Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up

Drinking, Writing, and Self-Discovery

More than a year ago, I participated in a Q&A over at the Drinking Diaries website, which is a forum for women to share, vent, express, and discuss their drinking stories without judgment. It was a fun experience and many wonderful comments came through, plus a couple people bluntly said they didn’t want to know the […]

Writer's Digest & HOW Books team photo

Love Letter to Cincinnati (#4)

It will be hard to think back on Cincinnati without thinking about F+W, the whole reason I moved to the city in the first place. It was a promising and lucky career start, even though I wanted to leave the company— and city—initially. I had dreams of joining Peace Corps or teaching English in Korea. […]

Jane in Cincinnati (Mt. Adams neighborhood), 1999

Love Letter to Cincinnati (#2)

Note: Read the first installment in this series. After I graduated college, I packed up my 1985 Ford Thunderbird with all my belongings and drove to Cincinnati to start my job with F+W Publications. I didn’t know anyone in the city except my boss, Greg. He served as my only anchor for many months, so much so […]

Reading Notebook #33: Enlightenment (and Love) Taste of Freedom

From “How to Know It’s Real Love” by Martha Beck, in Oprah magazine. Buddha once said that just as we can know the ocean because it always tastes of salt, we can recognize enlightenment because it always tastes of freedom. There’s no essential difference between real love and enlightenment. While many people see commitment as […]

Reading Notebook #33: Marriage Is About Solitude

I have my friend Nath to thank for this, who sent me a book in the mail with no note, only passages highlighted. From Rilke On Love and Other Difficulties: I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. […]

Reading Notebook #32: Happiness Is About How We Intertwine

From “Social Animal” by David Brooks (The New Yorker, January 17, 2011) I guess I used to think of myself as a lone agent, who made certain choices and established certain alliances with colleagues and friends. Now, though, I see things differently. I believe we inherit a great river of knowledge, a flow of patterns […]

Solitude by Anthony Storr

Reading Notebook #28: Happiness Without Close Relationships

From Solitude by Anthony Storr: Many fortunate people do make intimate relationships which continue until death, and which constitute their major source of happiness. But even the closest relationship is bound to have flaws and disadvantages, and it is often because people do not accept this that they are more unhappy than they need to be, […]

Solitude by Anthony Storr

Reading Notebook #24: Our Life at the Office Is (In Fact) Important

From Solitude by Anthony Storr: Human beings need a sense of being part of a larger community than that constituted by the family. The modern assumption that intimate relationships are essential to personal fulfillment tends to make us neglect the significance of relationships which are not so intimate. … The fact that a man is […]

I Heart Social Media

The Pure Heart and Pure Superficiality of Social Media

One of the classes I’m teaching at CCM requires me to study up on the history and practice of public relations. I’m not exactly a stranger to the profession. I worked for a major media company that has always employed publicists. I’ve written press releases. I count publicists and PR folks among my friends, right? […]

Reading Notebook #22: Love, Grief, & Letting Go

From “A Cruel Country” [excerpts from Roland Barthes’ journals after his mother’s death] in The New Yorker (September 13, 2010): [Intro] Those who love Barthes are reminded, by his writing, of what true intimacy entails: supreme attunement alternating with bewildered estrangement. Instability—the instability of meaning, in particular—is his constant theme.  … In these excerpts, grief […]

Do Pain and Struggle Constitute a Fundamental Part of Love?

Artwork by Tonia Davenport—from her wonderful series “B&W and Red All Over” A while back, I read this relationship break-up anecdote at Galleycat, from a poetry-devoted reader: The book was a collection of love poems by William Carlos Williams. The poem was “Asphodel, that Greeny Flower.” And the specific line of the poem over which we […]