My name tag said “Volunteer”, but I was working there. I was a tutor in the Homework Center, an after-school program at the public library for kids K-8 to come and get help with homework or practice their reading and math skills. They’d run out of “Tutor” tags before I started. I was given a … Continue reading Homework


I’ve always been leery of a suburban existence. Think: house with a half-dozen bedrooms, two living rooms, bar in the basement, recessed lighting. High ceilings and sprawling, plain grass lawns. Open-concept kitchen. You know what I mean. Foyers trigger my fight-or-flight.  So I told myself when we moved into this house that it was still … Continue reading Suburban

Dear Diary / Dear Stranger / Dear Void

Remember those “Dear America” books in middle school? They were fictional diaries from the point of view of young characters living through historical events. Those books cycled through the school library like nobody’s business, and I was certainly one of the girls who pawed through them many times, further fraying the ribbon bookmark that came … Continue reading Dear Diary / Dear Stranger / Dear Void

A Profile of Margaret : “I’m Not Really a Mess”

I walked through the wide-open side door and climbed the steps to the upstairs half of a slightly scrummy duplex in one of Cleveland’s west side suburbs. It was the end of May, and my sister-in-law, Margaret, was turning twenty-two. Margaret greeted me and ushered me through the kitchen into the rest of the house, … Continue reading A Profile of Margaret : “I’m Not Really a Mess”