Good-quality materials for beginners

As a beginning band teacher, I often heard people say that my students didn’t need instruments of good quality because the kids didn’t know how to play anyway. That’s exactly why they need good quality. Because they don’t know what they’re doing, they have no skills to compensate for deficiencies in the instrument. They don’t … Read more

Children and tricky subjects

My conversation with Debra on Ordinary Chaos, included some talk about child sex trafficking or the sex slave trade. Between that and some statistics she gave on domestic violence, I felt it appropriate to put a warning at the beginning of the episode and also to mark it explicit in my podcast hosting service. Many … Read more

Show love to the creators

In yesterday’s episode of Ordinary Chaos, Chris talked about wanting his writing to make a difference to people, whether he made money on it or not. He’s not alone in this wish. I took the mic for a moment to tell listeners—and now I’m telling you, readers—if you are consuming content made by someone else … Read more

Pumpkin spice lattes & Christmas decorations

Variations on a meme go around every now and then, and I saw it again recently:  Without relentlessly criticizing, could we let people have their pumpkin spice, and avocado toast, and their fandoms, and their D&D, and their too-early-Halloween decorations, and whatever little harmless things in which they’ve managed to find a tiny shriveled flower … Read more

Gymnastics, judgment, curiosity

The big news recently has been about Simone Biles’ decision to pull out of the team gymnastics final. I’ve had the opportunity to read several thoughtful pieces written by people in support of Biles’ decision, and I’ve learned a lot. I had no issue with her decision without knowing the things I’ve learned. She knows … Read more

One sentence, two stories, and how it changes your life

I have a document where I save my current writing: complete pieces, incomplete pieces, complete but not going to publish pieces, and a slew of ideas for pieces-to-be. When I settle in to write, if I don’t already have something in mind to write about, I will refer to the unfinished pieces or the list … Read more