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Cranky Broads

Upon learning of my career as a teacher of writing, a former college professor wryly noted, “Composition is the armpit of the university.” As had also been the case when he commended Wallace Stegner as the United States’ greatest author, the former professor’s judgment was keen. Certainly, teaching composition can be inspirational and gratifying....

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The Worst Gifts

With so many opportunities for gift-giving in our fortunate lives, nearly everyone has a story of receiving a terrible, terrible gift. An informal survey of friends recently yielded stories of some real corkers. Settle in with a cup of rose hip tea that your husband’s cousin gave you, even though...

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Handiwork

Woodworking. Jewelry making. Embroidery. Felting. Pottery. Knitting. Gardening. I am fascinated by handiwork, as art, as personal pursuit, and as cultural artifact. Just as much, I am fascinated by the psychological benefits of creating something with the hands. Certainly, there’s pride that comes from making something beautiful. There’s learning that...

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Nine Volts

Chirp. My brain is asleep. So is my body. The noise doesn’t fully register. After a quick blip of “Huh?” I drop back into the blackness of sleep. Chirp. Hell and damn it. My brain pushes to consciousness like it’s swimming up from the bottom of a murky lake, half panicked,...

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Full Moon, Agitated Hearts

As is my way, I was racing the clock, squeaking in to the meeting two minutes late. In my defense, I was hustling because I had stopped to buy a baguette to set out during the meeting, in case anyone needed a late-afternoon snack. While at the store hunting down carbohydrates, I...