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Bagley Tree 2

What I Did During My Summer Vacation

In a few days, the new academic year begins. Since I’ve not quite recovered from the stresses of the summer session, and since my fall teaching schedule recently underwent an adjustment (one section cancelled, another added), I’m a bit breathless. No matter. Whether or not I’m ready, it’ll happen anyways....

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Noncomplementary

His rage was immediate. “God damn it! You could have killed me! Why weren’t you looking? You God damn just about hit me!” Panting, fueled by adrenaline, the middle-aged man glared at me, outraged, itching to transfer his upset, ready to spit more invective as soon as I engaged. He was shaking;...

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Tender Toddler Tending

Even before he came out after school, even before he got into the car, I knew he’d be crabby. He’s always crabby when he’s nervous. Often, he swings through a few pit stops  — quick pullovers at “I’m so tired” and “I’m really hungry” — before parking at the real destination: the...

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Grit

I wrote this more than a year ago. I am re-running it. The world is too awful. It was a glorious spring day, the hard edges of the air softening into mildness, the sun reflecting in puddles, spirits sitting up and stretching their arms to the sky. Awaking from the...

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Trees Short 4

The Small Things

Guns. Bombs. Death. Terrorists. Neo-conservatism. Trump. Brexit. As heart-on-her-shirt hard-boiled-egg of a comic strip character Cathy would say, “Ack.” ACK. I feel ill-equipped to have the big conversations. When it comes to politics and violence and hatred and opinions, my stomach compacts into a dark, hard knot; instinctively, my spirit...

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My Teenage Diaries: The Gifts That Keep Giving

Of late, I’ve been mining my teenage diaries as source material for an essay I’m writing. The collateral joy from this process has been surprising. Because, well, I was an idiot when I was a teenager. I was cruel and bitchy and loving and fun and wishing and wanting and sad...

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In the Still of the Night

I wrote this seven years ago. It’s on my mind again this week, as Allegra has left for ten days in Europe on a school trip. Every time I walk past her bedroom, my heart clutches. It’s dark in there. She’s not on her bed, listening to music. Her whiteboards...

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Dirty Ivory

As I run the wet paper towel back and forth, thin lines of dust — dark worms of motes and lint — twine into an abstract portrait of neglect. By the time I get to Middle C, I have refolded the paper three times, burying the filth, wrapping my fingers in new...

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Who’s There?

The knock on the door startled me. No one had ever knocked on my door before. Quickly, I wrapped up my phone conversation, telling my parents I had to go and would talk to them soon. Then I pushed back the dinged-up wooden chair I’d been sitting on – the...

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Preschool Pom Poms

Out of the cacophony of Facebook, good things can emerge. Tips, recommendations, friendships, support, connections, networking — all of these have come to me through Facebook. But my favorite Facebook moments happen when a thinking person uses the platform for storytelling. My friend Ellen is a master at maximizing the...

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