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January 25, 2018
Spontaneous survival projects - barn

For many years I thought people acted spontaneously in making history. I thought, for example, that Rosa Parks suddenly thought she’d had enough of segregated buses in Alabama and that she was overcome with disgust and anger and spontaneously decided that she’d stay in her seat instead of moving to the back. Of course, she planned it. That doesn’t change how important it was. I’m still understanding this. In that way I feel like an eternal child who must remember how much planning goes into things before I do them.

This barn also required planning, but its...

December 19, 2017
19 inches - Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 1.25.25 PM

I spent this past week inside a house with my dog in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The first full day there, it snowed 19 inches. Snow creates the perfect writing landscape. Muffled, the world slows down.

I turned my thoughts to timber rattlesnakes and snowshoe hares while I drafted two new essays that week. A few years ago I spent many days following biologists into the New England world collecting rattlesnakes, which are kind of beautiful, poisonous, and rare now. I have never finished that story but realized the story I really wanted to write is more personal than a...

Do we change, how much do we change, and does it show in our writing?  - 35422B0F-39F2-455C-907B-6651E59CD93C

It is so easy to think of a writing project I’ve kept at my side for years as if it exists in perfection, a static beauty I just must uncover. In reality, an unwritten essay or story contains no form until I make it. And as I change and think in new ways as each month of my life passes, that unwritten work, too, changes. This seems nonsensical, perhaps. 

With the inspiration of creativity teacher Jessica Abel (Growing Gills), I have realized that once I put a long-delayed project onto my short list, maybe even placing it in first or second place, then I meet the...

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