Thanks Giving 2019

Sunday, December 1, 2019 | 0 Comment(s)

As I get older, I've been taking giving thanks more and more seriously. As life gets more complex, more difficult, and less forgiving -- it becomes all the more pressing to spend time focusing on the good in one's life. Even if that success is just the mortar between bricks of shit in a wall that continues up past the desiccated fields and then onward, up and over the horizon.

I'm thankful to be here this Thanksgiving. Here in time. I'm thankful it isn't last year. I'm thankful to have been provided more students to engage and educate. I'm thankful that this academic process continues to be reciprocal and energizing.

I'm thankful to know who I can turn to for support. I have recommitted to those that are committed to me. My friendships feel reciprocal, even if I'm still gun shy after my experiences in the past few years. Recently, there have been moments when I experience spontaneous joy in a way that I thought I'd lost forever, not too long ago.

I'm thankful that my work keeps me focused on systematic inequalities in a way that promotes my constant empathy. Being empathetic takes work. And practice. It's all too easy to write off those who are less fortunate, or even just different than you, because you have a head full of tasks that you have to get done today, and not enough hours in the day to complete them. When your day is spent instilling empathy as a mindset to young adults - it  becomes near impossible to deny the humanity in every person I come across. And I'm thankful for those reminders.

I'm thankful for dogs. All dogs. Especially my dogs. Talk about empathy. These dogs have cuddled me when I was down, and forced me to exercise for my own health, even when the couch was warm and incredibly inviting. Grover's fur has absorbed my tears and Falcor's tongue has cleaned their tracks directly from my eyes until I couldn't help but break out in a giggle fit. And that isn't even touching on the love that swells inside me when I scratch their bellies or rest my forehead on the soft wrinkles of their massive foreheads. I'm so thankful to dogs. And a few friendly cats that I'm making acquaintance with get some special mentions here. I'm not saying I'm a cat person - but I do see now that some cats are pretty cool. Pretty cool indeed.

My wife. Oh my wife. So much thanks. I am eternally grateful for the honesty in our relationship. And I guess, in the same way, the trust that we can be honest with each other and that unconditionally, it will be ok. And to be clear, I'm NOT saying that our relationship is perfect. Far from it, if there is such a thing as "it" in the first place. But, I think we both follow the advice my Dad once gave me during a particularly hard time.  He said, "If you can't trust and be open with the person you chose to spend your life with, well then, you're really fucked." I continue to be thankful for said advice. I think he's right.

And while this isn't a complete list, lastly, I'm glad I'm writing this all down here on my blog. A place I am actively working on re-inhabiting. As I wrote many years ago, a writer writes because it is in them, a part of their nature. To not write causes a blockage in the system where a backlog of ideas and emotions clog up my headspace, waiting to be thrown down on a page and made real.

The past few years have been, well, surreal. And, uncoincidentally, silent.

Now it's time to reclaim the narrative as I begin replanting my roots in the greater Boston area, and begin to tell my story once again.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019 | 0 Comment(s)

There are some emotions that are more productive, in terms of producing writing, than others. For me, anxiety is my cash crop. The worries, fears, and second thoughts are a cavalcade of words, all I have to do is funnel all that content into meaningful turns of phrase and relatable empathy-provoking pain. Often, the pain/hilarity ratio of anxiety is around 50/50. Not for me to experience, mind you, but for you to read. When your inner voice won't shut up, there is always something to write about.

Anger, for me, is quiet. Rage, almost silent. Not much help. But we are living in a time of rage, and it requires as many voices as it can gather and scream bloody murder into the night and day and life and love and death together.

Painting by Rivka Kori

5 Pills

Friday, June 14, 2019 | 0 Comment(s)

I’m up to 5 pills a day now. Prescribed. Three and a half before bedtime and then another pill and a half when I wake up. In truth, I have another two half-pills at the ready, depending on how my emotions cascade on any given day. So that makes the possibility of 6 pill days. But mostly, I’m a 5 a day guy. 
(image from

How Not to Island

Friday, May 31, 2019 | 0 Comment(s)

It was one of the most amazing snorkels I’d been on.  
It is Christmas Day, and there isn’t a person in sight. My wife and I enter the placid Caribbean waters like a secret, our only company silence and stillness. The visibility is crystal clear, and the ocean is alive. My wife and I work our way along the left side of the cove, searching for unexpected beauty and octopuses’ dens. As a matter of fact, when searching for octopuses, the tell tale sign to look for is a small pile of shiny white discarded mollusk shells, most often clams, just outside any cave-like opening or overhang. Often you have to dive down to even have a chance of spotting an hourglass shaped eye peering out from behind the defense of a large tentacle, blocking the entrance. On the other hand, if you are looking for unexpected beauty, I have less advice. Be still and try to find a calm. Admittedly that is more or less good advice for finding unexpected beauty anywhere. 
Snorkeling, for me, is extremely meditative. While I don’t ignore my swimming buddy or anything, with my head submerged, I’m tethered tightly to my present. And in this case the present is an underwater seascapade, brimming with bolting colors and oddly shaped marine life. Being in that present for any amount of time is a real gift in a world of computers, cellphones, and the internet. Getting to snorkel alone, sans noisy tourist groups, is a particular treat.
I see the barrel chest of a massive barracuda, at least 5 feet long, gliding between my wife and I just as I am made aware of the even larger barrel of a kayak, stopping short just a few feet from where we were floating. As I took my face out of the water to alert Erin to the massive sea beast passing through, I instead hear, “Oh Hello, HI!” 


Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | 0 Comment(s)

At all

Long since given up defining myself
Borders are too malleable. moveable. manipulatable. 
Now I can’t even figure out how I’m being defined
I don’t even know the me that they say I am.
So I don’t know who to be
At all.


The elation of giving everything
is rarely fed when falling short.
Failure is growth
and growth is a son of a bitch.
a real hail storm.
fight club.
sea sickness out on the open ocean.
just jump in already. 
there is no movement underneath
the crest of the waves. 
That kind of growth.
rarely fed
by the deflation of giving everything
and falling short