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What the Living Do

“But there are moments, walking, when I catch a

glimpse of myself in the window glass,

say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m

gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned

coat that I’m speechless:

I am living, I remember you.”

from Marie Howe’s What the Living Do


Yes, this is what the living do. We laugh. We cry. We rush from one appointment to the next. Sometimes we pause and do yoga or say a quick prayer, “Dear God. Help.” We toss god out like an empty Starbucks cup. We put on tepid smiles in a season devoted to cheer and giving, then we stuff our hands into swollen pockets.

We smooth our children’s furrowed brows. We shake our heads and wonder why we even have children. And then… they do or say something so spectacular that we feel the weighty guilt of ever having doubted them. We draw them close and shake our heads once more.

We binge on the latest Netflix craze and dine on popcorn and wine like Olivia Pope in Scandal only we wear stretchy yoga pants and over-sized sweatshirts instead of designer rags.

We pick up our journals and say ‘WTF?’ We toss them to the side of the bed where they fall open to a line that jumps straight to our heart. We vow to write more of that! Until the critic says, “Fat chance.”

We meet our friends for lunch. We read another Advent passage and wonder again what it is we’re waiting for ~ A season? A savior? A #1 bestseller? We stretch and moan and groan and write Facebook posts all shiny and new, because that’s way more fun than posting pics of unpopped kernels and sharing the drivel we’ve just spewed onto the page. We tell ourselves we should be more authentic. We console this thought with “it’s nobody’s business.”

We wrap ourselves in scarves and tinsel. String lights across our broken hearts. Close our eyes and say one more prayer. Then with one miraculous movement, we catch a glimpse of ourselves and laughter breaks loose. We quack ourselves up. We realize that it’s all temporal and oh so very real.

We walk into the corner bookstore. Scared. Hopeful. Cavalier. And then we spot it, on the shelf between East of Eden and The Help ~ our dream. It's alive and today it’s true.

I am living, I remember you. Yes, this is what the living do.


Blue: a novel is available at, or your favorite independent bookseller. Released September 10, 2015!! It makes a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift for any reader on your list.

"This lyrically written, beautiful story of three emotionally broken yet connected women begins in present day, illustrating the current struggles each faces to simply hold it together and get through each day. The tale then slowly unravels—as these women’s lives unravel—to reveal the mystery in their past that connects them." ~ Chanticleer Book Reviews

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