IMG_20150711_114237067~2

Drew and I decided to take a bike ride this weekend. I’ve been running a good deal, and feeling like it’s time to start rounding out my exertions with other ways to break a sweat. Swimming and lifting are great in their place, but I have a nice bike that hasn’t seen the light of day enough lately. So.

Given the drastic variation in our skill and fitness levels  we usually stick to either the Springwater Trail or the Banks-Vernonia Trail  when we ride. These are both paved trails with predictable conditions and a mild grade as a nod to my considerable inexperience with any other kind, but I was feeling adventurous and thought a change of scene might be nice.

A quick search for a Rails-To-Trails came up with a few good options, but most of them were either disappointingly short or inconveniently far away. Finally, when I expanded my search to include Washington as well as Oregon the Klickitat River Trail popped up in my results. The photos looked lovely and the mention of pavement and packed dirt surface seemed promising. A drive out to Hood River being a pretty regular occurrence for me, I didn’t see the distance as prohibitive.

If I had read the trail info on the website for the trail itself – rather than on the rails-to-trails results – I might have realized the “pavement” and “packed dirt surface” were in limited supply and that a road bike wasn’t sufficient to the journey. Alas, I did not settle on this idea via that route and didn’t give a second thought to what kind of conditions we might encounter.

The Lyle Trailhead boasts a recently paved parking lot with modern bathroom facilities. Even at 10 a.m. the lot was completely empty. What traffic we did see was all over in the nearby gravel lot that served the riverbank and the kiteboarders headed out on the Columbia. It seemed strange to me that such an accessible and seemingly well-maintained bike path would be deserted on a weekend morning, but I was more inclined simply to be grateful than to consider too deeply why that might be the case.

We mounted up and started riding. Within about 300 yards, the asphalt gave way to gravel, never to return. Over the course of the ride, it would devolve into an array of variably challenging alternatives, but it was never again as favorable as those first few hundred feet.  My Trek is a hybrid with tires of a fairly reasonable width, Drew however has a road cycle suited for long touring rides; he’s gone to Ragbrai several times with this rig and it is patently meant to be used on pavement. It was clear within a mile or so that we were in for more of a challenge than we had bargained for. We both felt like the drive and the effort made it worthwhile to simply forge ahead and make the best of things, nevertheless.

Just Past The Pavement

Just Past The Pavement

As far as it went, you could hardly ask for a nicer setting. The river runs close alongside the trail for nearly the entire length of the section we rode. There were high rolling hills, trees, and all manner of wildlife. We saw several bald eagles, a heron, and a variety of other birds. The day was overcast and warm, but much less brutally hot than the previous several weeks and overall, conditions seemed quite good for a ride. 

Scenic!

Scenic!

Somewhat quickly however, things devolved. Only his considerable athleticism allowed Drew to make anything like reasonable progress. I was in much better shape on my set of wider tires than he was on his super skinny road wheels. Large flinty rocks littered the trail at intervals and no one surface dominated the others to allow one to adapt or predict what might be the most appropriate riding speed. At turns sand, packed dirt, small dense gravel, large rocks, wooden planks, and asphalt all made an appearance. We made good time over anything flat and firm, but all too often that would give way to a particularly rocky or bumpy section which would require either a considerable slowdown or to dismount entirely. Fairly early on, I lost my bike out from under me once trying to skirt one of the several gates we encountered. Though I landed on my feet and was entirely unhurt, I remarked that though I have to get hurt to know I am having a good time, I’d prefer it happen later in the ride.*

Backpack As Sweat Catcher

Butt As Yet Not Totally Numb

Predictably, given the unsuitability of riding road tires over a surface suited to mountain bikes, one of Drew’s tubes gave way. Repaired with relative ease, we carried on. Our original plan had been to at least attempt the entire length of the 31 mile trail. It became apparent within the first 4 miles or so there was simply no way we were equipped for such a task. His bike and my lack of saddle time were a considerable impediment to the conditions. 

Bridge To Nowhere

Bridge To Nowhere

I began to look with fondness over at the highway that paralleled the trail on the opposite river bank. Somewhere around mile 7, Drew suggested we ride back down over the road rather than navigating the whole beast in reverse. My initial concern over the lack of a shoulder to ride on gave way to exhaustion and thirst (having left both of the two bottles of water I’d brought back in the car like a moron) and I agreed taking the road back made the most sense.

 

No Cows Were Spotted In The Making Of This Blog Post

No Cows Were Spotted In The Making Of This Blog Post

Once on the road, things sped up considerably. My initial concern about riding on the highway was quickly put to rest when I noted that the shoulder was present and even generous for most of the 10 mile length of our ride back. Moreover, traffic was both light and considerate. My only difficulty was with the rolling hills we had managed to avoid on the very flat trail surface. Drew handled them with alacrity and was far enough ahead to be out of sight for a fair portion of the ride, but I was flailing in granny gear more than once. 

Once the trail returned to the side of the river I was riding down it occurred to me that proceeding back over the flat packed surface of the trail might be faster for me than trying to keep pace with Drew over the road. Delighted I wouldn’t have to mount the last long incline I saw climbing in front of me, I turned with more speed than was wise to re-enter the trail. As soon as my tires hit gravel I knew I was about to make good on my earlier suggestion that I get hurt a little closer to the end of the ride.

 

Owie, I Had Fun!

Owie, I Had Fun!

As is my custom it ended up being the Best Possible Version of the Worst Case Scenario; the bad thing happens, but it’s a lot less bad than it could be. My hands took the brunt of the damage – again, I was technically prepared with gloves, but hadn’t actually bothered to put them on – but I did end up with some road rash on my elbow and a nasty bruise on my right leg. Scrapes notwithstanding, and having known people who came away from bike crashes only by aid of LifeFlight, I was relieved not to have been much more badly hurt. 

So only having ridden roughly 20 of the 62 we’d planned, I was still duly exhausted and ready to reward the effort. Everybody’s Brewing up in White Salmon was beckoning, and the Mediterranean Plate and Little Sister ISL felt like due recompense for my pain and pleasure. 

Hey Hey Hey, Look At Little Sister

Hey Hey Hey, Look At Little Sister

 

 

 

*Naturally this came back to haunt me. Like asking the universe to smite me. As if it needed the encouragement.

I am delighted to report I am finally starting to taper off the steroids I’ve been taking since April. While they made life bearable and allowed me to remain largely functional, their laundry list of side effects have been nasty to deal with. Here I cite:

  • Sleeplessness: Waking up at 4 a.m. is obscene and I was doing it no matter when I fell asleep which varied between 8-11 p.m. depending on how readily my body cooperated with my efforts to go to bed during what still appeared to be daytime.
  • Muscle tension: Much like Goldmember, everything was very toight! This lead to some injuries despite my efforts to stretch and left me achy more or less all the time.
  • Hearing and Vision Changes: This tripped me out, but both my eyes and ears underwent a certain degradation in acuity. Ears felt constantly full and like they needed to pop. My eyes were much less responsive to attempts to focus and freaked me out more than once when I looked up from a book I was reading and literally could not see anything in the distance as more than a goopy blur. I am assured this is temporary. Just what I one-eyed girl needs is a downgrade in visual clarity.
  • Increased Blood Pressure & Glucose: You stay on this stuff long enough you’ll seriously degrade your vascular health and get the dia-bee-tis.
  • Dental Sensitivity: Leeches the calcium right out of your bones. Including teeth. I’m drinking everything through a straw these days. Osteoporosis is another common problem for folks who require long-term treatment with steroids.
  • Weight Gain: My personal favorite and loudly lamented to everyone’s extreme annoyance. Thirty pounds people. Thirty.

Living in this body has felt a bit like driving around someone else’s decrepit, temperamental, clunky Asphalt-Barge when I am used to piloting a trim, responsive, and sleek ZoomGo-er.

Of course, now coming off of the meds has it’s own set of drawbacks.

After weeks of not being able to sleep properly, I am now constantly exhausted. This of course makes all the sense in the world, but since I do not have the leisure of simply snoozing the next month away, it’s been a bit of a drag. Even with the influx of enough caffeine to cripple a small buffalo, I am still logy more or less all the time. Working, running, chores, and anything other than lying down and sweating profusely seems beyond my current scope of practice. 

Also, now that the muscle tension has begun to subside, my joints ache like it is what they were made for. Headaches, as the vascular constriction I have been suffering for weeks starts to relent. Mood changes are also very much par for the course, and I have been more than a little weepy of late. All of this, coupled with the news that NSAID’s are basically the devil incarnate for anyone with Crohn’s and I am an achy, tired, weepy piece of work.

My second infusion of Remicade is Monday. They tell me with that treatment, my symptoms (GI, not so much the withdrawal) should start to substantially diminish. I’m hoping that since I’ve already noticed them subsiding to a certain extent, that this dose will drive Oscar* into hiding for the long term. Once he’s vanquished I hope to reclaim my body once more. During that process, I ask for your patience if I am weepy, your forbearance if I am slothful, and a blankie if I nod off…

“You Talkin’ To Me?”

*Oscar is what I have named my digestive complaint. The gurgling noises that emanate from my guts have a distinct personality; much like the can-dweller it has an acerbic sense of humor, irritating timing, and lives somewhere pretty gross.   

 

 

Though I’m not dwelling on anyone at the moment, this song speaks in language I can absolutely relate to… Oh, yes indeed.

I have itchy feet and ants in my pants. I have no idea what I can do to fix this, either. I’ve been out of town every weekend for a month. I made plans to stay home this weekend but instead started fantasizing hardcore about going on a 5 hour road trip so I can do a 9 mile hike. And then maybe get in the car and drive another 4 hours to go look at a waterfall I’ve been meaning to photograph. I doubt I’ll actually go this time, but the voice insisting I should jam Quincy with gear and hit the highway at 2:31 p.m. on Friday is clamoring.

I Want To Go To Here

You’d think, with how much less energetic I’ve been feeling overall, this wanderlust would take a hiatus.

Apparently, you’d be wrong.

[uhbeyuh ns] 

 

noun

  1. temporary inactivity, cessation, or suspension: Let’s hold that problem in abeyance for a while.
  2. a state or condition of real property in which title is not as yet vested in a known titleholder: an estate in abeyance.

In the quiet silent seconds

I am not, by nature, a person that enjoys inactivity. Though I have learned to cultivate stillness for its multitude benefits, I am generally too restless to enj0y the experience without considerable preparation. I coax myself toward quiescence by degrees and find it particularly difficult in the face of ambiguity. Unsuited to wait and see, I prefer to get up and look.

Yet sometimes, there is simply naught to be done. I mean this not in the sense of merely staying busy; chores, tasks, and distractions abound. Rather, I suggest that in the face of a looked-for outcome, it is at times impossible to take any action to hasten or influence the desired result.

Irresistible as it feels, thumb-twiddling generally serves only to divert. My chosen distractions of late principally stray toward the benign; writing, running, and friends consume most of my attention; yet they have their own merit, these. Still there linger on the periphery old habits and tendencies that do not necessarily earn with concomitant value the worth of time I spend upon them. Absorbing as they may be, I wonder at the foolish persistence I demonstrate by indulging myself in these ways. That I relinquish precious sleep and scarce energy to the pursuit of such diversion seems almost indecent. And so in reflecting upon it, then it is my love for the obscene that keeps me amused.

What instead, during this interval?If an object at rest and all that; maybe I must merely yield to physics, do what suits me so ill and embrace inertia. I’ll have to get right on that…

Half Moon Run: Dark Eyes

“If you breathe in, I’ll breathe in…”

Music streaming on the internet has changed dramatically in the last several years. A whole host of options have begun competing for bandwidth and market share with a variety of gimmicks. I decided some time ago it was worth $10 a month to have a more or less limitless supply of music on demand. I try not to think too deeply on how many records or CD’s I could have afforded with the roughly $360 I’ve spent over the years, but I digress…

 My streaming service of choice is Rhapsody, which allows me to search for and download music with considerable scope of catalog. I’m generally pretty happy with it – though it uses an appalling amount of data when streaming so I use it exclusively over wifi and download anything I want to listen to away from home. However, one area where it lacks somewhat is in it’s algorithm to suggest music I might like. I do use the “similar artists” feature to some success, but it is rather a cumbersome process sorting through albums, tracks, and lists of bands to find something I might enjoy. I have discovered a considerable amount of new music I really like using this method, but it’s much more labor and attention intensive than the alternative.

The alternative being Pandora. The original internet music radio remains far and away the most reliable source of new music suggestions. Last week it popped out with something I loved immediately and have been proselytizing the hearing of ever since.

 Canadian band Half Moon Run at first blush is very much in the vein of Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, and The National. This Is A Good Thing. Lush thoughtful harmonies and deft echoing guitars drew me instantly, but what kept me listening was the surprising depth beyond these initial similarities.

 The album manages to encompass a variety of musical styles without seeming disjointed or uneven; considering the contrast between some of the tracks this is a considerable feat of musicianship. Opening with “Full Circle” a straight up rocker, the record also offers dreamy, soulful “Need It” which earned an immediate and coveted place on my sex playlist. “Judgement” is a seething revenge track, “Give Up” has a decidedly Radiohead vibe about it, while “Nerve” echoes of disco in the way that Daft Punk and Broken Bells captured so compellingly in recent memory.

While I make all of these comparisons, I would be remiss if I did not point out that Half Moon Run manages to sound like itself alone. They have a sense of humor, edginess, and vulnerability all in one that is profoundly unique and deeply compelling. It’s rare for me to feel both lulled and lit up by the same record, and their capacity to do so is impressive. It has kept me singing under my breath, listening on repeat, and telling anyone who will sit still long enough how much they need to listen to it too.

 Recommended. 

I love birthdays. Mine, other people’s… all of them.

I see it as the ultimate moment to celebrate the glorious individual. I think on birthdays, we should be praised, indulged, and reminded of just how special and amazing we are unto the end of the strength of everyone in the vicinity.

And not just because I want to be getting this treatment, either. I like few things more than lavishing this kind of attention on people I love. I have had more than one person who claimed to not much care for birthday fuss tell me the kind of fuss I created made for the best birthday they’d ever had.

Yeah.

So, I am the sort to stretch the celebration. To include the days surrounding, meals and treats in both the run-up and the aftermath. Considerations, extravagances, and indulgences all in the name of birthday awesomeness. Because it is fun. Because I like to. Because I can.

Yet, in the particular case of my daughter it is also true that I am acknowledging my own role in the process of her birth. If a birthday is the day a person is born, it is also often the case that it is the day their mother went into labor to bring about that result. If we measure by that metric, I’d have to start celebrating Hodie’s birthday sometime in the second week of June.

I did not take great care of myself when I was pregnant. I laid around like third base. I ate cheese fries with bacon and two scoops of ice cream every single day of my second trimester. I dislocated my pelvis in my sixth month and moved even less thereafter. I gained 50 lbs and was bordering on gestational diabetes by the end of my term. I was huge and swollen and in constant pain. I loved every minute of it.

Seriously.

Even though I loved being pregnant, by about mid-June I’d been having regular contractions for a week or so and was feeling pretty ready to be done with the whole experience. My trip to the hospital resulted in the attending doctor assuring me these were only Braxton-Hicks, that I needed to be drinking more water, and that I’d deliver much closer to my July 5th due date than I wanted to credit.

Chastened I went home and drank gallons of water, peed every 20 minutes, and timed my contractions. They came quite regularly, but never more often than about every 6-7 minutes. This of course failed to meet the threshold where they would tell me to go to the hospital, but certainly kept me from getting any kind of sleep for both excitement and physical discomfort. This went on for 2 more weeks.

Finally, around 3 a.m. on June 28th the nature and frequency of my contractions changed in frequency. Though not any more intense, they were now coming every 4 minutes like clockwork. After several hours of this pattern, I called the hospital. The nurse told us to come in; even though my water hadn’t broken, my labor pattern warranted checking my progress.

We got to the hospital sometime around 9:30 am but after a quick check by the nurse (3cm) they put me in a room and left me there until my OB came by for his normal rounds at noon. He pulled out the ultrasound and looked at the baby’s lungs, said they looked well developed and patted my protruding belly with tender compassion.

“You’re pretty ready for this baby to be born, huh?”

“YEEEEEES”

He said that given I’d already been in labor for so long, and that despite being technically before her due date, it was clear that the baby was both full term and looked totally healthy, he was willing to induce labor to spare me any more waiting. I started weeping with relief, until…

“So, we’re going to have you come back tomorrow at 8:00 and get started.”

I was totally inconsolable. I wailed about why couldn’t they just start NOW? It was already too late in the day to ensure that I’d deliver in a timely manner and that an early morning induction was simply protocol. He encouraged me to go home and get some rest for the next day.

I had never wanted to do murder so much as I did in that moment.

Nevertheless, home we went for another sleepless night. We called the people who were going to accompany us to the hospital and gave them the schedule. Arrive at 8:00 am, plan on staying till the wee hours of the following day, as that was how the induction usually played out. We all mused it was too bad they hadn’t let me start that day, which would have resulted in the baby being born on her father’s birthday.

June 29th dawned clear and pink. We made our way to the hospital with time to spare. They put me in the gown and checked my cervix (still 3cm). Nurse broke my water and encouraged me to visit the bathroom for the last time before they administered the Pitocin & catheter.

Up to this point my “contractions” had been what I would characterize as “uncomfortable.” Once my water broke, they were immediately different. I had to stop and take a deep breath. There was some groaning. I looked at the nurse and said,

“Well, that seemed to make a difference. Are we sure I need the Pitocin?”

She assured me that once my water was broken we absolutely had to have the drugs to ensure I’d deliver within 24 hours to reduce the risk of infection. I was skeptical it was necessary, but didn’t have the wherewithal to argue about it, since I was already having another contraction.

When they administered the IV they checked me (3.5 cm). This was about 15 minutes after they broke my water and I was in more pain than I was expecting for so early in the game. Once they started the drip, they came harder than I even realized was possible. Classically trained singer I am, I did my best not to scream, and instead chose a note to be SUNG at the top of my lungs every time a spasm hit. This came out sounding a bit like a banshee and was apparently loud enough that one of the nurses from the other side of the ward asked why the anesthesiologist hadn’t been called

“She is SCARING the other mothers!”

Between contractions, I asked the nurse much the same question. She was a snot about the whole thing and had me pegged as some kind of crybaby. When I told her I was in a lot of pain and would like her to check to see if I was ready for an epidural. She cocked an eyebrow at me and said,

“It’s only been about 45 minutes. How much progress do you think you could have made?”

I thought to myself – if I could reach, I’d find out myself you numb cunt!

She refused to check and told me I had a long day ahead of me and would need to toughen up a bit and left the room.

I had never wanted to do murder so much as I did in that moment.

A few minutes later, the much nicer back-up OB nurse came in and we repeated the same conversation. She was just as reluctant to check, but much more compassionate about the whole thing. And then I started having a contraction. She watched with widening eyes and dropping jaw my howling endurance and slipped her hand into a glove before it was even over. (7.5 cm)

That I had progressed 4cm in less than an hour was pretty stunning. They called the anesthesiologist immediately. By the time the epidural was administered half an hour later, I was at 10cm fully effaced and ready to push. They called my OB and let him know that instead of just coming to check on me at lunch, he might want to hurry if he wanted to be there to deliver the baby.

So, at 12:40 my baby girl was born. They handed her to me and I fell instantly and irrevocably in love. As he bent over to look at his daughter I said to her father,

“Happy birthday. I hope you like your present. I made it myself.”

He tells me every year it was the best birthday ever.

Collage of Birth

Collage of Birth

When she was about 5 years old, I took Hodie camping. The outcome was traumatic for both of us in ways that don’t bear exploring too closely, but lead to an intransigence on her part with regard to repeating the experience. Once, years later, in a fit of frustration I said,

“Why do you hate nature!?”

“BECAUSE THERE ARE NO TOILETS THERE!”

Which, about summed it up.

My assertion that, indeed all of nature was a toilet, failed to convince and for many years she flat refused to participate in any activity which required her to stray more than 200 yards from indoor plumbing.

At some point, and entirely when I wasn’t paying attention, this attitude changed. I believe I have her father to thank, but I’ve never gotten confirmation on the matter. At some point in the last year she has gone from violent protest over any suggested encounters with the environment to imploring me to take her out into it for days on end, and plotting the purchase of a vehicle which will allow her to more or less live there for months.

Indeed, much like my persistent inability to remember that my daughter suffers from virulent and life-long motion sickness until mid-windy-curvy car ride, this information runs so counter to the template I have in my head *Hodie Hates Nature* that I have trouble reconciling the matter.

Every year we have an ongoing conversation about what she would like to do for her birthday. We ran the gamut from London to Disneyland, but ultimately she settled on the last thing I would have predicted; camping.

We went to Kahneeta last year, which is camping in the same way going over Mt. Hood in a station wagon is akin to doing so in a covered wagon. We slept in a mass-produced tee-pee tent with a metal fire pit on a concrete slab. There were vending machines, a heated pool with water slides, and mini-golf. This did not qualify as “nature.”

This year she wanted the real deal; full on tent camping. We settled on a spot up in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest along the Washougal River. It’s unquestionably a sentimental choice, as it holds almost all of the happy memories I have of my own childhood, and she explicitly chose it for that reason.

“If you have to go camping for 2 days with 3 teenage girls I at least want you to get to do it somewhere that makes you happy.”

She’s a peach, my girl.

Apart from the ROUGHLY THREE HOURS we spent battling Friday afternoon traffic to get out of town, the whole experience was really pretty great. Hodie has good taste in people, and I genuinely enjoyed hanging out with her friends. They are both thoughtful and polite, and deeply amused by my frank and unconventional parenting style. They bore with good grace both my shit-flipping and my earnest attempts to talk to them about conscientious self-care which I think bodes well for them as humans.

Clearly Prepared For Wilderness Adventure

Clearly Prepared For Wilderness Adventure

They responded with equanimity to the fly-by-the-seat scenario we were in with regard to finding a campsite – they can’t be reserved in advance so it’s very much take what you can get – and crucially, lack of bathrooms. They were cheerful in the face of a burn ban, and perfectly content with a tealight campfire. They even reacted well to the ultimate decision to cut camping short in favor of a basement slumber party to avoid the increasing threat of rain for which I did not properly prepare.

The samosas and horror movies courtesy of the electricity at home may have helped ease the transition, but the ultimate outcome was a birthday weekend that everyone – myself included – enjoyed. Not since the triumph of The Enchanted Birthday (age 7) have we had such an unmitigated success on a celebratory activity. If nothing else, it will have been enough to alter the notion that Hodie Hates Nature once and for all.

 

Today marks the beginning of the multi-part and days-long celebration of a truly momentous occasion; on Monday June 29th my daughter, darling, and light of my life is turning sixteen.

Hodie. Beeps. Goobs. Bitbot. Potty-Bear. BuggaDoo. The Pagoda. Future Crazy Cat Lady.

Hodie. Beeps. Goobs. Bitbot. Pookah. BuggaDoo. The Pagoda. Future Crazy Cat Lady.

Apart from the fact I find it bizarre that I am old enough to have had anything happen to me sixteen years ago, I also find it mystifying that I am the mother of a person who as of this year can:

  1. Tie her shoes the non-weird way
  2. Retain gainful employment
  3. Unabashedly sing with me in public
  4. Independently select and purchase gifts for the adults in her life that they really like
  5. Request I make her a cocktail and enjoy the result
  6. Rationally calculate the cost/benefit ratio of a trip to Disneyland and reject the proposition
  7. Articulate that simultaneously training in ballet and carpentry will make her a total badass
  8. Successfully travel the length and breadth of Portland via public transit
  9. Accept and complete commissions for art projects in a variety of mediums
  10. Autonomously conduct her secondary education with only minimal supervision
  11. Plan, shop for, and prepare a multi-course meal*
  12. Own a bank account and ATM card
  13. Meaningfully deconstruct political theory and successfully identify logical fallacies
  14. Drive a car**
  15. Declare her intent to be a crazy cat lady who also has birds and possibly a hedgehog
  16. Speak authoritatively about her preference for a Vanagon Weekender, rather than a Westfalia

She can also take my breath away with her sweetness, stun me with her insight, and reduce me to tears with her humor. She is unquestionably the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am grateful every day that I get to be her mother and that she still appears to like*** me a lot.

Tonight we leave for her requested birthday activity: camping up in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest on the Washougal River with her two best friends. Considering it is one of my favorite places in all the world, and she absolutely my favorite person, I feel like I’m the one on the receiving end of a pretty great gift.

 

*Guaranteed, said meal includes some combination of potatoes/pasta/cheese

**After a fashion and apparently with much greater confidence and ease than when I am present

*** Most of the time.

[kuh n-sahys]
adjective
  1. Expressing or covering much in few words; brief in form but comprehensive in scope; succinct; terse.

 

I’ve Sprung A Leak

It is a potent theme in my life, the effort to be understood. It is lately occurring how I undermine myself with a penchant for elaboration.

Nuance of language is deeply important to me, and I am much in favor of a flood of ultra-specific details. This turns out not to be true for everyone. It is a frequent occurrence, the glazing over of eyes as I expound into a stretching silence.

No matter how important I believe these gradations of truth to be, if the essential message is lost in superfluity of particulars, I’ve failed my audience and my own purpose.

Practice then, paring down to the bones of meaning, the better to ensure it is conveyed.

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