happy birthday, johnny.

This is the real Johnny. I love him. Today's his birthday. Number 55. I met him 23 years ago. My best friend, the father of my children, my love. Crazy, funny, big-hearted, brilliant man. Happy birthday, Johnny. Here's an essay from 16 February 2006, to say happy birthday to him again, these five years later. They sped by, those five: Wear a candle on your head “Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.” -WH Auden, 1907 A few years ago one December, as I prepared to leave for a business trip, my husband John (aka Kurt Vonnegut’s Mr. Brilliant) went into the basement to install insulation beneath the kitchen floor in our 100-year-old chilly house. Searching the dryer for my missing sock (always the missing sock, never the missing ascot, a phenomenon that for years I’ve blamed on plate tectonics, but I digress), I heard from downstairs an animal noise, a groan, a cry of sudden shock at the pain, of mortality and surprise, of anguish and hurt. I thought John had stapled his hand to the beam or was impaled on a rake or something bloody and bone-chilling and nauseating like that—good imaginations for regrettable gore run in my family; after a brief moment in which I took stock of my personal constitution and tolerance for blood and guts, I ran downstairs, afraid of what I would find. I found him unable to move or speak, his face white, his arm at an odd angle like an ice skater...

new journeys.

I am taking some new journeys this year, and would like to invite you to join me. Becoming bendy : a new blog to document a year of mindful eating and moving. This post will explain why I started this journey on January 1st. Today is the 37th day of this new focus. Will you join me for the next 37? Is it possible to change your life in 37 days? It is. It surely is. 3x3x365 : a new blog with two friends. We've never all been in the same place at the same time, we live in three different states, and we're posting a photo and caption every day in 2011. It is amazing how the photos and captions intertwine, though we don't share them beforehand. Because the shortest distance between three people is a story. And stories come in many forms. I love this project. 37days will continue, and I hope you'll join me here. I have spent the past few months writing essays about loss, about grief. Some will be posted here on 37days as I continue writing, and others will be published in a new book I'm planning for 2012, called The Geography of Loss. I am celebrating the Super Bowl today by going to a two-hour yoga workshop in memory and honor of my recently departed friend, Amy Stiefvater, who loved yoga and found great happiness in it. May she rest in...

Never be afraid to shout out.

I am still celebrating the 6th anniversary of this blog! Why not? Here's a guest post from Missy Butler Reed about our first meeting — like the last post from Joshua Durst, I am so in awe of the serendipities of life, of the chance moments of meeting on this big planet of ours. And I am also in awe of the fact that Missy knew it was me on that street corner by looking at the back of my head! I immediately walked over to her car to see her exuberance first hand. It was clear to me then, and clearer now after my recent book tour, that I love life on a very human scale. Thanks for this remembrance, Missy. When I saw Patti’s post that 37 Days was 6 years old, it made my heart smile. It had not been lost on me, as our youngest kids are the same age, that she had a new baby when her stepfather died. I have wondered how she managed to crank out such inspiring words while dealing with the needs of a newborn. I have also wondered what it was like to have that kind of grief in her life, while simultaneously having the exquisite joy of a new life in her home, one that her body created and brought forth. I have often considered what a plethora of emotions must have been sitting with her those first months of writing 37 Days. When I mentioned the anniversary to my husband Tony, he smiled knowingly. He, too, “gets” the magic of Patti and was pleased to hear the...