… in which I finally meet Bella and the vampires


Part of me seems to identify as a tween, it seems. I have read and adored the Harry Potter series (twice!), the Hunger Games novels and the Lunar Chronicles. Almost to dare myself, this week I sampled the first book of perhaps the tweeniest series of them all: Twilight, the story of how 17-year-old Bella met and fell in love with her soulmate, century-old teenager Edward the vampire.

I must say I enjoyed the ride even while being appalled by it. This is what captured the imaginations of young America? Continue reading “… in which I finally meet Bella and the vampires”


Shazam! It’s Captain Marvel

captain marvels

One of my favorite all-time comic book superheroes flourished in the decade before I was born. A spunky orphan boy who was the world’s youngest radio newscaster met a wizard named Shazam who gave the boy the power to switch places with the awesome Captain Marvel simply by saying the wizard’s name, which was an acronym that stood for the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. Continue reading “Shazam! It’s Captain Marvel”

How to survive in a roomful of posers

Willow - Christmas 2018

I introduced my musing “The squeak that kills” on Facebook with: “My fellow imposters will recognize this feeling.” It seems to be true that everyone is going about their business worried they’ll be recognized and exposed as pretenders.

But if you’re not consciously pretending –

if you’re not putting on airs but

are really doing your art and are

lauded – are you really an imposter?

If it’s real, it’s real. Isn’t it?

Be real and the rest will

take care of itself – won’t it?

The only way to know is to be real

and see what happens next.

The real imposter is probably the one

who points or looks down a nose

and cries, “Imposter!”

Be real and you don’t have to worry whether it’s real.

The squeak that kills

dinosaur eye dreamstime_xl_42229118.jpg

There it was! I just heard it again – that little pipsqueak of doubt that said, “Why are you wasting time writing these words down and rereading them to see if anything is worth sharing, because of course none of it is?”

It passed through my mind just for a second, that little squeak, and yet such power it has. It catches me by the shoulder just before I’m about to take a step. It flits in front of my eyes in a flash that blinds me as I’m about to meet a significant player. It catches my throat before I can make make a cogent point, and it steals my attention as I’m about to write my pearls of wisdom.

I imagine the successful artists are those who conquer these vicious little beasts that steal our confidence – or perhaps the monsters can’t be conquered, only leashed, so they pull against our hand and we can say, “Yes, isn’t he a cute thing,” knowing the lovable-looking furball has the means and the strength to tear out our throats and have us for lunch.

Illustration © Graphixchon | Dreamstime.com

A small rant concerning concerning


I had an English teacher early in life, probably in sixth grade – they didn’t call it middle school then – who had a problem with substituting the word “like” for “as,” such as in the advertising jingle, “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”

I thought it was silly at the time to get your undies in a bundle over it, but as years have passed, I think my teacher and I are like minded.

My brain feels a discordant jolt when someone uses “impact” as a verb. Once upon a time, my teacher’s concerns had an impact on me. It would have been improper to say her words impacted me, as if I were a tooth. Continue reading “A small rant concerning concerning”

A time it was

a woman looks at the mountains through a window on the observation tower.

Once upon a time – what does that mean?

Well, it happened once – but how do you get “upon” a time? Is time something you can leap on, like a horse or a bicycle? Or does “a” time mean that it doesn’t really matter when it happened exactly, it was just one of those days? (And I paused just then – did I mean to ask if it was one of “these” days or one of “those” days, if you know what I mean? And if you know what I mean, why am I trying so hard to explain?) Oh, I hope all of this hem-hawing at the start doesn’t mean I’m going to have a time trying to get the story out.

Ah, well, then. Once upon a time – it was a time not unlike ours but long ago – a time when the rulers were arguing among themselves and people heard them argue, rolled their eyes and went about their business, because a person’s got to eat and squabbling rulers don’t feed anyone except the scribes who pay attention and write it all down as if someone cared – there was a girl. Continue reading “A time it was”

How to fix baseball

Baseball in the Grass

When I was a 9-year-old boy in New Jersey, a brand-new National League team started in New York. Now, to my knowledge, there had never been a National League baseball team in New York … there was only the prideful American League team, the Yankees. Nine-year-old boys like shiny new things almost as much as they like battered old things, and so I was instantly a fan of the New York Mets.

Years later my brother gave me a cassette of a 1965 game between the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Braves. It was wonderful to hear Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy calling the Mets game again.

Two things struck me after the top of the first inning. The first thing was that Lindsey Nelson read a commercial for Viceroy cigarettes. Cigarettes! You can’t even advertise cigarettes anymore. Continue reading “How to fix baseball”