Open Letter To My Children on the Fourth of July, 2020

I’ll have to do this work someday, too, and I hope I handle it with the grace of my parents, for whom exposing me to brutal stories was an act of love. Brit Bennet, from “Addy Walker, American Girl” 4 July 2020 Dear Daughters, 364 days ago one of you—the only one who was speaking…

On This Year Without A Spring

As far as unpopular opinions go, I’ve never been terribly shy about disliking spring. It’s nothing personal; it’s not even universal. I don’t like spring in Seattle, and it’s all about the weather. Dreary autumns and rainy winters feel appropriate, but when spring declares itself with still mostly rainy days that are maybe five degrees…

Bones

“Mom… when are we going to get a book about the body?” It’s a frequent refrain these days, a question that has blossomed into our lives like the pink flowers on the tree outside our bedroom window. What we need, Luci decided some weeks or maybe a month ago, is a book. A book that explains,…

Strength In Striking Root

In college, I read a lot of poems. Long and short, rhyming and not, epic and lyrical and imagist, poems dashed in and out of my academic life for four years (and still several years before I would begin to actually enjoy them). With the great abundance of good poetry in my life at the…

87%

Dans ses écrits, un sage Italien Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien. In his writings, a wise Italian says that the best is the enemy of the good. Voltaire I don’t remember quite when I decided that a flawless report card was going to be my “thing.” I didn’t go to elementary school…

Twenties Questions

With many recognitions dim and faint,  And somewhat of a sad perplexity,  The picture of the mind revives again:  While here I stand, not only with the sense  Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts  That in this moment there is life and food  For future years. William Wordsworth, from “Tintern Abbey” It takes me…

Appreciation

I went to ninth grade afraid.  Like many students who leave Christian schools, I entered the “real world” (in my case public high school) with a head full of warnings. I was somewhat apprehensive that in my first month of school I—a fourteen-year-old honors student, a decent violinist and a mediocre volleyball player—would be ridiculed…

The First Day of No School

Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there, To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not, You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy. In order to arrive at what you do not know You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance….

Last Day Letter: Our Better Country

Ever since the student-teaching days, I’ve ended school with a letter. It’s something I remember loving in high school—the one time a teacher did it—these final written words that summed up a year. Now, I write as much for myself as for them, this summing-up providing my own version of closure. I started posting them…

Questions From Under A Table

Each spring, the juniors at BFA end the year by writing college essays, personal statements that answer one or both of two broad questions: “What has made you who you are?” and “What do you care most deeply about?” Every few years, I feel inspired to write an essay of my own to share with…