Learning Mindfulness from Two Months of Sick Leave

I’ve gotta tell you–these last two months at home with just the cats, my laptop, and my migrainous vertigo have offered some advantages. Like I’ve missed a good chunk of cold and flu season. Like I get to sleep in. Like full-time grad school is a breeze when classes are online and I only workContinue reading “Learning Mindfulness from Two Months of Sick Leave”

Into the Gray

I have a problem. I love certainty. Labels. Categories. Classifications: fiction or nonfiction, ethical or unethical, subject or verb. As a child, I crammed a pine bookcase with glossy paperbacks of E.B White and Louisa May Alcott and Lloyd Alexander. I lined up the little volumes alphabetically and counted them when I needed reassurance that the world spun onContinue reading “Into the Gray”

A Prayer for a Friend

I met her when I was 19 years old. I’d been recommended for a job at the campus writing center, and she was the first staff member to greet me. It took me a minute to absorb this. Jana has cerebral palsy and relies on a wheelchair to get around. I was blinded by theContinue reading “A Prayer for a Friend”

Trauma and Compassion

What if the value of our suffering–its use–is that it gifts us with compassion? I think all along I have taken the wrong approach. As a writer, I believed I was writing about my suffering. But the truth of suffering is that it is the collective, common experience of our species–and indeed of life. Akira Kurosawa wrote,Continue reading “Trauma and Compassion”

Stacking Stones

Library stacks are underappreciated. People come, they browse, they select, they leave. Dusty and solitary, books are left to their quiet existence on the shelves. But I’ve worked in a library for eight years, and I’m telling you–it’s not like that. The stacks are, for me, as sacred and meditative a space as any ofContinue reading “Stacking Stones”