My Holiday Wish For You

What I wish for you, this 2014 Holiday Season: Good health Love Food on your table Happy children Safe children Safe older parents Kindness Compassion Rest Comfort A roast chicken Fresh kale salad A bowl of ramen Eggs from chickens who live nearby Rescued dogs Rescued cats E.B. White Warm gingerbread A good Brunello Lindsey Shere’s Almond Tart Gluten No Gluten A loaf of crusty bread Handmade tofu Honorable politicians Hot coffee Welsh Cakes Alice Munro Cabbage...more

These are the smells of life and sustenance.

Every night, there is another celebrity Christmas special to watch: The Osmond Brothers, wearing shearling coats like the one my father had from his dude ranch days, and which my mother incinerated, sing carols from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, enormous flakes of snow settling down on their thick, gorgeous, Mormon eyelashes. John Denver, wearing a metallic silver, yoke-front, western-style shirt sings Merry Christmas Little Zachary, a song to his new baby boy, from inside a heated glass geodesic dome atop a mountain in Aspen, while Annie Denver and a passel of their hippie EST friends from watch contemplatively through matching round granny glasses. There are The Waltons, the father of whom is forever getting stranded in a freak snow storm high atop Walton’s Mountain, leaving Livvy Walton, and the children, and Grandma and Grandpa worried sick — too worried, even, to sit down at their massive farmhouse table laden with the gifts of the season that Livvy bought with spare change hoarded all year in her apron pocket, and then hidden in a blue glass Mason jar, here, in the midst of The Great Depression ....more

Thanks. Giving.

In 1974, when I was 11 years old, I took part in a Thanksgiving play at school. Gaga, my grandmother, ran out to the local fabric store on Austin Street in Forest Hills, and came home with enough polyester yardage to make me an outfit that she was certain would replicate what Priscilla Alden wore on the day she stepped off The Mayflower. Borrowing a neighbor’s sewing machine, Gaga turned into Gramma Walton, and sewed...more

Earth and Sky

It’s hard to say for sure, but I’m starting to believe that the minute I go into my writing cave — I’m at work on my next memoir...more

Bowls and Beans

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I have a reasonably good excuse: I’m (very) deep in the throes of writing my next book, which is slated for publication in the Fall of 2015. I won’t/can’t talk too much about it for reasons mired in everything from...more

In the forest dark.

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, ché la diritta via era smarrita. Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost. * Lost isn’t the half of it ....more

Farewell Robin, and thanks.

Thanks Listenwith the night falling we are saying thank youwe are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railingswe are running out of the glass roomswith our mouths full of food to look at the skyand say thank youwe are standing by the water looking outin different directions. back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging after funerals we are saying thank you after the news of the dead whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you looking up from tables we are saying thank you in a culture up to its chin in shame living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you over telephones we are saying thank you in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators remembering wars and the police at the back door and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you in the banks that use us we are saying thank you with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you with the animals dying around us our lost feelings we are saying thank you with the forests falling faster than the minutes of our lives we are saying thank you with the words going out like cells of a brain with the cities growing over us like the earth we are saying thank you faster and faster with nobody listening we are saying thank you we are saying thank you and waving dark though it is –W.S. Merwin ...more

Take the gun; leave the tefillin.

This...more

[Maltodextrin] Mud Fight

So, it happened. I engaged in something I swore I would never do: I got into a knock-down brawl...more

Let’s get small.

I wanted to go to Paris to look, and to see with intent; I wanted to travel small and not be...more