We Tell Stories

Disasters bring home this truth: we live in place. Precise locations that can flood, burn, shake, and slide (and if you live in Southern California as I do, all four are possible, imminent). Wildfires, for example, can incinerate large swaths of forests, chaparral, or grassland, but their individual burn patterns are site- and vegetation-specific. EarthquakesContinue reading “We Tell Stories”

Kurt Caswell’s Plea for Walking

My book, Getting to Grey Owl: Journeys on Four Continents, is a collection of travel essays that celebrate a wandering life. While I love being at home, travel is one of my central tenets. When I was a boy, my father’s work with the U.S. Forest Service took our family from one place to anotherContinue reading “Kurt Caswell’s Plea for Walking”

Walking in a Pandemic

I walk. A lot. I’ve always done so but now with a different kind of energy, an unsettling drive. Restless. Clocking more miles due to the quarantine, its prohibitions have altered some of my normal routes through Claremont, this college town on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County. No longer possible are morning treksContinue reading “Walking in a Pandemic”

What To Read During a Pandemic

Though it should, it does not dismay me that former students have been e-mailing me to say they are reading (or, for a very, very few) re-reading Defoe’s A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR or Camus’ THE PLAGUE. I have grown accustomed to students making unusual choices.   Nevertheless, others have asked me for reading suggestionsContinue reading “What To Read During a Pandemic”

A Grandson’s Hot Butter Rum Toast to Donald Culross Peattie

Donald Culross Peattie and his wife, Louise Redfield Peattie, with their son, Malcolm, uncle of David. I never met my grandfather Donald Culross Peattie. Or if I did, I was too young to remember. He died when I was growing up in Japan, so all the stories I heard, in addition to a few oldContinue reading “A Grandson’s Hot Butter Rum Toast to Donald Culross Peattie”

Michael Nye Wins Prestigious National Federation of the Blind Award

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has presented $50,000 in cash awards to individuals and organizations that are a positive force in the lives of blind people and whose work advances the goal of helping transform their dreams into reality. The twelfth annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards honored five innovators, including San Antonio photographer andContinue reading “Michael Nye Wins Prestigious National Federation of the Blind Award”

Moving the Dream Forward

In 1987, shortly after I decided to leave my husband of twenty years, I started dreaming about making art. My dreams became my nightly compass, my way of listening to my inner authority rather than allowing external events to continually shape my life. As part of the silent and stoic generation of women who cameContinue reading “Moving the Dream Forward”

These Conversations

The book arrived today, a collection of interviews and letters between Gary Snyder and myself. Last week my editor emailed me a FedEx number, and at once Google popped up a link for tracking the book’s journey across the planet. Over the next while I could occasionally check its progress. It traveled from San AntonioContinue reading “These Conversations”