Paper with “mindfulness” handwritten on it in front of a blurry window.
Paper with “mindfulness” handwritten on it in front of a blurry window.
Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

I have not baked a single loaf of bread in the past year. Somewhere I even have a bread machine. I tried offering it to the neighbor because she makes stuff from scratch. I think it’s under some of my mother’s plates that I don’t need, but I couldn’t figure out how to ship them to my niece without it costing more than a full set of dishes and the thrift shops closed last year at the start of the pandemic and between then and now I’ve thought of those dishes zero times. They’re in a room that has become…


Happiness, Satisfaction, and Memory

Three yellow bendable figures with yellow “smiley face” heads standing against a blue background
Three yellow bendable figures with yellow “smiley face” heads standing against a blue background
“If you’re happy and you know it, Clap your hands” by katerha is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Some time ago, (two days ago?) a writer tweeted a link to a story on Pocket. The more I read of this psychologist’s ideas, the more I wonder how much of his research is a result of his own lack of engagement with memory. As Livini reports it, Kahneman believes people value what he dubs “satisfaction” more than “happiness” and that part of that is because they see satisfaction as the result of building toward goals while happiness is fleeting and in the moment.

Livini explains it like this:

“The key here is memory. Satisfaction is…


So, the past few days*, writers have been commenting (on Twitter) about how they can write while raising kids and buying cheese and getting advanced degrees and driving a bus cross country and I feel like an utter failure. I get the reason (old-timey men writers demanding time and space without interference to craft their “genius” and all that). Just… didn’t Virginia Woolf also want a room of her own?

Look, I used to work full time and manage to read and paint and write and I managed to get writing done when I was in grad school and even…


They also need training by the right kind of people when they often get it from the wrong kind.

If you want people to always see others as a threat, you hire the kind of trainers we occasionally had as guest speakers at our dojo. One dude strapped on 5 knives and a handgun to drive across the street to a restaurant.

(I didn’t go to the restaurant because it had nothing for vegans to eat so I had a sandwich at the dojo, but if I’d gone, I’d have just walked because fucking hell, it was across the street.)


notebook with a person writing using a fountain pen; text over says “Writing is my hobby.”
notebook with a person writing using a fountain pen; text over says “Writing is my hobby.”
“Writing is My Hobby” by Charles Jeffrey Danoff is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I’ve been trying to write this for two days.

I have nothing to say. Again.

I’ve been reading more essays, trying to figure out how other people do it. How they turn the random musings in their brains into something others want to read. Mostly, I’m just tempted to keep reading and leave the writing t people better equipped.

One of my favorite book of essays is Loitering by Charles D’Ambrosio. I have Try to Get Lost by Joan Frank on my nightstand. I keep trying to like it because objectively it is a topic I should enjoy and it…


three pencils on a table
three pencils on a table
“Pencil” by taylor.a is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I never murdered any students while I was teaching.

This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. Most teachers haven’t. Even the worst teachers generally haven’t murdered any students and even criminal teachers are mostly exempt from profession-based homicide.

I mention this because someone recently posted one of those nonsensical “back the blue” propaganda videos recently and the bulk of it seemed to break down into two different, interwoven, messages: Cops are nice people who help during disasters (odd <sarcasm font>) how all those featured white people) and cops get yelled at by people so we have to understand their…


I “finished” this as part of my (already failed) 30-day challenge, but it needs editing, it loses the plot, and honestly, after yet another school shooting, and another “police mistake” killing, my heart wasn’t really in finding the plot of something this frivolous. So, what I’m saying is, if the embed works, feel free to enjoy the playlist, but don’t feel you have to read this.)

I love shuffle.

Kids today do not know how good they have it with shuffle. As soon as the technology existed to burn mix CDs, I was thrilled to be able to stick a…


A man with a ball of crumbled papers for a head has defeated body language over a desk while grasping a lamp with no shade, the bare bulb appearing to be crooked in the socket.
A man with a ball of crumbled papers for a head has defeated body language over a desk while grasping a lamp with no shade, the bare bulb appearing to be crooked in the socket.
“Writer’s Block II” by Drew Coffman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I keep thinking about this quote and variations of it:

So when I meet with those beginner students to discuss their first stories, I ask them to think of stories only they can write. Stories they know but have never read anywhere. Stories they always tell but never write down. That’s what this question is really about. Or could be. If the questioner asked it of themselves more often than they asked other people. — Alexander Chee

I don’t want to “steal” stories from others. I don’t want to appropriate or write about people I can’t fully know or take…


American alligator head surfacing in water
American alligator head surfacing in water
“American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)” by acryptozoo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Alligators: fearsome dinosaurs that will eat your dog; an endangered-species success story; and giant lizards that supposedly consume Florida’s meth and occasionally appear at 7–11 for shenanigans.

Alligators sometimes get a bad reputation, in part because tourists are not known for reading signs, Disney isn’t great at posting signs, and even places that post signs sometimes don’t fully spell out what they should. Generally speaking, if you see water in Florida and you can’t see the bottom, assume there’s an alligator in it. Canals, lakes, large puddles, there’s a chance it has a gator in it. Even swimming pools and…


Cartoon brain with a speech bubble saying: ADHD
Cartoon brain with a speech bubble saying: ADHD
“ADHD Bubble and Brain” by amenclinics_photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Me: Dear Brain, we are allowed to write whenever we want.

Brain: No. Must do work first.

Me: But we don’t have work for two hours.

Brain: Stare at clocks so we aren’t late.

Me: I set an alarm.

Brain: You grade those tests for E and give a grade?

Me: Not yet. I can do that later.

Brain. Late, you will forget. Do that now.

Me: There’s a noise in the backyard.

Brain: We should check that.

Me: It’s nothing.

Brain: What were we doing?

Me: Writing?

Brain: It’s time to teach.

Me: In fifteen minutes.

Brain: Stare at…

Neliza Drew

Reader. Writer. Teacher. Artist. Analyst. Learner. Pursuer of truthful things. Debut novel All the Bridges Burning http://nelizadrew.com/writing/

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