A Little Paper Reflection

Look at that massive stack of books with your little pink notebook on the top, open like the bud of a daisy and crawling with notes. Even those huge volumes by writers with high-brow names like Humphrey and Sacheverell did not grasp everything, nor succeed in having the last word on the subject. Yes, even…

The Philanthropist

He began the fall in wealth, His arms hanging heavy with green, new-money Made in spring. It was the cash that grows on trees: Easily spent and easily made, Budded by summer and Minted by the gold-standard sun. Investing at Autumn’s asking, He lays a few leavings in her chill-bone hands But scatters the rest…

Maybe it’s Because of Winn Dixie

I'm reading Gone with the Wind again for what is somewhere between the fourth or seventh time. It seems that anytime I am between books, unsure what to read next, or feeling unsettled, I turn (second to my Bible) to that enormous novel for no better reason than that it is a darn good story. But my…

Poetic Love

A year ago today I picked up a copy of Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey in a Waterstones in Cambridge. I read it cover-to-cover without sitting and — admittedly — without purchasing it. I was intrigued, but, when I closed it and placed it back on its display, I realized that the fascination I'd felt with…

A Writer’s Whim

Skimming the stories I loved so, I saw the growth of a writer. Glimmers of the novel I am drafting now and the woman I am becoming shine out in those early pages of limping syntax and predictable plots. Every now and then, a good sentence or single word stands out and says, "There is hope for you yet, Scribbler."

Dear Mr. Dickens: An Open Letter

My dear Mr. Dickens, I hope you are well and not at all rolling over in your grave. (It is, after all, nearing Christmas and renditions of your famous holiday tale are promenading before audiences who are mostly wondering whether they actually turned off the oven or whether the turkey they pretend to like is…

Three Principles

As I was practicing piano the other day, I wrote a series of three questions to ask myself as I worked on each detail: Is it clean? Is it beautiful? Does it mean something? First, I work technically, listening even to exercises to discern if they are played with clarity and precision. Are they clean?…