Writing is the process by which we often discover we don’t know what we are talking about. Farnam Street Reading Better
I stopped wearing a pandemic mask in mid-May. I’m wondering if that was a mistake. The CDC and reliable public health experts advise that fully-vaccinated people do not, for the most part, need to wear masks for their own protection any longer. Being fully-vaccinated, I don’t feel personally vulnerable without mine, even as the new … Continue reading This Thing Ain’t Over
I’m working long shifts at the radio station this week, getting an overdose of NPR news and current events as two members of our on-air staff are away and I’m covering for both of them. I intended to write something for you this evening to post in the morning, then watch at least a few … Continue reading The All Star Game
“When I think about the most wearying thing about becoming middle-aged, it’s that you are the only one who can fix things – there is no one you can complain to, or seek comfort from; for you are the grown-ups, now, and if you can’t fix it, it will remain broken.” Caitlin Moran, More Than … Continue reading Fixing Things
The most important undertaking of my day is to simply sit down at my desk and pick up my pen. Without this elementary act I could not call myself a songwriter, because songs come to me in intimations too slight to be perceived, unless I am primed and ready to receive them. They come not … Continue reading Simply Sit Down
When I first learned of the graves, understood the likelihood that there are so many more to be found, hundreds of children at each site, at each ‘boarding school,” each “residential school,” I was taken aback by the sheer numbers. It is not common, not normal, for hundreds of children to die while at “school.” … Continue reading Hiding the Dead
A few weeks ago I wrote about my Gap Month, and how the simple process of asking a question and listening for an answer has helped me manage my tendency to worry about money. The question is one that I pose to the world: What do you need from me today? Usually the answer is … Continue reading Timeless
I was out at my friend Jubilee’s last Friday, sitting in her big barn, listening to three women make music on the stage. One on fiddle (a three-time Wisconsin state champion), one on doghouse bass, one on guitar. Melissa Carper and Rebecca Patek perform and record as Buffalo Gals. Brennan Leigh is a old-timey compatriot. … Continue reading Barn Music
From the moment I first learned of them, I’ve wanted to live in an intentional community. I’m not starry-eyed about it. I don’t yearn for utopia. I just want to experience another way to be. I’ve studied the communities directory on the website of the Foundation for Intentional Community. I’m on their email list. They … Continue reading Intentional Community
Where are we and why are we in this handcart? Never mind that the Solstice is still a week away. It’s full-on summer in the Ohio River Valley, which is to say, swampy and nap-inducing. It feels like an injustice that we should have all of the humidity and none of the joie de vivre … Continue reading Hello Summer
How quickly we move from the season of the furnace to the season of the air conditioner. What a narrow range of temperature we civilized ones demand, unwilling as we are to adapt our work and activities to the seasons or stay within regions naturally hospitable to us. I’m reading about re-entry anxiety (Google it! … Continue reading Home
“The most we can do is to write — intelligently, creatively, evocatively — about what it is like living in the world at this time.” Oliver Sacks, as quoted by Bill Hayes I’m starting to get out some, see friends. I went to a garden party and drank mimosas, saw people I knew, talked to … Continue reading Re-Entry
I live in a haunted land, where the dead don’t stay buried. Where swamps were drained and forests cleared, scattering the remnant living west into the tall grass, as if woodland and prairie were interchangeable. As if the living wouldn’t be driven from that new land, too. What remains here are ghosts of another way … Continue reading Memorial Day
A little over year ago I wrote about the pressure we were facing in the early days of the pandemic (though we didn’t yet know those were the early days) to get back to normal, That pressure continues, especially in the food service industry, where workers are expected to slip back into the harness as … Continue reading All Harness, No Horse
Remember when we learned that George W. Bush liked to paint? That was a moment. I loathed his silver-spoon presidency, his frat-boy insouciance, his wars of cruelty and cultural annihilation from which the world has yet to recover. But I felt a little softer toward him as a human person when I saw those canvases. … Continue reading A Cause for Hope?
Earlier this year, when my cafe job went away, I got a little worried about money. Not a panicky kind of worry, with thoughts of utility cutoffs and peanut butter for dinner every night. More like a rumbling, thunder-in-the-distance kind of worry. Most of my work is self-generated and my income tends to rise and … Continue reading Gap Month
My friend Linda is a book collector. Until recently she managed the largest used book warehouse in our area. That warehouse closed last year. The massive inventory was bought by an online bookseller. Linda took a few boxes in lieu of severance pay, and our community is now without a used bookshop. Which is to … Continue reading Used Books
Things have occurred: wildfires and uprisings and super-spreader events, a few holidays, an election in the U.S. and a bit of sore-loser wilding on a steps of the capitol in response to that election. A month and change into the new year and the COVID-19 pandemic has not gone away, though there are vaccines now, … Continue reading It’s Been a Minute
The world’s on fire. I’m back to work. I’m going away for now to attend to my life and educate myself and learn how to be better and do better. I may be back, though I don’t know when. We’ll get together then.
Yesterday we had two training sessions for our baristas. Two months without contact, the first thing they did when they saw one another was race together for hugs. “No hugs!” I said. Unheeded Cassandra. We do not live in the same world. * * * * * Later I moved through an empty cafe, watering … Continue reading Corona Bubble
I bought lunch from the café down the street today. It’s something I’ve been doing over the past two weeks as I’ve returned to my own shop to begin the process of getting it ready for re-opening. I’ve eaten more carry-out meals in these past two weeks than I have in the past year. And … Continue reading Lunch
The café I manage remains closed because of COVID-19. I go in every day or two to do some cleaning, to organize cabinets and wipe down shelves and re-think original concepts that proved unworkable or overly-ambitious. I do all this with an eye to the calendar, knowing that time is passing even though it feels … Continue reading And Then What?
Is it any wonder, as the days roll one into another and we have to check our phones to find out it’s no longer Wednesday but Saturday, that a post intended for Friday doesn’t get published on time? What is time, after all? Just another construct, like the rules for badminton, and the divine right … Continue reading Patternless
Last week I put on the headphones and listened to an old episode of Meet the Composer, which is not something I ordinarily do, but this one featured Laurie Anderson, whose music has enchanted me since I first heard O Superman in the 80s and thought, wtf is this? (Did I say wtf in the … Continue reading What’s Interesting?