November 29, 2011

The Lovely Audrey Hepburn

"If I'm honest I have to tell you I still read fairytales and I like them best of all." ~ Audrey Hepburn

November 28, 2011

The Perfect Purse

I’ve had the same purse for more than 10 years. Durable black leather. Tasteful (some would say cheap, I suppose). It didn’t cost that much to begin with. It’s the perfect size ~ long enough for a checkbook but not too big and heavy (unless I collect a little too much change). A long strap for over the shoulder or even crossed over the chest. Not too complicated ~ only one little internal side pocket into which I stuff stamps and my coin purse (which was my dad’s hearing aid case, so that's 25 years old). I clip a card case to the strap ring, so my credit cards are securely fastened. My Android phone just slips inside.

(I realize as I write this that it makes me sound like an old fuddy duddy, and saying the words fuddy duddy makes me one too. I've never been one for Ferragamos or Vuittons, though I can see their beaty.)

I’ve mended this purse at least three times. One of the leather patches that attach the strap rings to the purse broke, and my friend Rena got it fixed for me, and they did the opposite one too. Then the strap broke, so I got a new strap. Then the flat piece that holds the magnet in front broke, and we got it fixed.

I love this purse. I have a larger shoulder bag for notebooks, etc., but this is what I carry everywhere. It went with me to Ireland and England, it’s been through the wars with kids, and so much more.

I have two pairs of pants of which I would kill to get another pair (one velvet wide-legged and one comfortable but fashionable part polyester). My Canon Powershot A610 ~ way out of date now, but it’s been the workhorse of cameras. I’ve got a serious addition to store version tupperware and storage containers and bags. When you find just the right one, it’s heaven.

This is very much me. When I find something I love, years down the road I invariably wish I had bought ten of them. When something like this breaks, I try to find a replacement online, but I’m only successful about 50% of the time. Sometimes I can get a used version.

I wasn’t always this way. Growing up fairly poor, I wanted stuff, and when I started to make a little money ~ heck, even when I was just getting by ~ I would acquire worthless junk just to acquire. Knicknacks that had no meaning or worth.

I’m reading the biography/memoir of Audrey Hepburn by her son Sean Ferrer. What an exquisite book ~ moving and well-written and graceful. It sounds like AH was also very much this way. She found much more worth in something of quality than in just having stuff. I identify with AH in so many ways, and always have, but even more so now that I’ve read this book.

Where did we ever get the idea that quantity makes up for quality? It makes sense in a numbers game, I suppose, but when you’re talking about life ~ real life! ~ it’s too complex to be quantified, no matter how hard we try to make it so.

So, this week, I’m wishing you the perfect purse.

November 26, 2011

Life Lessons from Zombies

We almost had a crisis first thing Thanksgiving morning:  The video game Plants vs. Zombies wouldn’t play!  Crisis averted, however, by the good people at Popcap Games.  They responded quickly and fixed it.

Thanksgiving day.  Reminds me to send a huge thank you to all you toilers on holidays.  It sucks working weekends and midnights and holidays, all so self-centered people like me can have our entertainment.  Another thing to be thankful for on this day.  You guys rock!

Anyway, as I played and played and played and my five-year-old son played and played, it got me thinking about how a well-designed game reveals your own proclivities and is a lot like life in some ways.

If you’re a cautious person, you’ll probably choose mostly defensive pieces ~ wall-nuts and potato mines ~ but of you’re an aggressive person, you’ll pick the most bang for your buck ~ice shrooms and jalapenos.  Defensiveness and aggressiveness exist on a spectrum, and I would think that either end would not do too well in this game.  Too defensive and you spend all your time running.  Too offensive and you leave huge holes in your line.  The best course is the middle one ~ some good offense balanced with some good defense.  Finding that balance is not easy, however.

It’s a really well-designed game because it has enough of a comfort zone yet it keeps pushing you forward, plus it has enough variety that you are always entertained.  One aspect is that just when you get comfortable, they force you to use a whole new set of tools to accomplish the same task, out of your comfort zone, which teaches you the value of those tools.

You guess where I’m heading.  Life is like that.  If you’re too cautious, you never really live.  If you’re too aggressive, you burn out and leave a beautiful corpse.  Not that a long life is a goal unto itself.  But the middle road is the best, moderation in all things.  The problem, of course, is to find out where the middle road is and to try to navigate that road.  The problem, much like the game, is that that road is always changing.  It never lets you rest.  You have to change and adapt along with it. 

I did my master’s thesis on the process of identity negotiation (in pioneer diaries), and it’s the same there.  As much as we’d like to think that we’re this fixed thing, we’re unequivocably not.  By dynamically identifying with others (“I want to be her”) and othering others (“I definitely am not her”), our self changes, as much as we would like to remain the same. 

So, in essence, our surroundings are changing, we are changing, and we’re just doing our level best to keep in top of it ~ or to convince ourselves that we are.

But, you know?  If you don’t, if you deny any part of it, you aren’t really living.  You’re missing the thrill, or you’re missing the depth. I am thankful for this life, in its many guises.

November 24, 2011

Bravery on This Day of Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate!  Best wishes for the holiday season to all!

There are many things to be thankful for, but today, most of all, I'm thankful for bravery. 

I think bravery is something we need in big ways, sure ~ do I take the plunge and get married?  do I take that job? ~ but even more importantly, we need small everyday braveries.  Things like getting out of the bed, choosing what to wear, getting on the subway or braving the weather, meeting the boss when she calls you into her office, resisting buying something you don't need. Daring to imagine yourself differently in millions of tiny ways.

And the bravery to create.  That's a biggie.  There are many who have given up, many who have taken the road of cynicism and snide comments and tearing down of others who are trying to be brave, trying to create.  They are the destroyers, the crazymakers, the chicken shits.  They cannot find the generosity, the courage, the love within themselves and toward others and themselves.  He or she needs to dare to imagine him- or herself a new person, a more generous one, a generative one. They need to embrace and love, rather than pinch and shut down.

This year, I am thankful for what bravery I have, and I wish for all of you the bravery large and small that you need to get through the hour, the day, the week, the life.

November 22, 2011

Naughty Schoolboy

Unexpectedly home with a sick kid today.  I was going to take tomorrow off, so here I am a day early.

Why does a change of schedule like this both unsettle us (me) yet also give me such a sense of freedom at the same time?  It’s as if I’m a naughty schoolboy, and I’m getting away with something. 

But you know what I’ll be getting away with?  I have a new idea for a book, a series actually, and I’m going great guns on the brainstorming part of it.  Which of course is the fun part of it because you’re not actually having to do any work yet.

I am thankful for the resources and ability to be a naughty schoolboy. I hope you are able to do something fun this weekend too.

November 21, 2011

Montage Monday

On Saturday, in addition to ballet, grocery store, and birthday party/swimming at the rec center, we went to a Lego party at the train depot.  It was so much fun!  There were snacks and lots of nice people, and the kids loved it.  It was put on by the Historic Laramie Railroad Depot and COWLUG (Colorado & Wyoming Lego User Group). Here's some pics.

Here's an overview.

One of the great things was that the people who put it together have such a sense of humor.  Everywhere you looked there was something new.  That's a dragon eating the car dealership. Oh, and behind here is the Octopi Wall Street, with a bunch of octupuses taking over.

Yes, indeed. That's aliens turning ostriches into pigs.

Fumigation.  If you've ever been in one of those little blue toilets, you totally understand.

Who knew carrots would encourage dinosaurs?  And that there were carrots in the age of dinosaurs.

November 17, 2011

Tears and Much Gnashing of Teeth

Some households have problems at bedtime. Tears and much gnashing of teeth as kids refuse to go to sleep. For whatever reason, that’s not us. Our challenge is mornings.

This is how it goes. My husband gets up and jumps in the shower, and I get up bleary-eyed and got down to make breakfast for the kids. We’re usually pretty well-rested, though we complain, because my husband puts a high value on schedules and sleep, which is nice. Still, I’m not a morning person.

I go down and let the dog out and make breakfast ~ usually scrambled eggs and cheese or sausage, toast or a muffin, some kind of fruit, and juice. (I try to get each food group into each meal, though usually not veggies at breakfast, and I try to base our lunches and dinners on vegetables. But you know, some days a diamond.) We have short-cuts. The scrambled eggs are made in the microwave, and we cook the sausages first thing when we bring them home from the grocery store and then freeze them, so you can just heat them up in the microwave too. I try to get a little of my husband’s stuff going ~ make him tea or heat water for coffee.

About the time he’s out of the shower, I’m headed upstairs. I pick out clothes for the kids and bring them down and put them by the stove so they can dress right there where it’s warm. Then I head up to take my shower. My husband wakes up the kids with hugs and brings them downstairs one at a time ~ often carrying them ~ and wraps them in their blankets and puts them at the table. Then he goes about doing his own breakfast, feeding the dog, and sometimes putting dishes in the dishwasher away.

Sounds like a well-oiled machine, right? Wrong. Five-year-olds are involved.

By the time I’m stepping out of the shower, I can hear the kids through the grate right below me. They’re messing around, poking and laughing and dragging their feet. Soon my husband’s voice comes up, a warning tone to get on with it. Ten minutes later, he’s yelling at them to get upstairs and brush their teeth, but they don’t yet even have their pajamas off. Finally they come dragging upstairs. They piddle around till I lose patience and yell at them to get their teeth brushed. It goes downhill from there.

All this yelling at them can’t be good for them. And my husband and I get really grumpy.

It’s all about self-control and responsibility, I think. Oh, and because they’re only five. But there are other families that don’t go through this EVERY MORNING. There must be something wrong with us.

I’ve been thinking a lot about self-control lately. I think it’s inevitable to ponder it when you’re a parent. Every child is different. You’ll have the kid who is just naturally a responsible people-pleaser, but then you’ll have the ones who aren’t intentionally bad, they just have another agenda. But the basic question is: How do you instill responsibility and self-control in a child? How can you know, when they become teenagers and are out of your sight, that they aren’t doing something really stupid and dangerous? And it’s when they’re really young that you need to instill this. How do you do that without yelling at them constantly or putting them in fear for their lives?

And it’s not just them. I think about my own self control. I wasn’t raised with many boundaries, so I’ve had to learn them along the way. I’m a pretty responsible person ~ being raised on a ranch does that ~ but as far as personal schedule and self-control, it’s a bit dicey. My eating habits are iffy. I’ll be really good on exercise for a while and then totally stop for months. Left to my own devices, my sleeping habits suck. And what about the writing? You need self-control and motivation to get anything done.

We as Americans like to think of ourselves as exceptions to every rule. The rules apply to other people. “American Exceptionalism,” it’s called in academic circles. It started with the founding of our country ~ our country was founded on the idea that we are exceptions to the religious rule of where we lived. And since then we’ve always been for the underdog, for the rebel.  We believe that other people should control themselves, for heaven's sake, but we don't have to.

But I digress.

My husband and I are trying new things, new creative approaches to getting ready in the morning. This is how this morning went.

A couple of days ago we told them that it was their responsibility to get themselves dressed and ready in the morning. We’ve done this before ~ oh the tears and gnashing of teeth! But this time we told them that they had to earn the right to watch any TV in the evening. They got one warning, and after that ~ bam! ~ no TV that night. For 2 days they’ve done pretty well.

My husband is out of town, and this morning I just let them go. My husband can’t do that, and I felt the urge to come down on them like the wrath of God, but I let them go. I said, once or twice, very calmly, it’s your responsibility to get ready. You might want to think about it because you’ve only got a half hour. You’ve only got ten minutes. At one point, my son tried to turn on the TV and I quickly put the kibosh to that.

Needless to say, when I was ready to head out the door, they weren’t ready. My son had managed to get his teeth brushed after the whole TV incident, but he didn’t have his shoes on, his hair combed, nor collected his coat and backpack. My daughter stood in front of the stove completely naked, hair uncombed.

I said, “I’m heading out the door in three minutes. You better grab your clothes and shoes and anything else you want to take.” Then I discretely grabbed a brush and threw it in my bag and walked out the door.

“You wouldn’t really leave us here, Mommy? Is it one of those fake times?” they asked.

Of course not, I said to myself. You’re only five. But out loud I said, “We’ll see, won’t we?”

I went out to the garage and started to get in the car and wait. Very quickly, here came my son, tears streaming down his face, hair standing on end, socks on his feet, shoes and backpack and light sweatshirt clutched in his arms. Did I mention we’ve been having windchill in the negative digits? “I’m sorry, sweatie,” I said, “ but you’ll need to get your coat." Off he ran.

In the meantime, I hear loud screetches and then here came my daughter, tears streaming down her face, miraculously fully clothed, shoes even on her feet, with everything but her backpack. “You’ll need your backpack,” I said.

“Here, Mommy, will you please hold these?” she said. She’s no dummy. She figures if I’m holding something I won’t leave.

Back came my son and got in the car. Back came my daughter and got in the car. I tossed the hairbrush back to them, made sure they’re buckled in, and started to drive to school.

Silence for a few minutes, then my son said, “Do we still get to watch TV tonight?”

November 16, 2011

Plants vs. Zombies

Yesterday, when I picked my five-year-old twins up from after-school daycare, my son was sitting off by himself, headphones on, in front of the computer in the small side room, away from the chaos and noise of kids dancing and drawing and agreeing and disagreeing in the main room. He had found a new computer game. When he saw me, he jumped up from his chair, practically hopping up and down, and said, “This is the greatest game ever! Can we get it on our computer at home?”

It’s called Plants vs. Zombies. It really is a great game ~ I stayed up way too late last night playing it after the kids went to bed. The zombies are coming across your lawn to enter the house and eat your brains, and it’s your job to plant various plants in your back yard that defend against them. There’s a little bit of sun that rains down that you have to collect to grow your flowers, and then you plant sunflowers to gather more sun. There are peashooters and repeaters and snow peas that spit projectiles at the oncoming zombies. There are cherry bombs that turn all zombies in the vicinity to ashes. There are wall-nuts that stop the zombies’ progress. There’s a potato mine that explodes if they walk over it, but it takes some time to grow. And then with each level you advance, you get new types of plants, but you’re limited as to how many types you can choose. It turns to nighttime and you have to use various types of mushrooms. Then you’re in your backyard with a pond and you need to plant lily pads in order to plant the plants. The final line of defense is a series of lawnmowers that, if the zombies reach them, they are mowed over. But, the drawback is, once it’s gone it’s gone, and it takes out your plants too. If a zombie makes it past, it walks into your back door and “The Zombies Ate Your Brains!” Game over.

It is seriously addicting. I may have to buy the full version.

But as I was thinking about it this morning, I thought: that’s exactly what you need in a plot. You need it to be seriously addicting. How does the PvZ do it? Well, you have a protagonist (you), antagonists (zombies), and a battle with interesting and clearly defined characters on your side. The zombies too have interesting characters. There’s an athlete zombie who can bypass things and there are disco zombies who swarm. It’s progressive ~ you win (or lose) one level and get new plants and new challenges in the next level. Just like chapters. Each level is enough alike that you easily pick it up and understand it but also enough different that it’s a challenge. Chapters should progress that way ~ not aliens dropping in deus ex machina (unless you already have aliens) but also a new twist each time.

I’m telling: it’s got me thinking about my plotting.

November 15, 2011

“We teach life, and life isn’t easy”

For my day job, I interviewed a very nice gentlemen yesterday who is a lawyer who oversees law clinics here at the University of Wyoming. Law clinics are where law students take pro bono cases and actually enter the courtroom with an experienced lawyer to assist. The director’s outlook on life is such a great balance between idealism and practicality, and he loves what he does.

(I love talking to people about what they are passionate about. It’s one of my great pleasures.)

It struck me throughout our conversations how similar being a writer and being a lawyer are in so many ways. Here are some of them.

The original meaning of freelance was, of course, a knight put his “free lance” in service to a king. He represented that king and kingdom on the field of battle, and he put his skills and his life on the line to defend that king. Another word for that is mercenary, but it’s two sides of the same coin. A freelance writer is the same. She puts her skills and her work life on the line to represent someone to the world. And a lawyer is the same thing. They put their professional reputation and skills to the test in ways that have huge impacts on the lives of those involved. Idealistically, each of these is a person giving their lives for another. Less idealistically, this is someone making a buck off someone else in their time of need.

Another way that a writer and a lawyer are similar is that there are academic and practical branches of the discipline. These overlap, but one does not prepare you for the other. In the case of being a lawyer, the director said that three years in a classroom does not prepare you to be a lawyer. Only being a lawyer can prepare you. In that way, it should be a trade school, not an academic discipline. That’s why these law clinics are so important. In writing, there are academics who study it, and then there’s rhet/comp or creative writing that practices it. Sure, academics write as well, and I think being in academia is infinitely fascinating, but it holds the same relation to practicing outside the institution as academics does to practicing law. A technical or creative writer can’t enter into a in-depth theoretical discussion with an academic, any more than an academic can write a technical report or short story (unless the person is both). This split is the source of much conflict in English departments.

I asked the director what students were not prepared for when they came in. He said that they were not aware of the shear amount of hard work involved. Most of the time, it’s not at all glamorous. Same for writing. The years of apprenticeship (10,000 hours) and the piles and piles of rejection. He also said that students were not prepared for the amount of emotion involved. Think about it. You have people’s lives in your hands. Victims of assault and child abuse and rape and murder (well, not the actual victim). And what you help come about has huge impacts in the lives of everyone involved. Not only that, but you have to face very emotional situations on a daily basis. I think that’s true of writing as well. To truly do your best work, you have to put your heart on the page. You have to put your characters through hell and feel that hell as you write, or it won’t translate. Same with nonfiction ~ you’re working with people, and the best work is when you connect with your subjects deeply.

Finally, he said, “We teach life, and life isn’t easy.” We write life, and life isn’t easy. The best writing gets to the messiness of it, to the places that are hard, that are not black and white. But it’s worth it. Life is worth it, and the challenge of writing is worth it.

November 14, 2011

Ira Glass and Narrative Drive

Ira Glass of This American Life gave a talk on Saturday at the University of Wyoming. I couldn’t wait, since I first heard of it!

Saturday was one of those bitter cold days on the high plains. The wind had been gale force for days, and the storm blew in that afternoon, so the cold lazered through the many layers of coats, hats, and mittens. The first flakes fell as my friend Naomi and I walked across campus to the A&S Auditorium. They seemed pretty innocent, but by the time we got out there was ice over everything and the wind blew you skating across the pavement. Winter storm warmings, for sure.

We were early, and our tickets were in the balcony. It’s numbered weirdly, with our section only having odd numbers (we were seats 7 and 9), and they were built in a time when people either were the size of school children or did not require much comfort or space. Even my knees hit the seat in front of me, and I’m average-sized. All was solved, though, when we took matters into our own hands and went farther up so no one was cramped in beside us.

Ira Glass. Wow. He is so cool. Nerd cool, brainy cool ~ you know what I mean. Like those old Geek Squad commercials. The guy next to me (before we moved) said, “He looks like Elvis Costello,” and he does. A suit, heavy black-rimmed glasses, long brown leather shoes, very kinetic.

The program started about 20 or 30 minutes late. A woman came out to introduce him, and then the lights went off. Then you heard that voice through the darkness, just like you do through the radio, so cozy and friendly and almost inside your own brain. It’s as if your preternaturally verbal favorite brother, someone you’ve known your whole life, is telling you a really good story. He kept the lights off for a while as he spoke and joked about doing the whole program that way. When he turned on the lights, he said, “I could say anything I wanted for the next couple of minutes because you’re not listening. You’re checking out what I look like and marveling that that voice comes out of this head.”

He orchestrated the whole program from an iPad that he held in the crook of his arm or rested on the music stand next to the tall stool, which he never sat on and never drank from the bottle of water that rested there. He was too busy moving, one side of the stage to the other, moving downstage and back, smiling, talking, waving his arms, setting the iPad down and picking it up. He would sometimes hold the iPad up in front of him and then hold his right arm out behind him before bringing his hand in an arc to touch the iPad and start or stop the music. It was as if he were a concert pianist.

And he has impeccable timing with the music. You don’t usually see someone turning off and on the music, but it was second nature to him, and he explained at the end where the music was from (the internet, movie scores) and tricks to using it (stopping the music makes whatever comes next seem very important and starting it again signals a change in tone or subject). He also explained that the iPad was connected wirelessly to a computer behind the drops, and the software allowed him to do it all from his iPad. It was amazing, with an Oz-behind-the-curtain feel to it.

And he said such smart things (of course). They were smart not only because some of them I’ve long thought.

He emphasized the power of narrative drive. It’s innate in all of us and is more powerful than any of us know. He explained how a normal news story goes ~ it’s a thesis-based essay, with assertion and evidence/quote, then new assertion and evidence/quote, with analysis. But then he explained the structure of stories on his show. It’s this thing leading to this thing leading to this thing, with a moment of reflection, and then repeat. It doesn’t matter how banal the details, if they’re cause and effect they draw us and leave us asking question after question, if only “What happens next?” And the moment of reflection can be something unusual, but it also can be a universal truth that we all know but the story reminds us. He ended everything with the story of Sheherazade, how that narrative drive saved the girl’s life and brought the king back from insanity. It made him empathize with the father of Sheherazade ~ I’ll get back to this.

At one point he stopped the music and said, “Radio is a very visual medium.” I sat there thinking, yes it is, in the very best way. It’s visual in the way the best books are, in that if the story is done right you the listener/reader supply a lot of it. You are an active participant in the creation of this story. And then he said, “It’s not, but it sounded like it’s true,” and everyone laughed.

They did the TV show, as well as radio. TV is a problem to do in the format of This American Life. On the radio, the teller can tell things that happened in the past, but on TV to really take advantage of the medium you have to be there and witness the action with the camera. Which means you have to foretell the future. He said, “It makes you understand why they put a bunch of extroverts in a house together and scatter cameras all around.”

He talked about how we are inundated with narrative nowadays, moreso than at any other time history. But the thing is, most of it doesn’t move us. It doesn’t do what stories have done forever, which is to connect us with others, to make us imagine what it would be like to be them, to empathize. This is something I’ve long said: The reason I am obsessively fanatical about fiction is that it is as close as you will ever get to another person’s insides, to their emotional and intellectual life. Both the writing and reading of fiction is an exercise in empathy. Can fiction save the world? Yes, I think it can.

There was much more, but I’ll stop here. It’s got me thinking a lot about narrative and about reflection and the conjunction of verbal storytelling and written. Ira Glass, you rock!

November 11, 2011

The Mean Reds

So I’ve been scarce on the interwebs for a while. Not just here on this blog but elsewhere on Facebook and Twitter.

As I’ve said previously, I’m a bit manic depressive, and right after attending Bread Loaf I nose-dived for a bit. I’m sure you’ve all experienced it at one time or another. No interest in much of anything. Slogging through your day. Dreading even taking a shower because, you know, you’ll just have to take another one tomorrow and it doesn’t really seem worth the effort. Being shorter with the kids then I like to be.

But that’s not the worst part. My drive to write even went away. The joy in looking forward to creating, the joy of creating, being compelled by reading, feeling part of a larger and more noble endeavor, even feeling competitive against other writers ~ that all went away for a while. I avoided writing most everything (except work of course) ~ which would have helped ~ and I avoided most social things because it just takes more energy than I can muster. Mostly what I felt toward writing was simple despair. I suck in every way possible. Why would I ever think that I could get anywhere (despite any evidence to the contrary)?

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about: Depression. Perhaps a bit worse than the usual turn.

But I’m climbing out of the hole. One thing that really helped was I took a four-hour nap on Saturday and then slept in on Sunday. A little alone/me time made a heck of a lot of difference. Plus, I think I was pulling out of it a bit anyway. Now I need to get back to my writing and my exercise routine, and I’ll feel a lot better all around.

But, this blog. Even before all this, I had read that your blog shouldn’t just be a solipsistic writers workshop. That sent me for a bit of turn because in fact I talk a lot about writing ~ because it is my passion and what fascinates me. I tried to think of other subjects. I certainly could do more on the subjects I write about (history, gender, living in the West, etc.). But then I thought, you know what: sure, maybe I could include more general topics, but I love writing, and I know a lot of you love writing, and it’s what lights me up on the inside, so I am going to continue to write about it. Sure, I’ll try to include a broader range of topics, but writing will always be included as one of those.

I’ve always wanted these blog entries to be as well-thought out as possible, as cogent and well-written and compelling as possible. With that in mind, I may or may not write a blog post every weekday. If I think a little more deeply on a subject and try to develop it more, it may take more than a mere twenty minutes. But then again, I may also balance longer ones with some short ones (a la Seth Godin).

And as I said, I think my subjects will trend the way they have in the past, but I might try to include more book reviews. I don’t want this to be this blog’s only subject, but when I finish a book, I might review it. I might also include more general interest things, whatever catches my fancy at the time. I’m also going to continue to point out as many interesting things as I can.

Overall, my motivation here is to be part of the larger conversation, to think out loud, to make explicit those things that, if I don’t write about them, I don’t think them through. I also truly believe that this blog gives energy to my other writing and makes me feel part of the community.

So I’ll be showing up here a lot more. Once a week at least, possibly five days a week. And I appreciate all the people who stop by here to read, when they could be doing something vastly more useful, and I hope you’ll comment if you feel the urge.

Finally, I welcome guest bloggers! If you’d like to, shoot me an email PLEASE!