A Less Than Civil War

For at least a year, my husband has been predicting something like what happened January 6 at the Capitol. I let his words wash over me, unable to believe anything that close to an act of civil war could happen here, again. “At the core, this is about race, and it’s about who wields power,” […]

Why Did the Morons Cross the Threshold?

Because they could. And because there was precedent. No, not the British, who burned the US Capitol Building along with most of official Washington, DC, in 1814. This comparison is pertinent mostly only because yesterday’s event was “the first time a malicious group has breached the U.S. Capitol since the British in August 1814.” But […]

Sick As a Dog

This is more than a story about how dogs bankrupt you and drive you crazy. It is a story about the damage that can be done to any of us when we do not get what we need. It begins, though, with the dog. Willie, adopted at fifteen months of age. Silky black curls and […]

Slow the Roll

    Men he knew liked to call and say they were rolling out. They were headed out now, they explained, when it did not need to be explained, that they were gonna be rolling through on my way to…. Going to take a slow drive, see what they could see. When he was younger […]

The Most Important and Most Neglected Virtue

Research is done on the mating habits of the duck-billed platypus or the mosquito’s affection for cheese. Philosophers inquire deeply into nausea, zombies, and the solidity of the chair upon which you sit. Yet precious little work has been done on one of the most fundamental traits of human character, the one we use to […]

Fate Can Be Cruel, Friends Crueller

“Do you ever shut up?” “You’re a born loser.” “Well, you’re not invited.” “Definitely not the artist in the family.” Accidental or barbed, a mean comment can catch like a hook in your soft throat and leave you hanging for years, unable to wriggle free of the memory. Social media only exaggerates the power of […]

The Mosquitoes of Winter

    When we have lived where snow is possible at Christmas, we have always felt a little sorry for those in warmer climates. I remember a deep-snow winter in my Southern Illinois childhood that broke all records, and every Christmas since, the kid that I was emerges from the playroom in my brain to […]

Allergic to the World

“Ah, you have a cat,” I say, trying for a tone that does not suggest, “You have a machine gun pointed at my chest.” Which is how it feels. When your throat closes of its own accord, shutting off air and voice, you remember. You also remember spending your first year of marriage dozing through […]

The Monolith #MeToo

I miss the monoliths. Or rather, since they are still popping up, I miss the mystery. How cool it would have been to be counting Big Horn sheep from a helicopter and glimpse sunlight bouncing from a tall silver bar planted in a red-rock canyon? Otherworldly, mysterious, charged with possibility. This was the year the […]

The 2020 Dumpster Fire

Most years, the cards are so sweet. This year, I did a few in watercolor and found myself painting a defeated Santa sitting on the curb, a crushed beer can next to him, some trash in the street, drinking the dregs from a whiskey bottle. Inside, it was easy to write, “It’s been a rough […]