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  • 2 Very Different Parent-Daughter Movies

    We went to two movies this weekend. Surprisingly, they were both about parents and children. Other than that, they were wildly different. (Spoiler alert: I’m about to say things about both Everywhere Everything All at Once and Aftersun. If you care, stop now.) Everything Everywhere All at Once is an Oscar contender, starring Michelle Yeoh,…

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  • 6 Things I Learned from Wordle

    Like a lot of people, I played Wordle a lot this past year (see below). It’s ingenious, both simple and complex in the way that can remain intriguing over time. Six guesses to come up with a five-letter word sounds simultaneously super-difficult and pretty easy. Six seems like a lot, until you’re looking at S-A-E on…

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  • Let’s celebrate play, together!

    A while back I grabbed the website domain and launched a little project I called Playful, on the media platform Medium. I invited folks to play along, and some folks (most notably, my friend Bill Clinton) did. Within a year, though, I ran out of creative and physical energy for the project and it…

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  • The Most Amazing Person I’ve Ever Known Has Died

    My family moved one town over, from Hazlet to Matawan, in 1973, when I was in first grade. It was a “made-it” kind of move, in 1973 terms. We moved from a modest home, where the dormer walls of my room slanted inward, to the model home in a newly built neighborhood. We had a…

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  • Some ‘Mountain-Climbing’ Advice from Writer George Saunders

    Listened to George Saunders’ first collection of short stories, Civilwarland in Bad Decline, this summer and all the things I enjoy about Saunders’ writing were there. But the real treat was his writer’s note at the end, where he shared his experience as a not-so-young writer who pursued writing while living a middle class existence with…

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  • 6 Thoughts on Jerry Maguire, 26 Years Later

    Virginia and I continued on a torrid pace of movie-watching, this time watching Jerry Maguire with friends on New Year’s Night. One couple had never seen it. I hadn’t seen it in more than a decade, maybe closer to two. Anyway, I reacted to it a little differently than I did back in 1996. Some thoughts —…

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  • My Not-So-Wild Wild Life

    My Not-So-Wild Wild Life

    My minister asked us this morning to think about how we experienced nature early in our lives. Here goes. I grew up in suburban New Jersey and, as a kid, my wild place was behind our house. We lived in the first house into our neighborhood, a busy road on one side of our home,…

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  • Mouse Mind

    Mouse Mind

    We’ve had a mouse problem. It started with a text from Virginia on my Monday morning walk that said “Mouse! Come home!” I came home, seemingly trapped it in a bathroom and went to get some mouse traps. By the time I returned, it was gone. But we set our traps and the next morning,…

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  • Meeting My Father-in-Law, Who Died in 1974

    I was going through a photo album from 1968 made up of photos mostly taken by my father-in-law, and it was as if I was meeting him for the first time. Which, in some ways, I was. Charles Christopher Kirk died in 1974, when I was 9, Virginia was 12, and we were almost 15…

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  • The Lure of Sunflowers

    The Lure of Sunflowers

    I’ve never been much of a flower person. I’ve let Virginia do the work of encouraging things to grow and be beautiful, and I water, yank up weeds and prune when things get unruly. But last year, I decided to try my hand at it. I dug out a garden in our backyard and planted…

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