My disrespect for philosophy and why

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“Once again, therefore, we see how convention, the act of measurement and description, populates the world with those ghosts we call entities and things. So hypnotic, so persuasive is the power of convention that we begin to see these ghosts as realities, and make of them our loves, our ideals, our prized possessions.”

Don’t underestimate the power of this simple process

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The very prolific novelist and essayist Somerset Maugham wrote every day at the same time. He didn’t have the luxury of an automated word count feature to track his writing so he used an alarm clock. When his allotted time was up, he would stop where he was, even if he was in mid-sentence. Though it sounds obsessive, to me it shows enormous confidence in both his ability to resume, and in his ability to reconnect with the muse.

One of my favorite features in Google Docs is the ability to see a running word count. Unfortunately this feature only…

When pressed on their personal vaccination status, they change the subject

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A survey of Republican politicians in Congress by CNN today confirms a ‘secret’ that these people won’t talk about. They are nearly all vaccinated. These people are heartless but they have a preservation instinct. Like most of us, they actually want to live. Their fearless leader, who cowers in his cheeseball palace in Florida, really did not want people to know he was vaccinated. He was.

This is infuriating and unbelievably cynical. They pander to the crazies they think are their base but they’re not crazy enough to actually believe the crap they dish out. …

The shining city on a hill is boring

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The title of this piece is shamelessly borrowed from today’s podcast transcript of a Tim Ferriss interview with Anne Lamott, the writer’s writer (if you write, and you have not read Bird by Bird, stop reading and get that book). In it she describes all her books as shantytowns.

Do you know what a shantytown is? Picture those refugee camps on the news with their shelters pieced together from whatever materials the inhabitants could find, no matter how flimsy. Because some shelter, any shelter is better than none. That’s a pretty good description of how you assemble a book. First…

Why do we even know his name?

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“How can you possibly write anything when you can’t concentrate? That’s pretty much all writers do: take the blooming multiplicity of the world and our experience of it, literally concentrate it down to manageable proportions, and then force it through the eye of a grammatical needle one word at a time.”

Michael Pollan, This is Your Life On Plants

Reading Pollan’s new book, in which he covers the influence of three plant-based substances: opiates, caffeine, and mescaline, I am struck by the ease of the writing. It is both personal and fluid, informative and compelling. The quote above, from his…

A hard lesson on the meaning of compassion

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It’s easy to get angry about willful ignorance. And then on to vengeful or worse, indifferent. This is the paradox we face when confronting selfishness on a massive scale, a deadly scale.

At this week’s Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference, attendees cheered the failure of the Biden administration to reach its goal of 70% vaccination by July 4th (they actually came pretty close with the adult population). Fauci was incredulous at the absolute craziness of that.

And I’m hearing people start to say let them infect each other if they are unwilling to confront reality. But I have a…

The crazy weather everywhere is now normal, and you need a plan

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It’s all a bit much; the pandemic, the politics, the divisiveness, and the injustice that all surfaced in 2020 and continues in 2021. But, as crazy as this sounds, all those things were nothing compared to the real crisis going on everywhere with the changing weather. And that crisis is now daily reality.

I live in Western NY, an area of the country less susceptible than most to extremes in heat, cold, drought, fires, and storms. But we still had the hottest June on record, as did the rest of the country. But there were some odd patterns going on…

Though he is right up there

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It pains me to write these words, given that 400,000 Americans died on his watch, many preventable if we had a White House that actually cared. This is an important point to make before I get into the logic of my title.

Trump was threatened personally and politically by the rise of the pandemic, so he attempted to suppress the science and gaslight his followers into thinking masking and other restrictions were somehow impacting their ‘freedom’. A lot of them died as a result, something the hardcore trumpies cannot admit.

Add in the systematic undoing of environmental protections during the…

It’s the Catch 22 of writing

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To become a good writer, as defined by one who gets read and appreciated, trying too hard won’t work. It’s a paradox: we need to do a lot of practicing to write what seems effortless and not worked on. I know that writing seems really hard to a lot of people.

I’ve watched a close friend, who is a professor and teaches future teachers, labor over a recommendation letter for hours. Unnecessarily, because her writing is fine, but she cannot let it flow without constantly second guessing everything about it. …

What I’ve learned about myself in the process

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Somewhere around 2013 I learned about this site and for the hell of it wrote a piece and published it. They did not have the Partners Program, which turned out to be a reason why I did not pursue writing more here. I was working in senior management at a small software company and doing a ton of writing at work. And I had my first novel in progress.

More writing was not on my mind.

Several years later, in 2017, Medium got back on my radar. I felt a need to write what was in my head, ideas and…


Former software marketer. Former musician. Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!

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