Born in what seemed like the dark ages, I was raised in the ’50s and ’60s. When my parents talked about careers, I learned most women become teachers or nurses or cooks (professors, doctors and chefs weren’t mentioned). When I told everyone at a family gathering that I wanted to become an astronaut, there were some polite smiles, but real smiles emerged when someone said, “you’re smart enough, dear, but astronauts can’t wear glasses.” Later, in the library, I discovered a book about a woman doctor on the prairie, so I announced I wanted to be a doctor, not a…
You probably remember the playground song that goes:
Beans, beans, the musical fruit,
The more you eat, the more you toot,
The more you toot, the better you feel,
So let’s have beans for every meal!
Sometime after the American Heart Association was established in 1924 and began recommending a diet of reduced cholesterol and increased legumes, a second verse appeared:
Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart,
The more you eat, the more you fart,
The more you fart, the better you feel,
So let’s have beans for every meal!
While there is scientific evidence behind the AHA’s modern…
In early November, I was past the beginning of the novel and had momentum. I was only writing 750–800 words a day, but I was writing consistently every day and that felt great. I’d write in the afternoons, have supper, and then read or watch Netflix. I got up to 13,000 words and was pretty pleased with my steady, slow progress.
I’ve been missing live music and live theater, so around the 10th of November I watched a 2018 documentary, I Dream of Dance, about kids who study at a famous dance school. It was fantastic to watch the energy…
Jodi Elizabeth talks about what you discover when you travel solo:
Adam Colthorpe argues in favor of art as a creative outlet rather than an investment:
Stuart Grant writes about legacy in an homage to Frank Lloyd Wright:
Rebeca Ansar shows we still need feminism:
Marne Platt shares things she learned from her mother:
Mindi Boston watches her daughter grow up:
Mary DeVries compares lockdowns and offers a bit of hope:
In May, I posted an A-Z list of things that give me joy, and now I’m doing a full story on each item. They’re sort of hybrid essays. …
Yes, today decides the future of democracy, women’s and BIPOC rights, surviving climate change, and so much more. But leaving all that aside for a moment, mainly because it makes me insane to think about it, I want to celebrate a few other things that happened on November 3rd.
In 1620, the Great Patent was granted to Plymouth Colony, which got this whole shebang started.
In 1838, the Times of India was founded, originally called the Bombay Times, which came out biweekly. The Times is the oldest English-language newspaper in India, and the BBC ranked it among the top six…
That’s me as a moon calf, staring into space and not writing my novel.
I started off fine on October 1st and wrote 750 words, then couldn’t force myself to write another 600 to get to 1,350 words, so I stopped writing on the novel for three weeks!
I didn’t stop writing everything. I wrote long e-mails to friends and wrote the rest of the character sheets for the novel, so I did a little, tiny bit of related writing, but I didn’t write anything on the actual story of the novel until five days ago.
Just before I started…
We’ll start by joining Harald Juengst as he drives across Australia:
Cortney Cino takes stock of her life after loss:
Dr John Rose loves his books:
Cat hater Margot Seeto learns to live with a cat:
Tressie McMillan Cottom gives a feminist look at prettiness:
Louise Foerster rewards herself by baking bread:
We’ll end in Gaza with Abeer Ayyoub’s photo-essay on women working there:
Thank you for reading this collection, and Happy Halloween!
If you’d like to read a few of my essays, you might enjoy:
We’ll begin with Larisa Andras sitting out the Great Pause in Vietnam:
Vincent Van Patten faces pain and receives kindness:
Sneha Sivaramakrishnan looks into the Void:
Anna da Silva has a harrowing ride on the Irish Sea:
Aimée Gramblin finds solace by the river:
Nikki Tate wrote a book about dying and living:
And we’ll end with Michael Whalen writing about snow from Thailand:
If you’d like to read a few of my essays, you might enjoy these:
We’ll start with how Susannah MacKinnie begins her day with flowers:
Sean Kernan writes about an endurance icon:
Elisezell combines history, politics, and craft to talk about a basic food:
Here’s Yael Wolfe’s love letter to the coyote:
Erika Burkhalter visited an ashram where the Beatles stayed (photo-essay):
Kim McKinney remembers a kind friend:
We’ll finish with Greg Prince’s gently amusing story about the end of life:
Thanks for joining me this week. If you’d like to read a few of mine, try these:
Stories with a sense of place are predominant this week.
Nancy Peckenham stays indoors with her Mom and her husband:
Geri Shumer shares a day trip out with her husband and dog:
Glen Hendrix talks about oysters, and extrapolates from their fate:
Indi Samarajiva looks back and ties the past to the present:
Ono Mergen writes a love letter to BIPOC:
Vinitha Dileep remembers her grandparents in Kerala, India:
And Karen Hough serves us tea:
If you would like to read something of mine, here are a couple: