It’s December 3rd.

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If it hasn’t snowed (which, it hasn’t snowed), then December 3rd has a specific sort of smell. I think it’s the smell of frozen grass and crinkly leaves commingling. For some reason, I get the distinct whiff of cobblestones on December 3rd, and just so there can be a symphony of senses, there’s the sound of a shimmer of resilient leaves in the trees, and my chin starts to numb because it’s just barely too early for scarves. 

I like the way December 3rd is.

One

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I do not have time to write this blog post. Which means I’m writing it on the D line, and it’s rush hour, so I’m writing on my cell phone with just my right thumb while I cling onto the rail with my left. One never does her best writing on the subway. One-thumbed writing is hasty, filled with run on sentences and typos that people privately message me about after my blog is posted. 

The Gently Handled Lizard

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I like to start each new school year with a game. It’s called “Yes” and it involves students standing in a circle, asking for permission to move across the circle and take someone’s place. It’s a cycle of saying “yes” and my hope is that the idea of assent carries over to discussion. As the players improve at the game, I up the intensity. I have students toss a heavy, imaginary bowling ball across the circle. They practice saying yes by catching the imaginary bowling ball in a way that suggests that they’ve “yessed” its imaginary weight. Then we blow a feather across the circle while the bowling ball is circulating, and finally I pull a “lizard” from my pocket and send it scampering to a classmate.

How to Talk to the Spiritually Wounded Soul

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This post has been sitting at the bottom of my brain basin for a long time, waiting to surface at the right moment. I actually wrote the majority of this post before the Mormon Facebook Apocalypse of 2015. Still, I’ve held onto this post. I think the time is finally right, as I confront the painful, vulnerable fact that I’ve been spiritually wounded. This is a loaded admission, one that opens up your soul to further misunderstanding, judgment, and (perhaps most terrifyingly and only in a few extreme cases) ire.

Two Dogs Dreaming

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There is a dog dreaming next to me. Her muzzle is nuzzling my thigh. Her paws are intertwined and her back is hunched. She is not a small dog, but she’s made herself small so her presence on the couch is less assuming. As if somehow I won’t notice that she’s breaking the rules about being on the couch.

To my Graduating Seniors of 2015

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Dear Seniors of 2015,

I need to make a tiny confession. You were already winners before the contest began, and you’ll continue to be winners long after it’s over.

I need to make another confession: I’ve been manipulating you to think that I am “The Keeper of the Words.” And yet, I struggle too–just like you–when faced with a prompt. And today, the cursor blinks patronizingly as I try to answer the prompt instructing me that somehow I must “Say Goodbye.”

I’m older than you, and by extension “wiser,” and I’ve got your captive attention for probably eight more seconds, so allow me a moment to share the thesis that you, your wisdom, and the time we have shared together has helped me to articulate.