Start with the mismatched boots you discovered you were wearing last week as you boarded your flight to Mexico. You’d be teaching for five days, and here you were in the Oakland Airport looking down at one brown boot, and one black boot – both put on hastily that morning in the dark. Remember how you stared at your feet, thinking if these boots were tarot cards they would tell me to…

Drop perfection, trust self, write wildly.

Notice that you’re constantly being asked to live what you teach. How even though you know the lesson, there’s always a little part of you that angles for the love and the approval.

Forgive yourself for that achey longing, and for how shiny and special you thought you needed to be to teach alongside the stunning poet, Marie Howe. Remember you’re just two women trying to bring more beauty into the world … which now feels more important than ever.

And how you mean to name that beauty…

The way my daughter spoke to her new boyfriend on the phone while we sat at the kitchen table, totally unselfconscious, not noticing me at all, lost in the newness of love.

The salmon-colored roses that awaited me when I got home, sent by Kirsten and John for no reason except they were thinking of me.

And the harder things too, even if I don’t what to say about…

The Supreme Court. Highland Park. January 6th. Rioters entering the capitol with baseball bats and flagpoles turned into spears.

The quote I read from someone who was at the 4th of July parade in Highland Park who said, “Bodies were horribly, horribly injured, from, you know, guns and bullets that were made for war – not for parades.”

And how I got stuck on that last line, “made for war, not for parades.”

And don’t forget Ukraine, Uvalde, Buffalo and Boulder and to remember that all those people are real and not just headlines, pages being turned toward the next story.

How do you talk about the world when you don’t know where to start?

One word at a time. On paper. At kitchen tables. Vulnerably. Honestly. With others. Over soup bowls. Shaking our heads. Holding each other’s hands. Cutting people slack, especially ourselves for all the grief we’ve stuffed inside our bodies over the last two years. And with no end in sight, saying prayers for our daughters and our sons, and for the earth, that there might be enough water for our children and their children, all the children.

Listen to Laurie read the piece here:


Friends, I would love to write with you. Next week I’m offering four free days of Wild Writing, which is the technique I use to get a lot of words on the page, and how I attempt to angle toward the truth in my work. I would love to have you join me …