A non-believer’s polyglot Thanksgiving

Dear “Lord,”

Thank you for this hot mess of a world, because it seems to be the only one available. Thank you also for hot yoga.

Merci beaucoup for the little things: the hot astringent tea, the morning silence at the kitchen table. For the ability to think and feel and to perceive the wonders of this plane of existence.

Baie dankie for not caring whether I believe in you or not, but instead acting like an affectionate ex, someone I could tell wasn’t right for me after a couple dates but who remembers me fondly.

Danke schoen for the magical arrangement of the atomic web that holds us together, for the zoom of particles, for the waves lighting up our lives. Thank you for miracles enough.

Fēicháng gǎnxiè nǐ for my friends. Solitude is only grand and nourishing when its alternative is readily available: quick laughter, hugs, jocular ribbing, nagging, nudging, conspiring, conversing, delighting, and all the other methods of human intercourse.

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Q&A: Surviving as an enterpreneur’s spouse

I’ve been writing this blog for more than six years, usually once or twice a month. I haven’t, to my amazement, run out of things to say. However, I think it’s time to open up the forum to other voices. So today I offer the first of what I hope will be regular guest posts and Q&A’s with other authors.

A new book about keeping the flame (of love) alive

I’m excited to introduce author Dorcas Cheng-Tozun. Our friendship began when my two careers, writing and doula work, came together rather serendipitously. Soon after she hired me as her birth doula, we attended a meeting of the California Writers Club (separately) and were somewhat surprised to see one another there. Since then, we’ve participated in a critique group together, exchanged editing, and cheered one another on along our writing journeys as well as our parenting journeys.

Dorcas’s book, START, LOVE, REPEAT: How to Stay in Love With Your Entrepreneur in a Crazy Start-up World releases today. You might think there’s nothing in it for you if you’re not married to an entrepreneur. However, anyone who’s the partner to someone whose work consumes them could benefit from the ideas, strategies, and stories Dorcas shares. (Writers, you might consider giving it to your significant others!)

Here’s what she has to say about the genesis of the book and about the road that brought her to publishing it.

Q: What inspired you to write this book? Continue reading

Don’t be a Hallo-weenie*

Come now—just because your kids are grown doesn’t mean you have to be a curmudgeon about Halloween. There will be plenty of little ones trooping by. You can ooh and ahh over the pirates and dragons and corrupt them with sugar.

Hey, Ethel, did you hear the one about the campaign manager who was consorting with Russian oligarchs?

Hey, Ethel, did you hear the one about the campaign manager who was consorting with Russian oligarchs?

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Make your voice heard in a noisy world

I’ve been thinking about voices a lot lately, maybe because there are so many of them in the world, speaking so loudly and all at once, and only occasionally saying anything worth hearing.

The singer who sings with someone else’s lungs
Voices for the voiceless
Speaking with your knee
A voice recently fallen silent

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Telling the story about the story

A friend approaches an author at a party. “So, what’s your new book about?”

The author swirls the wine in her glass, takes a deep breath, and begins. “Well, there’s this woman, see, and she’s being held hostage in her kitchen by her son, and he tries to get her to listen to him but she doesn’t. He’s got emotional issues. He never really felt like his mother listened to him. So he’s going to make her listen but instead she ends up telling him all about her life. She grew up isolated in upstate New York and spent a lot of time alone and never learned how to read people or relate to them. Meanwhile her son is getting more and more agitated. But she keeps telling him the story of her life and the stories other people like her childhood sweetheart and her best friend and her son’s ex-wife…”

The friend looks over the writer’s shoulder. “Oh! I see Julie. I have to go talk to her about the carpool.”

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Astronomical diversions will eclipse you

If you were expecting information about Monday’s solar eclipse, you will be partially disappointed. I won’t be in the path of totality so I can’t give you 100 percent. You’ll have to settle for 76.


Unfortunately for science geeks and eclipse-chasers, the trivial has eclipsed the awe-inspiring.

I refer to recent and continuing political events. I won’t spend time on those here, except to say that their sound and fury* have grown so loud and distracting that the total eclipse of the sun merits only small mentions. Will things be different on Monday the 21st? I worry what a person who concocts outlandish diversions to distract from slightly less outlandish diversions might plan if he fears being eclipsed by something astronomical.

Here in the San Francisco bay area, we can expect about 76 percent coverage for Monday’s total solar eclipse. I’ve got my eclipse glasses ready.

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