Amateur Mentors


For Katherine Diop

Plod on, you Angels say, do better aspire higher
And one day you may be like us, or those next below us,
Or nearer the lowest,
Or lowest,
Doing their best

—Stevie Smith, from “No Categories,” 1950

“The way up and the way down are one and the same.”

—Heraclitus, Fragment 69

The last kid had barely walked out our front door when my husband popped the top off a Dogfish Head ale, the bottle cap pinging onto the kitchen countertop, the cold beer sighing, as he lifted the bottle to his lips.

“Frankly,” my husband said, more or less, “I think we suck at this.” [Read more...]

My Online Footprint

Part Two: Repentance

In Part One of this post, aptly subtitled “Resistance” by our new Good Letters editor, Cathy Warner (who deserves a shout-out for the various transitions she has navigated), I explored the practical side of my abstention from all forms of social media except email.

While acknowledging the theoretical cost on both personal and professional fronts of my anti-social stance—all those missed connections and lost opportunities, fewer Shares, Tweets, Likes and whatnot compared to other GL bloggers—I had yet to see my way to the time and self-promotion required for a more sizeable online footprint.

But as hinted at by my closing question, there were rocks still to turn over, and uncomfortably so for what would be found lurking in the dirt:

“Or might there be another reason behind my relative reclusion, an underlying one that has more to do with things spiritual than practical, with the very faith-based reasons for which this blog exists?” [Read more...]

Making Do Has Its Place

When I was in college, some group or the other sponsored a blood drive. I’d never donated before, so when the nurse told me I had type B, I was mildly surprised. Everybody before me and after had been type O, that of the universal donor. I’d just assumed I would be too.

Later, when I asked my father, a doctor, he said that I’d inherited that blood type from him. It’s not the rarest, but he laughingly told me that I’d better not get into any accidents in a small town.

I looked into things a little further, and found that while I could receive blood from type O, in an emergency situation, I could not live forever on it. I had to have my own type eventually. [Read more...]


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