Let’s begin by noticing what we admire.

Those are the words I say at the start of each writers’ workshop, focusing upon what went right rather than wrong in a students’ pages. After years of saying this, I joked the other day that those words should be on my tombstone. Then I thought, why wait? I’d like a t-shirt with that phrase. Pretty good way to move through life. The next thing I say in workshop: let’s shift to questions, considerations, concerns, places where you are curious–always with the intent of making the work better. Again, a pretty good way to travel through the world. Come with the best intentions, be curious and complementary.


I finally got up the courage to watch, “A Promising Young Woman.” I was nervous that the film, marketed as a thriller/comedy, would upset me. It’s a rape revenge film and as a survivor of sexual assault, I wasn’t sure how much I could take. Let me tell you, I loved it. There is no gore, minimal (though heartbreaking) on screen violence, no sex, no nudity, and for me, supreme satisfaction. Not that all the good guys come out on top, but the film feels like a super hero bio pic. We get the backstory of Cassie, the main character, we understand what “built” her, and thus we get her agenda. It’s like knowing why Batman is Batman, or how the Joker came to be so cruel. Cassie, played beautifully by Carey Mulligan, is like Liam Neeson avenging his dead wife, but smarter and without a gun. She’s avenging her best friend, and let me tell you no one (looking at you Betsy DeVos) gets a free pass for the rape culture in our college system.

And then, should you need an amuse-bouche, check out these two poems for uplift and beauty. Plus a small piece by my (aspirational) pal, George.

Shake the Dust,” by Anis Mojgani, gorgeousness for the late night cereal eaters, the Walmart greeters, the prom queens and school yard wimps, the tired and the dreamers. For all of us. What we need to do right now, shake off the dust.

When the world knocks at your front door
clutch the knob tightly and open on up
and run forward, forward and as far you must
into its widespread greeting arms
with your hands before you
fingertips trembling though they may be 

Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye, which begins, “Before you know what kindness is, you must lose things.”

Importance of Kindness by George Saunders, who speaks of regret, a missed opportunity to be kind. “Sometimes I’d see her hanging around in her front yard as if afraid to leave it.”















I don’t know about you, but I’ve been inundated with words. Last year I spent so much time worrying, so much time trying to stay on top of the dual catastrophes of the pandemic and our then president, constantly bombarding myself with news and numbers.

I need a break. Enough with the talking, talking, talking. Maybe it would be healthy for me to walk without my earbuds. Maybe I’ll hear birds, or the muffled sounds of people enjoying one another’s company. What a relaxing and easeful entree back to the post-pandy world. Maybe my mind will wander, be curious, get in touch with my thoughts rather than those of someone else. If I spend time looking around on my walk, being curious, slowing my brain, maybe, fingers crossed, I’ll be thinking about my creative work. What about you? Any interest in a quiet walk? If you do give it a try, I’d love to hear what comes up.

And, here’s a song I’ve got on repeat: Blessed the Brave by Liz Wright.












Three! Yes, that’s how many times I’ve served this salad this week alone! It’s a non-recipe/recipe. I trust you, you’ve got this!

Farro Salad

Into your favorite salad bowl place about 3 cups cooked farro. Now, you could really use any grain, but I love farro for the chewy texture and nutty flavor and because, I’m kinda sick of rice. Add roughly one half cup chopped dill (be generous, I promise this is the money maker of the salad), plus one bunch of asparagusroasted with a giant leek (chopped), olive oil and a little salt.  Cut the asparagus into two inch pieces, about the size of a stubby pencil. Be certain not to overcook the asparagus or the whole thing is ruined. Seriously. I also chopped up a bunch of radishes, added a handful of roasted sunflower seeds. You could add walnuts, fennel bulb, roasted carrots, feta cheese, whatever floats your boat. For the dressing, mince one clove garlic, add about 3 heaping tablespoons greek yogurt, one fourth cup of olive oil and as much lemon juice as you love. You want the dressing to be creamy, so add more yogurt if you desire. Pour onto your salad, give it a stir and serve it up. We had it with fennel rosemary salmon, then we had it with an orange and prune roasted chicken, then we had it with bagels and fruit salad for brunch.

Cannot get enough.
































I know you know about the suffering in Asian Communities through the pandemic, and the horrifying rise in hate crimes. We all feel heartsick about it, so HERE are some places you can take action. I’m fond of Welcome to Chinatown as well as opportunities to help the victims of attacks.

Wishing you warm days and warm hugs (safely). Change is coming. While we wait, I’ve got an essay about the shoulder season, and the world opening up. Find it HERE. If you need a book, I’ve got all the recommendations from two years of this newsletter at my Bookshop.

Stanley!  Loving/Not Loving the hose!