Brutal Necessity: Applying Pressure to Our Characters

This is the time of year when carpenter bees make their appearance as they hunt for wood on houses to drill into. Last year, Cathy and I purchased a trap which is essentially a block of wood with an entry through a couple of holes that provide no exit. The bees have no choice but…

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(In memory of my mother on Mother’s Day, I re-post this): My Mother’s Hands Because my father lost his hands, my mother made a gift of hers. Cuticles ragged, knuckles scraped, fingernails smashed—farm work showed her no mercy. Her hands were made for more delicate things, but she gladly sacrificed them because, really, what else…

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Questions for Revision

“I’m tired of all these tools leaning up against the wall,” Cathy says, and I know there’s no use to argue. We’re about to Marie Kondo the heck out of our garage. It’s a pretty Sunday at the start of May, and we are going to or-gan-ize. The hoe, the shovel, the rake, the this,…

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Writing the Uncomfortable Places

When I wrote my first memoir, From Our House, I dramatized pivotal moments in my family’s difficulty following the farming accident that cost my father both of his hands. I wrote about my father’s anger. I wrote about how I was often the target of his rage. Sometimes I deserved it, and sometimes I didn’t.…

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Music on the Page

Here on Easter Sunday, I’m thinking about sounds from the Sundays of my childhood. The whisper of the tissue-thin pages of Bibles being turned in church, the creaking of the wooden pews as someone settled their weight or leaned forward in prayer, the sonorous voice of the man who sang with the spirit that filled…

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Now There’s Something You Don’t See Every Day

My apologies for being late with my post this morning. Cathy and I drove back from South Carolina yesterday after attending her granddaughter’s wedding. Somewhere in North Carolina or Virginia (the miles blur for me), we were in stop-and-go traffic because of a wreck ahead of us. We were creeping along when we heard something…

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The Softer It Falls

Yesterday, Cathy and I invited our friends, Sheila and Gerry, to attend a cooking class at the Glass Rooster Cannery, where we prepared a Greek feast of falafel, spanakopita, hummus, tzatziki sauce, and baklava. Our instructor, Jeannie, offered tips as we cooked—how to cut an onion if you wanted your slice to retain its shape,…

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A Whisper in the Dark: A Writer’s Voice

It’s a raw day here in central Ohio with a brisk wind, temps in the thirties, and a few snow pellets from time to time. Wouldn’t you know the forsythia and daffodils are in bloom? It seems to happen each spring. A stretch of warm days coaxes the plants to light and air. They put…

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The Saga of the Smart Bulbs: A Resolution

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may remember that for the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to get my smart bulbs to work. I’ve accused them of not being very smart at all, I’ve said there’s always a workaround, and I’ve said sometimes it’s okay to give up. Today, I’m…

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Sometimes It’s Okay to Give Up

For those of you following the saga of the smart bulbs, Cathy and I ended up buying an Echo Dot, and last night we were able to get it to recognize and control two of our bulbs, but not the other two. This afternoon, after a visit to Best Buy and some internet research, I…

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