Bird by Bird

This book was recommended to me a couple years ago and I put it on my list to read. When it came up twice in one week – from another friend and in another book – I went straight to the library and checked it out. While reading it at a film festival, two people commented on it. And when I returned it to the library, someone saw it in my hand and said it was one of her favorite books. I would not put it in that category, but it is worth reading if you are interested in writing, especially fiction.

It’s Not Matzo French Toast

My kids came over for lunch yesterday and I made them matzo brei. I sometimes describe this as matzo french toast, but that’s a bad description of it. It is matzo soaked in egg and fried in butter, but the result is more like scrambled eggs – with more matzo than eggs – than french toast.

If you soaked a full piece of matzo in egg and fried it whole, that would be like matzo french toast. But that would be hard to cook.

Cat Showers

My girlfriend’s cat is staying with me while she is away. The cat sits on the closed toilet lid and watches me take a shower. Even though she has seen people take showers her whole life – and I mean the cat, not my girlfriend – there’s this look in her eye. Why, she seems to be wondering, does he get in all that water when he can simply groom himself the way I do?

Lost Lens Caps

If you know where you lost something, does that help you find it? I lost one lens cap when I slipped on a rock crossing a stream. It popped off the camera and likely went in the water. Since I did not recover it immediately, it was gone. As that was one of many scout hiking trips, I really don’t know where that was. I remember the moment of loss, but not the place. And it was more than 10 years ago.

I lost another lens cap in Brussels, Belgium this past fall. In this case I was not aware of the moment of loss, but I noticed when it was gone. Again, I was not able to recover this one either, because I didn’t even know the moment it was gone.

Bridge Crossing

I started walking down the gravel trail that used to be a railroad bed. It went through a wooded area and I could feel the humidity. Luckily it was a cool, overcast day. I wouldn’t want to be here in the summer.

As I walked along the trail towards the bridge – the centerpiece of this Virginia state park – the ground started sloping away from the trail, into the the woods. I reached the bridge, which was 125 feet above the ground.

I expected a simple river crossing over the Appomattox River, but the land opened up into a half-mile wide, tree-filled valley. The river was just one small part of what the bridge crossed. The wide open landscape tranquil, beautiful and unexpected.

Dreamy Words

When you wake from a dream there are often images swirling around in your head. Sometimes they are connected by a narrative. Sometimes they are not. It all begins to fade very quickly. This is why people keep dream journals. Write it down before it fades.

Words and phrases are often the afterimage from my dreams. It is even more important to write these down as there is no context to help remember them.

A recent example: “Some places are just evil. You feel it in your uncles. You feel it in your shadows.”

Besides being another in a series of anxiety dreams where I and my trusty band of traveling companions were being chased or followed – or were following or chasing – I have no recall what this dream was about. Those were the words I woke up with and I wrote them down.

A Friendly Brand

Many brands try to be overly friendly and it just comes across wrong, or creepy. But a leading online tax-preparer brand has updated its language within the app to lessen the stress we feel filing our taxes.

For example on a page that requires clicking a box to prove you are not a robot, it includes the following alternative method: “Pinch yourself to make sure you’re human.” And they really take the tone of friend when they are asking about purchases made outside of your home state, and therefore state sales tax are due, by reminding you of some options. “Watching the shopping channel at midnight.”