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memories

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The web sites we once were

The other day, out of curiosity, I went hunting for one of my very first web sites. I created it with a free service in 1998; most of those services were swallowed up, years later, by big tech companies, and all the sites within them held underwater until they expired.

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Winter at Hill House

This week, as I enjoyed a little time off, it snowed for the first time this season. The hill we live atop is steep, generally too steep when icy for even a Jeep to navigate safely, so when it snows, we stay home. (Easier this year, since "stay home" has

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Blowing up mountains

From the window I can see three mountains: Hood, Adams, St. Helens. They're all quite lovely at a distance. I don't know much about them. Mt. St. Helens, of course, erupted in 1980. I was two years old, so of course don't remember it. I relate it, though, to a

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Kolaches!

I can't remember the first kolache I ever had. (Kolaches are a pastry, usually fruit surrounded by sweet dough. In Texas, where I would've first encountered them, however, they'd evolved, or been mutilated, into bundles of meat and cheese and sometimes eggs inside a pocket of sweet dough.) Around 1992,

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Traditions

Paul Thomas Anderson is possibly my favorite filmmaker. I saw Boogie Nights when I was in college, then Magnolia a couple of years later, and then backtracked to catch Sydney/Hard Eight. But while I love those early movies, the ones that mean the most to me have come much

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Magnolia

When I was seven years old, my family moved from Alaska to Texas. I started the third grade a little younger than the other kids. A new school. A new town. My classmates had all been friends for years by then, having come up through all the previous years together.

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Friday Harbor

For the last fifteen or so years—I honestly can't remember when it started; perhaps with a long weekend in Cambria, CA, while writing Eleanor?—I have taken a week off in September, then traveled somewhere alone to work on whatever project I have going. A book I'm writing. A

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Wonder famous almost boys

Recently I was talking with Felicia about movies, in particular movies about writers. Movies about writers shaped my beliefs, as a younger man, about what a writing life would be like; for the last many years, I have learned to unwind those beliefs, as they don't reflect any kind of

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Alaska

My family moved to Anchorage, Alaska, when I was just two years old. Both of my parents were Texas natives who had never lived anywhere else. My father had interviewed, long distance, for a job as a programmer at an Alaskan bank, and closed the deal. They loaded all of

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Dear Mrs. Gruhn

Recently I received a letter in the mail from my high school creative writing teacher, Mrs. Gruhn. We've been in touch here and there the last few years, but it's been a little while since the last time. In the letter, she hoped my writing was going well, and that