Flowers for Kylie Jenner

After I had my daughter, I stopped thinking. There was so much to do—changing diapers, nursing, cleaning pump parts, doing laundry, etc.—that I had no time for it. So, I stopped. I remember realizing I’d stopped thinking somewhere in those muddy first months with my daughter. I felt relieved. It struck me that the problem […]

Read More Flowers for Kylie Jenner

BookMarx

The best place in Springfield, BookMarx, is closing after five years. A locally owned bookstore is an improbable thing, especially in 2019 and especially in a mid-sized city in southwest Missouri. Still, the end of this particular improbable thing strikes me as incredibly sad. I have no claim to BookMarx. I know the people who […]

Read More BookMarx

Cousins

I have fifteen cousins and I like them all. I don’t mean to brag, but it’s true. I am rich with cousins, the best kind of family member. Cousins ask so little of me, but give me so much. I feel nothing but pity for those people with no cousins. As a kid, my cousins […]

Read More Cousins

The Moon and The Little Red Hen

Last spring my daughter brought home The Little Red Hen from school.  This is the story about the hen who plants the wheat, grows the wheat, cuts the wheat, grinds it into flour, makes it into bread, all without her lazy friends’ help.  When the bread is fresh from the oven, the hen asks who will help […]

Read More The Moon and The Little Red Hen

Debate

When I was in high school I was a national champion of a certain kind of debate called public forum. I’ve never known how to say that in a way that doesn’t seem weird and boastful, and so I haven’t said much of anything about it in the sixteen years since it happened. I started […]

Read More Debate

Settling In

I used to be a runner. I ran all through high school and college. In my early twenties I ran several half marathons and one marathon. During marathon training I injured my knee but ran the race anyway. Even after a year of physical therapy, my knee was never really the same and it bothers […]

Read More Settling In

New Headaches, Old Dream

I’ve been having a new kind of headache. It originates from behind my eyes and gives me a strange woozy feeling. It is more dizziness than pain. Its most distinctive feature is that it is worse when I look at screens, especially small ones. When I have this headache, I can stand to look at […]

Read More New Headaches, Old Dream

The Hierophant

My side project this summer has been ghostwriting a local man’s memoir. His life is interesting, and it feels worthwhile to help him tell his story. It also makes me wish that more strangers invited me into their homes and told me personal details about their lives. In one of our interviews, the man mentioned […]

Read More The Hierophant

Everyone Must Stand Alone

My college had a tradition: whenever you heard the Madonna song “Like a Prayer,” you had to take your shirt off. The tradition started many years before I attended college, and its origins were murky when I was there. Even so, “Like a Prayer” was a staple of college party playlists. I was mostly friendless […]

Read More Everyone Must Stand Alone

Ozark Mountain Springtime

I worked on a grant this spring about vocational discernment. Vocation is often used in a religious context, but in secular higher education vocation can be understood as “meaning and purpose.” How does higher education help a student identify an academic and career pathway that adds meaning and purpose to his or her life? In […]

Read More Ozark Mountain Springtime