This week of Christmas, I’m thinking of the trees we used to cut in our woods on the farm, cedar trees that we’d carry to the house and put in a stand at the window in our front room. Those trees were unruly, left to grow the way nature would have it, so unlike the…

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I haven’t been able to run in over a month due to sciatica nerve pain down my right leg. It’s a familiar discomfort, one that put me in physical therapy for seven weeks in 2014. I’ve been doing all the stretching exercises and applying heat. I just finished my third round of prednisone. Things get…

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Here we are, about three weeks before Christmas, and then, at least for us here in central Ohio, the turn into the gray days of January and February. It’s always been a time when I’ve been inclined to hibernate, and even more so these days of the pandemic. I’m trying my best to embrace the…

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Of course, you’ve probably heard the joke about the man who was so old he refused to buy green bananas because he wasn’t sure he’d be around to see them ripen. Indeed there comes a time when we learn to shorten our vision into the future. Long-term dreams that sustained us when we were younger,…

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Cathy and I, the past few years, have been opening our home on Thanksgiving Day, providing a welcome table to anyone who might need a place to go. Of course, we’re disappointed that the pandemic has made that impossible this year, but our gathering’s loss is a small price to pay for the sake of…

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Target, Walmart, PetSmart, Famous Footwear, Panera Bread, Olive Garden, and on and on and on, this gathering of stores and restaurants that make up the strip malls and shopping centers of our communities. Set me down here or there in our country, and I’ll find myself in familiar environs. What does such homogeneity mean for…

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Such a beautiful day in early November—sunny and warm with temperatures in the 70s. I’ve noticed a number of people putting up their outdoor Christmas decorations—all right, I’ll admit I hung lights from my eaves yesterday, taking advantage of the good weather, so I wouldn’t have to be freezing in the cold later. Outside of…

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Cathy and I live in a suburban subdivision that was supposed to have Trick or Treat last Thursday, but, because it was cold and rainy, our homeowners’ association took matters into its own hands, and we decided to postpone Trick or Treat until Saturday. So yesterday evening in sunshine and much warmer temperatures we sat…

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I’m going to be presenting a session at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop on Friday, a session called “Writing Stories That Matter.” In preparation for that event, I had to think about exactly what I mean by stories that matter. William Faulkner, in his 1950 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, said, “. . .the young man…

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Many years ago, when I was first starting out in this writing game—I’d published stories in some pretty good places and I’d even been able to publish a collection with a new independent publisher—my agent was sending around my first novel. One day, she called with the good news that a very senior editor at…

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