Borrowing Other People’s Mothers

June 27, 2015 by Molly Fisk

Molly Fisk

By Molly Fisk

I loved my own mom, and consciously took on lots of her characteristics, too. But borrowing mothers who were different from her, whom I didn’t have to defend against their own choices and sadness, enriches my life to no end.

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The House-Finch Dilemma

June 20, 2015 by Molly Fisk


By Molly Fisk

My grandmother carried my family’s conviction that there wasn’t going to be enough love, so you had to use it sparingly, and this turns out to be wrong. There’s plenty of love, and using it creates more of it.

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The Joy of Reaching Out

June 13, 2015 by Molly Fisk


By Molly Fisk

As an upper-middle-class Yankee, making the required phone calls went against every rule I’d ever been taught. We were the helpers, not the helpees! You don’t talk about your troubles, and you certainly don’t ask anyone else to handle them for you.

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Gearing Up for Immortality

June 6, 2015 by Molly Fisk

Molly Fisk

By Molly Fisk

This was my first time being on YouTube, and like any sensible person, I was terrified. Once you’re on YouTube, people will be able to watch you for the next 2,000 years.

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The Cactus Thief and the Would-Be Library Lap Dancer

June 5, 2015 by Roz Warren


By Roz Warren

Our favorite librarian polled her fellow shelvers in order to make this list of Outrageous Questions People Ask Librarians. Under the “Hanky-Panky” Category: “Last week, a patron asked me to have sex with him in the alley.”

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Pure Pleasure; or, Boosting Those Feel-Good Chemicals!

May 30, 2015 by Molly Fisk


By Molly Fisk

When was the last time you went out dancing? Used a Hula-Hoop? Sang with other people, and not because you’re part of a Lovin’ Spoonful cover band?

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The Grocery-List Tattoo

May 23, 2015 by Molly Fisk


By Molly Fisk

I’m going to start writing grocery lists on my arm, so I don’t forget the milk. Younger people will think I’m nuts, but I don’t mind.

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Spring Breaks Out in Portland, Oregon

May 12, 2015 by C.A. Carrington


By C.A. Carrington

C.A. Carrington, our Portland Correspondent, answers our Invitation urging writers to render spring in their part of the country.

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Molly Fisk: The Greeks Have a Word for It

May 9, 2015 by Molly Fisk


By Molly Fisk

When did “spaghetti,” which is what it was called when I was a kid, turn into “pasta”? And what does it mean when this sophisticated term comes out of the mouths of 10-year-olds? The same thing happened to “sherbet.” It disappeared, and now we say, sounding very swank, “sorbet.”

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Molly Fisk: Three Cheers for the Ordinary Human!

May 2, 2015 by Molly Fisk


By Molly Fisk

I came to this coffee shop today because this is where I wrote my first essay, in October 2004. I wanted to see what it felt like to write my 170th one here, too.

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OUR APRIL INVITATION: Spring In Northern California: Newts, Stellar’s Jays, and an Exuberance of Wildflowers

April 26, 2015 by Judie Rae

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By Judie Rae

Nevada County is blessed with miles of hiking trails, each one a separate treat. On the trails that are near water, Sierra newts put in a spring appearance. Their bright orange bodies stand out in the crystalline water, where they swim and bask, amusing watchers of all ages.

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Molly Fisk on Birdsong

April 25, 2015 by Molly Fisk


By Molly Fisk

The birdsong chorus is a wonderful melee, a beautiful cacophony, both melodic and chaotic, a crazy din. It reminds me of the way Utah Phillips sometimes ended his concerts.

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OUR APRIL INVITATION: In Seattle, Swooning Over Spring

April 20, 2015 by Toni Myers

wvfc toni dogwood+garden+2

By Toni Myers

Two weeks ago, our frequent contributor Toni Myers found herself so captivated by the lush beauty of Seattle in the spring that she sat down and wrote this “Ode to Demeter and Persephone.”

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OUR APRIL INVITATION: In Coastal California, It’s Almost Always Spring

April 19, 2015 by Susanna Gaertner


By Susanna Gaertner

Each year in early March the UCSC Arboretium gets hundreds of visitors eager to admire and photograph the mighty hummingbirds as they feed on red (their favorite color) grevillea and perform their 70-mph dives for mating displays.

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OUR SPRING INVITATION: Ah . . . April in Paris . . .

April 18, 2015 by Tish Jett


By Tish Jett

When I was in Paris earlier this week, I saw the most exuberant signal that spring has finally arrived: the chestnut trees in full bloom. I was conscious, once again, of that crystalline light that I associate with the city in printemps, particularly after the long, gray winter.

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