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I want to be a novelist.

It was March 13th, 2020. Remember? Sure you do. We all do.

A man kissing a young, smiling child on the cheek
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I can see light. After so many months, I can see light.

It was March 13th, 2020. Remember? Sure you do. We all do. For me, I was picking up my son from a half-day of school. My daughter was already home, sick with the flu (the actual flu). Then, that was it for eighteen months.

Eighteen long, glorious, amazing, challenging, mind-bending months home with my two elementary school-aged children. First, I tried to teach them (We can do this!). Then the schools wanted to teach them via…

A person wearing white rubber gloves prepares a needle to inject. The camera if focused on the needle.
Photo by: Joshua Bamidele, from
Burst, Some Rights Reserved

The kids are back to school, the ballparks are at capacity, and people are flowing out of bars and restaurants again. The economic engine of the country is oiled and pumping. It makes me glad to see so many people having fun and living their lives. Normal is what we have all been wanting. It is finally here. Something about it keeps nagging at me, though. It is not the web headlines or the evening news. It’s the data.

The Silent Return

Last fall in the United States during mid-September, we had a seven-day average of 35,074 new COVID-19 cases. It was scary…

A beige, old model rotary telephone.
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

An alumni association from one of my old colleges telephoned the other week. “Hello, Mr. Field! Can you catch us up on your education since leaving our school?” Of course. I provided the highlights of the six colleges I attended and three master’s degrees I earned.

“Oh, my! So what’s the work you do, with all that education?”

I am a house dad.

“Haha. Seriously, what should I put down for the alumni magazine.”

House dad. Forty-nine-year-old house dad.

Not to say I hadn’t had lots of work. I even had a few jobs in corporate offices. In fact, for…

A photograph of en empty school hallway
Photo by kyo azuma / Unsplash

I had to drive around the block to see them, my children, as they carried themselves towards the old stone steps and into their school for the last time. It’s a historic landmark, that school. I aimed to pull over and watch them from the curb behind a loaded dumpster on the street — yet another housing flip. The houses in this neighborhood are neglected but have good bones, so they say. I can’t help but wonder if anyone will talk about me like that in another few years? “He was neglected but had good bones.”

I shouted goodbye to…

Photo by surachat, used under license through Adobe Stock.

There are two large cookbooks in front of me on the table. My wife used them to press the moisture out of the tofu we air fried. I don’t know what an air fryer is. It looks like a tiny oven. Not my area, though. I’m in charge of rice. I’m the rice guy.

My eye catches upon a few small white feathers that dance on an air current into the room. These have drifted down from upstairs. They originated in my expensive comforter, which exploded earlier today. The explosion resulted after my son ran down the hallway and leaped…

  • Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington

Washington Area Man Jakob Pressley was found alive and well after reportedly missing for five years. He survived in a forest cave, sustaining himself with stream water and cave fish, occasionally heading out to harvest and nuts and berries when the weather permitted.

Mr. Pressley said he was sorry to have missed first woman-president Hilary Clinton’s initial term in office, later asking if Jeb Bush ran against her a second time in 2020. He was confused when authorities told him that Clinton had lost the election to Donald Trump. “The game show host?” Pressley asked.


a person in silhouette watching an assortment of fireworks exploding in the dark night sky
Photo by Ali Müftüoğulları from Pexels

Drinking bitter coffee at our small dining room table, I can look out the window and see the piles of camping gear on the back porch. Everything is covered in five inches of snow. I should have put that stuff away weeks ago. I wonder if mice haven’t figure out how to get into our sleeping bag tote, the lid askew, to make themselves a cozy winter nest. Do I want to go outside right now to shake all that snow off and bring the bags in? Then I would have to reorganize our storage room to make it all…

Reading Your Own Book

A photo of a woman reading from a magazine or journal with her hands on her head. She is inside a casual looking environment.
By djrandco. Used under license from Adobe Stock.

I am sitting on thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of words. I crafted my story and heroine and dramatic arc and epic conclusion. I placed that last period after that last word of that last sentence. I put it there, closed the story, gave myself a grin in smug satisfaction, and sat back as I imagined patting myself on my back. There, I did it. I wrote a lot of words.

And what now? Now, I want to have a burger and milkshake, with that half-smile still plastered across my face, and start looking at expensive cabin retreats on…

Photo by Yuri Levin on Unsplash

The thing that bothers me is that our national leadership is acting like the COVID-19 virus is some sort of temporary thing. Our leaders need to underscore the message that this virus will be here for a while; a year, maybe years.

We hope there is a vaccine coming this January (which would be faster than any other vaccine development, testing, and distribution, ever), but that is not the same as a guarantee.

We need to stop talking about cleaning desks for the first week of school. The reopening will be a chaotic tragedy. …

My Mediocre Career Substitute Teaching

A school classroom showing two rows of student desks and wall cabinets.
Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

There was a time when I thought I might make a pretty good teacher. People told me I was kind and patient, understanding, and knowledgeable. They told me I had so many qualities of one. Then I worked as a substitute in a public school district. With most kids, in most classes, I was short-tempered, impatient, and had no idea what I was doing.

But there was one class I did pretty well in, middle school special ed. It was a whole different vibe. For one, I was not the only adult in the room. I was usually placed as…

chris field

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