Good fences make good neighbors.” — Robert Frost One of our neighbors is building a stone wall at the edge of his property. Watching his progress, I’m reminded of my childhood road trips to historic New England. From the back seat of my dad’s Chevy Impala, I’d count miles and miles of curvy pastoral roads […]

Digging the family dirt

Perhaps the questions the writer most fears from her potential readers is: Why have you done this? With the implication: Why have you done this to me? — Mary Gordon, Circling My Mother Can we get too personal when we’re writing our memoirs or family stories? Is it wiser to stuff the hard emotional truth […]

Home Office on Facebook

It’s no secret that I’ve been conflicted about Facebook for years. The dilemma, in a nutshell: How can I avoid annoying my family/close friends with work-related status updates? And how can I avoid “over-sharing” personal or family updates with my colleagues and students? In other words, the way I see it, the same people who […]

A tribute to the tomato

A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins” — Laurie Colwin Though I rarely write much about food, I’ve always felt a sweet and satisfying connection between writing and gardening. Whenever I’m blocked, for instance, I close to the door to my home office and head outdoors to my garden. The sight […]

$hould you write for free?

“Self-respect is a matter of recognizing that anything worth having has a price.” – Joan Didion Some of us are half-serious when we joke about loving our work so much that we’d “do it for free” if we had to. Yet it’s all too easy to cheat ourselves if we don’t respect our own talent […]