Sometimes there’s just that itch to figure out what I think about something, and that’s when I sit down and write an essay. My topics have been eclectic, from a humorous take on National Poetry Month for The Christian Science Monitor to more serious, reflective pieces for the Chicago Tribune Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Ms. Magazine and others. I was the 2011 recipient of the Betty Gabehart Prize for Creative Non-Fiction for one of my essays. Here are a few published samples of my not-so-private thoughts:
Is there a Cupid for people and houses? I think so. When we bought our Illinois farmhouse for a weekend retreat, it was covered with cheap gray siding and topped by a roof of peeling silver paint. The inside was as rough and barren of charm as a seedy barroom. But it was love at first sight . . .
For complete essay: Ladies’ Home Journal: Farmhouse
How can we celebrate National Poetry Month in April? Let us count the ways.
First, there’s the popular multi-tasking approach. As you wait at an intersection, recite a half-remembered line or two from high school English class. “So much depends upon the red light changing” can be soothing. And “Whose car this is, I think I know; but he’s inside so here I go” can be invigorating.
For complete essay: The Christian Science Monitor: Poetic Licenses
Last October I went to hear Doris Lessing speak, thinking of myself as a suppliant at the feet of a great woman writer. I left several hours later with very different thoughts about myself and the two hundred or so women and men who had chosen to spend that particular work-night evening in that particular fashion — seeing the word made flesh, so to speak.
For complete essay: Ms. Magazine: Doris Lessing
The Grand Tour of colleges has become as routine as braces for the caring middle-class family. Last year, as I walked with my daughter, as I did two years before with my son, across the groomed acres of academe, I found myself wondering when the campus visit changed from optional to required.
For complete essay: Chicago Tribune Magazine: College Tours
It’s a habit as ingrained as drinking coffee. In fact, it fits snugly in my memory bank with images of warm coffee mugs . . . whenever I have had one at hand, I have traced the letter Z onto the mug with my finger . . . It is an absent-minded gesture . . . Until now, I never really gave it much thought. After all, I knew what the Z stood for. It wasn’t anything deep. The Z was for Zorro.
For complete essay: Chicago Tribune Magazine: Zorro