Haunted By Homes

“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.” Creed Bratton, The Office Luci and I halt abruptly in front of the kitchen/toy/hardware store window display on Hauptstrasse, because I’ve spied a familiar word. Beside an elegant box containing three ceramic egg-cups and…

Nothing Wasted: Of Slides and Research Papers

Friday morning, and the playground is deserted. Since I teach only one class today and Timmy is hard at work in the counseling department at school, Friday mornings I stay home with Luci. After what feels like a month of freezing weather and sickness, we’ve seized our health and the balmy temperatures and walk across…

On Labels

We’re putting the finishing touches on our latest issue of the BFA Chronicle newspaper, admiring a photo of Fiddler on the Roof cast members in the Arts section when one reporter looks up at me suddenly. “You play violin?” She phrases it as a question, but since this student journalist is also herself a member of the Fiddler cast,…

Remembering How To Read

In order to arrive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not. And what you do not know is the only thing you know And what you own is what you do not own And where you are is where you are not. “East Coker,” T.S. Eliot…

Thoughts From the Valley

“With every job when it’s complete There is a sense of bitter-sweet That moment when you know the task is done…” Mary Poppins February 2010. I’m crying in a theater in mid-town Manhattan. Heeding the advice of one of my bosses from college, who regularly travelled to New York for business, I’ve taken this evening…

Things That Made Life Better This Year: 2017 Edition

Happy New Years’ Eve from sunny southern Germany! As has become a habit, I spent a bit of time this afternoon reflecting on some “things” that made life better this year. It’s been a full, rich and interesting year, and I look forward to all that’s ahead in 2018! Llamas. There are a few families…

Barbarazwieg: Of Twigs, Christmas and New Discoveries

“Apparently it’s a big deal to dress up in costumes when you pick someone up on Christmas Eve in Switzerland…” Christmas Eve morning, Timmy starts texting me as soon as he gets to the airport. With his customary picking-people-up-in-Zürich Starbucks drink in hand, he relates a new and strange Swiss tradition: dressing up in costumes…

The Civilly Disobedient

Is it ever right–ethically or morally–to break the law? Explain why or why not. -Honors American Literature journal question, Monday It’s always a good day when I get to stand on a chair. I sense that the students understand this, also, even as they mutter about being hustled, a few minutes into class, from their…

Of Exile {In The Library}

Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile,…

{The Love Song Of} 2 & 33

  I owe a lot to T.S. Eliot and Taylor Swift for these lines, composed on a walk today with Luci. I’m emulating another favorite, Billy Collins, master of the birthday poem. It was a poetic day, rich and splendid, worth sharing.   Let us go then, you and me, where the autumn blazes bright…