Lessons in Being

“One of the most moving sections is about the healing that took place between Carol and her mother, despite her mother’s dementia.” Larry C. Williams


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In my late fifties, I began to write about my personal life—for my children. I wanted to share with them the story of how my despair transformed into unexpected joy, thinking that my tale, more than anyone else’s, might aid them if they one day fell into darkness. But as I wrote for them, I discovered how much the writing aided me in uncovering even more meaning in what I’d lived. So I’ve kept on writing, through a host of new challenges. Several of these essays, much revised, became Lessons in Simply Being.

I continue to write, mostly about the wonders and meaning I find within everyday life. Here I occasionally share one of my essays or musings (my name for shorter pieces).

Musings of a grandparent

Dear Noah,
Welcome to our world! We’re delighted with all 8 pounds 11 ounces and 21 inches of you. “We” are Mom Lisa, Dad Aaron, Big Brother Isaac, Grandma Bertha, Grandma Carol, and the rabbit Hazel—the members of your family gathered around you for your first week of life. I’m putting in writing some thoughts about your first days. When you’re older, you may want to know more about this time.

I used to think we could chart a straight path for our lives, toward a desired destination… Read more

An Essay: Biopsy Love

I arrive at the restaurant early, hoping to snag my favorite table for a working lunch with Carol, my writing coach. Two weeks earlier I had approached a literary agent about taking me on as a client. After some initial encouragement, she turned me down. Carol and I had let a week elapse to sift through ideas about what’s next—approach more agents, go directly to small presses, rewrite again…? I am eager to hear her thoughts and find a next step for my writing that feels right to both of us.

Carol appears at the top of the stairway leading to my balcony perch, smiling and waving to me. I note, appreciatively, that she has dressed up a bit for our lunch—as have I. She settles in saying, “The hostess claims we have the best seat in the house.” After looking out upon the bustling market scene below us, all manner folks foraging for gourmet goods, she turns to me and asks: “How are you?”

My customary answer, “Just fine,” sticks in my mouth. I can’t say the words. Nor can I limit her question’s scope by saying, “I’m handling the rejection just fine.” I blurt out, “I am having a breast biopsy tomorrow.” Read more