Jaded Empathy and Other Things that Make Mild Sense 

My brilliant daughter

Adulthood is Terriffying

The community where I did most of my growing up was a typically atypical, moderate-to-severelywealthy, predominately English-speaking, Caucasian town in New England. Anyone whose ever been to New England knows that I’ve basically just described the whole damn region: small, wealthy towns who love left-leaning politics and probably contain or are at least near a tiny liberal arts college.

So the affluent New England town where I grew up, like most affluent New England towns, was heftily packed with progressive liberals.
And this affluent New England town, also like most affluent New England towns, was minuscule. In elementary school, there were perhaps 75 students in my year. In middle and high school, that number increased to a handfulover 100. I think the graduating class might have been 95 or 105 students; I wouldn’t know, I was among those to check out beforePomp and Circumstance had even been rehearsed by…

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Be Mindful of the Harvest

Adulthood is Terriffying

Ideas, opinions, emotions: they’re like fruit. They grow – some more tediously and fussily than others – and, if harvested too soon, they’re bitter, sour, or hard; conversely, if left too long on the branch they turn mushy, mealy, or brown.

Some go from unripe to rotten without peaking; many get left behind, return to the soil, and regenerate as energy for roots to consume and feed future plants. Sometimes, every cherry, pear, or almond is delectably perfect; sometimes, the whole field yields nothing, for no discernible reason.

A bad harvest doesn’t mean your trees are bad; it means your farmer is.

(In the context of this metaphor, at least.)

Dan Gilbert, who went to Harvard to study the human brain and has a lot to say about it, did a TED Talk a couple of years ago where he succinctly described his research on humans’ perceptions of themselves…

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Sleeping with My Brain

Thoughts from a very tired brain

Adulthood is Terriffying

Sleep is a trickier task than it has any right to be. I’ve been really bad at it my entire life – a fact that no one (doctor, parent, or friend) has ever treated with what I would consider an appropriate level of urgency.

Like, how is calling someone with insomnia a “fussy sleeper” not intended to be condescending? People with asthma aren’t called “fussy breathers.” If a doctor misdiagnoses my insomnia I don’t call her a “fussy diagnoser.” I call her an asshole.

I guess that’s what I am, then: a sleep asshole.

I blame my inefficient sleeping practices on my brain, because everything that’s wrong with me can technically be traced back to my brain and also because that fool never stops talking. I never really do, either, but again it’s my brain’s fault so if you’re going to be annoyed with anyone be annoyed with her. I’m just the innocent…

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MGRHS v Ilvermorny

Written by my incredibly talented writer and daughter Hannah’s!

Adulthood is Terriffying

J.K Rowling recently released information”revealing” that the first North American wizarding school in the Harry Potter universe happens to be directly across from the actual secondary school I went to in Williamstown, Massachusetts.


A view of Mount Greylock State Reservation from Mount Greylock Regional High School

Rowling’s wizarding academy, Ilvermorny, is supposedly perched atop Mount Greylock – the highest mountain in Massachusetts or something like that – which (because my high school looked out upon that very mount) is the namesake for the high school I attended for a few terrible years a lifetime ago.


An aerial view of the summit of Mount Greylock

Mixed reviews from the community have surfaced about this wizarding school: the owners of the lodge at the summit claim that they are “excited” (and that’s it – which leads me to believe they’re not that excited, or really just don’t care), while others have voiced concern about…

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Home Is Where No One Is

Adulthood is Terriffying

I have a lot of past addresses. I’ve accumulated four in the last twelve months alone, in two different counties and four zip codes. Going back five years that number doubles and adds different states to the list of variables. Ten years? I’m an English teacher, I can’t count that high and don’t know how to manage more than two variables.

I left my Mom’s house in Western Massachusetts around age 18 and have since been hopping from dorms to childhood bedrooms to apartments to bedrooms shared with significant others. I haven’t had a bedroom that was truly, indefinitely mine since I was a child, and lord knows children take things like the roof over their head for granted.

As soon as a person is displaced – whether voluntarily or by force – a sense of unrest starts to build. This is Maslovian; the human mind needs a stomping ground, for furious…

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