Writing on Loss and Solitude From the Rockies

Rough Beauty, by Karen Auvinen (Amazon / Book Depository) March was thick with anticipation—the pendulum between winter and spring, between dormancy and growth—the month of hope, the month of change. Its arrival meant winter was certain to end. By then, I’d had nearly four and a half months of cold and isolation. And although I... Continue Reading →

Research and Case Studies on the Misunderstood Condition of Compulsive Hoarding

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, by Randy Frost & Gail Steketee (Amazon / Book Depository) Chances are you know someone with a hoarding problem. Recent studies of hoarding put the prevalence rate at somewhere between 2 and 5 percent of the population. That means that six million to fifteen million Americans suffer... Continue Reading →

Rhapsodizing Blue

Book review: Bluets, by Maggie Nelson (Amazon / Book Depository) Last night I wept in a way I haven’t wept for some time. I wept until I aged myself. I watched it happen in the mirror. I watched the lines arrive around my eyes like engraved sunbursts; it was like watching flowers open in time-lapse... Continue Reading →

Elegies for the Dead She’s Known

Book review: The Baltimore Book of the Dead, by Marion Winik Book Depository People do not pass away. / They die / and then they stay. Poet and author Marion Winik opens this second volume of creative short elegies to departed people she's known, tinged with personal memoir, with those lines from Naomi Shihab Nye's poem... Continue Reading →

Life Writing Through Micro-Memoir

Book review: Heating & Cooling, by Beth Ann Fennelly (Amazon / Book Depository) Poet Beth Ann Fennelly writes a collection of 52 "micro-memoirs": mini-essays, a genre idea I love, loosely based around family, marriage, love, sex, and sometimes grief. This book got a surprising amount of buzz upon its release last year, in my opinion,... Continue Reading →

Conversations About the Other Side

Book review: Psychics, Healers & Mediums, by Jenniffer Weigel It's Halloween! Time for a ghosty post! I haven't read much recently that's Halloween-applicable, but as a favorite spooky read, I recommend Colin Dickey's scary but skeptical Ghostland. Now for the less skeptical... Jenniffer Weigel is a Chicago Tribune columnist, radio host, and reporter who's already written about her... Continue Reading →

Memory, History, And Family Roots in Latvia

Book review: Among the Living and the Dead, by Inara Verzemnieks "This is why I had journeyed to my grandmother's lost village, nestled at the edge of Latvia, which is itself nestled at the edge of Europe's psychic north, south, east and west, or, as Pope Innocent III described it...'the edge of the known world'.  Because I... Continue Reading →

The Life-Saving Magic of Poetry

Book review: Poetry Will Save Your Life, by Jill Bialosky "All poems become, to a certain degree, personal to a reader." Poet, editor, and novelist Jill Bialosky writes a memoir structured around the poems that have helped her through life, imbuing it with deeper meaning and giving subtle guidance and reassurances through turmoil and joy. Sometimes they act... Continue Reading →

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