Build Houses & Plant Gardens

Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce.Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile,…

Sometimes You Can Go Back Home

Winter Greenlake Saturday afternoon, I venture out to Trader Joe’s. There are two, about equidistant from our new house by Greenlake, but honestly neither is terribly convenient. I know this, because I’ve had this problem before. This EXACT problem. Because I grew up about a mile from where we live now. So I remember thinking,…

This My City

And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them: Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning. from “Chicago,” Carl Sandburg It seems like…

Using the Car

I’ve never much liked driving. I realize that this probably puts my American citizenship at risk—a dangerous thing to do at the moment—since automobile affection seems stitched into the fiber of our national being. We’re the nation of the Model T, of giant parking lots and the infinite chain of interstates, of drive-ins, drive-throughs and…

The Time To Be Slow

Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening, like a tree which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them,…

So We’ll See What Happens

“Um… I may have found a house.” The text message from Timmy, detail-sparse but full of possibility, blinks across my phone as soon as I connect the in-flight internet, somewhere just beyond Minneapolis as I fly home from Emily’s wedding. Through the brief exchange that follows, I learn of the couple whose job is taking…

End Zones & Time Zones

I was seventeen the first time I watched the Super Bowl all the way through. I’m sure it was on other years, but I could never be bothered to watch. I’d float in for the halftime show or a few commercials. The game itself felt endless, piles of people crawling across the field, lacking the…

Better, Stronger, More Realistic and Complicated

As my first period takes the first final of Exam Week, I’m reading news updates from Seattle, where a gunman recently opened fire on the campus of my alma mater, Seattle Pacific University. Yesterday, I read this letter to my students, promising that while the general discontent of American Literature is an honest response to…

Brother and Sister

One of the best gifts of these summers in Seattle are times that I get to spend with my siblings, Noah and Holly Dahlstrom. Below are two unconnected, but still brilliant, examples of their greatness. I feel blessed to share some of the summer with them, and even more grateful to be the sister of…

Home is Wherever I’m With You

Brother Tom nodded understandingly. “It’s the memories, the old loyalties; they are so precious,” he said. “Things that meant so much, that stay present in the wood and stone of a place. If you let go of the place and the things that belong to it, you feel afraid that you’ll lose hold of the…