What I Read in 2021

I did not read for pleasure this year until May. The previous November, on my fiftieth birthday, I applied to graduate school having scrolled through subject areas for one that sparked more than a basic interest, as I enjoy many different fields. Most of early 2021 was spent climbing the peaks of academic texts, each chapter another foot safely planted, or an effort to find better footing. In this endeavor my synapses traced an old muscularity, underdeveloped but there--ropey, always reaching, sideways and upward and sometimes back down in order to ultimately ascend. Recollections of my Nonexistence, Rebecca Solnit, read in May Broken Horses, Brandi Carlile, read in June Near the end of my first semester I sensed that my son needed me more, or that I should be home more often during his long days of remote learning. His father had stopped allowing him to see me on weekends, relying, suddenly, on the original text of the divorce decree written six years prior, when our son was 12. Now h


No one obituary could sum up my father-in-law, but I gave it a shot anyway.  The Rev. William Joseph Maher, Sr., was born on July 5, 1941,  in Oil City, Pennsylvania,  and b efore long  would   be found riding  his   tricycle in circles until the wheel  stuck there ,  having gotten the  point , and it would be the first in a long line of objects animate and inanimate that would both tire of Bill’s bullheadedness and give into it,  out of   sheer  admiration  for   such a  single-minded  sense of purpose. Having bent the bike to his will, Bill  would move  on to  conquer middle  and high school bullies, raging war with the gangs that plagued the  neighborhood. At 18, a priest told Bill he’d have to start tithing  money,   so  Bill told him a thing or two bac k   and never returned ; h e took to the bars, instead, where, for fun and maybe  to face  a demon or two,  he' d  pick  fi ghts and /or  finish them. (His adult children never quite believed these stories   until the day a man