stories

for the information age

 

 

These bite-sized stories chronicle my efforts, both pitiful and successful,

to navigate the rapidly-changing world.

 

My hope is that they help you do the same.

christmas motive - cross section of red

If you snip a few of the blooms that grow on the garden edge with sharp shears. If you cut in pursuit of beauty, in the hope of bringing a small bit of it into the house. If you carry the cut flowers into the kitchen and lay them on the counter while you fill a jar with water,


you will find that you are host to, not only five fat hydrangeas, but also eight or nine upset ants, a pair of pale green grasshoppers, and one crisp brown beetle.


You will realize that you have not brought beauty in. What you have done is to disrupt an entire household, a whole bloom-dwelling. And what you will do next, as you—ruthlessly, ruefully—sweep insects into the garbage can, is


to long for your youth. For the time before you had children, before you loved, before you cared about anything but yourself.


In the bookstore, the fusty scent of ink and pulp. I want to lie down on the floor and breathe in the smell of words. I want to hold the words, to wrap my arms around them. A giddy, greedy swell churns in my belly, a hope, a prayer: one day, I will read all these books. I know I will. And when I do, I will be a better person.


But as I wander the aisles of the shop, a panic begins to wend through me like roots of a tree: it is the deep, troubling knowledge that I will never read all the books I mean to read. I leave the store empty-handed.


Outside, a guy on a bench looks down at his phone. It is in his hands. He holds it affectionately, the way you used to hold a book, palm on spine, fingers curled around pages.


Last night, a cricket was in the house. He made his high-pitched song and I listened from bed. He trilled and he chirped. He was calling out, saying something, beckoning.


At 2 am, after hours of relentless song, I got out of bed and went to him. I found him in the living room on the edge of a bookshelf. He was black as night sky and strummed wings in a fury, in a maelstrom of music. I could see the great effort it took for him to hit that incredible high note, to project it through the dark house. I said, isn’t it a bit late for all of this?

Sometimes at 2 am, I go to my son’s room and say the same thing. He is making music, strumming the strings of a guitar, moving his head in synch with the song. He doesn’t hear me either. He keeps calling out into the night.