Over the River

Claire doesn’t think much of those kids. That much was evident even before I met her, and it’s plain to the kids, too. I imagine Tank-Top lady telling the girl after their visit, “Grandma Claire wasn’t feeling well today,” but she’s old enough to know better.  “Grandma just isn’t an affectionate person,” Tank-Top probably insists to the boy while he stares at the television and nods his head to her, silently wondering if his mom is really that clueless about Grandma’s obvious Read more [...]

Portland Bridge Stories (Live!)

I was privileged to tell a couple of stories at Kick Ass Oregon History's Boom Boom Dynamo Show on July 17. Audio files of the two stories -- "How I was Almost Killed Crossing the Burnside Bridge" and "How I Didn't Walk to the Center of the St. Johns Bridge" -- appear below, along with a brief video snippet from "How I was Almost Killed Crossing the Burnside Bridge" and a few photos. Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the fun! Please note that these stories are not suitable for work. It's Read more [...]

100 Word Story: The Chair

(100WordStory.org, a wonderful very-short-fiction site, encourages readers to write a story based on a photo prompt. I am pleased to be one of the featured stories on their latest photograph. I've posted my story below; read all four featured posts here.)  When we piled stones in the courtyard, the soldiers kicked them down. We planted flowers, the soldiers ripped them out. Monuments are forbidden. Monuments are memories, and that’s what the soldiers want to destroy—the past. One night Read more [...]

140 Characters in Creative Nonfiction Magazine

I enjoy writing creative nonfiction tweets on Twitter (the hashtag #cnftweet is used by many writers, including me) and I am excited that one of my tweets was included in the print issue of Creative Nonfiction magazine. (One of 24 tweets on the theme of sustainability in issue #51.) Since it's a print only magazine, I am posting an image of the magazine here. Read more [...]


“Did you hear me, Jack?” I asked loudly. “I’m not deaf, Ed,” Jack yelled, though I suspected he was referring to my question, not to the news I had shared just before that. I smiled and nodded. I could have apologized, but he wouldn’t have heard me. If you believed Jack (I hadn’t made up my mind yet), he actually heard everything perfectly well, but all at the same volume, so if you talked to him while a record spun on the turntable and bacon fried on the stove, the three sounds Read more [...]

Here’s My Card

(This true story first appeared at the wonderful TriMetDiaries.com.) I wear glasses . . . except I don’t actually wear my glasses. They fine tune my vision, but things within 10 feet are mostly clear without them, so I don’t wear them. What this means on the bus is that if I’m scanning to see if anyone I know is aboard, I have to focus for a second or two on each face, and that means I make a lot of eye contact. Being a friendly sort, this is fine with me, and usually, people I don’t Read more [...]


They say you can’t capture the Grand Canyon in a picture. A photograph puts borders on something boundless, puts edges on the infinite. You may take a beautiful photo of the Grand Canyon, but it will never contain the everything that’s just outside the viewfinder. What a photograph can do is trigger a small, controlled detonation in your memory that shakes loose the sensual experience that accompanied the click of the shutter. In the case of the Grand Canyon, the searing heat of the Arizona Read more [...]
November 30, 2013Permalink 2 Comments

Dinner Plans

  My guess is her parents liked knocking boots to Fleetwood Mac. They probably say her name was inspired by a Welsh legend or queen of something, but that’s just revisionist history made up by aging hippies who don’t want to be seen as having once been deeply entwined with popular culture. Not that I've met her parents, but knowing Rhiannon, I bet that’s true. Rhiannon thinks everything that’s popular is bad. I’ve never really understood that attitude. Obviously, the two overlap sometimes Read more [...]

Stating the Obvious

  He knew something was wrong. He just didn’t know what. Unfortunately, figuring out the what has never been one of his strong suits. Lucy certainly had seemed happy with the ring, which was good, because he’d taken the jewelry store radio advertisement’s advice that he should spend two months salary on her ring, a feat that would have been easier if he’d somehow been able to stop paying for food and rent and electricity for those same two months. She seemed to be happy with the people Read more [...]