For the first time in a long time, children dressed in costumes and shrieking “Trick or Treat” will clamor at the stoop of my house on October 31st. In California, we lived at the end of a long and dark street where no child ever ventured; over the course of the past sixteen years, I…

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Here in Maryland, in the backyard of my new home, the leaves are just beginning to fire up with color. Back in California, in the yard of the home I’ve left behind and haven’t sold yet, a thick layer of smoke obscures the view of the mountains from my living room windows. In the mornings,…

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Last week, I received many responses to my last newsletter essay, the one about losing the ones we love. Many people agreed that we all need to pay more attention to the way we try and help those we care about as they grieve.  This week, I find myself dealing with a strong sort of…

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I am standing at my kitchen counter, filling Cody’s daily medication boxes. As I do it, I hold my breath. Despite my knowledge of common sense, I cannot deny the irrational belief that if I pour the exact number of pills out into my palm on the first pass, he will have a seizure-free week.…

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When I was a child, my parents held out to me the example of an excellent and dedicated writer, my great-grandfather, Arthur Gray Staples. My mother, a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet herself, told me many stories of his life in Maine, in the early 1900’s, as the editor-in-chief of the Lewiston Evening Journal, which was considered…

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I am a bit of a compulsive reader. It’s like a hobby, in a way. I’m passionate about it, have fun with it when I am not working, and take joy in all it brings me.  I have a suggestion for three books you might sample over the coming summer months. Everyone has time to…

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The life of a writer can be lonely and frustrating. If you are not extremely successful, you generally can’t pay your bills without someone else supporting you; and it can be difficult to get published from book to book, even if you are fairly well-known and loved by a devoted cadre of readers. Potential editors…

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How do you express your love? Some people rely on a Valentine’s dinner, or reveal their feelings with a supportive word and a tender embrace. Others show their affection by cooking a meal for those they care about. I am, unabashedly, one of the latter. During my childhood, love was often overshadowed by my mother’s…

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Who likes to have their picture taken? Movie stars? Celebrities? Egotists? I can think of only a handful who enjoy being captured by an objective eye in a permanent way. Many of us are shy around a camera, smiling too broadly or not enough, opening our eyes as if we’ve been poked, or squinting as…

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