Have I Been Assimilated?

Your diarist wonders if it’s even possible for a working writer to resist Twitter at this point, especially during a political season. The short answer is that it’s possible but not feasible — not if you want your opinions to have some currency anyway.

Several Twitter accounts have been set up for me over the years by friends and employers. I had treated them mostly with indifference. Then I started blogging for Patheos and the powers that be (ahem) strongly encouraged me to start a Twitter account. [Read more...]

From Anvil’s Lips to God’s Ears

Your diarist should apologize in advance for the mild swear on this family-friendly website. So, sorry folks, but it’s unlikely anybody has ever come up with better words to sum up the day just past than Lips in Anvil: The Story of Anvil. He said “Family is important shit, man.”

Indeed it is. We sacrifice countless hours of our lives and money and God only knows what else to help our own out and to be with them — often for very short periods of time. We move to new places, take different jobs, burn scarce vacation time, put thousands of miles on our cars, brave airport security, and place ourselves in uncomfortable circumstances. We do all of this just to get back to what we knew first — and know best.

Please trust that I am not being melodramatic when I say that I traveled to the very center of my own personal hell today. I did so, with fear and trepidation, to be with my family. And yet, with them there by my side — catching up and cracking jokes and throwing the football around –, it wasn’t so bad at all.

Sailing With William Butler Yeats

It is, for reasons that I dare not go into at this time and perhaps ever, a perfectly lousy Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, some of our more thoughtful forbears wrote down words to come alongside us and help us bear up under it. It’s funny that their scribblings should have such an effect, but they do. They do.

Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

The Things Gram Put Up With

My family, Whatcom County division, got together Sunday on the anniversary of grandmother Shirley Bailey’s death. We had pizza and ate her beloved chocolate chip cookies and told stories. The theme that emerged was, Wow, she put up with a lot from us.

For instance, the story Dad told was of the time we bought a bunch of yo-yos. He had been playing around with his and gotten quite good at it, so he called his mother-in-law into the living room and proceeded to attempt the “around the world.”

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The Most Stubborn Woman in the World

That was my grandmother, Shirley Bailey. She died a year ago today. This is some of what I had to say at her funeral:

You have probably heard it said that we all die alone. Our final moments are so far removed from common experience that we might as well be long-eroded solitary islands, finally swallowed by the rising sea.

That’s a bleak way of looking at things, but note well: “bleak” does not always mean “true.” [Read more...]

Why I Write, Twitter Version

1. To understand and to spread understanding, imperfect though it may be.

2. To have fun.

Woody Allen Was Wrong About the Heart

What the heart really wants to do is keep on beating. At least, that’s what my doctors tell me.

The “Last Call” from the current issue of the American Spectator is a short write-up of my recent heart scare, my “ventricular cacophony,” which came to almost nothing. Though that “almost” is a pretty funny joke to most people:

What the [Mayo Clinic website doesn't] describe is the embarrassment that comes along with explaining to interested parties that you happen to be a premature ventriculator. All of a sudden, everybody becomes a teenager again.

The piece also describe how, near the end of the diagnostic process, I started to feel like a freaking Pollyanna:

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