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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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Seven Days

Day 1 In the space of 17 hours, my brain is packed with thoughts of race, discrimination, and the ambling drift of change. First, I hear the story behind a song Billie Holiday made famous,”Strange Fruit,” about the lynching of almost-three young black boys in Marion, Indiana, in 1930. After white citizens broke...

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The Creek Elves

He doesn’t care that I’m running past him, earbuds in. From his three-foot height, perspective is a tricky thing. Intending to slide by, I smile at the little boy. As soon as his eyes meet mine, though, words fly through the gap in his top front teeth. A big boy at age...

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Be Your Own Badass

I fear I am a one-note writer. So many of my essays are expressions of gratitude — although sometimes I bury it deeply enough that readers simply think the piece was about eating pie (blueberry up my nose) or getting new shoes (don’t touch: MINE) or loving my kids (Have you...

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Sloggin’ in the Rain

I like to pretend that life is a musical wherein all the Best Moments are enhanced by atmospheric lighting and the promise of a standing ovation. For me, everything — from the making of pancakes to the folding of laundry — takes on a brighter sheen if it is accompanied...

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