Tag: #DarkAndLight

The Authenticity Experiment, the marmalade edition.  My mother loved orange marmalade on buttered toast. She started eating it sometime in her thirties, I’m going to guess during her pregnancy of my youngest sister, Jule.  Because I wasn’t in school yet, I remember what she craved when she carried Sue—toast with raspberry jam and butter.  I recall sitting at this little table in our carpeted breakfast room in the yellow, rented house just 100 yards from Lake Minnetonka, and eating toast with jam with her.  I can’t quite see her in the tiny chair next to me.  I imagine she stood…

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The Authenticity Experiment, the early morning drive edition.  Just five days after I’d won the Oregon Book Award, I still floated somewhere above my body.  Or, if I inhabited my skin sack (thank you, Lidia Yuknavitch for that evocative phrase), my brain and emotions lingered somewhere else.  You know what I mean, you do—the way your body refuses to inhabit a truth.  An award for my book?  Totally unbelievable. And at 7:30 a.m. that Saturday, I drove my alien green Kia Soul on the two-lane road through the blooming vineyards and orchards of Yamhill County, on my way to the…

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The Authenticity Experiment, the velocity made good edition.  Sometimes we are given the great gift of seeing the velocity made good in our lives. This is a term from sailing that describes the actual speed a vessel is making on its intended course.  Because they must tack back and forth, submitting to the vagaries of the wind, sailors track velocity made good, that is: true progress based on all the zigs and zags, dog legs, and random turns you make in order to catch the wind. A few weeks ago I got to spend time with a woman who—in many ways—was…

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The Authenticity Experiment, the Snakes Edition.  I don’t write much about my dad.  But a story in the news made me think about the best of him, the part of him that could laugh at himself and his own foibles, and taught me how to do the same thing for myself.  Right now, CES—or the Consumer Electronics Show—is going on in Las Vegas.  It’s the biggest tech show of the year, the time when all my clients are announcing the latest and greatest technology. I’ve never been because my dad went for 11 years in a row and brought home…

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The Authenticity Experiment, the power edition.  It used to be like an electric shock that hit me all at once.  Let me explain. When I still lived at home with my parents, my mother went on an ironing strike.  I mean, I don’t really know if she deliberately struck, I just know that one day I noticed that she refused to iron my father’s shirts and handkerchiefs, the linen table clothes, and the embroidered and lace napkins. Maybe my father bitched one too many times about the ironing job on his white or blue oxford cloth button down shirts (in…

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Let me just say, I know it’s been silent here, or rather, I’ve been silent.  In my electronic filing cabinet sit about 15 half-started posts and several finished ones that will never see the light of day.  Because as much as I try to live authentically, not all stories receive an audience.  I write some stories simply to get them out of my body.  Stories of heartache and heart break.  Stories of anger and agony.  Stories about events so raw and unmetabolized, that they must wait in the dark for digestion.  And, to answer a question so many folks asked…

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The Authenticity Experiment, the Western Weekend Edition.  As a kid, I went to Western Weekend in rural Marin County, in a town without a stoplight or a sit-down McDonald’s.  I didn’t ride the Ferris Wheel because the swinging cars gave me crawl up and a fear that I’d flip out—literally and figuratively—and plummet to my death. Strangely, though, I did ride the Zipper, me alone in a car.  A blue one, I think, but that could just be an artifact of my imagination because now blue is my favorite color.  Two of my other friends rode along, each of us…

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The Authenticity Experiment, the City edition.  Last week, I spent the night San Francisco—“the City,” as everyone in the Bay Area calls it.  The City—as if there is no other city in the world.  But I’ll tell you, on a morning when the tide is out and the fog is burning off, and you step onto O’Farrell Street and cut up and over to Union Square, the impatient honk of cars startling your small town self (and don’t kid yourself, Portland is a small town compared to any other city on the West Coast), the smell of Chinese restaurant grease…

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The Authenticity Experiment, the lifetime grieving edition.  The Alaskan Poet said to me, “I’m beginning to think that grieving is a lifetime process. AND I also think that it’s possible to be at peace with that and just realize that you can grieve and move forward.”  And, I think she’s right. It’s no surprise to find grief here—thoughts about it, stories about it, rants and rages about it.  But there’s a particular grief I’ve been thinking about.  Last week, two of my oldest, dearest friends—sisters—lost their child and nephew. Yeah, a 25 year-old kid. The Opera Singer used to say,…

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The Authenticity Experiment, the unexpected angels edition.  I hate the idea of angels.  Really.  Those damn cherubs painted by Raphael that hung in every 1980s house, regardless of whether the owner had been to Dresden (where the angels were relocated in 1754) to see them in person.  But the thing is, I think that angels—or, rather, guides, as I like to think of them—exist.  I’ve seen evidence time and again in my life—turn here, talk to this person, hand this woman your book, call this person now, tell that girl you love her.  So, well.  Judge me.  It’s new age-y…

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