There She Is ….

I’m having a debate with my daughter over Miss Universe. She says that, in almost-2022, beauty pageants are still a big deal to most people. I am equally sure that beauty pageants are not a big deal to hardly anybody. When I was growing up, Miss America was a big, wholesome deal. And Miss Universe…

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Won’t Get Fooled Again

I have a cousin who still loves Donald Trump. When I talk about Donald Trump with this cousin of mine, I feel like my head is on fire. She thinks that Donald Trump will be president again soon, no election necessary, because, as she explains, “Most people think that the election was illegal.” She believes…

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But You’ll Love My Dog

People are surprised to hear that, for a person who has nine much-doted-upon children, I really don’t have much tolerance for kids. I never ask to hold the new baby. And most children are pretty demanding and boring, even if their dear and beleaguered parents have done their best. People are surprised to hear that,…

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The Bright Blessing of Silly Stuff

This is how a Christmas tree looks when you have wrapped all the presents for nine kids, their two spouses and one grandchild … I am completely certain that there is not one single item under this tree that any of these people actually needed to go on living. I know that I should be…

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Let Some Things Stay the Same

George and Amal Clooney seem to be having a pretty good life. I’m not in their league. The politicians and criminals that show up in my news feed seem to be having uniformly rotten lives. I’m not in their league either.  I’m not on vacation at the Amalfi Coast or celebrating the million-dollar payoff on…

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Ghost Stories Worthy of The Name

The light in my room is dim … winter light … a day hardly ever gets started this time of year before it rounds the turn and chugs toward the resumption of darkness. I love darkness. In the night, I need my room to be absolutely dark. I draw the darkness over me like a…

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The Driving Force

The almost-youngest members of the family just got their driver’s licenses. I am supposed to feel fear and trepidation about this – but I’ve driven people places so many times for so many reasons for so many years that I feel only relief and joy. Although we probably shouldn’t be, we are a car culture…

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I’m Deleting You

I have a relative I was close to as a child and as a young woman. In recent years, her views on social issues and politics have hardened. When we talked, she’d go on and on about how the science teachers in her teenage daughter’s school were “pushing evolution” and how upset this made her.…

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Imitate This …

When my oldest children were very young, I used to read to them, but when they got old enough to listen to stories more complex than little picture books, I only read to them from stories that I wanted to experience again, as an adult. One of them was National Velvet, the wonderful novel by…

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Every, Every Time

I can’t write a book. I can’t even write a good English sentence. These are the messages I give myself every time I sit down to write a story – every time, through 24 books, dozens of stories, countless essays. The first thing I think is, I can’t do this task, it’s beyond me. I…

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