Opening Like Hands

From the Willow Room in the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College, one can see willow trees. They stand at some distance from the building, at least one hundred yards away, and during the lecture on self-editing a manuscript, I watched these trees. They were huge. Their branches were many. And all of these branches–those … More Opening Like Hands

Space

Weekdays, I can count on three emails in my inbox. One is the New York Times Daily Briefing, which, on good days, I read with care. The second is from theSkimm, also a daily news summary and which again, on good days, I read with care. And the third is from Merriam-Webster: their Word-of-the-Day. They give … More Space

Missing Everett

Everett has been away from us now for five months, one week and four days. I didn’t know the exact count until preparing to write that first sentence: I haven’t been marking the calendar with an x every day; I haven’t been keeping a countdown. Which isn’t to say I don’t miss him, that we don’t miss … More Missing Everett

Contingencies

Lately I am thinking of contingency. Standing in her office, my editor reminded me that writing is a job just as ditch-digging is. The ditch must be dug. Must not also the writing be written? She is right, of course. The ditch-digger goes to work and digs her ditch; so must the writer go to … More Contingencies

Maddie and Motherhood

Healing Maddie Brees and I are headed to another book club tonight. I am very much looking forward to it. It’s tricky, though: when invited, I always tell my host that I recognize the liability. Having an author present for her book’s discussion can decidedly hamper dialogue and limit expression: how many attendees will be willing … More Maddie and Motherhood

Home

The subject line of the email: “Stony Brook House.” The text was limited. Just a note from my dad, how pleased my parents were to come across the floor plan of the house my grandparents built in 1960. I think they lived there for a little more than a decade. By the time I was … More Home

Marking Time

Thursday, 21 September, 3:30 PM The post was on Instagram: a gorgeous seaside photograph, the image drenched in sunset. A lone figure stood looking at the ocean, her back to the camera. The caption: “Goodbye, summer.” This was a month ago, maybe more. That time when college students return to campus, but nearly a month … More Marking Time

Saying Goodbye

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gives value to survival.”  C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves We’ve lived in Durham, North Carolina now for 23 years. I find this hard to believe; I find it difficult to believe that I’m old enough to … More Saying Goodbye

Of Teachers and Why We Love Them, My Favorite One, and Two Birthdays

I think we’ve seen the last of them for this year: the first-day-of-school photos that spill down our social media screens. Darling children in their new clothes and unscuffed shoes, grinning for the camera and holding their signs: Amelia, second grade. Dylan, fourth. And the less-than-darling, I’m-too-old-for-this children, holding signs or not, wearing I-couldn’t-care clothes … More Of Teachers and Why We Love Them, My Favorite One, and Two Birthdays