The Latest: Ruined Shoes | Loved Ones | Writing News

Hey there,

So much for our shiny, bright, new 2021. It’s like we got a new pair of white sneakers and immediately stepped in a mud puddle.

I have a lot to say, much of which I’m still working to articulate, but for now I will say this: 1) the pervasive lies about election fraud have done extraordinary damage to our collective faith in our democracy, and 2) preserving and protecting our democracy and Constitution need to be our number-one goals as a nation right now.

Meanwhile, amid the drama, here we are. We still do our jobs (kind of), feed the pets, take out the trash, make the dinner, tuck in the children. Essential workers – that’s all of us right now. Hang in there. How are you? I’d like to know. ❤️

The Latest: Loved Ones

Have you seen The Thank-You Project: Cultivating Happiness One Letter of Gratitude at a Time? It’s a lovely book by my acquaintance Nancy Davis Kho, who celebrated her 50th birthday year by writing 50 letters of gratitude.

When I spotted praise for Nancy’s book in Real Simple magazine, I snapped a photo and shared it on Twitter with Nancy’s and my followers. One response from a stranger struck me:

“50 loved ones” I don’t even have 5 loved ones. Everyone’s life is so different is in terms of how many people surround a person. Being from a small family, having key people die, and moving across country changes a lot.

That sounds so hard. We can’t control how many people love us, and that can be lonely.

And yet: The phrase is “loved ones.” Not family. Not friends. Not people who love us. Loved ones are people who are loved.

And that’s when the beauty of Nancy’s project really sank in: Letters of gratitude are love letters. They don’t have to be written to best friends or siblings or parents. They don’t even have to be letters. They can be the words of gratitude to the neighbor who always tends such pretty flowers or to the friendly cashier at the grocery store. Simple words of kindness and appreciation. That’s how we make loved ones. By loving.

Fine, I know, it doesn’t solve the bigger problems of the world. But, again, it’s essential work, don’t you think? Besides, it makes us all a little happier, and that’s no small thing.

The Latest: Writing News

In the middle of all this national nonsense, I have a few bits of writing news to share.

  • I found out that my essay from early 2020, “How to Speak Clevelandese” was Cleveland Magazine‘s 5th most-read article of the year. What a surprise – I wrote that pre-COVID, which feels like a million years ago now. It’s really about belonging and acceptance and melting pots and America at its best, so maybe have a read if you’re feeling down about our nation right now.
  • Amid the Bean Dad (or Can-Opener Dad, you pick) drama, I wrote an article for the Washington Post on How to Raise Capable Kids Without Feeling Like a Jerk. You really don’t have to be a pushover or a hardass. There’s a middle ground.
  • I have a new piece coming out in the New York Times soon. I’m not sure exactly when, but this week it got sent to the “art department” to be illustrated, which sounds awfully official and fun. Hopefully I’ll have that to share soon!

Let me know what’s on your mind, won’t you? I love hearing from you!



p.s. Enough winter for now. How about we break for a little summer throwback?

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