Category Archives: Uncategorized

Snowmelt

Merced River, Clifford’s 65th birthday, May 21, 2017 Turgid—that’s the word for it— white petticoats of froth atop olive drab river coursing so fast, so hard, it sounds like ocean turned up full blast, without the ebb and flow. Here … Continue reading

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Library card

I remember my first library card in its little slipcover, my name emblazoned on it, typed by a manual typewriter: Janis Linn Haag. Did Mrs. Nelson, the children’s librarian at the Roseville Public Library, type it? I don’t know; I … Continue reading

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Answering the call

The ancestors have charged you, dream traveler, to journey again along the flowing river into the ancient forest, to walk the stone circle of life curving toward the center where you must stand tall and be opened, where you must … Continue reading

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Infinite flame

Christmas on the same day as Hanukkah is as challenging for my friend the Jewish poet as it is for me. How, she asks, does one freshly tell the ancient story of lamps lit for eight days with one day’s … Continue reading

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My awesome students

Though I am also an English professor, I spend much of my time at Sacramento City College teaching journalism and advising journalism students on campus publications. I helped create the college’s literary journal, Susurrus, in the early ’90s and spent 17 years … Continue reading

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Dear Santa, a form letter

What I want for Christmas: (Check all boxes that apply, even if you’re Jewish, or you stopped believing years ago; use exclamation points for things that warrant them) √ Happiness                √ Hired help   … Continue reading

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Teachin’

I’ve been teaching writing to college students for three decades now, and I well know how the ends of semesters go: lots of last-minute assignments and make-up tests, students coming to my office with pleas for leniency or concerns about … Continue reading

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Living at the edge of a new leaf

I am living at the edge of a new leaf. —Arthur Sze, “The Shape of Leaves” The day after Thanksgiving I grabbed a plastic Target bag, its red chevrons dancing as I walked down my street to the best tree on … Continue reading

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Gratitudinous

Whaaa? you say? C’mon, you’re an English teacher, for heaven’s sake, Jan. You can’t just make up words like that. And I would tell you this: Sure, you can. That’s the fun of playing with words. Writers do it all … Continue reading

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Fumbling in the dark

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. —Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Searching for the light switch, fumbling in the dark, thinking, not again, the dark, … Continue reading

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