• red-petaled flower
    Thinking,  E,  Self care,  Special Topics

    Wildfires and Faith. Dearhearts and Fire Poppies.

    Every year I watch, full of fear, as Californians flee (or don’t flee) homes that are devoured by wildfires. We have family and friends around the state; despite hearing about go-bags in the cars, I remain mystified by the the combination of steeliness and flexibility they display. On the other hand, I’ve met people who are frightened by New England’s blizzards and ice storms. After several years, I’m adjusting to Florida’s hurricanes. At first I relied on information from neighbors coupled with firm, specific instructions from my…

  • grey movie strip
    Inner Critic,  E,  Fun & Inspiration,  Self care,  Thinking

    Our Friend Oscar and His Inner Critic

    Once upon a time we had a friend, a guy named Oscar. Like most — maybe all — of us, he had an inner critic. The problem was, he did not know that his inner critic could become an ally. Our friend struggled and stayed stuck — convinced that those ugly words the inner critic put into his head were, in fact, true. One day, somebody gave our friend a book. A very good book. An award-winning book. At first Oscar wasn’t sure why he had…

  • selective focus photography of black bird
    Happiness,  Thinking

    Murmuration, Mozart and Mysteries

    Murmuration. I’m not sure what caught my attention first — the word or the birds. It was probably the massive flocks of birds looping and swirling like leaves in the fall or, even better, meeting  them when autumn breezes decide to tease the fallen. Their merger brings to mind the trompe l’oeil of an Escher drawing: initially simple in appearance but complex in execution. I’m always excited to discover special words like the ones for the smell of a good book or the earth following a rainstorm. There’s…

  • Spider-Man leaning on concrete brick while reading book
    Thinking,  Special Topics,  Writing and Reading

    What is Banned Books Week and Why You Should Care

    How often do you think about censorship? Banned books? I tend to think of censorship as it pertains to history — something that hasn’t happened much since the McCarthy era, right? So would you be surprised to find out that the American Library Association maintains a list of challenged (and sometimes banned) books by year? I was. I am disgusted by the concept of censorship. It’s not difficult to connect dots between banning certain books and trends in discrimination. Besides, learning to sort through ideas with which…