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Writing

How To Change Despite Your Feelings

Photo by Ali Müftüoğulları on Unsplash First, relinquish your role as Manager of the Universe David called to say he and his wife were back from visiting our daughter and her family over the MLK weekend. Technically, David is my ex-husband; more accurately, he is my friend. There was once a time when our true friendship, post […]

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Writing

16 Things I Wish I’d Known at 16

Photo by RaeAnna Stephens, with permission an open letter from grandmother to granddaughter Hello there, self of 1975: 1. You are lucky to be here. Sure, you’ve been through some sad stuff already. Money’s scarce. Your parents have a lot of flaws, but they love you. Not always the way you want them to. They’ll […]

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Writing

Dichotomies are Dumbing Us Down as They Drive Us Apart

Photo by Jonathan Harrison on Unsplash Why multiple perspectives, identities, and stories are worth fighting for As I tuned into a podcast conversation between Elif Shafak and Chris Anderson, founder of TED, I was admittedly distracted. Until I tuned in. After some years of studying, teaching, and working on ways to live with and learn from conflict […]

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Writing

Why Meditating on Our Mortality Makes Us More Alive

Photo by Laura Vinck on Unsplash We access more light when we don’t deny darkness Forget causality. Forget deserved. Forget sin and karma. I mean, if we really want to pick any of those back up — we can do that. But for now, let’s just imagine not asking ourselves why bad things happen to people. Especially the good […]

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Writing

Magic Shows Up When We Make Room For It

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash Curb the urge to procrastinate; dare to create before you’re ready A thought experiment: Imagine you get tagged out. You die — suddenly (let’s imagine immediately and painlessly). Everything that was due, all that was unfinished like laundry, bills, projects… nothing you can do about them. You’re not thinking about those things anyway, are […]

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Writing

Why Story, Not Science, is Our Best Hope for Surviving 2020

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash The case for choosing fiction over data and identity politics We know a lot of stuff. And there’s so much more stuff, continuously generated, some of it brilliant, some of it noise. We’re living in a zettabyte era (a zettabyte equals 1 sextillion bytes or 1000 exabytes — 1 billion billion bytes). We […]

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Writing

All the Smart Intrusions: Death by a Thousand Cuts

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash We can’t pretend it’s okay when it’s not This is not about Taylor Swift’s song. This is about living with electronic devices, motivated by yet another unsolicited email. This one isn’t so bad: Photos of Taipai, Dubrovnik, San Francisco skylines… I linger on Cape Town because half of the frame is […]

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Writing

Science Can’t Give Us 20/20 Next Election… Not Without Fiction

Photo by Frank McKenna on Unsplash Vonnegut gave us poor Billy Pilgrim for a reason We know a lot of stuff. And there’s so much more stuff, continuously generated, some of it brilliant, some of it noise. We’re living in a zettabyte era (a zettabyte equals 1 sextillion bytes or 1000 exabytes; an exabyte is 1 billion […]

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Writing

Tending to Social Justice as a Garden

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash Community love takes patience, persistence, and long-term perspective Despite pollen, I love spring. Our little house sits on a small yard, almost no grass. The rock-lined paths and mulched areas already overtaken by weeds, sprouting acorns, and creeping vines. Today I decided to pull up what I can, and to […]

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Writing

When You Can’t Get a Do-over and You Can’t Get Over It

Photo by Ashton Bingham on Unsplash Turning disappointment into the story you’ll want to live When a toddler squeals, Do it again!, she’s joyfully learning through repetition. When she’s six years old and yells, Do-over!, she either wants to prove that she can do what she wasn’t able to demonstrate moments before, or to argue that the […]