Can We Potty Talk?

Can We Potty Talk?

Your butt could be better off If you’re American, your derriere is in danger of neglect  My fellow American, I feel quite safe in this assumption. Why? Because as much time and energy as you devote to keeping your house, your car, your laundry, your kids, your pets, and your corporeal self clean, odds are your bathroom lacks a bidet. For all of Americans’ obsession with personal cleanliness, the bidet has never really caught on here, even though it’s literally a fixture in much of Europe, Asia, and around the world. Weirdly, the same Puritan ethic that drummed “cleanliness is…

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Getting to The End

Getting to The End

It’s time to show that rough draft who’s boss I can’t be the only writer this happens to The project you’re working on might be your first, or your forty-first novel. You may have a detailed outline, even a scene-by-scene breakdown. Or maybe you’re just letting the idea that seized hold of you some months ago (okay, or years ago) unfold as you go. In either case, you’ve banged out the opening, hiked up the mountain of conflict, thrown obstacles in the path of your main character with wicked abandon. As you write you make unforeseen discoveries. New characters appear! Themes…

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What Makes a House a Home

Next time, I unpack the books first We moved in twelve days ago, but today I finally feel like I live here We lived in this house in a sweet neighborhood in Southeast Boise, Idaho for six years before emptying it out, renting it out, and heading back to California to live in the Napa Valley for seven years. Now, for reasons I’ve written about in previous posts, we’re back. And it has been rather, shall I say, discombobulating. Moving back into a house you used to call home is a little like entering a time warp or finding yourself in…

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Under the Heat Dome

We fled the California fires, and here we are Living in Napa Valley was a dream come true, at first In 2014 when we moved to the lovely little Wine Country town of St. Helena, we kept pinching ourselves. Here we were, going about our daily lives in the midst of a destination that people travel the world to visit. It was like the south of France, but with better coffee and nicer public restrooms. Year-round, morning and evening, we walked our dog along a levee trail that ran behind our neighborhood and led us through storied vineyards. One of the…

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What I Wish I Could’ve Said

To the Black mom protecting her son I understand why you fear for your teen son I’m a mother of sons too, and while mine are grown men now, I vividly recall the stomach-dropping anxiety of their adolescent years. But I’m white. Whatever fears that kept me wide-eyed at night waiting for them to come home were, I’m sure, only a peek at the dread you must carry with having a Black son in America. That’s true even in our lovely, mostly progressive small town — a place you and your family relocated to, hoping to find an environment less polluted by racism…

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What To Do On Juneteenth

White people, there’s a lot to learn Now that it’s a federal holiday, most white folks at least know about Juneteenth But we may not be clear on what it means. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day when Major General Gordon Granger led a group of Union soldiers to Galveston, Texas. There he read out General Order Number 3, which stated that the war was over, the Union had won, and that slavery would no longer be tolerated. The Emancipation Proclamation had been signed over two years previously, but this marked the first time that enslaved people in Texas learned that they…

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The Next Big Thing

Somebody invent this right away Is it weird to be excited about a hearing aid? Of course, I’m way too young for such a thing. But my employee health benefits include coverage for a good chunk of the expense, and I’m soon to leave that job while we move several states away, so my husband and I decided to check it out. Maybe all those rock concerts and loud bars back in our headier days have taken a toll. Turns out Husband has just enough hearing loss in his left ear to barely qualify, and I have about the same…

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Nevertheless, I Persisted

Success has a lot to do with just not quitting I found an agent with the first book I wrote Does that sound like I had instant beginner’s luck? A win, right out of the box? Lest you roll your eyes, I assure you there was nothing quick or easy about finding my novel a professional advocate and champion. But there was an element of chance about it.  I suspect that’s true of any leg up that any artist gets. The first big role you land, the first gallery opening, the first prize in a juried contest, the first publishing or…

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I Thought I Was Post-Racist

But yesterday proved me wrong, and I’m sad I could have grabbed the strap to my shoulder bag at any time The leather tote that held my small purse, laptop, iPad, and journal hung by one of its straps from my shoulder as I tugged my carry-on out of the overhead compartment. “I should fix that,” I thought. But the people behind me were waiting to join the slow queue shuffling down the aisle toward the jetway. I left the outer strap hanging as I steered my suitcase ahead of me like a sleepwalking toddler. Out in the terminal, I…

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