"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" —The Wizard of Oz More than once somebody I hold in high esteem has openly conceded self-doubt. I don’t know why this should come as a surprise: smart, accomplished people are human, after all. One memorable occasion stands out. Near the end of my undergraduate studies … Continue reading Impostor Story: When Self-Doubt Comes Calling
Is there any time better for derailing a self-proclaimed control freak than the holidays? I mean the Christmas holidays, and not the beachy summer vacation I’ve been coveting since we had our first cold snap, and forget about poetic hoary frost: I’m talking single digits, when the deck boards outside our back door explode as … Continue reading Journal Entry: Confessions of a Christmas Control Freak
When your mom is a ballerina, and other members of your family’s network—friends and other relatives—are involved in ballet or other performing arts, people expect you will go down that road, too: it’s only natural. My earliest memories are attached to ballet mainly, and they are powerful and sensorial: I can’t smell rosin or walk … Continue reading Equivocating My Way Through Life
The fall has come not a moment too soon, some might say. Peter Martins stepped down as Ballet Master in Chief at New York City Ballet last week after allegations of sexual harassment and the verbal and physical abuse of company members, reported the New York Times. This is not the first time he has … Continue reading Falling from Grace: Ballet Has a Reckoning
If an alien visited earth and happened to tune in to any public radio station in America he might get the impression we’re building Utopia somewhere. The adverts for the corporate and foundation sponsors promise all kinds of rainbows and unicorns—equality for all, an end to hunger, obliterating disease everywhere, stamping out global violence, et … Continue reading Rainbows and Unicorns: Trolling for Utopia
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?
About a year or so ago my sister-in-law back ‘home’ in Tennessee observed an endearing habit in my brother. From an adjoining room she could hear him plunking out something on a computer keyboard. Only he was not typing the way somebody, you know, normal, would: his technique was more like firing off a weapon … Continue reading Literary Devices
Live your life, live your life, live your life.—Maurice Sendak It’s Mother’s Day, a Hallmark-y holiday. Flowers will be dispensed, brunches eaten, and everywhere priests will stand at the pulpit and spin out sermons on the importance of mothers for the umpteenth time; they’ll repeat them next month but insert the word “fathers.” I had … Continue reading Live Your Life: A Mother’s Reflection
Some forty years after its publication Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia is still considered a pivotal and authoritative piece of travel writing about this 400,000-square-mile South American region. Ferdinand Magellan called the tall aboriginals he encountered there Patagones after a mythic character, it is rumored, hence its name. Straddling two countries and claiming most of a … Continue reading Idling in Vermont
Scout was mainly charming at work all last week, save his single throaty warning growl misdirected at the company CEO. He was walking towards us with a scary cardboard box, though, so you can imagine. Still, Scout was patient through long hours of copy writing and editing, and for that he was rewarded with a romp—the second in … Continue reading Oh, Just. Let. Me.