Life has changed for many of us—rapidly and radically. You may be overwhelmed by grief, facing unexpected swaths of free time, or consumed with far greater demands of family and work. Whatever your life is like today, chances are good there’s something new to solve. Your old systems and strategies may not apply. And whoever you thought you were just … Read More
Are you building a cathedral?
In one of my favorite allegories, a traveler in medieval times comes upon a stonemason at work. He asks, “What are you doing?” The man looks weary and unhappy. He responds, “Can’t you see I am cutting and laying down stone? My back is killing me, and I can’t wait to stop.” The traveler continues on his way and comes … Read More
Are you the poetry lady (or man)?
As my dog, Hamachi, and I descended our front steps into the well-worn rhythm of our morning walk, a car pulled into the space behind my own at the curb. Machi and I both pricked our ears in anticipation as the man behind the wheel got out and strode toward us. Was he delivering a package? Did he need help with something? “Hi!” he … Read More
There is a crack in everything
I believe we don’t live in our lives; we live in the stories we tell about our lives. What happened is far less significant than how we interpret what it means to us—and how this leads us forward. Which is why I have dedicated a lifetime to studying the possibilities of language, poem, and story. One of my great teachers … Read More
And then there were none
There is a woman in my neighborhood who walks. 13 years ago, when I was new in my house, my two young, strapping dogs jumped her two young, beautiful dogs as they were passing by and we were getting into the car. In this shocking and unprecedented moment, something deep down in our tribal animal brains was decided. Our packs … Read More
Happy National Poetry Month!
When a global community brings its awareness, joy, and poetry to a shared sense of purpose and passion, so much more is possible. I want to invite you to ride the wave throughout April! Whether you have an active poetry practice, have been meaning to get back to writing poems, or have always wondered whether you might enjoy poetry, now … Read More
A path toward living well: Tuesday, October 7
In my adult life, I have had two parallel quests: writing well and living well. In the last decade, I have come to understand that these paths are inextricably intertwined. Such that writing well has actually revealed the path toward living well. When my son and I were awake every two hours of every night for the first two and a half … Read More
Beginnings, Endings, and Everything In Between
At last night’s launch of The Night, and the Rain, and the River short story anthology, editor Liz Prato was asked what makes a good ending. Liz explained that she teaches a craft class on ways to begin a story, but that each story needs to find its own ending. And she emphasized how difficult this can be. I will hold myself … Read More
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely
A few months ago, I created an outdoor altar otherwise known as a poetry box. Here I make the most intimate and important offering I know how to make to the world: poems. I started on the week of his 100th birthday by showcasing William Stafford’s “A Ritual to Read to Each Other,” a poem I have been living by … Read More
Pigeons under the eaves
At each elbow, I am flanked by cats as I sit propped on pillows in bed. Alongside the base of my bed, my beloved old dog lies facing out toward anything she might need to defend us from. On her dog bed, a cat curled tight into the dog-made center dent. Sleep has been so difficult for me in recent … Read More