On being “discontinued”

This is simply infuriating. The nerve of some people to reduce someone’s hard work into something a book club could do during their spare time. Give me a break. This editor needs a reality check.


I’ve been writing The Mindful Reader column for The Concord Monitor since April 2012. Thirty-three columns, one a month on the Sunday book page, reviewing dozens of books, all by New Hampshire or northern New England authors, many published by small presses. It’s been a wonderful experience.

People often stop me when I’m out and about to tell me how much they liked a column, or to ask my opinion about some aspect of one of the books I read. They come into the library, where I am the librarian in charge of adult services, and our local indie bookstore, where I was once event coordinator and bookseller, to ask for the books. That’s been a thrill — there is nothing better for a writer than knowing your work not only reached someone, but moved them enough that they wanted to participate in the thing you’ve written about. And the…

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What’s Going On With These Kids Today?

I’m currently reading a wonderful novel by Wally Lamb called The Hour I First Believed. So far, it’s a very heart-wrenching read, and it’s got me thinking.

It’s about a man named Caelum who is a school teacher. His wife, Maureen, is a school nurse. They’ve just moved to Colorado and have been working at Columbine High School for a year or so.
On the morning of April 20, 1999 when hell reigns at Columbine, Caelum is across the country arranging the funeral for his Aunt Lolly, the last remaining member of his family.

His wife, Maureen, is hiding inside a cabinet in the library at Columbine High as two monsters murder children on the other side of the thin plywood cabinet door.

I remember the Columbine shooting. I was graduating high school that year, and until then, school shootings were generally unheard of. I guess you could say Columbine started the evil, sickening fad.

As I read this book, I’m thinking about all the bloodshed that has followed. From Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook… colleges to elementary schools. It makes me wonder what happens to people to make them capable of something like that.

I live with my share of mental/mood illnesses. I’ve been through the teenage angst stage. I was never the most popular, and I never had a serious boyfriend in school.

The recovered journals of these boys who killed so many innocent people show two kids with low self-esteem, kids desperate for girlfriends, kids with a hatred for the “popular” group. These kids were hurting, acting out, even writing papers about killing people and turning them in for school assignments.

Now I know, at the time (pre-Columbine), this wasn’t taken seriously as a threat, but where were the people who read that stuff and thought, “hey, this kid needs somebody to talk to.”

Why do I see videos on YouTube of three and four year old little boys with sagging pants imitating thugs while their parents laugh in the background? Why have I met a 12 year old smoking a cigarette who told me to mind my own fucking business when I asked him how old he was?

When did being dangerous, threatening, and “bad” become funny or okay? I read a short story once about a woman who was afraid of her teenage son. He’d hit her if he didn’t get his way. The story ended with her killing him in his sleep.

There is something wrong here. If people don’t start stepping up and raising their children right from the start, the compassionate, law-abiding people will be a minority. If ANYTHING good can come from these heart-breaking stories, it should be a warning.  Stop letting kids raise themselves. Will there still be a few bad apples? Yes. But something’s gotta give.

On the Kindness of Things by John Tuite

So much introspection and thought provoking realism going on here. Thought I’d share.

Kindness Blog ♥️

“Treat objects as if they had nervous systems.” Bruce Fertman.

the kindness of thingsThere’s an old porcelain telephone on the stage. It’s only there because in the second act it is written that a character answers the phone to hear news of an arrest. After this single moment the telephone plays no more role, contributes nothing to the on-going drama. It’s forgotten by audience and actors alike. Its existence fades.

We tend to treat most objects like they are minor props in a play. They are only real when, and in so far as, they have use to us and the plot we are enacting. They have no voice of their own, no ‘life’ other than that contained in our script. They are not even background.

If we can give up this idea we realise that the simplest of objects offers us a more interesting possibility. Each has a dual existence, like light…

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You don’t need empathy to support a depressed person

A very insightful look at supporting a loved one who’s battling depression. It isn’t always the most comfortable experience to be around someone who is so dramatically affected by something you can’t relate to, but that’s not important. The important part is just to be there. They don’t need your medically sound advice or your own stories relating to the same feelings. They just need you.

Under Reconstruction

When a friend was hospitalized for appendicitis, people flocked to visit him at the hospital. When I was clinically depressed, some who knew it avoided me like the plague. But I completely understand — it’s natural for us to be afraid of the unfamiliar, including unfamiliar illnesses. And when it comes to depression, people are wary not because they are afraid it might be contagious (hey, many don’t even recognize it as an illness!), but because they are afraid of saying the “wrong” thing.

A friend once apologized to me, “I’m sorry I haven’t been reaching out to you or being there for you. I’m not like J — I wish I were, but I’m not. But know that I’ve been praying for you, okay?”

At the time, I smiled and told him not to worry about it. I read between the lines and I read his facial expressions — I…

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