Ever after, part 1.

September 26, 2016 § 4 Comments

ac4caebc98bd1884_wedding_cakes_toppers_bCommitting your ever-after when you are young, and still learning how to be yourself, is exuberant, breathless, optimistic.

Fueled by romance and hormones, but only a partially-formed understanding of the self you are offering each other, you walk off the cliff together with absolute faith in flight.

To give it much thought would mean you weren’t really in love.

The decision to commit is made mostly outside the realm of rational thought anyway. This is the body’s best shot at immortality, and so it looks for a partner with physical traits that predict healthy, attractive children.

The body is less concerned with character or smarts—and a body that has decided, it’s time, floods the brain with endorphins, ensuring that a willing blindness takes over.

No one has ever been as funny, attractive, attentive, sympathetic as this guy!

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The lucky kids.

September 11, 2016 § 6 Comments

img_2628_edited-1

If, like me, you were lucky enough to be born in a middle class family, you were given many gifts. Bet you took them for granted.

That’s okay. As a kid it is not your job to question the way the world is, it just is. But even now those gifts may be unappreciated, and so taken for granted you figure they come with every childhood.

So, what did you and I get as some of the lucky kids?

We had a childhood.

We worried, sure, but our worries were kid-sized.

img_1736_edited-1Am I ever going to grow?

Learn to throw a ball?

Figure out long division?

Compared to wondering if the lights will be turned out or whether to eat ketchup, the only thing in the refrigerator, our worries were easy.

 

What else did we middle-class kids get?

Good grammar, books, travel, experiences.

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Vacation, with dogs.

August 26, 2016 § 2 Comments

IMG_0503_edited-2At home, dogs are human.

They just happen to walk on all fours.

And wag.

Elsewhere?

Dogs are confused by elsewhere—it brings out the dog in them.

They have not learned the “nos” of a new place and they are not great at extrapolating the “nos” of home to, say, a rental on Cape Cod.

Chewing not allowed at home could be all right in this new place.

Busting out the screen door between now and checkout?

Possibly okay. Worth a try.

Or several tries. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Land of Story.

July 25, 2016 § 2 Comments

once upon a timeThe mapping of the brain is becoming more and more precise.

In the latest revision the label “story” was added.

Yes, the brain has allocated territory to the human habit of storytelling and story-listening.

Why? Brain real estate is valuable.

How do stories justify themselves when it comes to the bottom line, survival?

Stories organize the random chaos that is life into something coherent, manageable, hopeful; something worth the effort.

How? Story snips the endlessly unspooling thread of life into something shorter: it begins here, it ends here. And in between a problem is raised—and solved!

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Grateful.

July 18, 2016 § 4 Comments

IMG_0850It’s not that I am ready to die.

Or even to be old.

But I accept that there is a certain fairness to both these outcomes.

I have had a wealth of days, and far more than my share of kindness and lucky breaks.

As a kid I had the luxury of believing all families were loving and durable and did their darndest to protect, teach, and give a child an advantageous start. « Read the rest of this entry »

Morning pages.

June 24, 2016 § 6 Comments

IMG_0194Writers struggle with…well…writing.

Committing beliefs, dreams, and ideas to paper, making the word flesh, takes courage.

What will people think when they see, in black and white, what goes on inside your head?

That’ll keep you from writing. But to be a writer you have to put words on paper.

Begin by writing for nobody. Grab your pad and paper and write something, anything. Toss words like confetti!

Still can’t?

That is because your inner writer, that blind-wanderer, has a traveling companion, the critic within who whispers, “Everything you write sucks.”

When you write can make a difference. Try writing first thing in the morning. The inner critic armors-up as the day goes on, but as you leave sleep you are less guarded, less self-censoring.

Your inner-critic sleeps later than your imagination.

Wake up and write something every morning. Something that doesn’t matter.

IMG_2207_edited-1Make it a habit and pages will fill. You will also come to know yourself better as themes recur. I was unaware of how much I think about tomatoes, my messy house, aging…

I do this wandering form of writing every morning. It is nothing like the work I do later in the day when I continue the long march toward a finished novel.

My morning pages are a no-fault opportunity to try things out, to be foolish or serious, to stand up on the bicycle seat. « Read the rest of this entry »

Nice place.

June 13, 2016 § 4 Comments

Any place we claim as home has, and has not.

The place I claim has squirrels, armadillos, and raccoons, but no giraffes, onagers, or kangaroos.

Magnolia Cemetery, Apalachicola, FL.Except for bears, which the legislature is considering opening a second season on, our fauna is small and barely stands out in the landscape.

Trees are a different story.

Our live oaks are burly with spreading limbs. Fingertip to fingertip it takes several of us to hug the tree in my father’s back yard. The oaks are the landscape–every place does something bigger and better than the average. We do trees.

You won’t hear us brag about our climate, which is ninety percent heat, ninety percent humidity. It may not add up but its true. Both settle in for months, refusing to budge. Just when our brains reach a slow simmer, abuzz with heat-induced confusion, a cool breeze blows through, and it is winter.

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