Sat Jun 21 2014
Dark night, bright parlor, long line. I step in and take my place behind all the couples and families. I am the only one here alone.
Flavors are handwritten on a chalkboard behind the counter. I scan the list, pick two I want to try, and then settle in for the wait. My hands are too full to check email, Twitter, or Facebook, like everyone else is doing. So I default to people-watching and eavesdropping. Common pastimes for a writer.
The girls behind me are trying water yoga tomorrow. One of them can’t swim. Another one is named Avery, and she has the best hair. Wavy and blonde, with a braid framing one side. All of them are stylish and thin, somehow managing to look both hipster and preppy at the same time.
There are a lot of maxi dresses in here.
It’s been a long day, but I’m avoiding my hotel room. I’d thought it would be wonderful to have a clean, quiet space to myself. Somewhere new but predictable. Somewhere without responsibilities.
Instead it feels lonely.
After checking in, I escaped to dinner. I chose a place that I had been to once before, years ago, with people I loved. But even the memories of them aren’t enough to keep me company tonight. I text one and call the other. It helps.
Finally it’s my turn, and I ask for wildberry lavender and “Buckeye State.” I like complementing fruity flavors with chocolate. When the cashier hands me the receipt, I accidentally sign in the wrong place. I feel like an idiot, but she just laughs. It’s a good reminder to find the humor in things.
Sun Jun 15 2014
30 years ago today, a boy was born half a world away. I’m so glad, so lucky, that he found his way to a loving home in Rochester, NY, and eventually to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA, where we would meet as fellow students. Meet, and fall in love, and start a life together, without even realizing that that was what we were doing.
Here’s to 30 more years of loving and living – and 30 more after that.
Of course, I wouldn’t have been at Carnegie Mellon in the first place if it weren’t for my dad. I never meant to follow in his footsteps, but looking back, it’s no wonder that I did. We’re a lot alike, and I’m grateful to have inherited his optimism, his steadiness, and his interest in people’s stories.
I can think of a hundred different ways that my dad has shaped me and my life — and I’m sure there are hundreds more I’ll never know.
Sat Jun 7 2014
Tue Jun 3 2014
I know I’m late to the party, but Game of Thrones, man. Wow.
Spoiler level: Somewhat high, but only for Season 1.
I could talk about these characters and their stories forever, but today I want to focus on Ned. Head of the noble Stark family. Warden of the wintry North.
In many ways, Ned is the prototypical hero figure: a strong, handsome man governed by his own sense of honor and morality. He’s a loving father and husband, and a successful leader who is fair to those he rules over and serves.
All of these good qualities are what endear him to us – but unfortunately, they are also what lead to his downfall.
Out of loyalty, Ned follows an old friend into treacherous territory. Out of compassion, Ned warns an enemy about impending danger. Out of love for his children, Ned compromises his integrity and is forever branded as a traitor to the king.
In most stories, we would expect Ned to find a way out of his predicaments. He’s a hero! He’s not supposed to lose.
But Game of Thrones isn’t most stories, and Ned doesn’t win.
It’s such a twist on our expectations. It’s a slap in the face to the long-held tradition of good always triumphing over evil.
The boldness of George R.R. Martin’s decisions is hugely appealing and inspiring to me. (And to many others, it seems, based on the popularity of the series.) It’s not that the good guys can’t ever come out on top — it’s that GRRM makes us really think about whether or not they will. He makes them earn it.
Of course, this also works because there is no one single hero in Game of Thrones. It’s an ensemble cast with many compelling characters. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I talk about them.
Now excuse me while I go binge-watch Seasons 2-4…
Sun May 25 2014
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might have seen this already, but I just realized that I never talked about my latest publication here on the blog.
Earlier this month, my short story “Bringing Them Home” was featured in Switchback Magazine. It’s based on a true story that my mom saw on the news and told me about. I was so moved that I sat down and scribbled out my own version in one go. Certain elements have been changed from the real event, but I think the heart remains the same. And it’s a fitting tale for Memorial Day Weekend. It’s a thank you to our all service men and women.