The Middle Distance, 7.12.13: Words for Nostalgia
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There is a joke about a young man entering heaven. As he approaches the pearly gates, he sees a group of angels bound in chains. The young man asks St. Peter why and St. Peter replies: “Oh, they’re […]

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The Middle Distance 6.28.13: Hey Yawwwwwwl!
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A friend asked me yesterday what’s been in the news. She had not been paying attention. Let’s see, I said. More killing in Syria, more guns flowing in so even more will be killed. Edward Snowden is holed up […]

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The Midddle Distance 6.21.13: A Week in Summer
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The week began with peonies. I counted 50 buds on the largest bush in the garden. They seemed to burst from their tight round buds all at once.

“Look at the girls in their ball gowns,” my […]

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The Middle Distance 6.14.13: When the Lights Come Up
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For the last six weeks, I’ve been taking a crash course in documentary filmmaking. I thought I’d be learning some technical terminology, a little technique, and a bit about how funding, marketing and distribution […]

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The Middle Distance 5.31.13: A Revelation
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For several years now, out here in the middle distance, I have made regular pilgrimages to Louisville, Kentucky, where at age 50, I entered graduate school. Coming to Kentucky, the state of my birth, was a homecoming of sorts […]

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The Middle Distance 5.24.13: At Their Own Hands
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As Memorial Day approaches, far too many American families are not thinking about what they’ll cook on the grill, but how they will remember their military dead, particularly the growing number who died at their own […]

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The Middle Distance 5.17.13: The Fitzgerald Swoon
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When I was 17, someone made me read The Great Gatsby. I don’t remember the English teacher’s name, but I do remember the reverence and the slight hint of a romantic crush in her voice when she introduced […]

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The Middle Distance 5.10.13: A Mother’s Day Letter to My Children
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Hey, y’all:

I’m writing because Sunday is Mother’s Day, and at this late date, out here in the middle distance, I am still as confounded by the holiday as I was when you were […]

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The Middle Distance 5.3.13: Potluck Reunion

Here are the mothers, hands on hips, surveying the table for space, considering what, if anything, might be missing. Aunt Erma presides, my grandmother’s sister who still lives on these remaining acres of family land. Aunts and uncles and cousins have come from as far as the […]

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The Middle Distance 4.26.13: April
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If you could see the snow flowing down past the bedroom window, silencing the mid-April morning, you might not know where you are. Then you would remember: you are at home at the foot of the Colorado Rocky Mountains where […]

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The Middle Distance 4.12.13: The Seed Underground
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I bought this book on impulse. There was that charming cover with earthen bowls nestling beans and seeds and vegetables, with labels handwritten in pencil. It was April and the urge to put seeds in the ground had […]

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The Middle Distance 4.5.13: She and I
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She is up before dawn every day, no matter the season. While the rest of us grab a last few minutes of sleep, she pulls on her puffy blue robe, pads barefoot across the house to the front […]

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The Middle Distance 3.29.13: Anthems of the Resurrection
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Last Sunday, Christian churches around the world remembered Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. Revelers along the road spread palm fronds and, according to the New Testament, many laid their coats on the road to […]

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The Middle Distance 3.22.13:

Over the last 13 years, there have been three brief moments when the world grew so quiet I could nearly hear my own heartbeat. The first was in 2000 when I read Colorado author Kent Haruf’s deceptively simple and deeply humane novel Plainsong. The second was in 2004, […]

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The Middle Distance 3.15.13: An Old, Familiar Sleeplessness
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On the road to the mountains, March clouds hang heavy with the promise of snow. Winding past Florissant and Lake George and across the flat expanse of South Park, columns of sunlight peek out then disappear. Hoosier Pass […]

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The Middle Distance 2.24.12: Sweet Old Lady
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I want to apologize for ever referring to someone as a “sweet old lady.” Forgive me, sisters. I wasn’t thinking when I did it, and I hadn’t yet reached the age where I could be described by that cloying […]

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The Middle Distance 3.1.13: I Spy
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When I was 9, I decided to be a spy. This was not what I wanted to be when I grew up, but right then and there, in my sleepy, southern Kentucky hometown where it seemed nothing ever […]

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The Middle Distance 2.22.13:Age-Rage-Oholic
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It is time to confess. I am an age-rage-oholic.

What’s that, you say? It’s the unreasonable creeping of heat up my spine and into my face when I see that someone young and bright and attractive has accomplished at, say, age 30, […]

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The Middle Distance 2.15.13: Perfect Day
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I caught up with a friend, recently, who after many years of being single is remarrying this summer. Following a period of solitude and consideration of what she wanted in life, she decided to actively pursue a […]

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The Midddle Distance 2.8.13: Both Sides of the Octagon
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I can only imagine the scene on Tuesday afternoon at the grand old Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix. Not a traveling Broadway show or a concert, but a memorial service for a local man, Mark Hummels, […]

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The Middle Distance 2.1.13
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Donald Anderson has done what most writers and would-be writers wish they had done: kept all the snippets and notes and observations of a lifetime — some funny, some profound, some more developed than others, some mere grace notes — and […]

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The Middle Distance 1.18.13: The Only Possible Grace
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My friend Cate said she squirmed through the first half of Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen’s comedy film The Guilt Trip, seeing a bit too much of herself in Streisand’s character, Joyce, an unrelentingly overbearing Jewish […]

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The Middle Distance 1.11.13: All The Light We Used to Have
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Nearly every wall of my mother’s house is lined with tables, bookcases, or a chest with drawers. And every time I come for a stay, I go through all of those drawers, one at a […]

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News

AP
September 27, 2016 | NPR · An estimated 84 million people watched Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in their first debate Monday, according to TV ratings data from Nielsen, making it the most-watched debate ever.
 

Getty Images
September 27, 2016 | NPR · The New York-based doctor has sparked praise and criticism by going to Mexico and using DNA of three adults to create a child for a couple from Jordan who lost two children to a genetic disorder.
 

Hanna Barczyk for NPR
September 27, 2016 | NPR · Stress takes a toll on our bodies. And a new study suggests stress can diminish the benefits of more healthful food choices. But experts say a range of strategies can help people cope with stress.
 

Arts & Life

Getty Images for CinemaCon
September 27, 2016 | NPR · For the first time in a decade, someone other than Jerry Seinfeld tops Forbes’ ranking of the highest-paid comedians.
 

September 27, 2016 | NPR · Music critic Will Hermes reviews a new autobiography from Bruce Springsteen called Born To Run.
 

September 27, 2016 | FA · Journalist Joshua Partlow was in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2012, a time of corruption, government dysfunction and civilian hostility to U.S. military operations. His new book is A Kingdom of Their Own.
 

Music

September 27, 2016 | NPR · Music critic Will Hermes reviews a new autobiography from Bruce Springsteen called Born To Run.
 

Getty Images
September 27, 2016 | WPLN · Six decades ago, Shepard became the third woman to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The country music pioneer died Sunday outside Nashville.
 

Courtesy of the artist.
September 27, 2016 | NPR · Conor Oberst, the lead singer of Bright Eyes, will premiere his new solo album, Ruminations, live in New York. You can join us for the show — in person or online — Oct. 14.
 

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