The Question

Who am I

but a mother

a purveyor of school lunches

and snacks and dinners

a laundry-washing, clothes-sorting, stain-sticking fiend

a tear-stopper, an instigator

laying down the law, but finding no joy in being in charge.

For being the boss should have its benefits, no?


I’m paralyzed by free time.

When I hit the kill switch on motherhood for the night,

the juice still flows.

Like cell phone minutes that carry over, my to-do runs ad infinitum and I think how I can get a jump start on tomorrow.


Then my psyche calls.

Hello, it’s me.

Who is me?


Someone who needs nurturing.

Who needs slowing down,




Something to make her heart sing.

Something to take it all away

so she can decide what to build on.


But what?


do I get past this feeling of unrest that is the only thing about me that sits


in my heart

my being

my soul


To whom do I report?

To whom do I direct complaints?

To whom can I go,

when I know not what I need,

know not what I ask.


But there is the question



Luke Stettner, Can’t See the Forest for the Trees, 2009.

Lowest Common Denominator

We’re taught to see the big picture.  The interrelationship of all things.  This keeps us all on the same page, united in our humanity, celebrating our differences in their similarities.  It helps us make meaning and induces awe.  I get it.  I value it.

But this mindset is antithetical to a ‘one day at a time’ mentality; a live in the moment attitude; that ever-present push for mindfulness.

Especially for an anxiety-ridden person such as myself.

How can I not ‘sweat the small stuff’, when it adds up to a whole mess of stuff?  Each tiny bit of tedium I must attend to throughout the day fills up the entire day.  I cannot shut off the mechanism in my mind that fits each peg into its hole in the mosaic of my life.

X leads to Y then to Z and every consonant clamors in dissonance.  I can’t hear the letter for the alphabet.

I’ll always be an English major, though I graduated a number of years ago.  I’ll always be a book reviewer.  An English/Language Arts teacher.  A writer.  A critical reader.  A literary theorist.  All this is type-set into my skin.  I eat, sleep, and breathe words, letters; their combinations, their phraseology.

I am forever searching for ways to form patterns, find themes, stack layer upon layer of meaning.

But what about when I need to reduce?  To distill an idea down to its purest form?  Base.  Primitive.  The smallest atom of an idea.  I need to reverse operations.  How do I learn to do that?

“The proper, wise balancing
of one’s whole life may depend upon the
feasibility of a cup of tea at an unusual hour.”
― Arnold Bennett, How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

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