Showing posts from May, 2019

Oof, Some Days

So. Some days, your back hurts. Some days, it's not your back that hurts, but the hurting back still hurts you. Some days, your back stretches tall and you feel invincible. Some days, you stand and walk and bend over and your back feels okay. Some days, you can only hang on, hoping for a stretch of sunny days to make you feel foolish for taking a jacket. Some days are all about waiting, but not passively--resting while you wait, readying yourself to grow again. Like this. Some days are for blooming.


Agave plants bloom once, late in their lifetimes, and it's pretty dramatic--a tall (ten- to twenty-foot or even taller) spike shoots up quickly over the course of a few weeks, then sprouts flowers. (This is not a technical, botanically correct description.) After it blooms--which can take 10 years, or 20--the plant dies. (Don't fret. It has left behind little plants. For a longer version of this story, see Charlotte's Web . Or Little Shop of Horrors .) A friend in Tucson has been monitoring a blooming plant since early April, posting updates on Instagram. It looked like variations on an asparagus stalk crossed with a Dr. Seuss illustration of a plant ready to open buds. Just a few more days, maybe, until it flowers. Yesterday, he posted a picture of it lying across the road--high winds uprooted it. Imagine, all that time put in to maturing, then working so hard to bloom. Then taken out before the work pays off. A LITTLE ON THE NOSE THERE WITH THAT "LESSON,&qu


I've been home for a week or so, but part of me still feels as if I'm traveling. That is to say, I'm still in the triage stage of return--what bills must be paid today, what else must be done for today's deadlines, what food do we absolutely need for today. Meanwhile, some students and teachers are nearing the ends of their terms. As a result, or maybe it's coincidence, I've found some good advice out there lately. Wrap-up thoughts, if you will. A message to leave with people as they move ahead into the rest of their lives.  One of my favorite online advice-givers is Lee Martin, a writer of novels and memoirs who also teaches in Ohio. Here is a recent blog post, Ten Precepts for the Writing Life . And here is my favorite precept (today): "Write because you know you'd be less human if you stopped." And, if you are at a point in your writing life where you wonder what's next, or if you are venturing beyond the structure of a classroom,


So last week I shared a photo of blue skies and sunny weather. That's where I was, and that's what the day felt like. Here's how the weather is now, here: This photo doesn't necessarily reflect my mood.  But the changeable weather of springtime--especially mercurial this year, it seems--makes it a lot easier to be indoors unpacking suitcases. I'm happy to be home, though. Vacations are nice, but so is getting back to work.

Welcome, May

I learned today that my essay "Hours of Daylight," originally published in Prairie Fire , was recognized in the Personal Journalism category of the National Magazine Awards . Here's a picture of a blue sky on a sunny day. Because it's May!