/mō·jō/ noun 1. a magic charm, talisman, or spell. Heck, I’d add super power to that list. Why not? Somebody inadvertently rattled my cage not long ago when they suggested blogging is obsolete. I saw it float by in a comment thread on one of my social groups on the web. (I believe the precise words were, … Continue reading Memoir: Gettin’ My Mojo On
A few days ago something or other I saw on the telly prompted me to hop onto the web and find out who’s living in my erstwhile home in Tennessee now—whether it’s the same people who bought it at auction in 2012, mere moments before the bank would’ve foreclosed on it, as it turns out. … Continue reading A Christmas Story: Holidays Are Hard
“This is better than Saks Fifth Avenue,” quipped the well-heeled older woman when the two of us bumped elbows examining rustic pottery mixing bowls and honey pots. One look at her and you could tell she’d seen the inside of Saks and probably others of its ilk, and many times. “Anyway,” she went on, “you … Continue reading Nostalgic Story: High-Waisted Trousers and Sensible Boots
“You must know a lot about Southern cooking.” Chef David’s voice came cracking across the miles, over the Green Mountains, through an iffy cellular connection that tied me to him, from the Upper Valley all the way down to the Southwest corner of the state. I barely knew him at the time, but we clocked … Continue reading A Food Memory: Do You Cook with Your Kids?
“Are those…baked beans…on my kitchen ceiling, Grandmother?” It was my mom’s perturbed voice. You could also tell when she was perturbed by how she called somebody. Granny Grace—my great grandmother—was always just Granny, or maybe occasionally Gracie, but ‘Grandmother’ was the moniker mom used when Gracie did something vexing. Come to think of it, Gracie … Continue reading Family Story: Baked Beans on the Ceiling
I stood in my friend Jane’s big, open kitchen in Knoxville one morning nearly a decade ago gazing upward at a particular skylight over the adjacent living area. Several other friends stood there with me, our hands on our hips and our brows furrowed, trying to get a better look. A moment earlier one of … Continue reading Artifact Story: Found Objects
The woman standing at the front of the classroom never suffers fools gladly. Instead she writes theorems on the green chalkboard rapidly, with her back turned to a roomful of privileged ninth grade girls at this pressure cooker prep school in Memphis, girls poised for success in one venue or another. She is lean, a … Continue reading The Boldness of Eccentricity: A Remembrance
Life promises nothing. And everything. An earnest young man named Tristan called me Wednesday night on behalf of the University of Tennessee’s Arts and Sciences Annual Telefund, he said. I found a mailer from my alma mater in the P.O. box last week, so I knew this was coming and already planned to give. Perfect … Continue reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: What Does Your Life Promise?
Knoxville’s downtown Market Square once held an imposing masonry building that served as a center for thriving commerce, including a beloved farmer’s market that purveyed meat, poultry, dairy, produce, and flowers trucked in from the city’s rural outskirts. A 14-year-old boy set it ablaze lighting a cigarette in the late 1950s, goes the story, gutting … Continue reading Hope and the Human Spirit: Postcard from Home
What fresh hell can this be? It is a line sometimes attributed to Shakespeare, but Dorothy Parker said it. Dang Shakespeare. It's one of those quips that sounds so civilized, so much better than any number of other crude things one might choose to say when a situation demands it (wtf comes to mind). I found Dorothy … Continue reading Summer Reading: Some Promising Looking Fresh Hell