The Guilt of Death from a Distance

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The Guilt of Death from a Distance

“She must have been waiting for you,” distant relatives said softly at the visitation, cupping my hand in theirs with furrowed brows and sympathetically tilted heads.  

“I think so, too,” my head would tilt back. 

But I didn’t actually think so. In reality, she was already gone by the time my plane touched the ground.

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Anxious about flying? Me too.

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Anxious about flying? Me too.

Here are some tips on staying calm and soaring easy as you blast through the air at 600 mph in a giant metal tube with 400 other people. Which, y’know is totally casual and normal and not something to be totally freaked out by. 

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Your guide to surviving being home for the holidays: Tennessee edition

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Your guide to surviving being home for the holidays: Tennessee edition

You know the drill. You’re home for the holidays, you’ve already been acquainted with your childhood room covered in hearts and pink teddy bears, you’ve got a big handful of roasted chex mix and a cup of hot cocoa in hand, and when you’re just about to sit back and relax, BAM. Here comes a pro-Trump comment from Uncle Steve with a chorale of nods and “mm-hms” coming from the kitchen. What do you say? What do you do? How much alcohol should you buy in preparation for this?

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These Successful People Have Sucked as Much as You

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These Successful People Have Sucked as Much as You

I love hearing stories about successful people being told "no." My entire life I've had the assumption that pretty much everyone else knows what they're doing and successful people were just born successful. Every time I get a "no" from an editor or a potential employer or, well, anyone, it's because they know better and what I am offering just isn't good enough. I'm very consciously using the present tense here. After all, why would I get so many no's if everyone was wrong?

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On Forgetting Home is Beautiful

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On Forgetting Home is Beautiful


The older I get, the more beautiful this place gets. Unlike myself, Iowa is a fine wine. I don't know how I missed it for two decades, but I managed. When I think about writing about my hometown, inevitably the first sentence is always something like, "I picture it in shades of brown and gray...

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To Iowa: I'm Sorry

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To Iowa: I'm Sorry

Iowa, I'm sorry.

For years I've written off your people, cursed your winter-torn roads, pitied your empty shopping malls, lamented your land locked-ness, and readily given you the title of "The Land of Missed Opportunity." I made up my mind that you had nothing to offer me; you and I, we simply wanted different things. But for years, it turns out I was wrong.

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