Avatar“He carved the coat off the dead winter lamb” . . . begins a short story by noted author Amy Hempel first published in Harper’s Magazine in 2010.  A bleak opening for a piece that might have been an article on animal husbandry but is darker than that. Continue reading

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AvatarIt has long been my assertion that only an insider can get away with criticizing the flaws, cracks and fissures of their home state.  I think that is doubly true about a state like Texas, because we spend an exhaustive amount of energy pushing our mythical image. Continue reading

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AvatarSomeone asked me recently why I blog – and it struck me strange.  It was like being quizzed about necessities:  why do I eat, breathe, sleep.  It is just what we writers do – put our thoughts, hopes, fears, inspirations, joys and angst into words, captured in some accessible form. Continue reading

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AvatarMy birth family was working class poor in the early days – my dad a roofer, slaving away in the hot Texas sun.  By the time I was a teen, he had begun work at a General Motors plant in a union position, then over several years he worked his way into management as a night foreman.  Continue reading

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AvatarIt is natural to want to leave an impression as we pass through life. I have two granddaughters who look very much like me, which is a delight.  One is an adult but very different in personality; one bears my name but is too young to exhibit other similarities.  The person who seems most like my doppelganger is my niece, Micki Pargeter. Continue reading

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AvatarIn 2011, I was shopping on East Burnside in Portland, OR, just up the street from grand old homes, the 1923 Art Deco Laurelhurst Theater, Whole Foods and little shops – and on that day, a police tactical assault team came speeding down the street hanging on the side of an armored personnel carrier. Continue reading

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A few weeks ago I blogged about the Pettys – Olahoma folks who married into my McAmis clan and Jess Petty, who became an MLB pitcher.  Brother Del McAmis asked, “Didn’t we also have a Petty relative who was a criminal?”  Why yes we did, as did most families in the 1920s-1930s. Continue reading

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