Thursday, July 20, 2017

tyranny of the quantifiable


are there things you cannot convey with words or even actions?  do you worry that words are never adequate?  that you've never actually expressed yourself with any bit of accuracy?
the tyranny of the quantifiable is partly the failure of language and discourse to describe more complex, subtle, and fluid phenomena, as well as the failure of those who shape opinions and make decisions to understand and value these slipperier things.  it is difficult, sometimes even impossible, to value what cannot be named or described...*
what are you striving to convey?  will language always fail to describe the truly valuable things and, then, it seems, leave us in peril? if we don't describe it, it won't be saved.  money, profits, square footage, gallons--these things are safe in their easily quantifiable jargon.  but, please, tell me where you can buy a ledger to keep track of the tenderness of your daughter's hand in her waning days at home as the sun sets one more glorious time?  and the electricity in your body when you imagine either one of you not existing anymore?  what about the giddiness of playing kickball in the open space when the sprinklers come on without warning?  or the way a drum beat reverberates somewhere deep within your body and makes you want to dance?  there is not a box to check to apply for more of any of that.  more to the point, protecting the beauty of the natural world, and its citizens' ability to dream and think and love without threat will never show up in tidy columns.  so forge on, endeavor to articulate the things that are most important and most difficult to describe.

also, read *rebecca solnit, who does all of that and more.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

living through

sometimes the slivers of joy
the little bits you try to collect
just don't feel big enough

sometimes the weight
of disappointment
and displacement
make it difficult to hold
those little slivers

here's what i say:
keep chasing those slivers.
keep working at finding them.
the dark will always be there;
it does not need to be chased.

Monday, April 3, 2017


Blue skies and clear thoughts.  Or is it blue thoughts and clear skies?  Clear, blue thought skies?  You see the struggles?  But when there's calm, when your back is flat on a sun-warmed piece of cement and your children are speaking to each other in their own, youthful language, you feel deeply connected and relaxed.  The trees are beginning to green, the scent of lilacs are everywhere and it does seem possible that although nature does it much better than we do, there may, in fact, be some fresh start.  Make goals, imagine the fruition of those goals.  Words are just small pieces of yourself that you give to the page.    

Friday, February 24, 2017

A whole new world

incognito:  as hazel woods
there's too much catching up to do here, my strange friends.  
what has happened to our world?  what has happened to us?  
in addition to resisting and protesting, my advice is to go deep.  
radical transparence is not just something we should want 
from our government.  
ask it of yourself.  
i will go first:  i sold out.  i published a book i was proud of
under a pseudonym.  why?  long answer forthcoming.  
short answer:  fear.  money.  inertia.
no surprise:  it didn't go so well.  poor hazel woods' p&l
numbers are as disappointing as as meg mullins'.
guess what?  i finally don't give a fuck.
but, i did take an entire year off from writing.
and i did something on my bucket list.
i started a handmade napkin biz.
i loved it.  the napkins are dreamy. (please, don't order any)
turns out, i'm almost as terrible selling napkins
as i am selling books.
so, now what?
i've circled the wagons around 
the boring, predictable, sensitive part
of myself who thinks about success
as some kind of balmy, palm-treed place one reaches
instead of a daily pursuit of kindness and creativity and utility 
and i'm writing.

and i'm trying to laugh at djt.  because i'm guessing
that's what he hates the most.  being taken seriously
is part of the con.  his policies and atrocities are serious and
must be opposed.  but the man?  what a joke.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016


be soft. do not let the world make you hard. do not let pain make you hate. 
do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. 
take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, 
you still believe 
it to be a beautiful place.

-kurt vonnegut

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


I'm thinking a lot about time. About the green hills from my childhood summers. Those horses standing atop the hills, whose immense bodies and warm breaths made my smallness smaller. Where do those moments live now? Intuitively I know that they are not gone. Nothing disappears. They exist in my mysterious brain until they don't. And then?  The world vanished with us.  We take it, piece by piece, to the silent place.

Thursday, April 10, 2014



When you sit on the park bench in the middle of walking the dog, and a strong breeze tumbles a load of crisp, papery elm seeds at you, have you just interrupted fate?  Have you become that terrible accident of nature that prevents some tender unplanted tree from becoming its intended self?