• On Writing

    That September Day

       The soft and subtle glow of the sun sits right side of my shoulder. Bumper by bumper, we move at a close and constant pace while I relish the music washing over me. Grateful to not be harried and hurrying homeward,  I turn up the volume and conduct the air while I make the most of the slow wheels, asphalt-wise. The twang of guitar, the soft snare and notes weave together, while a piano taps out a tune as if played by a nimble kitten.  A single voice enters the song, sending me back to a time when my mother sang these very same words. That was a long…

  • Made Things

    Songs/Life

    My brothers are strumming their guitars in my sister’s living room and I’m thinking of the miracle of it all, how our mother loved to sing and each of these men taught themselves to play beautiful music because of that gift and their love for words and song. The miracle is I’m here to witness it, when I think of our collective pasts, the five of us siblings bereft of parents at an early age, fatherless as teenagers, motherless soon after.  We ultimately raised ourselves, me as the big sister and chief Bossy Person and always in charge. My mother worked, we were left alone a lot. Our father gambled,…

  • Made Things

    The Gift

    My mother Helen and I with my son Aaron Christmas 1977 Well, it happened;  I wasn’t sure when the tears would come, but sure as it’s the Christmas season that feeling of happy sadness touched my heart. I blame it on James Taylor singing this song. (Sappy. Cheesy. But true.) Out running errands, turning left into the rainless sunshine cracking through the clouds, there were the familiar lines in a familiar voice, reminding me of long ago.  My heart cracked a little, too.  How my mother loved to sing. Any time, anywhere. Although my mother’s been gone over 30 years I can vividly remember her joining in on a Johnny Mathis tune, her throaty…