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Me too.

It’s not that I think my experiences with sexual harassment and assault are unique. I am sharing this litany because I am a 55-year-old white woman who is in a safe place, in my home and in my work. I say, “me too” for the many women who can’t.

Before #MeToo,  Read More 
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The girl on the lawn

That's me, sitting on the lawn, second from the right, summer of '78.
Forgive my departure from whimsy and turtle adventures, but like a lot of us, I’m alarmed.

For the last year and a half, the orange man has been a constant media presence. When he first started running for president, I couldn’t imagine how much of the air he would suck out of the world, with his bottomless greed, hateful rhetoric, and galling need for attention. Read More 
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Post-traumatic strength disorder

Today, the Republican candidate said this: “When you talk about the mental health problems…when people come back from war and combat and they see things what maybe a lot of the folks in the room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of  Read More 
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Lessons from writing out loud, Part 2

On my first day using voice recognition software, I wrote: “I’m so self-conscious about my word choice, and I’m thinking about my writing in a way that seems very foreign. When my hands are typing on a keyboard, are my thoughts so choppy?”

Of course I barely read the instructions before starting to use the software. So I was two and a half weeks into it before I noticed this bit of advice at the top of a pop-up box:

“Place the cursor where dictation should go. Think of your whole sentence.”  Read More 
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Lessons from writing out loud, Part 1

About a week after I had tendon transfer surgery in my hand, the voice in my head woke me at 4 a.m. Apparently, it was time for a pop quiz regarding my goals in having the procedure. “What’s goal number one?” the voice asked. Though I was half asleep, I dutifully answered: “To not be in pain.”  Read More 
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Casting about

Witches cast spells. Cynics cast aspersions. Knitters cast on. Directors cast movies. A fisherman casts his line. The die is cast. “Cast” is a busy little word.

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Letting go of my hand

My husband tells people I have no self-pity. That’s not true. I just like to keep it to myself.

Here’s the situation: As the result of nerve damage in my right hand from a car accident 22 years ago, my left hand does all the work, even though I’m right handed. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the keyboard, where on the left all four fingers work together in a spirit of community, while on the right only the pointer finger even bothers to try.  Read More 
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The worst place in Minnesota (to build pipelines)

The author, center, with brother and sister on the left, and cousins on the right, circa 1970, Headwaters of the Mississippi.
During summers at my grandparents’ resort in north-central Minnesota, one of my favorite things to do was visit Itasca, the Headwaters of the Mississippi, for the simple thrill of walking across the narrow stream, bare feet on slippery rocks, at the place where the river begins. I’m still amazed this is the same river as the one back home in St. Paul, flowing north from its source and meandering a bit, like a summer tourist in no particular hurry, gaining energy and strength for whatever lies ahead. Read More 
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Tallying my blessings

“What do I say when people ask how many kids I have?” A friend of a friend wrote this following the death of her young child. It’s an anxiety I’d almost forgotten in the two decades since I was in her shoes. At the heart of this question is the fear your  Read More 
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Editor/writer or writer/editor: Who will slash whom?

There have always been two sides to my work: writing and editing. When I was a freelance magazine writer, I also copyedited academic manuscripts. In the editorial positions I’ve held since then, I’ve tended to wear both hats, although rarely at the same time as that would mess up my hair. But for my personal writing—like these words you are reading now, if I can ever get them to pass muster—the roles blur as I type. The word “Backspace” on my keyboard is almost completely worn off. My editor is silencing my writer. Read More 
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