The Last Ones to Let You Down
Death doesn’t stop commerce

Death doesn’t stop commerce

Photo Credit: RiOTPHOTOGRAPHY.com via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: RiOTPHOTOGRAPHY.com via Compfight cc

On Sunday, the Minneapolis StarTribune reprinted an op-ed that first appeared in the New York Times on July 12. The piece, by Ted Gup, was headlined “There’s Something Else: The Afterlife.”

Gup writes about the credit card offers, airline miles reminders, insurance offers via e-mail and even a notice for a delinquent tax that continued to pour in…

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Why writers should watch the Tour de France

Why writers should watch the Tour de France

Apologies, Talansky is back on his bike! But looks in tears… http://t.co/0INc0WMu6r
ITV Cycling (@itvcycling) July 16, 2014

Inspired by Tracy Lee Karner’s post about baseball and story:

As a writer, why I watch the Tour de France every year:

* Characters.These guys are characters in every sense of the word! To a certain degree, they have to have some ego in order to be successful. You don’t…

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Book tour, Rochester
Corridor leading to Rochester Public Library.

Corridor leading to Rochester Public Library.

Part of the mural in the corridor.

Part of the mural in the corridor.

I had to take a picture of the German part of the mural!

I had to take a picture of the German part of the mural!

I always like the discussions that occur during my book talks. In Rochester, we talked about the elegiac aspect of my book. I wanted to honor the time and place from which I came of age. I’m not that old, but the way of life in communities has changed so much…

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What about questions that have no answers?

What about questions that have no answers?

This documentary by Lina Makboul completely captivated me. I admire the filmmaker's quest to get answers to unanswerable questions.

This documentary by Lina Makboul completely captivated me. I admire the filmmaker’s quest to get answers to unanswerable questions.

I’m working on a project right now that doesn’t have any answers. So I’m in the midst of reading books and watching documentaries that similarly tackle biographies of complicated people whose actions cannot be easily explained.

I just watched a fascinating…

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Q: Where in Minnesota can you find relief from mosquitoes?

Q: Where in Minnesota can you find relief from mosquitoes?

The Root River in Lanesboro, Minnesota.

The Root River in Lanesboro, Minnesota.

A: Lanesboro! Legend has it that the fast-moving Root River and lack of places with standing water keep the mosquito population very low. Lanesboro is in the driftless area: few flat places for water to pool, unlike other parts of Minnesota. I was in Lanesboro on July 5 and while the mosquitoes and gnats were at their biting best in Mankato, I encountered…

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Artists not welcome
I love my state.

I love my state.

I’m spoiled.

No surprise to people who know me, ha! But here I’m talking about spoiled in the creative sense. Namely, spoiled by where I live and the support I receive here. By and large, Minnesota is a spectacular state for the arts, a place where creatives are supported and encouraged. This comes not only in the form of community/camaraderie, but we are so lucky to get…

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The Hanel reality tour (props to “Seinfeld”)

The Hanel reality tour (props to “Seinfeld”)

On Wednesday, I met with a book club who had taken a field trip to Waseca to visit cemeteries and graves that I mention in my memoir. I’ve heard of people doing this occasionally, but this is the first time I heard of an entire group doing a tour of Waseca cemeteries. I had created a mapa while ago and posted it to my website for just this purpose. I’m someone who likes to visit places mentioned…

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5 reasons why running is SO MUCH better than writing

5 reasons why running is SO MUCH better than writing

The Bath Half in March 2014 was my first international run. It was a difficult run, but I finished and it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. It's hard to find that instant gratification in writing.

The Bath Half in March 2014 was my first international run. It was a difficult run, but I finished and it gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s hard to find that instant gratification in writing.

Running and writing seem to go hand-in-hand. I know a lot of fellow writers who also are runners. Personally, I need to run in order to get a mental break. After sitting in front of my computer,…

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Avoid talking about death, and you get “The Fault in Our Stars”

Avoid talking about death, and you get “The Fault in Our Stars”

I'm going to have to see the movie now that I finished the book.

I’m going to have to see the movie now that I finished the book.

On a recent weekend getaway, I read The Fault in Our Starsa young adult novel that is now the latest teen sensation thanks to the movie. I was curious about the hype so I turned to my 16-year-old niece, who graciously let me borrow her book.

I’m always searching for YA or middle-grade books that address death and grief. They are…

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One year, many changes

One year, many changes

In his favorite spot, looking out the window, probably waiting for David to come home from work.

In his favorite spot, looking out the window, probably waiting for David to come home from work.

June 13 marked one year since our sweet Kahlil died. I’ve been feeling kind of weird this June–the weather and the new green of fresh grass and leaves reminded me of how sick Kahlil was in early June last year. The landscape brought back those memories.

You could not separate Kahlil from his toy in all of his 14 years. Note the cast. He was always so aggressive in his play that he injured himself on occasion.

You could not separate Kahlil from his toy in…

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