Court

Posted on 1 min read

The feelings in preparing to walk into a court hearing are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. As a I sit outside the door, waiting to be ushered in, there’s a screaming in my ears so that I can’t hear or think of anything else besides what’s rushing towards me. And yet everyone and everything in the room is silent and austere. Not having control over your relationship with your child makes you feel like a caged animal, penned in and frantic. For me, it manifests in blistering headaches and a state of mild, but near constant, unease. Like I’m trying to sprint on gravel. And yet as upset or desperate …

Asia House

Posted on 1 min read

Hey. Hey again. Remember me? …Yankee boy! Of course I remember you. I’m impressed.  I have a very good memory. Yes you do.  You come here to see your daughter. You separate from your German wife.  Right. Right. Not my wife but same difference.  And you live in South Carolina.  Colorado. Ah. Same thing. Both have a C. I remember what you had last time Really? Sure I remember. Sit down. Sit down. I’ll bring it out to you.  And an apfelschorle please. Of course. Same as last time.  …

SF, Again

Posted on 2 min read

It’s been a while since my last business trip. As result my tolerance is high for getting up early, fighting the road warriors for an outlet at the airport, and waking up on the plane with neck pain. It feels good to be back in SF. How a Best Western in San Mateo can cost $500 a night still baffles me. But I accept it, because everything here looks unassuming and costs a fortune. It feels like a slight victory that most consumer goods are roughly the same price as their Denver counterparts. Yes, I paid $1.50 for a bottle of water! Writing about SF is like writing about New …

White Noise

Posted on 1 min read

I’m having nightmares again. But not the predictive nightmares of murder and terror. These are of the type where almost nothing happens. They’re regular interactions and they make my heart ache. I have a dream where my grandmother, who died last year, is showing a quilt that she made to my daughter. She explains that she made the quilt out of feed sacks, which I remember her telling me they used to do on the farm. A piece of the truth interlaced into the dream. And then long stretches of déjà vu. Nothing true, but things I know so well. They’re nightmares of foreboding. And I realize that it’s probably …

Excerpt: Mark’s Short Story

Posted on 4 min read

As the novel nears a finished state, most of the time that I spend with it now is in editing and small nit-picking changes. This is fine for something to do at the end of the day, and yet doesn’t really meet the needs that had me writing the novel in the first place. As a result, I’ve been working on several short stories involving characters from the novel. The one that is furthest along involves Mark, and takes place over a long weekend in Ohio, where he’s arrived to spend time with his daughter. The goal was not to create something semi-autobiographical, and yet I would be lying if …

Not the First to Think This

Memory is a strange thing. It was such an insignificant part of my life for a long time, ten years at least. When I was in my early twenties, I intentionally kept them amorphous, refusing to take pictures because I had little desire to remember things the exact way that they were, and instead hoped they would live on as something more private and meaningful. I only started writing a blog (which I insisted wasn’t a blog) because a friend of mine, during my second stay in Prague, asked me to contribute to his site. Now, I have no idea what happened to that site, or even what the name …

Detroit (Briefly)

Posted on 1 min read

Landing in Detroit is oddly beautiful. The farms are small and divided in weird angles, and it looks more like Germany, than the perfectly efficient and boring farms I grew up around. The land itself is green and blue and lush, and bears no resemblance to the city itself. From up here it’s all hauntingly idyllic. Even the power plant in the background, with two Simpson’s style giant smoke stacks, come off as symbol of progress, instead of the reality of what it actually is. I wonder if that’s what people used to see when they flew here: a city as a manifestation of progress. And then I think, maybe …

Not Enough

Posted on 1 min read

I cry on most of the flight home and I don’t know why. Not weeping, just eyes watering, falling on the pages of the book I’m trying to read, or caught subtly in my sleeve. I can’t say for certain why it’s so hard for me. This isn’t a new trip for me. But this time it feels different. There are realizations that come to me now. Facts and realities that I didn’t know existed, and that I don’t know how to confront. I’ve felt frustrated for a long time. But now in seeing her, it goes beyond my own frustration, and verges into pain… and with pain naturally comes …

Where We Come From

Posted on 1 min read

My hotel, the Schloss Wilkenhedge, is a “water castle”, which is a small castle surrounded by a moat in the countryside. After dinner, usually around 9 or 10, while the sunset is still intense, I go for a walk through the forest near the hotel. The trees in the forest are tall and thin, stretching a hundred feet in the air, and remind me of the trees in the parks that surround Portland. There’s a road through the forest that’s heavily trafficked, and as I walk the road I imagine if a car were to jump the curve (which isn’t a curve, but a painted line) and were to punch …

German Child Services

Posted on 1 min read

I’m sweating through my jeans in a hallway in Germany. I’m alone in the hallway, there’s an empty wooden chair to my right. I came here unannounced, and they’ve stuck me out here because they don’t know what to do with me. The corridor is thin and lined with rooms. I can hear voices come out rooms, I’m assuming talking on the telephone, but I can’t see anyone. It’s all sound and white walls and stale air. A little girl’s voice comes from a room on my left. “Hallo mama.” It sounds like my daughter when she was three. For a moment I forget where I am and think it …