Stay open to the wonders of the world

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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…

Seek simplicity, whatever that means for you

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I woke up to the sound of my daughter and her girlfriend talking softly on the stairs. I could tell by various bumps and shufflings that my daughter was sitting on the second-to-lowest stair, putting on her shoes.

I girded my loins before opening the door to my bedroom.

I wanted everything to go right today. I wanted to be gentle, grounded, kind, and loving. I wanted to be accepting of whatever was thrown my way. I wanted to not want, to not need, to not expect.

Before I turned the doorknob, I performed a mental inventory of the fridge…

Navigating life and time as quickly and skillfully as I can

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I haven’t written on Medium since March 2021 — probably the driest dry spell yet. I haven’t written at all in fact since then, except for some pidgin print in my journal — entries which more often than not are simply lists, presumably to jog my memory in case I want to write about them at some future time.

Time. Time seems to be slipping through my fingers these days.

In the dining room at Terrapin on the Bodega Bay coast last night, I looked around the room and, aside from one family, I was the youngest in the room…

Dear Ronald, You said something about the fog around your publication and that you were thinking of just shutting it down... Please don't do that! What you said resonated strongly for me though. I read yesterday somewhere something like, "The water doesn't flow unless you turn on the spigot." It was about writing. I have been in a deep freeze since March, and it hurts. I haven't been on Medium at all for four months, to read, let alone write. Something about your words compelled me to reach out. So, you reached me, and it was a feat, I tell you! I've been pretty unreachable. Thank you. Thank you.

Another dreamy Bay Area evening of no particular import

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Christiana White

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

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