My family has traditionally traveled a couple times a year to be with my mother’s family, just north of Pittsburgh. Our gathering place was originally my grandparents’ home: several acres of magnificent rural land that is still so vivid to me now. My mother had four siblings, and in addition to my own four siblings and me, one of my aunts also had five kids who were close to us in age. These cousins have often felt like a second set of siblings. We all ran amok all over that land, but my main partners-in-crime were Shane and an older female cousin ours. Shane was never afraid to get dirty or wet, and Samara and I would at least follow, if not embrace, his lead.
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’”
I loved sitting down with my friends and podcasting veterans, Chris Koslowski and Justin Brouckaert, to talk about the recent Association of Writers & Writers Programs (AWP) Conference in Minneapolis. Have a listen (here) for tips, highlights, faux pas, etc. Several shout-outs included!
I recently wrote about how one of my hopes for 2015 is that I will move slower through life. You know, be less busy and more present to relationships and how I feel. I’ve learned that I have several behavioral patterns that tip me off that I am moving too quickly. Most of these things only take a couple minutes, and yet, I neglect them or by doing whatever it is I am neglecting myself. Which means now I get to practice paying attention to these things and intentionally going against the grain of my instinct in order to slow myself down. Maybe you can relate:
A few days ago, I noticed that Carine McCandless — sister of Chris from the book and film, Into the Wild — has written a memoir, The Wild Truth. She certainly has a story to tell, and oh how my heart goes out to her all these years later. I hope I get to read the book. From a couple reviews, it looks as if Carine looks back to her family system for some of the roots from which Chris was trying to free himself. It’s possible that Chris’s extreme isolation was just one more tragically-male response to his own trauma. In other words, he was running away from rather than toward something. This only adds to the sadness of the story, even if it is no real surprise.