A Sweet Blast from the Past

Today I opened my email and found a message from a Pat Fillinghim—a name that meant nothing to me. She wrote, “Peggy, I have tried to find you forever. Tried Terry and discovered that she’s died…” Pat! It was Pat Sayles, my friend of longest standing, the person I met in the sixth grade in the first year I moved to Tulsa. […]

Something to Defend

Since I no longer have care of a cat or a ten-pound dog, I am able to consider the finer qualities of the raccoons that live in close proximity to me. I looked up one day recently and locked eyes with a raccoon not ten feet from me, poised in the branches of the venerable cherry tree in my backyard. The two […]

“I’m Dead”

I haven’t yet worked out what to do about the names of the dead in my address book. It’s disconcerting to have my eye fall on one of these names. “She’s gone,” I’ll think, and there is a little frisson of loss. If I were committed to electronic retrieval, I could delete that line, just wipe that person off the list. But […]

It’s Not Just a Book Reading

When we think of events where an author presents a new book, most of us picture a celebrity saying a few words to fans, people who have come to buy said book and have it signed by this great person—a famous and successful author. Thanks to the recent opening up of publishing to include self-publishing and hybrid publishing, lots of people living […]

In a Liminal Space

  A few winters back, when it was icy, I complained to a grocery cashier about being tailgated on the way to the store. “I don’t want to drive that fast,” I said. “It’s dangerous on these roads.” “I’m with you,” she said. “I have to be careful. I have responsibilities—I’m a dog owner.” Her words warmed my heart. She described my […]

An Ounce of Prevention

I was on my way to pick strawberries, driving down a country road when it happened. About a quarter of a mile ahead, I saw a fawn step onto the blacktop. I slowed down. The fawn saw the car, turned, and began running straight toward us. I stopped, but the truck behind me didn’t—or, anyway, not as soon as I stopped. The […]

No False Spring

Spring snuck up on me. It was beautiful for a week in early February, and then I looked around and the whole world was in bloom. At first, I didn’t trust it. Twenty years on the East Coast taught me not to have confidence in an early spring. There, the weather would warm for a few beautiful days, maybe a week, in […]

Stepping Out

In the first week of the year, I understood that it was time to let go of my part-time job at the library—a fifteen-hour-a-week ballast, working with friends and surrounded by wonderful books and movies. What could be more pleasant! Then I wondered, If given the chance, what else would I fill this time with? And I was being given the chance. […]

The Crash

It’s been many weeks since I’ve posted, but I do have an excuse. Over the holidays I was traumatized by my Mac Mini. First, it was processing at a glacial speed, which was bad, and when I took it in to be checked (at an Apple Store, in a packed mall, a week before Christmas), I was told that my hard drive […]

Five Reasons to Write Memoir

Memoir has been maligned as navel-gazing, faux fiction, self-aggrandizement, an exercise in me-me-me. The criticism is spurious. If you’re not interested in a story, don’t read it—but if that story happened to you, if it’s lodged in your memory, then there are at least five good reasons for you to write it down. It’s YOUR life. You are the star of your […]