Hold My Hand

We barely walk together anymore. The limited times we venture out, now, the barren streets pose no threat. And anyway, you have long since been “too old” for my protection. Still, you reached for my hand. Hand-in-hand we moved along the sidewalk. In whatever chaotic place, in Mumbai, Washington, Mexico City, across whatever peaceful pasture … Continue reading Hold My Hand

No Joking, Dum-Dum

This morning I received the bad news in the form of an email signed, “Sincerely Yours, Dum-Dums.” The disappointment? Dum-Dums lollipops Save Wraps Program is coming to an end! Now, I’m no distinguished and orderly candy wrapper saver (I’m no distinguished or organized anything), but the message did send my already quarantined spirits spiraling ever … Continue reading No Joking, Dum-Dum

Toast

All is quiet. Both sons, sound asleep. Dad enters and taps the top bunk. Top: Why are you waking me? Dad: Shhh. You'll wake your brother. Bottom: Zzzzz.... Top: Why are you waking me? It's Saturday. Bottom: Zzzzz.... Dad: You have land training. Top: Uhhhhhhh... Dad: [brightly] I'm making eggs and toast. Bottom Bunk: Toast?!

Tart on Thanksgiving

That's two Key Lime Pies. A bowl of fresh cranberry sauce. And a big smile just thinking about eating it all. Thanksgiving for decades has been a blend of the traditional and the tropical. From celebrating at the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Malawi ('96) to floating in the pool with a turkey on the raft … Continue reading Tart on Thanksgiving

Everyday Life

The novelist is exhausted. Whole worlds suggest themselves to her but that is all. The worlds do not appear. They do not come ready-made. They do not exist. They require focus and time and attention. The worlds must be pulled forth. Forged. The novelist is exhausted. Characters whisper in his ear and run through caverns … Continue reading Everyday Life

Uncle Sam, Matchmaker

  I pictured myself in a Peace Corps-issue hammock on an island somewhere, or crossing high glaciers in the glaring Himalayan sun. Then the recruiter called and offered Malawi. Pointless to remind her what I'd written where the application asked my preference: 'Anywhere but Africa.' Before that call, a recruiter—maybe the same recruiter—offered another would-be … Continue reading Uncle Sam, Matchmaker

Peace & Light on Christmas Eve

The word PEACE stretches out in silver letters beneath the lighted garland on our mantel. Tomorrow we’ll build a fire there and friends will gather round for warmth and cheer. The shortest day of the year has come and gone, & our side of the world now turns toward light. Will the light show our … Continue reading Peace & Light on Christmas Eve

Gratitude: Pie with Beer

The six year old appears bedside in the dark, wants to know if he can go downstairs and write. “I’ll get up and write with you.” He’s written a war story called The Attack of the Red Army. It’s three chapters long. In chapter one Sam and Jacob are enjoying the last bit of summer … Continue reading Gratitude: Pie with Beer

To Bleed or Not to Bleed–(the Writer’s Question)

I don't plan on writing porn any time soon. Probably never. But this article from today's New York Times Magazine, about the life of one prolific pornographer, had me thinking about what I write and how I write it. The piece helped me calibrate the struggle against my greatest bane: The lack of time. I'm a career man with a job … Continue reading To Bleed or Not to Bleed–(the Writer’s Question)