I overcame a lifelong fear of writing poetry on April Fool’s Day. It happened by accident. I had grown tired of my stale prose habits and surfed the web looking for distraction….
It’s wonderful to have more and more pieces published online and in-print. But it also feels a bit disembodied. If I’m lucky, I may exchange a few emails or have a phone conversation with an editor. I never meet the others whose pieces share the same binding with me. It’s all understandable given how busy the world is, but still odd….
Out of some 850 species of tarantulas worldwide, the genus Aphonopelma includes the four dozen or so species native to the United States. Aphonopelma chalcodes – the Desert Tarantula – is the one I’ll be most likely to meet in Arizona…
I grew up an introverted, only child. With my cat or rabbit stretched out beside me, I spent many evenings curled up in some cozy corner, thumbing through animal books…
Bored with coughing and sniffling last week, I began surfing the web to sample various social networks. I’ve spent the last few months learning how to use WordPress and its various plugins. Hours of back and neck pain have helped me sympathize with those who verb the noun widget. But Facebook? Delicious? Linked In? I […]
“If you’re still laughing, you’re not getting it.” I heard a respected elder in the environmental movement make these comments several weeks ago. I bow to the wisdom of all our elders: Thoreau, Leopold, Muir, Lao Tzu. But this appeal for us to stop laughing and get on with the environmentalist revolution bothered me. I […]
I’ve published (or will soon have published) six pieces over the last year of full-time writing, but the lyric essay – “A Nature Lover’s Phobia” – posted online in Fringe Magazine: The Environment Issue yesterday makes me particularly happy. I have wanted to be a nature writer since childhood. I thought becoming a zoologist would […]
The Gettysburg Review, Spring 2009 Flu has laid me low for the last few days. But getting the Spring 2009 edition of The Gettysburg Review cheered me. It includes “Natural Births” — a chapter from the book I’m working to finish. This is my first piece of literary nonfiction in print (I’ve had a […]
I’ve been writing and rewriting a manuscript on Nepal for at least ten years and am ready to be done with it, but I’m not. I have to dig in and do some really hard work revising pieces that grew stale for me a long time ago. I’ve been over the same material many times […]
Snow on Mt. Tabor Is it routine or breaks in routine that give me inspiration? I can’t be sure, but I do know that another unusual snowfall today invited me out for a morning walk with Django and invigorated my work the rest of the day.
Putting a website together has sucked a lot of energy from my writing over the last month. But I’ve enjoyed it, almost to the point of addiction, and am sad about being finished. I knew it was bad when right after I finished, I began fantasizing about a complete redesign. And then I started bugging […]
After several weeks of dabbling here, I’m still torn over the twenty-first century quandary: to blog or not? “Why I Blog,” an essay by Andrew Sullivan, senior editor of Atlantic Monthly, has helped put the practice in perspective and inspired me to continue exploring. Sullivan considers historical cousins to the weblog: the ship’s log, diary […]
I came across a haunting essay, “Am I Still Here?” by Anthony Doerr in the January/February issue of Orion Magazine. It begins like this:
It’s snowing here in Portland, Oregon, and I’m wondering whether or not to start a blog. Django – my eighty-two pound, chocolate, standard poodle- doesn’t care. He’s been hinting at other activities all day with barks, yawns, groans, hopeful looks, nudges, playbows.