You’ve Got a Friend in Her

Helen Ellis’s latest book of essays is sure to make you smile Helen Ellis is writing for me. A woman in my late 40s/early 50s. Someone who stares in the mirror and wonders: Is my hair grayer than it was yesterday? Did my cheeks always have those ridges at the bottom? No, I do notContinue reading “You’ve Got a Friend in Her”

The Gift of Hearing Others’ Stories

In my work as a magazine writer, I interview people from all walks of life. We sit down, often in their living rooms or offices or a nearby coffee shop. I pull out my notebook and push record on my phone app, and out flow the stories. The big moments and the small. The times thatContinue reading “The Gift of Hearing Others’ Stories”

The Lessons of the Stumbling Stones

In Isabel Wilkerson’s acclaimed new book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, she shares the story of the stumbling stones. In 1992, German artist Gunter Demnig, began commemorating the lives of Sinti and Roma people who were murdered by the Nazi regime. The project soon expanded to include all who were killed by Nazis: Jews, primarily, but also homosexuals, theContinue reading “The Lessons of the Stumbling Stones”

Seeing Stars

There has always been something mysterious about the night sky. Something inscrutable. Ancient. Lost. Staring into its pinpricks of light feels to me like trying to read a scroll of hieroglyphs.  That’s how it feels. But I know it’s not impossible to discover the heavens’ secrets. Plenty of people peer into the inky expanse and see a roadmapContinue reading “Seeing Stars”

Put Down Your Phone

Book of personal essays transports readers to a happier time Rick Bailey is having a conversation with his wife. And striving to appreciate Beaujolais. And sightseeing with Italian friends. And washing gravestones alongside a widow. And we readers are grateful that he is. Because in each of Bailey’s 42 tightly-written, sure-to-make-you-smile personal essays, he extractsContinue reading “Put Down Your Phone”

Reading Books Is Our Super Power

I was a confused and awkward middle schooler (weren’t we all?), who struggled to make friends and to understand the world outside my tiny experience of it. I was always saying the wrong words, doing the wrong things, ending up in places I didn’t want to be. Where I felt the most at home wasContinue reading “Reading Books Is Our Super Power”

More Positive Than My Pup

It is a bright, warm day in my smallish backyard. The sun is shining, new grass has sprouted, squirrels and birds flit over and between bare tree branches. This is a wonderful place to while away a few hours — especially if you are a five-month-old puppy. There are sticks to chew on, a big, fullContinue reading “More Positive Than My Pup”

The Magic of ‘The Nutcracker’

If the show can go on, a flicker of hope will too When I was a little girl, there were few outings more magical than a trip to see the Nutcracker ballet. My sisters and I dressed in our Sunday best and climbed the narrow staircases of the posh theater. We held our breath whenContinue reading “The Magic of ‘The Nutcracker’”

Being Your Best

On Thursday nights, my middle child has ballet classes and my youngest heads to soccer. Her dad drives her, staying to watch, and the dog goes along for a walk. Which leaves me completely, deliciously, unbelievably alone for a full hour-and-a-half. It seems crazy that I am so thirsty for this sip of quiet. But IContinue reading “Being Your Best”

Grow Where You’re Planted

I am interviewing small business owners for a magazine story I’m working on. As I listen, I marvel at how each of them is saying the same words to me when I ask how they decided to keep their doors open in March when state regulations and customer fears and a completely unknowable virus swept throughContinue reading “Grow Where You’re Planted”