Against Advice

The United States--and in particular its white Protestant-Work-Ethic subculture--is a fix-it culture. We like shows about remodeling houses and makeovers. We DIY and we read advice books and advice columns. We are helpers, which is great, and we are resourceful. But we also often give advice when love or support is more warranted, and we … Continue reading Against Advice

The Essay as Buddhist Practice

Sitting on my cushion to meditate, I sometimes feel like I’m burrowing inside an essay. And at the keyboard, I take out a few Buddhist tools to chip away at whatever subject I’m pursuing. One of my teachers, Elizabeth Mattis Nyamgel, has a book called The Heart of an Open Question, which was really important … Continue reading The Essay as Buddhist Practice

Jack from the movie Nightmare before Christmas, with the movie's name below a round skull with a wide grin topped with a swoop of hair like Trump's with the presidential seal off to the side on a black background

Nightmare Before Xmas Raffle!

As you may know, the Republican "Tax" Plan has a million festering surprises in it, and none of them are good. In addition to making the rich richer and everyone else poorer, it contains elements that will further weaken the Affordable Care Act. That is where you come in! I want to encourage people who … Continue reading Nightmare Before Xmas Raffle!

I belong to the culture of labor

I belong to the culture of labor. What does that mean? Well, it's understandable if you don't know there is a labor culture, both in this country and around the world. This culture is not shown on sitcoms, cable networks, or in most movies--or if it is, it is portrayed as a depressing sliver: working-class … Continue reading I belong to the culture of labor

Interviews for International Women’s Day

Last week a wonderful woman in India, Gitanjali Venugopal, emailed me to see if we could do a blog collaboration for International Women's Day. Who is Gitanjali? Gitanjali is a 20 year old amateur blogger who believes in making “OMG! So Relatable” cross her reader’s mind at least once. She is an Indian Blogger (Snake charmer? … Continue reading Interviews for International Women’s Day

Investors, I Have a Serious Awesome Idea

I have a completely serious proposal that could do good for people and make someone some money (….and that might be the most American thing I’ve ever written). Here’s my vision: facilities modeled on health clubs that are specifically targeted to people (including but not limited to the elderly) with chronic pain, mobility, and mental … Continue reading Investors, I Have a Serious Awesome Idea

Thoughts on Cooking the Whole Shebang

I was eating lunch in Whole Foods yesterday, where I encountered this piece of information on the table. At first I thought, of course. $159.99 is a lot of money (exorbitant, I know, given the cost of the ingredients), but for food for eight people for Thanksgiving, I'd do this in a heartbeat. I mean, … Continue reading Thoughts on Cooking the Whole Shebang

Writing Process Blog Tour

I was invited to do a blog post as part of a rolling series on the writing process. Cool! And so is the person who invited me, Sarah Wells. I met Sarah when I taught at the Ashland Low-Residency MFA program, where Sarah is the dauntless administrative director. She also is the managing editor at … Continue reading Writing Process Blog Tour

Celebrating Liberation Day on February 15

By an accident of court scheduling, my divorce was finalized on February 15, five years ago. The five-year mark feels like a transition from current events to recent history. I’m glad that the divorce happened. It was necessary for a lot of reasons, but I wasn’t the victim in that relationship. I got myself into … Continue reading Celebrating Liberation Day on February 15

Letter to an Almost- or Recent-College-Grad

Dear favorite student ever, You don’t know what to do with the rest of your life. I know the place you are at because I have been there too. I’ve been talking recently with other students who are either facing graduation or recently graduated, and like you, they are anxious. They don’t know what the … Continue reading Letter to an Almost- or Recent-College-Grad