Books and Trees

Aspen trees are practically synonymous with Colorado, but I can't for the life of me get one to grow in my backyard. Stubborn trees, they grow where they will, and they flourish in the scarred and broken places. Try and put one in a nice sunny spot with lots of water and specialty garden soil,…

10,000 Ways That Won’t Work

Thomas Edison is known to have said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” 10,000? Here are a few. 1. Whining doesn't work. Just makes yucky things take longer. 2. Being crabby. Ditto. 3. Being prideful. Love falling on my face, but perchance a little humility goes a long way?…

Let the regifting begin!

So our daughter has been saving her pennies for Christmas gifts -- a $2 rubber band ball for her brother (spot-on for the little inventor), a ballcap, perhaps, for dear old dad. She is too cute, so excited to give her hard-earned allowance for the thrill of making someone smile. Nicholas Cage and Bridget Fonda…

Light of the World

I live with my family in an impoverished sector of the sprawling Denver metro area. In 1995, I spent a summer here, my first summer immersed in inner-city life, inner-city ministry. I lived with 17 other college students on old mattresses in the dusty back rooms of an urban church, housed in what had been…

Anne Lamott on writing…

"This is our goal as writers, I think; to help others have this sense of--please forgive me--wonder, of seeing things anew, things that can catch us off guard, that break in on our small, bordered worlds. When this happens, everything feels more spacious. Try walking around with a child who's going, "Wow, wow! Look at…

I don’t know.

Sometimes "I don't know" is me at my most intelligent. What's the capitol of Uzbekistan? I don't know. Where are my car keys? I don't know. What direction should I go? Where is God? Why? I hate not knowing. I would like to be Lucy with her nickel-a-proverb psychiatric business, always with the answers. But…

Souped-up Slush Pile

Here's a quick tutorial on the publishing industry for those of you who've never had a compulsion to stick pins in your pupils. Step One: Pour weeks, months, years into heartbreaking work of staggering genius (thanks, Dave Eggers) Step Two: Submit baby to publisher to be kicked back with rude note -- get an agent!…