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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Many years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I drove from Fayetteville, Arkansas, where I was living at the time, to my native southeastern Illinois for the Christmas holidays. I was in the MFA program at the University of Arkansas at the time, and we were on semester break. The drive took ten hours,…

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I turned sixty-five on Friday, and it was a good day. I’d be lying if I said I never thought about the dwindling number of years left without a certain degree of apprehension, but for the most part I do my best to keep my focus on the here-and-now which still contains plenty that delights…

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Our friends, G. and S., came to visit last night. At one time, this would have been such a simple statement to make; on the surface it might have even seemed banal. These days, though, the ordinary fact of a visit carries with it a significance only available if one knows the context. Sometime in…

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My web designer, Steve Bennett of AuthorBytes, has started an online journal called The Pandemic Lens (https://pandemiclens.com/). It began in June when Steve ventured out with his camera to take some outdoor shots in Somerville, MA. It was the first time he’d taken an outdoor photo in four months. Eventually he came to recognize that…

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