Stay open to the wonders of the world

According to George Saunders, a work of art “has to surprise its audience, which it can do only if it has legitimately surprised its creator.”

When I read that, I realized I’m not creating art. Not by a long shot. I spend heaps of time bound up, worried, self-flagellating, fighting waves of lassitude and more than a little self-loathing. I worry about my “audience,” remembering — and flinching every time I do so — the essay I read on Medium about how no one wants to read a journal entry.

I understand. I suppose it’s true. And yet. Some of…


Another dreamy Bay Area evening of no particular import

I’m cooking up chorizo on the stovetop. Chorizo from… Gilroy. I was hoping to see the name of some quaint (or at least quaint-sounding) Portuguese village on the label, but no, this chorizo is from our very own Gilroy, California, by way of Costco. The fact that it’s from the U.S. makes me trust it less, I’m afraid. I don’t trust many of the foodstuffs here, where shareholder satisfaction is more exalted than, God forbid, a person’s health or wellness.

That’s just a fact of life in this country.

But that’s not what this essay is about. This essay is…


Following the ups and downs of the ridge, and my thoughts

Friday afternoon, I launched myself from my desk, driven by a restlessness in my body and an urgent command inside me to move. I’ve suffered from a painful, tight right shoulder for more than two months now. I can’t get the muscle between my shoulder and my neck — the trapezius, I believe — to let go for the life of me. It’s my body, rebelling, as my body always has, when I need to stop, look around, and assess. …


And other important ephemera

Ephemera. What a great word. What does it mean? Upon a brief search, I learn it’s from the Greek ephemeros, meaning “lasting only one day, short-lived.” I think of it as even shorter than one day. It’s all of those things that flit across one’s consciousness, or experience, or field of view. Those intangibles, those vague, abstruse, or subtle feelings that are so faint, so light, they are only the barest palimpsest of our experience. Something that, if you blink, you will miss, like the little morning bird that just flitted past my window. Like the breeze now pushing the…


How music devastates

There are songs that hurt. They hurt a lot.

And I’m not sure what it means that they do, or what I’m to do about it, if anything.

One of these songs, however, I have managed to re-filter through my adult self and come to love on my own terms. Now, it is one of my favorite songs. It no longer devastates me, though it always makes me wistful.

That song is Killing Me Softly, by Roberta Flack. I have the distinct memory of being a very young child in the loft of a snow cabin in the Lake Tahoe…


How I cope with stress and anxiety

In his article today, Michael Burg, MD invited me to respond to the question, How do you cope with stress and anxiety? Good question. Not very well historically, I’m afraid.

Before we do a deep dive, however, let’s look at that word “cope.” To cope is to “deal effectively with something difficult.” Effectively, of course, is the operative word. Therefore, I won’t tell you about all of the counter-productive things I do when I am stressed or awash in anxiety, all the ways I succumb, the ways I let it drive me, the ways I flail and flounder. I may…


This is interesting. It reminds me of a literature teacher I had in college who said, "When you think you're done with your paragraph or essay, force yourself to write one more thing. That will often be the most dazzling or important or insightful sentence.


This is interesting. It reminds me of a literature teacher I had in college who said, "When you think you're done with your paragraph or essay, force yourself to write one more thing. That will often be the most dazzling or important or insightful sentence.


Words of wisdom from the great Jared Leto

My friend S. sent me an invitation to Clubhouse a couple of weeks ago. I had never heard of this eleven-month old audio social network, but was game. By accepting the invitation, I was granted two invitations I could in turn forward to friends. I sent one to my son and one to my friend E., who’s usually ahead of me on these new-fangled tech platforms.

Her reply was, “Seriously? Isn’t it full of tech bros?” Later, she said, “I’m afraid of Clubhouse. It’s all the rage with the tech VCs and blockchain people.”

I’m not sure that’s still the…


Dinosaur Peak

Yesterday, shortly before 3 p.m., B. and I escaped the confines of the house and headed for the mountain. We made our way up 35th Avenue, then Redwood Road, over the ridge called Skyline, and down the other side. We passed the stables, then more stables. We passed the turnoff to Moraga. We continued on.

B. said, “Did we miss it? I don’t remember it being this far.”

I said, “No, I always think that too. It’s farther than you think.”

We passed two or three different entrances to Anthony Chabot Regional Park, including the park’s campground. We passed the…

Christiana White

Writer, copywriter, editor, and word lover. Subscribe to my newsletter at christywhite.substack.com

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