, I solve a major problem – the kind of problem that had me on the fence for five plus years and had kept me awake for many nights. It started quite ignominiously right here on this blog, during my… Read More

A Writer Walks into a Book Club…

I fumed well into the night after attending an open book club at my local library. At first, I was hopeful. There were discussion worksheets with great analytical questions about the book laid out on the tables. Except they didn’t use the worksheet. Many people hadn’t even finished reading the book. After an hour of people sharing personal anecdotes about trips to Italy and saying inane things like the book should have been shorter with no supporting reasons, I quietly closed my notebook. A notebook with ten pages of earnest notes about the… Read More

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I was listening to Tom Petty this morning, sad that he has passed away at a relatively young age. His music immediately pulls me back into the past, growing up as a teenager in Iowa. It reminds me of parties out in machine sheds in the middle of nowhere, of awful first dates, and coming of age when getting booze and pot and avoiding pregnancies were all that we worried about. It wasn’t a great age of innocence. We were still in the Cold War. Someone tried to assassinate the president. Terrorist… Read More

Empty Noise is the Gravedigger

I’ve been living a summer in quiet desperation. Fall is creeping in around the mornings. I smell it in the air and see the frantic scurry of squirrels hiding their winter stores of food. Usually, it brings with it a sweet melancholy that makes me more creative and introspective. This year seems different. I turn 50 shortly and it’s clouded my mind in all the expected ways. Ways that seem like stages of grief. I’m in the bargaining/rationalization phase. Initially, I mourned that there was less ahead of me than behind me…. Read More

Stories from the Road: Chasing Barges and Otherness

For a brief respite between drab winter and frenzied garden preparations, my family and I headed up to the North Shore on Lake Superior. We visited the local high points: Split Rock Lighthouse, Glensheen Mansion, an aquarium, a maritime museum. It was relaxing and enjoyable when we were together. Alone, I found moments to do what I do best. I recognized my Otherness. It’s hard not to feel apart and isolated these days. My disconnect from the political those who scramble to represent us, overpower us, quiet us, is becoming palpable. I… Read More