Welcome to Palm Springs

This morning, as I was sweeping the lizards out of the apartment, it occurred to me that this was not covered in the “Welcome to your new community!” brochure I was handed along with the counter-signed copy of my lease. I mean, there are pluses and minuses to various approaches. Do you use the big,…

On quiet adventures

I’ve come into Joshua Tree National Park from the Mojave side, and don’t actually see any Joshua trees at first. As I drive, I begin to wonder if the park has been perhaps ironically named. Like it’s actually the everything-but-Joshua-trees park. Little road signs label the various sights. They have names like Fried Liver Wash.…

On tumble-down gardens

My mother once gave me a shopworn gift for Christmas and said, “I’m giving this to you because you don’t mind broken things.” I’ve often thought about this statement. Over the years, it has come to mean different things: that I can see the value in everyone and everything, even if imperfect. That I have…

On alternative realities

A while back I was reading Christopher de Hamel’s Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, and for a time I was twenty-five again, heart, mind, body, soul, remembering my joy on first seeing an illuminated manuscript in the Morgan Library in NYC, a trip I took as a graduate student to attend a humanities conference. The first…

On where I get my ideas

People tell me their stories. They always have, even when I yawn and put my head down on the table or exclaim, “Look at the time! Gotta run!” Even when I say, “I’ve heard this story a thousand times, Marvin.” Even before they find out I’m a writer or that I’m an editor. They tell…