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At the start of this new year, the role of exercise in my life remains strong, if only because a period of lockdown lethargy and overeating reinforced how much I enjoy feeling reasonably fit. This concern doesn’t seem to be mirrored by many of my contemporaries, who seem keen to deteriorate far too fast, but my aberrant desire to be active and alert remains strong. Call my five-year journey…

Poised for 2021

New Year resolutions are one symptom of a wider malaise: yearning to be a better you, for a whole year, after twelve months of disappointing. Me, I am poised for a shining 365 days of energetic peace, working hard towards my goals while living and celebrating life. Wish me luck…

2020 zooms away

In 2020 I functioned as a writer. I wrote. But more often than not, my words were just words, not at all about the project in my heart. Now we can watch 2020 vanish into the ether and the year’s writing torpor can be sloughed off.

2020 yes

Twelve months of quiet humble joy. Forbearance. Smiles and eyes of grandchildren, just being near one’s children. Birding and living with my love. Reading day in, day out to a handful willing to listen. Grief at a friend’s death. Another book, another movie, another song to sink into. Wine and coffee and chocolate and lentils. Sweating. Blue sky of summer.

2020 no

Twelve months is all it took. Ossified dullness. Sloth masquerading as vitality. A fatty’s retreat from energy. A cog in the hippy generation’s final Earth-destroying twitches.

Xmas peace

The Sunday before the big day, you know, the Christmas Day. Minimalist Kris Kringles long settled … boozy parties avoided … the quiet suburban streets (everyone else is shopping) … the next five days promise to be hard-working, peaceful times. The best Xmas is nothing but the on-the-day joy of assembling with family.

The illness of depression

I can’t write about depression because I don’t have it. A low level of despondency often seems to accompany my days, but that overhang is a mere wisp of a cloud amenable to natural buoyancy. But I know folks who suffer from depression, so Jonathan Foley’s eloquent, measured blog post, “Hiding in plain sight,” rings true. In a week roiled by grief at a friend’s…

Exercise quandary

Journalist Séamus O’Reilly’s sparkling Guardian article “I run to keep fit, but I hate it” zooms in on the dilemma posed by regular exercise: it’s tough to enjoy. Oh, we all swoon when reading about a famous athlete’s love of her sport, but for us hacks, exercise is mostly grind. As O’Reilly (pictured below, photo from the article) puts it, “the…

Grief hand pen

When does grief find resolution? In the moment, that quest stretches forever but you know it can’t and you must not let it.

See this hand. Mourning should not impact a hand of living flesh.

See this pen. See it? Well, grab it. Use it.

I don’t buy physical books

The wonderful author Susan Orlean, whose The Library Book I reviewed positively last year, has posted provocatively (at least in some circles) on “Confessions of a Kindle Convert.” It’s a post on Medium, so you might find it behind a paywall. Here is her concluding paragraph: I’m not a traitor to the cause of books. I would hate to have this be interpreted as 1) I don’t love…

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