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Thatwhich

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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Why I read the obituaries

This is not news to those who know me, but I like to read the obituaries. Like seems like the wrong word in this context, so I may as well call it what it is: a compulsion. I’ve postponed writing this for a while, waiting until a window of time when no one I know, even remotely, has died. I realize that for those who have recently lost a loved one, my obituary fascination may come off as a little glib. It’s not, glib as that may sound. Read More 
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Putting it out there

I came across a yellow legal pad with my writing from some 30 years prior. Several pages in I wrote this, in a whisper of fading pencil: “Ms. Brande says that if I can’t do the exercises I should find another vocation. She has me scared into writing.”

At first I was confused, but I soon realized that Dorothea Brande was the author of Becoming a Writer, first published in 1934. As an aspiring writer almost 50 years later, I bought the book and diligently performed the exercises designed to “tap the unconscious.” Read More 
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Thinking around the box

If you’re a writer who needs to make a living, eventually you might take a job in marketing, as a copywriter. (Don’t get me started on that title. What would one write, if not copy? It’s like calling someone an “art creator” instead of an artist. But I digress.) As a copywriter, you will inevitably be asked to “think outside the box.” The client will make this request as if it were a gift.  Read More 
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Jonah as God's Project Manager

House of Mercy, Feast of Jonah
As he listened to the worm crunching away at the only comfort he had left in the world, Jonah wondered: What if instead of praising, lamenting, and beseeching God, I had offered God a SWOT analysis? At a seaside café in his younger days, Jonah once overheard some guys talking about “learnings” and “leveraging” and the importance of having good thought leadership.  Read More 
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Is it that time already?

I brought Churchy the turtle inside tonight. It seems a little early, since it’s not even mid-September. I found him under the rhubarb plant. Though the temperature has been dropping all day and now it’s in the 40s, he hadn’t burrowed into the earth. Keith says he wants Churchy to have  Read More 
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Advice to young adults leaving home

I don’t have a top ten, just three main themes. And face it, if you’re packing up for college or whatever voyage of self-discovery your privileged existence can afford, you don’t really care to read ten pieces of advice from someone’s 50-something mother. So I’ve distilled it down to three main points. Take heed.  Read More 
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Unforgiving

Just as grieving is a process that can return in ass-biting waves long after you’re sure you’re done with it, I am toying with the idea that forgiveness, and unforgiveness, is also a process. To be clear, I believe forgiving is an important step toward sanity. You can’t be pissed off at your worst offenders indefinitely. Read More 
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A checkered future

I have a lot of strong feelings about really stupid stuff. Just today, I became incensed when I heard that someone at the company I work for insists on using two spaces between sentences. I mean, any modern media professional knows there should be only one space. The two-space thing is a holdover from the  Read More 
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