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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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.…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More