Donut Scoff, Friends

The stretch of coastal Louisiana called Acadiana, from the Texas border to almost New Orleans, is often sold as a foodie culture, though its people would never call it that. The Francophone foodway has adapted to local resources, so French mirepoix, for instance, (carrots, celery, onion) became the Cajun “holy trinity” (green bell pepper, celery, […]

Navigating Love’s Long Line with Sophfronia Scott

In 2016, I was captivated when Sophfronia Scott read an excerpt from her essay, “Why I Didn’t Go to the Firehouse,” at the River Pretty Writers Retreat in Tecumseh, Missouri. The essay is a meditation about why Scott, when confronted with the news that a deadly shooting had just occurred at her third-grade son’s school, […]

The Louisiana Elegies

Coastal Louisiana is sinking, and the sea is rising, faster than anywhere on earth. Water cuts through everything—in gutters, culverts, ditches, swales, bayous, rivers, estuaries, channels, and lakes. Tropical downpours flood the streets, stall traffic, pour over doorsills into homes. Geysers spurt out of manhole covers. Cattle stand in mud on the edge of town, watching […]

How Writers Write While Raising Human Beings, Part 3

Lifting the veil on how writers write (or take hiatuses from writing) while raising families is important. The false dichotomy that is often presented, especially to women—either write or parent—is a toxic, non-inclusive way of thinking. As the late writer Ursula K. Le Guin put it, “Another thing that I’ve found … [is that] women […]

How Writers Write While Raising Human Beings, Part 2

In the opening of the poem, “Advice to Myself,” award-winning, Native American writer Louise Erdrich reminds anyone who has somehow managed to raise a family, keep a home, and make art to,   “Leave the dishes. Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen […]

Knowing Puddles

  Puddles Pity Party was in town last night. I felt like the guy in front of me in line for the second Star Wars movie, in 1980, who poured bags of loose change onto the ticket counter and cried, “I’ve been waiting for this for three years!” If you are still living in the […]

Last Meals

As a young girl, I loved to fish, especially with my granddad on the pontoon early in the Missouri summer. We would fish Pomme de Terre Lake around 6 or 6:30 a.m. and angle for crappie, sunfish, and perch until lunch. When we had a “mess of fish,” Granddad’s language, he and grandma would clean […]

How Writers Write While Raising Human Beings, Part 1

“I’m right now in the Dordogne very close to Montaigne’s château and library, and I confess I have found myself thinking of the father of the essay and how decadent it might have been for him to be the father of the essay instead of the caregiver of his daughter, because an essay waits patiently […]

Clark Gable Will Never Quit

San Francisco (1936) is a four-star film at Turner Classic Movies. It stars Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, and Spencer Tracy, and is set in the months leading up to the 1906 earthquake. IMDB says it is about “A Barbary Coast saloonkeeper and a Nob Hill impresario [who] are rivals for the affections of a beautiful […]

Upon This Rock

Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked in the search of the depth? —Job 38:16   The Old Minster at Winchester Cathedral was built in 645 AD. By the year 1000 there was a cathedral there about one-third the size of today’s. But the site was swampy and peaty, […]