We’re driving home from shopping, two 40-something parents and their three teen and tweens. It’s January. Call us old-fashioned—we listen to the radio, Rick Dees. It’s not just the Weekly Top Forty; it’s a countdown of #1s. A list of a list. We click around but the kids insist—“Go back to Rick Dees!”
Here’s a game for wordophiles where earth, breath and sheet are three words you can spell with the letters in the word heartbeats. Setter, rate, and bra are three more. Steep, if your rules let the “b” swing around. Strafe if you let one “t” grow a canopy. Tree is there. There, too. And three. And others spring from the page if you string multiples:
As I step into the new territory of 2017, I’d like Grandma Moses to be a guide. Her paintings teach me lessons that I want to realize, to intend and deliberate, as I go about the days of this new year.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
Fast advice to new writers who bemoan the intensity of the discipline sometimes includes throwing around that Hemingway quote about the typewriter and the bleeding. It’s pithy and ironic and makes the more seasoned writer quoting it sound like they know something Hemingway did. It also inspires hilarious imagery: to each writer, his or her own brand of macabre. I keep it simple: me swathed in Civil War-era head bandages barely able to crawl from a drippy crimson keyboard to the coffee pot for yet another cup of Whatever It Takes so I can get that paragraph right.
Memory we cross and cross again. Treks, trauma, and on.
We do know what time is. It is loss and gain. A lingering.
– Simon J. Ortiz
*Note: this post contains spoilers from Arrival
I went reluctantly to see Arrival, remembering my disappointment over The Martian—how its great sweeps of desolate landscape seemed squandered on themes of American ingenuity, determination, and victory over galactic odds. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But placing one man alone on a vast planet far, far from home begged for a nuanced treatment of the larger ideas of isolation and longing.