Category Archives: life

I Remind Myself, in Troubled Times

Have the courage to accept our responsibility and our pain as our starting point. Imagine, seek and honor the most compelling truth of “the other side.” Abandon demeaning speech and belittling thoughts. Forgive others for not being perfect, for not … Continue reading

Posted in being, challenges, character development, civil society, coming back to America, finding your own way, giving is healing, integrity, life, mistakes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It is the Now

Times are dark and uncertain, and how things are going to end isn’t a given. Maybe it doesn’t even matter. It’s the love we share in the now that is everything that matters. Love makes and remakes us. And I believe … Continue reading

Posted in being, challenges, communication, community service, culture shock, faith, giving, giving is healing, goals, helping others, integrity, kindness, learning from others, life, love, never ending story, plan b, power, self-creation, volunteering, volunteerism, what next, what now, youth development | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the Russian Invasion Taught Me

In August 2008, the Russians invaded Georgia. This was not expected. I was there at the time. When the first explosions hit, my friend J texted from the US. “I think there’s a war going on.” “No, no. It’s just a … Continue reading

Posted in death, life, Peace Corps | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Notes of a Fine, Upstanding Citizen

The truth now: have you ever been kicked out of a place? I have twice suffered the ignominy of being escorted from a place, if one does not count evacuating Georgia.  (Which I do not, as I find an invading … Continue reading

Posted in art, life, New York, whatnot | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

One Night in the Midwest

It was a beautiful night, swelling with stars and cricket songs, and I was on the front porch with a glass of red wine. B and I listened to the sounds of the party inside; the raucous music, the jumbled … Continue reading

Posted in Bosnia, history, life | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

War and Peace, a tale of class warfare

I had a Russian teacher once who didn’t much like me.  In her defense, I did not attend class with particular regularity.  In my defense, this was because she had committed two terrible indiscretions, the second being worse than the … Continue reading

Posted in accuracy, books, communication, foreign languages, language, languages, life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

It wasn’t what I was expecting.

Not that I had great expectations.  Mostly, I just expected the same old.  Which I quite love. But instead, as I turned the page of my delicious new book–Holderlin’s Hymns and Fragments–and absent-mindedly looked out the living room window, I … Continue reading

Posted in life, mornings, New York, random info, whatnot | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Developing Characters, or: What Doesn’t Kill You…

The other morning I had a guest over for brunch.  In other words, I had to tidy the apartment.  The problem was that my apartment was already tidy.  This is because I’m writing a book, and writing a book requires … Continue reading

Posted in antagonists, character development, characters, discipline, editing, fiction, finding your own way, first drafts, life, perils of housework, plot development, scenes, writing, writing exercise | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Cold, cold ground…

I remember last winter very well.  I remember how the cold never died; how I never shed my layers, not even indoors.  How I wore all I could to bed.  How my water bottles froze by my bed.  The wind … Continue reading

Posted in appreciating life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Caucasus, challenges, coming back to America, culture shock, Georgia, goals, helping others, life, Marneuli, Republic of Georgia, scenes, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ask, and ye shall receive…

“Excuse me, miss, I don’t want to disturb you,” he said. His eyes were a wide blue, his cheeks covered with stubble.  A man in his mid thirties or forties.  Slovenly and of feeble carriage.  His voice neither deep nor … Continue reading

Posted in helping others, integrity, life, New York, urban instinct, whatnot | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments