Read it and Weep, or What Have We Wrought?

“The Overprotected Kid: A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer…”  (The Atlantic, April 2014) The gap between what people fear (abduction by a stranger) and what’s actually happening (family turmoil and custody battles) is revealing. What has changed since the 1970s is the nature of the AmericanContinue reading “Read it and Weep, or What Have We Wrought?”

Topic: Bookstores — Do We Really Need ‘Em?

Let’s face it: every writer is, at heart, a reader. Because of that, every writer probably has a Bookstore Story. This is one of mine. The summer after I graduated from college, way way  back in 1988,  I believed  I could best prep myself  for the looming future by: 1.   sitting on a ratty sofaContinue reading “Topic: Bookstores — Do We Really Need ‘Em?”

All Saints Day (A Recap)

The numbers: First toddling trick-or-treater (Strawberry Shortcake and a sleeping sibling berry) — 4:45. Pieces of candy, doled out one by one — 450. Candle in the jack-o-lantern snuffed and the porchlight turned off because we’d given every single Tootsie Roll away — 7:45. This morning, the sidewalk is littered with cast-off fangs, a confettiContinue reading “All Saints Day (A Recap)”

Pubs, Sultry Summer Edition

The Summer 2013 issue of The Massachusetts Review, which includes my story “Plenty” is out and on the metaphorical stands.  You can subscribe here. “Plenty” might be suitable for the season, which around here, we just call  “Thick of Farmer’s Market” (we also call it steamy-hot): All those years ago, when the guy with the guitarContinue reading “Pubs, Sultry Summer Edition”

Elemental: Water

As far as this blog goes, I’ve written about the swimming pool, that staple of summer life, here and here and here and here. In Eggs for Young America, my collection of stories, life required (among other things) fraught swimming-tests for twelve-year-old girls (“Deadman’s Float”), pilgrimages to Lake Michigan (“Grand Portage”), and nests of water moccasins encounteredContinue reading “Elemental: Water”

The Recital (Part One)

I started this blog six years ago, when Elder Girleen went off to elementary school. Last night, she “graduated” from fifth grade. I could attempt to wax eloquent about the passage of time, because that’s what we parents do, but to paraphrase Benny, a character in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad — nostalgia isContinue reading “The Recital (Part One)”

Ode to My Neighbor’s Eggs (and My Daughter’s 9th Birthday)

An egg only two hours old is truly a beautiful thing. The ones my neighbor’s hens —her girls, she calls them —  lay are an even, pale brown and a faint, barely-there blue and a  few of them are dusted with a sprinkling of darker freckles.  Some of them are larger than others.  Some areContinue reading “Ode to My Neighbor’s Eggs (and My Daughter’s 9th Birthday)”

Things, Pressed into Service

If you classify yourself as a “reader” in the simplest sense of the word (ie, one who reads), and probably even if you don’t, sooner or later it happens — you find yourself on the tour of the House of the Famous Writer.  More specifically, you find yourself peering over a velvet rope into aContinue reading “Things, Pressed into Service”