Flashback: Part 2

The smell is what takes me back, a mixture of cookies and gardening soil and perfume that should have long since been retired. She had rough hands; somehow they were still gentle. Her joints ached but she still chased me around the yard, laughter filling the air, joy in my heart. At night she told me stories of dragons and knights and a world I wanted to live in. She loved me the way that only grandmothers can. She didn’t just think I could be anything, she believed it with everything inside of her.

That’s the job of a grandmother. To believe in you long before life has tried to convince you otherwise. To plant that tiny seed early on and give you deep roots to hold firm when the world tries to knock you down. Because that’s the job of the world. We can only hope that our grandmothers do their job just a little better.oldhands

Flashback: Part 1

Flashback is an ongoing [fractured] story. These are short individual components of a larger connecting narrative that is non-linear. Hope you enjoy.


I remember the river like it was yesterday. The way that the water rushed over my feet, cold and refreshing, invigorating. My toes dug into the sand and rocks at the bottom. The sun shone down on my face and warmed me. The fresh bloom of Spring was fresh in my nostrils. Peace. That’s what I remember. Peace. It was like all the world decided to stop and just embrace the beauty that was within it. The moment stretched for an eternity and then went by before I could hold onto it.

I guess that’s life.

Those little moments that flash by but stay with us forever. Those are the best parts of life if we’re lucky. If we’re not those moments are the worst. For me, this moment, this one was good.waterside.jpg


I can’t sleep.

My mind races and races and races.

I drag myself into bed but the moment my head hits the pillow I’m awash in thought. They are completely random and still all connected. One leads to another and then another all night.

Ideas are just flowing through me.

In the morning they’ll be gone.


I’m the kind of person who likes a pen and paper more than a keyboard. I’m the person in the coffee shop scribbling on napkins when an idea inevitably pops into my head. Sometimes its just an image, not even a complete thought. I try and write down the image and then later craft a story around it. Sitting here in this coffee shop, looking out the window, I had one of those little flashes and scribbled away. I’ll share it with you.

–The sun was getting low on the horizon. The sky was that strange mixture of oranges, purples and pinks and the day’s last lights were glistening on the water. It was both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. He gazed ahead. This might be the last sunset he would ever see and he didn’t want to waste it. He just wanted to forget, if only for a moment, and take in the warmth. As the sun finally made its final descent beneath the water he looked back one last time. He looked back on the life he knew he had to leave behind. Looked back on all the things he should have become. Looked back on the all the things he became instead. And with that thought, he pushed the boat off the shore, took a deep breath, and let the tide take him out into whatever future lay ahead.–


Why do humans love stories so much? What is it in us that draws us to tales of dragons or romance or mystery? We’ve been telling each other stories for thousands of years and I don’t see us slowing down anytime soon. Stories make us who we are as a whole and as an individual. A great story even has the power to change us.

I just recently finished my doctorate so I’ve been spending a lot of time lately trying to catch up on all of the stories I haven’t had the chance to read. My top three so far this year:

1. The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin

2. Beartown by Fredrick Backman

3. Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta

What are your top three this year?

(I’m always looking for a good recommendation!)