My teenager, working in a nursing home, relays nursing lore that bad news comes in threes. Is this true? she asks. I love that she thinks I may have this answer.

It’s not true. Bad news knows no numerical limits.

But braided in with all that bad news are also other things, too – whether confirmation of a longed-for pregnancy or a sunny day’s stillness, a warm bit of reprieve.

You might as well answer the door, my child,
the truth is furiously knocking.

– Lucille Clifton


Storytelling, or What to Learn From a Ten-Year-Old

Smugglers Notch perches high up in Vermont’s Green Mountains, a haven of enormous, tumbled boulders. We hiked up to pristine Sterling Pond, then the children played in the caves at the trail’s origin. On a lichen-covered boulder, high up above the road, my younger daughter claimed her house. She invited me in, and, like any proud householder, showed me the hemlock stoutly growing in the midst of her living room. Out of the rock, she said, this tree grows.

When it comes to storytelling (and it’s all storytelling) I often tell my students that we need to be dumb like animals. Storytelling itself is primal. It’s the way we’ve always come to understand the world around us–whether recited around a campfire, or read aloud in an East Village bar. And so it stands to reason that in order to tell our stories, we tap into something beyond the intellect–an understanding deeper than anything we can willfully engage. Overthink and our minds scramble…. Our minds obscure the light. We second-guess. We become lost in the morass of our limited consciousness.

– Dani Shapiro, Still Writing

Photo by Molly Blume S.

Photo by Molly Blume S.