Selected Essays

“The Necklace Lady”
thirdAge, April 2018

“At least once a week, and more during the summer, I wear the turquoise bead necklace that my friend Jutta made me over ten years ago. Like Jutta, the necklace is beautiful and exotic, its beads brought back from Kenya, where her youngest spends her summers, studying chimpanzees. So the bead supply is ongoing.” Read more…

“Fix-it Fantasy”
Persimmon Tree, December 2017

“When you’re married for fifty years to a man who fancies himself Mr. Fix-it, you don’t learn how to hang pictures, unclog dehumidifiers, or replace toilet seats. So when, after a weekend of guests that included two uber-bathroom-going toddlers, you discover that your toilet seats now roll like ships on high sea, you need to do something.” Read more…

“Why of All the Stories I Can Tell?”
ASSAY Journal, November 2017

“Whenever I write about something I’ve written about before, I ask myself, “Why, of all the stories I can tell, am I mentioning this one again?” Will it lead to a discovery, maybe an epiphany or two? Or is the repetition just a crutch of convenience that will make readers who know my work say, “What, again?” The challenge is deciding which stories are worth reentering and which I need to let go.” Read more…

“Lessons From a Last Day”
Pangyrus, March 2017

“My husband’s living will is in his backpack when he checks into the little New England hospital near the lake house where we stay every summer. Not that we are worried. Stu has had mild pneumonia twice before, a side effect of a weakened heart. The slight fever of the night before didn’t stop him from playing Mexican Train with our granddaughter Sara, the white-tiled dominoes standing and falling with their double laughter, her delight being his.” Read more…

“Telling the Truth that Matters”
Arts & Letters, Journal of Contemporary Culture, 2008

“When creative nonfiction writers tell a story more than one way, readers get suspicious. ‘Well, which is true?’ they ask, as if you’ve betrayed nonfiction and ‘creative’ really means fiction. Not so if you are Edouard Manet, I decided at the Museum of Modern Art, standing before his three giant paintings of the execution of the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico in 1867. Each canvas included a firing squad, rifles taking aim, and one man looking away, but other ‘facts’ and the mood they evoked kept changing.” Read more…

“The Power of The Cap”
Brevity, Fall 1999

“I used to drive defensively through thirty miles of back roads on my way to work. In a land of pick-up trucks and long-finned, rusty Cadillacs, if I overtook, or tailgated, or flicked my brights too often, I could get the finger. Or an angry male might speed up, so I couldn’t pass in time to avoid an oncoming car without braking hard into retreat–or heading for the graveled shoulder.” Read more…