Garbage and Our Awful Fate (A Meditation on Contracts and Disputes Arising Thereunder)

I take the garbage and recycling out. Imagine that a young man, strong and physically able - able enough to dunk a basketball, recently graduated from college and living, for a short season, at home with his parents, makes that statement. Imagine that this family lives in a place with regularly provided waste management services, let’s say garbage pick-up every Friday morning and recycling pick-up every other Friday morning. He’s going to take care of the garbage and recycling. Imagine that a man, a father, says that to his wife about that young man in the context of recounting a discussion of common space expectations, those communal rights and responsibilities that will lead to them all living together in harmony, he’s had with this son. The mutual understanding of these two (or shall we say three, because the woman most assuredly has a different perspective from the father and the son) on this subject can fairly be presented as an item on a household to-do list: garbage & rec

Rx: Antidote for Certain Writing Hesitations

When life seems disordered and you believe you can’t handle it; when you are tempted to dismiss writing as an alternative and deny that you are an artist: May you rest in the order of chaos and the design of the Universe. May you own your identity as a writer, independent of whatever else you may do and whoever else you may think you are. May you be bold and open in creating space to write and unashamed in asserting that writing is important to you. May you respect yourself as a writer and find it natural and comfortable to step away, from family, friends, work, the house, and write. May you honor the process; the concentration, energy, quiet yet fervent activity that goes into catching your ideas in words and pinning them to the paper. May you be unapologetic, feel no need to answer questions, in fact be absolutely blind to any idea of doubt about whether, when, and why you write. May you rejoice in this private wo

The Right Words

If we said the right words, everything would turn out alright, of course. If we spoke to one another just so, neither of us would hurt. Disappointment noisy as air escaping an untied balloon that, up until the wrong word seeped out, had been stretched thin and round, its breath held by pinched fingers. This is the trouble with being seen. When his words prick me, the sting flashes across face. I turn away quickly, hoping he won’t see the defeat in my eyes. I search for the right words and perhaps even find them, but speak in my taut, brittle voice and he can hear me cracking inside. He knows, he sees instantly I’m disheartened by his response. I take a step sideways and search for angles of escape, some distraction that will avert conflict and allow me to scurry away before I fall apart. My falling apart takes many forms; some are self-defeating, some self-abusing, and some pure rage. A falling apart in stages, really. Once we’ve used the wrong words, the right ones go into hid

The Pinnacle of Divorce

There’s a perception I’ve heard presented as scientifically confirmed reality: Stepfamilies are becoming more and more prevalent because of escalating divorce rates, which are caused by society not valuing marriage enough. As if our cavalier attitude toward commitment and our apparent disregard for the sanctity of marriage is resulting in the downfall of so many unions. We all just split up and leave because it’s so easy to do and no one seems to mind. What I’d like to consider is the possibility that divorce, if it is in fact more prevalent, may be so rampant because we value marriage too much. We are a society that idolizes marriage and pushes it as the optimal relationship status. Everybody ought to be married, women sooner than men. Everybody must be married before they have sex (but, as an aside, we understand – just don’t make it obvious). Yes, no sex before marriage, unless you get yourself pregnant (you woman, you spontaneous self-fertilizer; you man stuck with a woman wh