Category Archives: writing

Pause

Dear Reader, I started writing this blog back in 2008. I started it for a specific reason. I’d written an essay that I submitted to America magazine. It was a risky essay, and it was a nuanced one– about living in an … Continue reading

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What Makes Poetry

I think about poetry a lot. Particularly what makes a poem. In this time of free verse when it seems few of the tools of poetry are being put to good use, I still know a poem when I see … Continue reading

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One Year Ago…

Facebook let me know that today was a big anniversary: one year from the official diagnosis. I decided to go back and read some of those early entries in the blog. The entries interested me much less than the comments … Continue reading

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Coffee House Culture

Long Beach, California, is rich with coffee houses. All the old ones are still in place, and plenty more have popped up in the 12 years I’ve been gone. Like I did when I lived here and had tons of … Continue reading

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Surprises

While I’ve been here in California, Steve has been busy working on his new landscaping website, building raised beds in the greenhouse, visiting his elderly aunt and his parents in the nursing home, and cleaning out the family house in … Continue reading

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Deep Clean and Great Finds

I’ve been hauling this file cabinet around the country since at least 1997. Though I think I got it earlier because I sort of remember it standing on the porch in our last apartment in Chicago. I can picture it … Continue reading

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The Underground Railroad (review)

Just yesterday I wrote a review of Colson Whitehead’s amazing novel, The Underground Railroad, on Goodreads. And today I hear he won the National Book Award. I actually reviewed two books on Goodreads yesterday. The second was the photographer Sally Mann’s … Continue reading

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Elena Ferrante Revealed

In one of my early care packages, my friend Paula sent me all four of “the Neapolitan novels” by Elena Ferrante. The thousands of pages and sprawling story of a friendship between two women was both a wonderful goal and … Continue reading

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Cancer

Even after 18 weeks, I am having trouble with a very simple concept: “I have cancer.” I don’t understand what that means. I was desperately searching the web for some positive sign that my sense of taste would come back … Continue reading

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S is for Susan

I received an incredible gift this week from my niece Dale and her sixth grade class. Last year I visited her public school in Chicago as a visiting poet. She is in a gifted classroom and these kids have been … Continue reading

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