• Autumn,  Halloween,  Henry David Thoreau

    Welcome, October

    “October is the month of painted leaves.Their rich glow now flashes round the world.As fruits and leaves and the day itselfacquire a bright tint just before they fall,so the year near its setting.October is its sunset sky;November the later twilight.” ~Henry David Thoreau, Autumnal Tints You don’t have to look hard to find poems, essays, or quotes in praise of beautiful October. I copied today’s quote in my journal after reading Thoreau’s Autumnal Tints during my first fall semester in college — back in 1972. Today, it’s still my favorite quote in reference to my favorite month. October inspires reflection. As Thoreau notes, it announces the beginning of the end…

  • Autumn,  Change


    “There is nothing permanent except change.” ~Heraclitus, Greek philosopher As much as I love Michigan’s dynamic four seasons, I’m not quite ready for autumn — which officially started yesterday. A neighbor’s maple tree is already starting to turn red, and the temperature suddenly dipped low enough to call for sweaters and boots. But I’m still running around in sandals and summer cotton tops. I don’t avoid change, but tend to follow rituals and routines. I patronize the same favorite restaurants, favor the same pair of jeans (though I have a drawerful of others), and brew a pot of coffee at the same time every morning. You too? Last week I…

  • Arts & crafts,  Autumn,  Change,  Motivation,  Nature,  Personal growth

    Creative cycles

    “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks. Its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” ~Cynthia Occelli Nature often reminds us that growth and creativity are preceded by change — or “complete destruction” — especially in the fall. Here in the Midwest, some of our trees are just starting to drop their leaves and seeds, and soon will stage a brilliant color show before shedding completely. Likewise, the best way through a creative road block is to remove something that’s getting in the way. Sometimes I have to “undo” a…

  • Aging well,  Autumn,  Personal growth,  Writing and creativity workshops

    New fall writing workshops

    “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” ~Henry Ford I’m excited about several new workshops I’ll be teaching at two local libraries this fall. Each workshop will be announced on this blog as we get closer to the dates. Coming soon in November: A poetry appreciation workshop for people who think they don’t like poetry … Stay tuned for details!

  • Autumn,  Fatherhood,  Home & Family

    An October memory

    “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ~Lucy Maud Montgomery The following essay began as a journal entry after my father died. Later, it was published in the October 1998 edition of Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion. The piece is also included in my book, Writing Home. Lately I’ve been thinking of these lines from Anne Mary Lawler’s poem about the seasons: October dresses in flame and gold, like a woman afraid of growing old. This is a potent month for memories. Yesterday I watched while my son and the children next door tumbled like acrobats in the fallen leaves. (Is there a kid in the Midwest who…