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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My Smart Bulbs Are Morons

Cathy and I both work from home, which makes a reliable internet connection crucial. A while back, we’d been having some issues, so we called our internet provider who installed a new modem and router that put us on a 5G network. When our smart bulbs started having problems, we. . .well, let’s just say…

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Memoir and the Imagination

My wife Cathy has told me it’s all right if I tell this story. It’s her story of never knowing, until recently, the identity of her biological father. Her mother, a few years before she died, finally, when pressed, gave Cathy the identity of her father. He was deceased, but Cathy had no reason to…

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Interrogating Memory

From 1963 through 1969, my parents and I lived in Oak Forest, Illinois, a southern suburb of Chicago. We’d come there from our farm in southeastern Illinois so my mother could teach the third grade in the Arbor Park School District, #145. As many of you who have read my memoirs know, my mother had…

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To My Wife on Valentine’s Day

This is what I remember. It’s 1974, and we’re sitting in my Plymouth Duster in your driveway at the end of our date. I’ve got the Rolling Stones playing on my tape deck. It’s still early spring, and the night air is cool. Our breath is causing my car windows to fog up with condensation.…

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Collage Approach for Narrative

The short story, “Escapes,” by Joy Williams opens with what at first glance may seem to be a series of disconnected oddities: the narrator’s memory of her father telling her about her grandfather being alive just before he died, her memory of a twenty-foot tall champagne glass atop a nightclub, her father pretending to be…

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Questions That Lead to Action: A Story Starter

Due to the recent COVID surge, Cathy and I have been limiting our exposure by avoiding public places as much as possible. This past week, we went to a bookstore event where everyone was fully vaccinated and boosted and wore masks. It felt odd, but also nice, to be among people again. For those of…

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Releasing Yourself from the “I” in Memoir

It’s a snowy day here in central Ohio which has me thinking about the intricacies of the flakes. We all know that no two are alike, and so it is for the experiences we present in a memoir. Each moment has various aspects, angles, and patterns. Our hearts and minds convince us we’ve accurately recalled,…

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Family Rituals and Flash Fiction

Here we are in the post-holiday time, and I’m thinking about family rituals. My father’s side of the family had a habit of gathering on New Year’s Eve for an oyster soup supper followed by a rousing game of cards—Rook usually or sometimes Pitch, both of them bidding games. The competition could get fierce, and…

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