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I want to be a novelist.

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.

He…


a person in silhouette watching an assortment of fireworks exploding in the dark night sky
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.
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.
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…


What to do if the schools closed

by Sergey Klimkin, ISO Republic License

I have a luxury. I am in graduate school. As I observe the number of COVID-19 infections grow by ten thousand each week, and hear of regional lockdowns, major conference cancellations, and school closures, I take a minute to consider what it might mean if my children’s school closed.

Thankfully, I am in a position to be home, mostly, to monitor them and goad them through whatever online substitute curriculum the district or my family conceives of. But not everyone is.

And, despite the old trope of kids dancing down the halls on the last day of school, not everyone…


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It is easy to look in the mirror and not see any value. Walking out of class yesterday, feeling too miserable because I can’t understand the math behind economics, I kept having memories from my freshman year of college in Kentucky; they kept looping through my head.

What if I could go back to that point and start over, try harder, do more? What is the sum of my time since then? Thirty years ago, I was a wiry kid who felt set apart from the deeply entrenched Appalachian culture of south-central Kentucky. The way the food was made, the…

chris field

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