Reflection: Meat Loaf Has Left the Building

That’s Mr. Loaf to you, as one reporter evidently addressed him years ago during an interview. Or call him Mr. Salacious, or Mr. Lugubrious, they’d make good monikers for him. They both popped into my head when I heard Marvin Lee Aday, a.k.a. Meat Loaf, had died last week at age 74. Meat Loaf, he said, was a childhood nickname and he kept right on … Continue reading Reflection: Meat Loaf Has Left the Building

Afternoon Miniature 1.16.22

The Boy climbed into the back seat and folded his arms in defiance but did not cry, for it was not his style. “Buckle in,” she urged, and then turned over the car engine and flipped on the heat. She adjusted the rear-view mirror before throwing it into reverse, and in so doing, caught a glimpse of the shadowy contours in his angry face. “Want … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 1.16.22

Sunday Almanac: New Year, New Me…Maybe

I come from a long line of fearless women and at various times in my life have been called upon to dip into that gene pool. Sometimes when I reflect on those occasions, I marvel at how I wrestled my way through this or that miserable or terrifying chapter, but somehow did, and suppose I would again if I had to. My great-grandmother Gracie did … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: New Year, New Me…Maybe

Ten Random Observations at the Start of a New Year

10. Our Wilmington, North Carolina neighborhood has sanitary sewer covers made in India. They have a certain beauty to them evocative of mandala designs, a repeating pattern I think of as a sort of graphic mantra. Imagine the journey those heavy cast iron covers made from the point of manufacture in South Asia to this North American coastal bedroom community. 9. I wear ugly shoes … Continue reading Ten Random Observations at the Start of a New Year

Afternoon Miniature 12.19.21

Yesterday afternoon in a rare moment of quiet she observed a single Darjeeling leaf floating in the steaming liquid gold, a strainer escapee swimming around her spoon. Why can’t this gorgeous elixir awaken the body like the bitter coffee it seems to demand instead, she mused. But this morning had started in the usual way, obscenely early and with the first coffee taken in the … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 12.19.21

Afternoon Miniature 11.7.21

Everything about the dark interior of this modest rancher suggested it might have been kempt in a recent chapter, but what light he allowed inside it now shone on a jumble of objects fallen to neglect. At this moment a sunbeam shot through a slice in the kitchen curtains and found his eye, prompting him to shield it with one gnarled hand while he yanked … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 11.7.21

The Mnemonic Power of Music

mnemonic adjective mne·​mon·​ic | \ ni-ˈmä-nik  \ Definition of mnemonic 1: assisting or intended to assist memory //To distinguish “principal” from “principle” use the mnemonic aid “the principal is your pal.” also : of or relating to mnemonics 2: of or relating to memory //mnemonic skill —Merriam-Webster We all used them in school, mnemonics, and they can surely be helpful, like this one from way back when I was a young undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee: … Continue reading The Mnemonic Power of Music

Sink or Swim: A Timely Ethos

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. —Charles Darwin When I arrived in Vermont’s Upper Valley in August of 2012, the days were still hot and the foliage green, with no signs yet of what would come, along about November. “Winters are long here,” advised the technician installing my new phone … Continue reading Sink or Swim: A Timely Ethos

Afternoon Miniature 10.3.21

The pair sat there on the thick carpet cross-legged, knees touching knees, wearing seersucker outfits that tied at the shoulder and came trimmed in rickrack. Playsuits, their mothers called them. Midday sunshine filtered through foliage in a large tree just beyond the room’s only window, so that there was no need to switch on a lamp or the overhead light. But the room felt shadowy … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 10.3.21