Exercises from a Writing Workshop

by Sarabeth

Inspired by the words "Sweet Sixteen" and the colors on paint swatches: "acorn squash," "summer squash," "Beach Ball Yellow," "Optimistic Yellow," "Daffodil," "Decisive Yellow" and "Cheerful"


I've always wanted to write a sort of retrospective memoir, one of those "Back when I was Sweet Sixteen"-kinds of pieces that evoke honeysuckle evenings and vacations by the boardwalk near the sea.

The Micro Is Macro - or, When Tiny Things Are Devastating

Dear Family,

"There is only one thing people like that is good for them: a good night's sleep."
--E. W. Howe



“I broke my rubber band...an' now I can do so much cool stuff with it.”

“When you say, 'Do you want your hat, Jem?', you're REALLY saying, 'You should wear your hat.'”

“It's nice, looking at a baby and watching it seeing you and smiling.”

Discussing preferences with our neighbor, after listening to all the other kids describe the activities they did and didn't enjoy: “...I like _whatever_ happens.”



New Resident at Our House

Dear Family and Friends,

Generally it's not clear to me where Time goes, all things considered.

And then comes a day like June 17th, during which the earth is obviously still spinning but suddenly there's some kind of vivid, punctuating event. And just then, as Calvin might say, things go KA-POW! In that moment it's like Time officially stands still.

Our new baby girl was born early on Father's Day morning. At 7:32am: KA-POW!

--Eliza Ruth was born at home into a loving circle of friends and midwives; Ben and Jem made it into the room about three seconds after she came out.

Mary Pipher, and Why Lately I'm Sitting a Lot

Dear Family,

“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad--and that is my religion.”
--Abe Lincoln



“I know I'm counting right for 'one, two, three, four, five, six, seven'...but after I say 'ten, eleven' I _don't_ know if I'm saying it right!”

“Will hairs grow out of my armpit? Because I don't want them to.”

On a walk in the woods: “Don't worry about me! I'm in charge! Follow me...What we are, is, we're looking for a place to smash this [hickory] nut. ...I'll show you my three-head dandelion! ...I'm tired--not my body part, but my legs.”

Does Your Libido Need a Higher-Cholesterol Diet?? ...And other Fascinating Articles This Winter


“One of the most striking things I’ve discovered while researching food and health issues over the past few years is how often strong personalities (usually males with a fervent belief system and either money or political power) drastically change what we think is healthy to eat. Science refuting belief is ignored, obfuscated, or denied. And, when industry becomes involved, the changes are permanently cemented into cultural truth. Such is the case with our current practice of overeating fiber...”


Some Fascinating Facts about Thyroids

I just listened to a fascinating podcast about (come on, what did you think?) thyroids. And I took notes, which you will find below.

A Haiku for Ben Starling

Today's your birthday!
Now you're officially Eight.
We love you so much!

Your Mama

Guess What?!

Dear Family,

A Grand Adventure is about to begin.
--Winnie The Pooh


Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.
--E.B. White


Babies are such a nice way to start people.
--Don Herrold


Having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit.
--Bill Cosby



Some Truths about Gratitude

Dear Family,

This is only part of an update, and much more is forthcoming--please stay tuned! Meanwhile, in the midst of this Judeo-Christian Holiday Season, I offer you the following thoughts (not only my own) concerning Gratitude.


Hydrofracking and Other Personal Politics

Dear Family,

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage--to move in the opposite direction.”

—Albert Einstein



“It's hard to think when you're frustrated.”

“Can you make my pants un-side in?”

“I made the purple one by _squeezing_ [the pipe cleaner]--I wanted to make a tyrannosaurus rex, but then it turned into a snowman, and then it turned into a People-Boat."

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