It’s a good time to learn things we should have known already

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But we may not be clear on what it means. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day when Major General Gordon Granger led a group of Union soldiers to Galveston, Texas. There he read out General Order Number 3, which stated that the war was over, the Union had won, and that slavery would no longer be tolerated.

The Emancipation Proclamation had been signed over two years previously, but this marked the first time that enslaved people in Texas learned that they were no longer chattel. By law, they could leave their enslavers and the forced labor camps, aka plantations…


Is the one you refuse to give up on

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I found an agent with the first book I wrote

Does that sound like I had instant beginner’s luck? A win, right out of the box? Lest you roll your eyes, I assure you there was nothing quick or easy about finding my novel a professional advocate and champion. But there was an element of chance about it.

I suspect that’s true of any leg up that any artist gets. The first big role you land, the first gallery opening, the first prize in a juried contest, the first publishing or producing or performance contract you sign — it feels abrupt, breathtaking. As though the door you’ve been knocking on…


The best invention that hasn’t been invented yet.

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Because my employer offers health insurance that actually covers a good chunk of the expense of hearing aids, my husband and I seized the opportunity. Turns out he has just enough hearing loss in his left ear to qualify, and I have about the same margin of loss in my right.

Isn’t that cute? We’re like geezer bookends.

Long story short, after double-date audiology appointments (what could be sexier?), we are now the proud owners of one hearing contraption apiece. And when I say proud, I mean it: we think our ear gizmos are the greatest thing since rear-view cameras…


Was yesterday, and I’m disappointed in myself

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The leather tote that held my small purse, laptop, iPad, and journal hung by one of its straps from my shoulder as I tugged my carry-on out of the overhead compartment. “I should fix that,” I thought. But the people behind me were waiting to join the slow queue shuffling down the aisle toward the jetway. I left the outer strap hanging as I steered my suitcase ahead of me like a sleepwalking toddler.

Out in the terminal, I noticed the rogue strap again. “Should grab that,” I thought, as the tote’s wide-open maw freely revealed its hard-to-replace contents. But…


Think of it as pruning, not cutting

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Writing a novel has a lot in common with gardening

You prepare the soil, removing rocks and dead roots (limiting beliefs, self-defeating assumptions) and adding amendments (reading, daydreaming). You select seeds (story ideas), plant them carefully, water them judiciously as they sprout (rough drafting). You guard the tender seedlings from rough weather (premature feedback) until they’ve hardened off. You care for your crop as it grows and blossoms (a story!). You pick off pests (clichés, misplaced modifiers), pluck out weeds (stray characters, rogue sentences), until eventually — after months, sometimes years — you harvest the fruit.

Look at you, you’ve raised a book. And now that you’ve cleaned and polished…


And a tip: save the wine for last

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If your house is in California, particularly anywhere in or near the San Francisco Bay Area, this is likely to happen with blinding speed. It’s nice to be on the shiny side of the region’s apparently pop-immune real estate bubble. Still, it’s a little disorienting when your house hits the market on a Monday and is in contract on Wednesday.

Don’t complain. Nobody wants to hear it.

You downsized when you moved to this place, vowing to live forevermore in Zen-like simplicity. You have broken your vow. …


Why President Biden’s use of the G-word matters

Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan, Armenia (Photo by Amir Kh on Unsplash)

He became the first U.S. president to call the massacre of Armenians by the Turkish government between 1915 and 1923 what it was: a genocide.

There is a lot of power in a word. Though the United States has long decried the wholesale murder, torture, starvation, and forced deportation of hundreds of thousands of Armenians — up to 1.5 million perished during those eight years — no U.S. leader has been willing to risk rupturing ties with Turkey. …


It just looks that way in the real estate photos

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We’re selling it — in fact, it goes live on the market in a couple of days — and that means it’s no longer our home, our refuge from the crazy, chaotic, COVID-corrupted world. It’s now a product. A fungible asset, which we have decided to liquidate, and while that does not mean we are literally shoving the whole contraption into a blender, at the moment it kind of feels that way.

Our house is only seven years old and is in excellent condition. But in the piping hot Bay Area real estate market, expectations understandably run high, so our…

Writer & educator. The Startup, Writing Cooperative, P.S. I Love You, The Ascent, more. Award-winning short fiction. Visit me at www.JanMFlynn.net.

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