The Nuanced Lives of Strangers

Yesterday, Cathy wanted to go shopping, so I ended up on a bench outside the fitting rooms at Macy’s. At one point, an elderly gentleman ushered his wife to those fitting rooms. She appeared to be a bit confused about where she was to go, and the gentleman said, “To your left.” She started to…

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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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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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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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Making Room for Contradictions

The car, a luxury sports model, sat on the overgrown grass in front of a ramshackle house in my wife Cathy’s hometown. Ordinarily, I’d identify the specific make and model, but I want to protect the privacy of the owner. I couldn’t help but notice the car as I ran by because it was so…

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Tips for Writing Scenes

Many years ago, I performed regularly in community theatre productions. I still recall the intense experience of standing backstage listening for my cue. Behind the flats, I was in the real world, but just barely. When my cue came, I stepped out into an imaginary world, transformed into whatever character I was playing. With one…

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The Art of Daydreaming

Yesterday, Cathy and I decided to put our community vegetable garden plots to bed for the winter. We picked the last of the spinach from our cool weather planting and let the kale and the lettuce, which had been prolific, succumb to the frosty mornings we’ve been having. I’d read that the frost often made…

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Slowing Down in Fiction

I come from a family of worriers. Consequently, I’m often turning one thing or another over and over in my head. I feel something inside me speed up. For instance, I think about all the work I have to get done, and suddenly I’m so anxious, I feel like I’m racing, eager as I am…

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I Remember That

We went to high school together. She was a year behind me even though she was a year older, and one evening at an end-of-the-year picnic for the sophomore and junior classes, she got flirty with me. We ended up, later that night, kissing in the shadows of a recessed spot outside the school building.…

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What Kind of Writer Are You?

This afternoon, while driving through Ohio farm country, I remembered how I was in an agriculture class in high school for exactly one day. That’s all it took for me to know I was in the wrong place. I was there because my father was a farmer, and even though he supported me in my…

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