Running to Reconciliation and Self

I've never been an athlete. Sedentary by nature and choice, I can't recall ever running unless being chased by a bee. My brother, Rob, is different, however.  RenegadeBooks just published his premiere novel, The Pronator, last week.

Until I read his book, I didn't know what a pronator was. It sounded like something out of science fiction, or a role Arnold Schwarzenegger would play. However, I discovered that a pronator is one who pronates; that is, a runner whose foot turns slightly so that that the inner edge of the sole bears the weight. Rob's protagonist, Jay, suffers from pronation, but its literal meaning affects the story only slightly; symbolically, it is the flaw that each of us must overcome to reach our next level.

The action of The Pronator takes place during the running of a marathon. Jay wants only to beat his old time and come in under four hours. During that time, the psycho-physical changes that affect runners during a race such as this--intermittent fl…

The ricochet of gun violence and the balm of love

I was at school when I saw the news bulletin about the shooter at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. UCC is just about 3 hours south of us, but we are part of the same community college system. Just that morning we had talked about guns on campus in my WR 115 classroom. Meanwhile, the shooter had entered another WR 115 class and interrupted their conversation in a vicious and terrible way.

Shock at a distance is shock nonetheless. As an instructor at a CC, it's hard not to imagine the same thing happening on my campus, even in my classroom. There's one exit and a pair of enormous windows that open on the world. What would I do? How could I protect my students? I know the emergency drill: lock the door turn off the lights, pull the blinds, turn off the projector and get everyone on the floor. But that only works if the shooter is somewhere else.

I've been reading responses to the news, many of which suggest that we need more armed security guards and even armed i…

Happiness before arising

The room is still dark. The heater has clicked on. From the glow behind the curtains, I can tell today will be another autumn gem. For just this moment, all is calm and full of possibility.

Sometimes you can't look away

If you're old enough, you probably remember watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, starring Marlin Perkins and his long-suffering sidekick,  Jim Fowler. This program introduced violence on TV, albeit animal kingdom violence. Among the most memorable segments featured the insatiable python and the enormous beasts it could swallow whole: deer, cows, even crocodiles. Horrendous as the sights were, they were hypnotic. It was impossible to look away.

That's how I feel during Presidential Debate season. Granted, we've only seen the Republicans so far, but their encounters are as gruesome and mesmerizing as those of python versus croc.  I imagine it's no coincidence that croc is a  homophone for crock, as in "that's a crock of crap." It's also interesting that some of the debaters shed crocodile tears over issues less poignant than a Hallmark commercial. So far, no one has disagreed with the others over anything substantive. They are just generally cra…

The little moments

This term I've asked my Writing 115 classes to develop the daily habit of observing and thinking about the world around them and then share their thoughts with the world in a blog. I hope that they will become more aware, more appreciative, and more introspective as they compile the raw materials of good writing. This isn't an easy task. Everyone is multitasking their lives, trying to do their best and avoid the crazy-making world that interjects itself with fearful sound-bytes and flashing ads about losing belly fat.

I am going to join my students in this endeavor, so you should see many short posts from me as I, too, attempt to engage with the little moments that pass into nothingness unless explored.

* I won't be posting these on FaceBook, etc. but if you want to see what's going on around me, enter your email address into the "Follow by email" form on this page.


September the Eleventh
If you, knowing what you know, Having read what you have read, and remembering All the tales you’ve heard,
Should despite these warnings name your son Icarus, You cannot feign surprise When blood of your blood reaching wide as a swan unfurled steps forward from the sill And into the arms of flames.
The updraft buoys him like cinder So that he might instead be flying And for a moment the air is his.
So, too, Daedalus treading the shore, brushing feathers of ashfrom his dusted shoulders Still thinks of cheating disaster.

Mary Chase

Floods, vermin, and a multitude of blessings

Life is hard. We all know that. Granted, no one is shooting at me, and I have not contracted any strange viruses, but I am nonetheless bogged down by life events, those I chose and those I didn't. So, if you've been wondering why I am not posting more often, here's the rundown:

The Great Flood

Why should a flood resulting from a freak summer downpour still be affecting my life in December? To begin with, it joined the parade of "one damn thing after another" from which so many of us suffer. Rain flowed in through the basement windows with ungodly abandon, soaking Persian carpets and the wall-to-wall Berber beneath them while I slept peacefully upstairs. I had no idea what had happened until I went downstairs a day or two later to see why the smell of mold was beginning to waft its way up. My first step onto the basement floor went squish. Crap.

Like many people who have too much stuff, too many collections and too little sense of organization, our basement--all 10…