Why We Write, Why We Read

Writers write to make sense of their experiences and share their insights. Readers read memoirs to find inspiration, hope, and perspective.        “I haven’t read your book, but I can see why you wrote it,” one of my physicians said to me at a follow-up appointment. “It must have been healing to write.” I’ve reflected on this comment for two months now, not quite sure why I feel unsettled by it. Yes, writing Standing at Water’s Edge helped me process and make sense of my young son’s leukemia and the impact it had on our lives. Reliving (required, and very much a part of the process) and writing about those stressful years of [...]

2022-07-30T08:26:32-04:00July 30th, 2022|Categories: Books, Life Lessons, Readers, Reflections, Writing|Tags: , , , , |

Déjà vu to Summer

Welcome to summer and the predictability of the seasons despite the changes in our lives.   It’s officially summer in the northern hemisphere, with 15.5 hours of sunlight in Minnesota today, the summer solstice. The stray kitties—that we fed throughout the long, frigid winter—arrive at our doorstep for a sunrise breakfast (5:30 am) and roam with the lone turkey and deer, chase the ever-present squirrels, and keep their distance from the early evening raccoon family of five that scavenges left-over cat food, before sauntering off to wherever they hide away for rest and respite from predators (coyote night-roamer) and the elements (100+ degrees with 91% humidity this week). They have their routine and we have ours [...]

2022-06-24T20:27:57-04:00June 21st, 2022|Categories: COVID-19, Health, Summer|Tags: , , , , |

Making COVID Choices When the Options are Slim

Linear wave with dots and lines moving in space. istock photo by Maksym Kaplun I chose Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody to prevent COVID in immunocompromised people. I reacted and now my options are slim. How are you staying well? Paying Attention to Patterns   I often told my students that three points make a better line than two when analyzing research data. And if they were seriously invested, four points make an even stronger case for predicting trends or outcomes. That’s generally true, especially if the connect-the-dot line is linear. I’ve just completed a single case study (me) that included four monoclonal antibody injections over the past year (three against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein), and [...]

What Are You Waiting For?

What are you waiting for? What are you doing to feed your soul, fuel your passions, and bring color and hope to your world? I’m waiting for the sun to shine. This month in Minnesota was on average 8 degrees colder than last April. Well, okay, the snow did melt off the sidewalks, so it’s safe to walk outside now. But it’s been raining or snow flurrying or cloudy and overcast and windy and cold for 5 months now. Enough already! Where is spring? I’m waiting for color to paint my world, our world. Do you have flowers blooming and trees budding and sun shining in your backyard? If so, I’m happy for you. Truly I [...]

2022-04-29T22:40:28-04:00April 29th, 2022|Categories: Hope, Motivation, Pleasure|Tags: , , , , , |

I Try Not to Have Any (As Many) Expectations

I try not to have expectations for the book’s success, but authors write to be read. I have learned, however, to let go of outcomes I can’t control. Letting go of expectations allows us to be present in the moment. Friends ask me how my book, Standing at Water’s Edge, is selling now that it has been out in the world for a few months. “I don’t really know,” I say. And it’s true. From what I understand, publishers share sales data (through royalty checks) once or twice a year. Amazon shares ranking data, but you can’t put a number on that. I have a paid subscription to NPD BookScan through Publishers Marketplace, so I can [...]

2022-03-26T21:32:02-04:00March 26th, 2022|Categories: Books, Expectations, Health, Letting Go|Tags: , , , , |

From Fear to Hope: How Cancer Research Makes a Difference

Valentine’s Day reminds us to show our love to one another. International Childhood Cancer Day, the day after, reminds us of how much love our children bring into our lives, and how much fear and anxiety we feel when they get sick. Losing a child is a parent’s worst fear. Watching your child endure months or years of scary and invasive treatment and debilitating side-effects obliterates the childhood we expect and want them to have. We all want the best for our children. Criss Angel, Las Vegas illusionist and magician, faces fear every day when he performs with fire and gravity-defying stunts but says that nothing compares to the fear of losing his son to cancer. [...]

Tastes Like Joy

Imagine you are 10 years old again. You peer into the future and see yourself now. What do you think about who you have become? What does your 10-year-old self perceive as your strengths? Your weaknesses? You might consider your physical health/condition, where you live, or what you do and how you do it. This is the reverse exercise of “what would you tell your former self.” Instead, think like a child. What does your child-self see in you as the adult they envisioned becoming? What surprises them? This exercise was a prompt in a week-long writing intensive last week—virtual, of course.* The purpose was to get us writing, creating new material. It’s also an opportunity [...]

2022-02-02T15:29:46-05:00January 31st, 2022|Categories: Childhood, Life Lessons, Play|Tags: , , , , |

Here Comes Another Year, but Not a New Year: How to Make Yours Happy

As the holiday season winds down and 2021 exhales its last breath, we look ahead to 2022. With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 exploding across the entire United States and many other countries, however, 2022 doesn’t feel like progress or offer a whole lot of happiness. It’s another year, but not a new year. The imprints of 2020 and 2021 cling like droplets on our masks—invisible when we ignore them, debilitating when they invade. How are you protecting your body and nourishing your spirit? As we reflect—yet again—on the upheaval in our daily lives, the relentless cycles of loss, and the uncertainty for tomorrow, can’t we also seek the flickering flame deep within our solar plexus? [...]

2021-12-31T08:53:08-05:00December 31st, 2021|Categories: 2022, COVID-19, Pandemic, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |

Standing at Water’s Edge – Again

  Shutterstock by Jayakumar As the Omicron coronavirus variant precipitously surfaces in South Africa, Hong Kong, Europe, and the Middle East, our global collective once again finds ourselves standing at water’s edge and wondering where the heck the horizon ends and the living begins. As my memoir, Standing at Water’s Edge, launches out into the world this week, I am reminded of how derailed we can feel by the uncertainty and loss of control as we face yet another new and potentially virulent variant. This recurrent narrative isn’t a sci-fi story; it’s yet another reminder to face our fears, let go of our expectations, and pay attention to the moment. But how? It starts [...]

What books are you reading this month? How do you choose?

Photo by author   October is National Book Month, and NaNoWriMo starts November 1. I thought it was just me who had books on my mind. October's Hot New Releases   Have you read any new fall book releases? So many highly anticipated books, including Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land and Amor Towles’ The Lincoln Highway. Both books follow the authors’ award-winning success of All the Light We Cannot See (Doerr, 2014) and one of my all-time favorites, A Gentleman in Moscow (Towles, 2016). All the Light We Cannot See won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, spent almost four years on The New York Times Bestseller List, and sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. Netflix is [...]

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