Like Bob Dylan, I Feel a Change Coming On

You can see it up here on Signal Mountain: the times are changing. The leaves have turned from orange and red and gold banners into a brown carpet. We’ve already had night temps dip below freezing, so the moths no longer mob the front light. The blue-tailed skinks lurking around the door or skittering up the […]

It’s the Forest, Not the Trees

Author Rebecca T. Dickson stated, “Good writing is detailed.” In one of my creative writing classes, we always took ten minutes at the beginning of the period to close our eyes, sit quietly, and listen, imagining what might be happening and envisioning scenes, incorporating what we were hearing, perhaps even smelling, then putting it on […]

Attack of the Unseen Evil

September threw itself at our household with hurricane strength. While the wind and rain trashed Haiti and the U.S.’s lower southeast, evil peppered  my New Orleans home in the form of my mother’s surprise cancer diagnosis, my uncle’s death, and a ratcheting up of tantrums from my children that makes me consider constructing a panic […]

“A Most Savage Plague”: A Brief Encounter with Literary Envy

In Book Two of Metamorphoses, the Roman poet Ovid takes his readers to a cave, “filthy with black gore,” where the demigod Envy lives in a sunless valley. Envy herself has teeth “foul with mould” and venom dripping from her tongue. “She gnaws and is gnawed,” Ovid says, “herself her own punishment.” Centuries later the Dutch […]

Writ Large

For a couple years, my Baube was the best large print books library patron in Western Washington. Books took flight from locations all across King County and converged at Bellevue’s Lake Hills branch for retrieval by my father. Baube is Yiddish for grandmother, and Yiddish, as for other Jewish people of a certain age, is […]

Good News: Paulette Jiles’s Latest Novel, News of the World

This is my favorite photo of myself. It was Christmas. I was two years old, clutching my teddy bear and wearing my cowgirl outfit. You can’t tell, but the boots were red, and I wore them everywhere. Later, I acquired a coonskin cap, just like Davy—Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. Back then I […]

Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries: Delectable History through Southern Regional Food

About this time, the editor, who is spending a total of three weeks in Morocco, is probably sick and tired of Moroccan food and is yearning, yes, licking her lips over the prospect of returning home to the South and eating a great big bowl of grits. Seems like a good time to revisit this […]