Welcome to the Forest – A Bird’s Eye View

Hello.  This is a collection of my writing starting from the summer of 2011 when I decided to begin a blog and see what happened.  At first, I wasn’t sure what form my blog would take, if anyone would read it, if I’d be able to host lively discussions, or what else would come up.  I had vague thoughts of writing about physics, teaching, science literacy, and education systems in the US and the UK.  Those thoughts remain vague. What arose instead were stories, essays, and poems that I didn’t expect.   They vary in length from 30 to 3000 words, in locale from New Mexico, to Seattle, to NYC, to Cambridge, England and many places in between.   Some take place in the unmappable, yet distinct landscape of childhood.

If you’ve found yourself under my tree and fancy a rest in the shade before moving on, take a look around.  Page through, maybe you’ll find a picture of yourself or a loved one.  There could be a memory you dropped in the street, years ago, that I picked up, dusted off, and put in a treasure box.   You might hear scraps of an old conversation that entered my eavesdropping ears and came out through my tell-tale pen.   Perhaps you’ll find yourself humming a song you once knew all the words to.  Or maybe none of the stories will evoke ghosts, and you can take refuge in the unfamiliar, as we all need to, from time to time.

I’ve listed the posts below in approximate chronological order, but each is self-contained (except for the basketball ones, which I’ve grouped together).  Beyond being siblings, they aren’t necessarily related.

  1. My Muse – Why I write.
  2. One Foot After the Other – Running is like writing: each footstep another word.
  3. Strongly Held Beliefs – Or maybe not so strongly held, after all.
  4. Sunrise – A memory that I hold in my pocket like a polished stone.
  5. Conscientious Objector – Why I am tone-deaf to the mommy wars.
  6. Train of Thought – A copy-change poem from David St. John’s ‘Until the Sea is Dead.’
  7. Memory Slip – A memory that resides in Debussy’s piano music and creaky wooden floors.
  8. The Peasant Wedding  – P. Bruegel the Elder, 1568 – Just about 1000 words for a favourite painting.
  9. Lullaby – Another copy change poem, inspired by David St. John’s  poem ‘Hush.’
  10. The Thomas Trials – About my daughter.  I want to be just like her when I grow up.
  11. Overheard – I really did overhear this conversation.  I’m not sure what to make of it.
  12. Spade and Bucket Territory – What’s a British summer without a seaside holiday?
  13. Shishi Odoshi – About Japanese fountains, wells, wild pigs, and writing.
  14. Diving Board – A summer poem.  Somehow, I frequent the edge of diving boards, regardless of the season.
  15. At Sixes and Sevens – About my son, his friend, and their combined 13 years of wisdom.
  16. Sleight of Hand – An end of summer poem.
  17. Verdi Requiem, King’s College Chapel, Cambridge – If you look at this, listen to the clips.  The words serve at the pleasure of the music.
  18. The Night Ball Players v.1, The Night Ball Players v.2, The Night Ball Players, v.3 – Getting a little bit revisionist in my histories.  These posts might make you hungry for Texas Pecan Fudge Pie.
  19. Epilogue  
  20. Space Between the Branches – Now that the leaves are down, it’s clear enough to write again.
  21. Shift – Audience, community, and changing perspective.
  22. Stable and Unstable Equilibrium – It has graphs.  I can’t help it!
  23. Sensei Lee – Superheroes, mine and my son’s.
  24. A few notable things about 2011 – highlights from an important year.
  25. Pace and Trust – Two words to shape 2012.
  26. Honey – Originally written as a Christmas present for my parents, 2011.
  27. Tea and Sympathy – Part of Amber Strocel’s on-line tea party.
  28. Showing Up – The hard work of the long run, the musical etude, the rough rough draft.
  29. Half Full – My tree!  I’ve found a picture of my tree!
  30. All About Lenny – Tanglewood, Bernstein, and some impressive trumpet twirling!
  31. The Point – A poem written in 1999 and revisited periodically since.
  32. Procrastination and Gardens – More about Leonard Bernstein, and making my garden grow.
  33. Spring Cleaning – Clearing spaces for new adventures.  We are now a buggy-free household.
  34. Postcards from the Web – Links and clips from this week’s travels on the web.
  35. Friday Ramble – bits and bobs, from Candide to Casals, from pirate ships to castles in the air.
  36. Swimming in the Deep End – On teaching, learning, diving and floating.
  37. The Speed of Enlightenment – On trailblazing, stumbling, mucking about, and learning.
  38. Teaching, learning, and exams – can’t they all just get along? – This might be the post that I’ve been wanting to write since I started the blog a year ago.
  39. Intuition – A revision of a previous post.  An evening in NYC – the jazz club was real, the decor, my invention.
  40. Writing Towards Home – My current (April 2012) version of an answer to the question: Why write?
  41. Postcard from Venice – I have fallen in new love with an old city.
  42. puddle-wonderful – Nothing, not even a broken collarbone, has such a big heart as my daughter.
  43. Leaves and Twigs – Clearing space for the new means releasing the old.
  44. Virtual Chocolate Buttons – Some delightful links in celebration of my daughter’s 5th birthday.
  45. Staring Down the Inner Critic – Gatekeeper, Bored Aesthete, School Girl, Gargoyle: look me in the eye.  I dare you.
  46. Upping the Ante – I’ve always written in the background.  Now I’m bringing it to the foreground.
  47. By Any Other Name – I needed the fiction of a pen name to write from an honest place.
  48. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head – But that doesn’t mean there’s only one word to describe it.
  49. Jumping – A memory of and an homage to a time and place from my adolescence.
  50. Believe Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast – It’s funny the way things circle around and come together in unexpected, even impossible, combinations.
  51. Waking – a poem and a photo.  Not so many words, but each one intentional.
  52. In the Hills Above Vernazza, Italy – Thirteen years ago to the day, I might, just might, be starting to be able to explain why I love this memory.
  53. Five for Friday –
  54. Not on Any Dated Calendar Day
  55. 7.5
  56. Ink
  57. Postcards from India – week 1
  58. Postcards from India – week 2
  59. Thoughts on a September Afternoon – Scarecrows and the blank page.
  60. Oh, the blackberries! – Collecting blackberries among the brambles, diamonds in the rough, and words.
  61. Unlikely Garden – W
  62. Competitiveness – what’s your stance?
  63. That busy season called life

What did you discover? Please share thoughts, links, comments below.

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