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Small town

A few years back, when Squish was itty-bitty, she and Felicia built a fort together. From the outside, I could hear their conversation. Squish told Felicia about a town she'd recently visited. "What was it called?" Felicia asked her. "Small," Squish answered. "It was a town called Small?" "Yes, that's

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A grumpy daemon

This weekend, Squish and I watched the 2007 movie The Golden Compass, based on the first novel in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. While the movie is not terribly beloved, Squish was enthralled. She was heartbroken to learn that there are no sequels (and only mildly reassured by the

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Morning view

Up a bit early this morning. I wasn't the first one awake—Felicia's often up before me, getting a workout in—but I was the only one stirring upstairs. I went from window to window, pulling curtains and raising shades. The sun wasn't yet up, but the horizon was tinted

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The Squish method

One of the best things about my basement study, where I write: It shares a wall with the room where my daughter practices piano. Listening to her play a piece again and again, or trying to work out the notes in something she's heard in a movie, is just one

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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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Brothers on a hotel bed

Recently I spent a few bucks to watch a livestream of Death Cab for Cutie playing a show at Red Rocks. The band was on its first (small) tour in nearly two years, playing a vaccinated crowd; the idea of being in a crowd, regardless of vaccination status, still sets

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Oscam's razor

As I write this, Squish is in the next room, watching her latest favorite cartoon (Summer Camp Island). Two characters in the show have incorrectly deduced that another character is being tortured, so attempt to rescue her. They discover, however, that the character in question is just homesick, and is

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Bumblebees

A little while ago, Felicia and Squish went plum-picking. Squish spotted several golden plums on the ground. Those that had burst open were dotted with bumblebees, pushing into the juicy middles of the fruit. "I fed some of the bees," she told me proudly. "I took a fresh plum, and

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The parents are not okay

And suddenly now it’s back to school while cases are rising, back to school while masks are a battleground, back to school while everyone under 12 is still unvaccinated. Parents are living a repeat of the worst year of their lives—except this time, no matter what, kids are

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Quote wall: Squish

On the bulletin board above my desk, I keep a handful of quotes that have taught me something, or that I hope to learn from. Here's one: You don't have to be famous if you don't want to. It's fun writing books. —Squish, to me, Feb. 15, 2019My daughter asked