This Quarantine Is Brought to You by the Letter S

S is for the Sense I got at the grocery store on the first night that something had shifted in the way we all saw the stripped shelves. S is for last Sunday, when I stood in a church with nearly empty pews and led the psalm from the choir loft, just me and theContinue reading “This Quarantine Is Brought to You by the Letter S”

Which Witch? (Adventures in Grammar #6)

Orange leaves danced through the crisp air, and the harvest moon peeked over the horizon. Witches, warlocks, cats, frogs, and all sorts of creatures gathered in the glen, which was lit by a crackling bonfire. A hush fell over the glen as their judge emerged from his tree and flew to his perch. The sageContinue reading “Which Witch? (Adventures in Grammar #6)”

Raising Voices and Rising Up: A Tale of Verbs and Freedom (Adventures in Grammar #5)

Two brothers, Dash and Dormi, once lived together in Obdura, a peaceful nation where each day passed like every other. Every morning, Dash and Dormi woke at sunrise. They and their neighbors reported to their jobs via assigned buses and security checkpoints. By dusk, everyone went into their homes and slept all night with theContinue reading “Raising Voices and Rising Up: A Tale of Verbs and Freedom (Adventures in Grammar #5)”

Persons Unknown (Adventures in Grammar #4)

Raindrops pelted Elysia’s cloche hat and dark curls as she alighted from the cab, luggage in hand. Nightfall was an hour off, but the dreary March weather had felt like twilight all day, and a broken engagement hadn’t helped. Elysia was supposed to board a late train for her wedding trip tonight, but her would-beContinue reading “Persons Unknown (Adventures in Grammar #4)”

A Tense Process (Adventures in Grammar #3)

Almost nine years ago, my husband David and I bought our first house. A sturdy, brick “kit house,” built in the 1920s in a quiet, blue-collar Pittsburgh neighborhood, our new place had decrepit bathrooms and a semi-finished attic with camouflage-print shag carpeting. We loved it. To be fair, our first house wasn’t the first houseContinue reading “A Tense Process (Adventures in Grammar #3)”

Samson and the Mountain (Adventures in Grammar #2)

This is the story of Samson, a very independent boy. Samson does everything by himself. Even when he really needs the help, he insists on doing everything on his own. “I’ll do it by myself!” he declares, with bright eyes and little fists. Samson loves to climb. He climbs trees, rocks, the doghouse in hisContinue reading “Samson and the Mountain (Adventures in Grammar #2)”

A Tale of Three Sisters (Adventures in Grammar #1)

In a faraway land, there once lived three sisters, each quite lovely and quite contrary. They were always arguing—with passersby and with each other. The youngest sister was called But. Her name was a sore spot; it often made her the rump of jokes. She always crafted quick, clear arguments, but she interjected a lot.Continue reading “A Tale of Three Sisters (Adventures in Grammar #1)”

Sixteen Things to Tell My Sixteen-Year-Old Self

Today is my 32nd birthday, or as I’ve been thinking of it, my “double-sweet-sixteen.” And that’s gotten me thinking about my first sweet sixteen: who I was (and wasn’t), what I knew (and didn’t), and what I would tell myself if I could go back to February 2002. With that as inspiration, I’d like toContinue reading “Sixteen Things to Tell My Sixteen-Year-Old Self”

The Importance of “Show, Don’t Tell”

Three Sundays ago, I had the pleasure of attending a writers’ retreat. One of the workshops there focused on the concept of “show, don’t tell,” one of the bedrock principles of effective writing. “Show, don’t tell” means that a writer should describe characters and actions in ways that draw readers into the moment. A writerContinue reading “The Importance of “Show, Don’t Tell””