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I enjoyed the Marie Kondo thing. Really. (Is it over yet?). For example, I enjoyed the fabulous new pants and cosy wool sweater I acquired when my friend Emily, a violist in the Utah Symphony, Marie-Kondoed her closet. And I enjoyed all the articles people wrote in response to the Kondo craze, like the one in the Guardian by the writer who decided to ditch all her friends who didn’t spark joy…and then realized the only person left was herself. Oh, well. I especially liked the article/s reacting to Marie’s claim about books (that nobody needs to own more than thirty—wait, people can actually live without books?) which included interviews of people who loved their various huge, messy, beautiful libraries. I spent some time after that gazing at my own huge, messy, beautiful library, and tried to imagine whispering to each book as I loaded it into a box to throw away, “Thank you for your service.” And decided I didn’t actually have that much imagination. I didn’t get rid of anything. Thou…
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A robin has built a nest and laid three eggs in it, in the grapevines just outside my front door. I can see her through my window, sitting there as I work. She adjusts herself north, south, east, west--quarter turns, like kneading dough--for something different to stare at, I expect, or to incubate her eggs more evenly.I imagine it's a pretty boring job. Twelve to fourteen days until her eggs hatch, the internet informs us, another nine to sixteen until the fledglings leave the nest.

She stands up, preens, adjusts inside the nest--eggs, bedding?--wiggles back and forth, settles back in, tail bent up slightly so she fits down inside the nest-bowl. She's been sitting there all afternoon hardly moving. Now she's restless, twitchy.

It's mostly a nice spot for a nest, I think, very green, out of reach of the cat pacing down below. And then there are those annoying people who keep turning on lights, peering at her through the window. Also, the cat pacing down below, but I…

Playing High and Dry with Sourdough

Lately I've been playing with dough. It's become a sort of compulsion.

Maybe because I'm tired of driving all the way to some bakery every time I want a sourdough loaf--which, lately, is always. Maybe because I graduated with my MFA last August and I'm still figuring new rhythms which now include bread.

Maybe because I sometimes feel like rebelling against technology, want to go back to old ways of doing things, from times when people made things by hand and they were fabulous, instead of buying assembly-line things that taste and behave as if assembled in a line. Or a line-up. Criminally bad.

When assembly-line bread began appearing in France, the French did what you'd expect them to do--made bad bread illegal. Which is why their bread is fabulous and ours is criminal. But, you know, freedom--sort of a big deal in our part of the world. However, there are costs. Freedom means suffering will necessarily be part of the world, as Dostoyevsky always said. Freedom also me…

Best Timeless Children's Books (to Compensate for Your Newsfeed)

Note: Originally published December 31, 2018, but Blogger freaked out with an attempt to make a small editorial change and made this post unreadably tiny, and then froze it that way. 

This morning when I woke up and remembered how swiftly the old year was rolling towards the new, I responded first by putting off my gym workout, rolling over and going back to sleep (in case 2019 turns out to be as exhausting as 2018). 

Once I’d finally forced my eyes open, I put off my workout again—as well as my yearly personal reflection and goal-setting session—by scrolling through my news feed and reading other people’s reflections on the turn of the year, including Dave Barry's sum-up of 2018’s news, in what might have been a humorous piece for the Washington Post if the reality of last year’s events hadn’t been so absurd…which was a depressing way to face the last day of the year and left me longing for something timeless.

Like books.

Good books. The best books. The kind that transform you. …