3/25/20 You think a color can’t save you. It’s just a shade of bright green that sounds like a bad idea for a baby name. Chartreuse. Maybe Chartreuse was the little sister of Chivas, that guy you went to school with. Was it Shakespeare or that ridiculous class where you were the only one who... Continue Reading →
3/18/20 Inside, our people or person or own chatter brain fill more space than they ever have. We grow to the size of each room we enter. Outside, the sidewalks are busy, the green spaces are full of people trying to deflate down to normal height and width. I look up and, for a moment,... Continue Reading →
3/11/20 The calls have come. Soon I’ll be officially non-essential. My hand on their sharp shoulder blades, their paper-thin arms and aching fingers now has a different kind of potential. I become threat instead of tenderness, harm instead of relief. I’ll sit at home like their sons and daughters and watch the world try to... Continue Reading →
3/4/20 I drive through the farmland around Forest Grove every week and every week I search for a safe spot to pull over and take a photo of the beauty there: The unpredictable sky, the geometry of fields, the satisfying disruption caused by small hills and solitary oaks. The shoulders of the roads are mostly... Continue Reading →
2/26/20 Yesterday a caregiver taught me that cats have 13 muscles in each ear. A nursing home resident taught me that a busy elephant is called a multitusker. And a palm tree taught me that it grows beautiful purple berries. Feel it - the slip of space between rib and lung. 2/27/20 Waterfalls of tea... Continue Reading →
2/19/20 Here, in my home, I am tucked in on all sides. Houses and shadows and fences and punk rock bands and impatient traffic and yard debris and that thing, once useful, slowly making its way either toward the garbage bin or into the ground. These lives hold me. But with that vast valley still... Continue Reading →
2/12/20 The snow diamonds were laid out in wide swaths, a valley of shine. But the windows of the van refused even a moment of clarity so the diamonds came streaked in sand and frost. The driver bit his nails for four hours straight, one hand and then the other, pausing only to pass the... Continue Reading →
2/5/20 One moment you’re a star. One moment you’re a puddle. It’s the same moment. 2/6/20 I don’t know. I keep writing and erasing. Erasing isn’t really part of freewriting rules. But who’s in charge here? Who decided, that instead of straight metal bars, to go with the a more elaborately patterned panel? As far... Continue Reading →
1/29/20 After driving all day, I drive some more through the perpetual winter rain and cross the blue-lit bridge over the swampy water to crowd myself into a lecture hall. Ijeoma Oluo speaks about having hard conversations and how we hurt people of color with our blind acceptance of this system. She shares ways to... Continue Reading →
1/22/20 At 5:43pm I can still make out the mess of wires running between houses and utility poles. The clouds have sunset-tinted bellies. The neighbors’ upstairs light is on but I can hear their band starting up in the basement for a second practice this week. No sweet rhythms. Everything is fast and loud and... Continue Reading →
1/15/20 New structures make new shadows and new reflections. New hours make new weather. The building that took too many years to finish sits empty. The snow predicted all week for the valley floor stayed in the mountains. Still, my block and the sky around it shook a bit of glow and sparkle, in thanks... Continue Reading →
1/8/20 We all have crazy ideas now and then, but not too many of us get far in the execution of them. Something interrupts, quashes or dies before we get to the turret-building stage. Not this guy. He didn’t care that he had no plans or permits, no idea really, other than that original crazy... Continue Reading →
I'm easing back into an active writing practice by committing to freewrites prompted by my daily photo posts on Instagram. Nothing polished and precious here, just a handful of sentences bubbling up and out each out day. I'll be posting them collectively here once a week. Maybe you'll be inspired to join me with your... Continue Reading →
I wanted to come back from my meditation retreat and just write about what a meditation retreat is. "What's there to learn?" my father asked when I told him our practice sessions were interspersed with instruction and talks. "Aren't you just sitting there?" I wanted to describe just sitting there. Sitting and crying. Sitting and... Continue Reading →
Earlier this summer I told my husband that I'd registered for a five-month somatic meditation program. "It's mostly online, but it starts and ends with week-long retreats at their center in Colorado." "So you're joining a cult?" he said. "It's not a cult," I said. "It's a meditation retreat." "Yeah, that's what they call them."... Continue Reading →
What do you do when the energy in your body is loose, barely letters let alone words? You take photos of giant spiders you've killed. Or photos of the underside of smoke trees. Or maybe you go on walks, talking into your phone so that autocorrect becomes your co-author. Or maybe you garden. Or maybe... Continue Reading →
This is happening. So so so so slowly, but definitely, positively surely. My hybrid book of memoir, poetry and image will be released in June! It's called I Want More. The exact date is not set, because nothing about this book has been exact and nothing about this book has been speedy. Just like me.... Continue Reading →
Confession: I had no interest in AWP, the country's biggest annual writing conference that happened to be in my city this year. I went to only one amazing off-site reading, nearly fainting from the crowd. I chatted with a few nice strangers there that I was literally rubbing elbows with. I’m sure there are lots... Continue Reading →
Read my piece "Lessons for Riding Before Dawn to Pilgrim's First Landing's Park, Provincetown, MA" over at PANK.
"Well, imagine how it all could be among us if we began to understand all the talk about dying and the news about dying and the visits to the hospital and the deathbed and the grave side and the memorial service, and all the sorrows and grief of life, as our initiation into personhood." - Stephen... Continue Reading →
On the evening news, everyone was giddy with snow panic. It would have been the same hyperbole if it had happened in December or January, but there was an added layer of surprise, offense and/or betrayal in the fact that the snow, when and if it arrived, would be falling on daphne and daffodils and... Continue Reading →
See the line as it is and draw it as a shape. Do not draw a chair, a suit, a hand. When I draw the shape and not the thing as a whole, everything but the shape disappears. The narrow PCC classroom disappears along with the gabby, white-haired retirees and the mumbly men. I don't... Continue Reading →
Paper/Rock Today, the back walls of my lungs went sticky with sadness. I cried/breathed through the dead hours of the morning then woke up to a sky that felt like the dullest sheet of paper smacked down over this big old rock of a planet. On rising, I offered puffy eyes and apologetic kisses. This... Continue Reading →
The story these days is that writers have to be marketers if they want to sell books. As far as I can tell, this is true. It also seems true that you can market your soul away and still not sell much. I just finished reading this very sobering article in Longreads, about a variety... Continue Reading →
This is not the thing. This is not the story of the thing. This is the story of the story of the thing. This is one whole year of new adventures large and small, written out and posted here. Now begins the pause in this particular path. For the rest of the year I'll be... Continue Reading →
Here, nearly a full year into this personal challenge project, it's become clear that there are stages I go through most weeks.
1. Decide on an activity I've never done before.
There have been plenty of challenges over the past year that have made me uncomfortable. That's largely the point. The nausea and nerves I get before stepping into the unknown come in varying degrees and qualities. Some are truly sickening because I know something important is about to be confronted. Some come with a smattering... Continue Reading →
After last week's torrent of anxiety which was conveniently followed up with a mini rollercoaster of hormones, I wasn't up for too much of a challenge this week. That meant heading south to Salem with one of my best friends to hit opening night of the Oregon State Fair. I'm not a fair person. Big... Continue Reading →
I've spent much of my life determined to stay away. By refusing to belong to anything, I felt safe from rejection. Over and over I either defined myself in opposition to some group or kicked myself out before someone else did. It wasn't the worst strategy, actually. I've never had a tribe, but I've always... Continue Reading →
I have written about my relationship to dance before (here) - from dancing to Martin Denny as a child to longing for the grace of dance in my body as a girl to settling in as an occasional observer of dance as an adult. Taking an actual dance class has been on my list of... Continue Reading →
Clay is good. So is cheap gold paint. So is a tarp spread over the coffee table and some Always Sunny in Philadelphia on in the background. So is the knowledge that the crafts the two of us will make are for children. They won't be discerning. They'll only care that, on one of the... Continue Reading →
"This is a humming, buzzing world; we live in the midst of the ceaseless murmur of lives, a world of strange things whispering the poems of old Buddhas." --Sallie Tisdale This week I craved quiet. Maybe it's the heat wave we've been in, the building up to it, the sweltering in it and then, hopefully,... Continue Reading →
I've committed to several different physical challenges over the years ostensibly for the sake of health, strength and not wanting to buy new pants. That said, I'm not sure how many of them would have happened without this blog. My first challenge to walk to Mt. Tabor every day might have become a walk every... Continue Reading →
I have tried to be a daily writer. I have tried to be a sporadic, do-it-when-I-feel-like-it writer. I have paid lots of money to study the art/craft of writing and I've given up writing altogether, vowing to never spend a dime or an hour on it again. Has any of this worked? What does working... Continue Reading →
If my last trip was about sky, space and love, then the trip I just finished was about water, light and love. This week I turned south instead of east and rolled through almost 800 miles to Ashland, OR and back, Sean and I working our way through a series of new adventures. First, there... Continue Reading →
Three nights and four days in the wide eastern stretches of Oregon is too big for one post. Because I've never been east of Bend, let alone 250 miles east and south of it. Because I've never spent that amount of uninterrupted time
I was in elementary school the last time I went to a parade, the tiniest July 4th event in Boulder City, Nevada where my grandmother lived. I think there were clowns and Shriners. I think it was July 4th. I think it was a parade.
Many years ago, Sean and I binge-watched Jeeves and Wooster, the British tv-show based on P.G. Wodehouse's stories about an aristocrat and his butler. It's charming. No more, no less. Ever since, we have referred to this kind of show as "extremely mild entertainment."
This particular story is the one about the girl who hates sports and hates to sweat, the one where gyms smell like humiliation and playing fields smell like dread. This is about the mediocre swimmer, the same one who gets out of breath...
Everywhere in this city. The suicide of a man I didn't know, but was loved by someone I love. The stabbing of three men, two of whom died, on public transport not far from my neighborhood.
The morning we drove to Seattle the sun was not only up and out but strong, warming the air in a way that seemed impossible just a week or two ago. As we approached the city, my friend and I both dropped our jaws at the sight
What a strange process: The light and shade of a cheekbone, a book spine, a shoelace taken in by the eye to spark the brain. One spark then another, like a game of telephone down to the wrist and index finger.
Outside the Oregon State Hospital is a small brick building filled with shelves of old copper canisters. They contain the cremains of the hospital patients who were never collected. Some have labels. Some have splashes of bright green patina. All once contained ashy bits of bone.
What if this was bigger? What if I was bigger? And if not bigger, then gorgeous. Not lips, hips and hair gorgeous. But grand gorgeous. Splendid gorgeous.
I was going to attend four much-anticipated readings this week. I was going to dive in and bathe myself in language and the love of my community of writers, finally meeting some of the people I've only known on Facebook.
I love gardens, but I'm not a gardener and I don't want to become one. It's taken me the full 15+ years I've owned this house to get around to tending to the patch of weedy lawn
I was going to take a picture of the old-school yoga space tucked nearly anonymously into the corner of an ungentrified building on lower NE Broadway. But, apparently, gongs make me forget.
I'd never been to the Oregon State Capitol. In fact, I'd never done anything more than drive past Salem on my way somewhere else. For most of my life, civic duty meant voting in every election,
If you added up all the time I spent driving in SW Portland and it's neighboring suburbs over the last couple decades it wouldn't come close to all the time I spent out there this week.