Creative Nonfiction

Searching for Mahalo

Published by GFT Press, Spring 2017, print

The water is warm. I swim out past the breakers and let the swells take me in their rise and fall. And every time they pick me up and put me down, I laugh just for the joy of it. I laugh because all is well and beauty wins and love is everything. And I am very in the present.

But why is getting to that place—that moment of just joyfully being—so hard? Over and over I have asked myself this: Is restlessness a form of seeking, or is it the inability to be content?

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The Web

Published by Rock and Sling, Spring 2017, print

A lock on the door means the power to think for oneself. —Virginia Woolf

“You’re going to vote for a Democrat?” my husband almost shouted. We were standing on the porch, having just come home from church. Dan’s hand had frozen in mid-reach for the screen door.

“I can’t believe it!” he said. “If you do that, we’ll just cancel each other out. Then what’s the point in either of us voting at all?”

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The Nature of Fear

Published by GFT Press, Spring 2016, print

“Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause within our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace.”

—Terry Tempest Williams

I was hiking alone one summer afternoon on a remote path high up on North Mountain in West Virginia when I suddenly heard a crash overhead. I stopped and looked up, thinking it was a group of turkey vultures or maybe even a bald eagle disturbed from his roost. But instead of birds flying away from me, something large and black was falling towards me. It landed with a thump on the trail right in front of me.

Read the rest of the essay here.


An Outsider’s View of Guns and the Men Who Shoot Them

Published in the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, June 2014, online

My daughter, born and raised in Virginia, had already sided with Robert E. Lee by the time she was five. Maybe it was all those Civil War reenactments we enjoyed over the years. Or perhaps it was all those conversations we had, where I tried to present a balanced view of states rights vs. federal jurisdiction, that pushed her toward feeling that, like Lee, Virginia and its values was not just her state, but her country.

My son, also southern bred, seemed to enlarge his libertarian views with every inch of his growing height. Man Day—where he and his twenty-something buddies drink beer, smoke cigars, and shoot targets on the private property of an apple orchard, is now a long-standing tradition. The right to make choices for themselves is something my son and his friends feel very strongly about.

Unlike my children, I am not native to the south.

To read the rest of this essay, please follow the link below:

An Outsider’s View of Guns


The Question of Pigs

Published in the Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, March 2013, online

Like most little girls, I loved Wilbur the Pig in the book, Charlotte’s Web and cried when I read of his victory over slaughter. But even then, at eight years old, my mind was asking questions. Are humans different from animals? If so, how? The power that fictitious pig had over me was a human one. Wilbur could speak. He had a mind and emotions just like mine. To me, Wilbur had become a person.

But was he? In reality, are pigs or goats or chickens or dogs people? Or is there a fundamental difference between humans and animals?

To read the rest of this essay, please follow the link below:

The Question of Pigs


 Daniel

Published in the Summerset Review, March 15 2012, online


I walk to the mailbox wishing I would find one last letter from my brother. Instead I pull out a small package. The handwriting on the outside is not one I recognize. But when I unwrap the box, its contents reveal a story that forces more questions than it offers answers. And I wonder how different the ending would have been if we had all made better choices.

To read the rest of this story, please follow the link below:

Daniel

 

 

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