Blog/By Rob Bywater

The DJ’s monologue

I was watching a one-act play performed by kids in the local high school (my daughter had a minor role as a monster-under-the-bed and a faceless dancing spirit), and one kid was playing a late-night radio DJ, and he was delivering a short monologue in which he made a wry reference to the “imminent apocalypse,” […]

The Tempest

My 16-year-old daughter was hosting a local trivia night (on Zoom, using Kahoot, if you must know), and one of the questions was about The Tempest, and while she waited for participants to answer, she said, “That’s a play with the line ‘Hell is empty, and all the devils are here,’ which is how I […]

And I love hiking!

The kids were reading a manga and laughing at a panel in which a character says, “My navel laser is both strong and cool!” This will now be my profile on dating apps.

The form is not the content

Jem had to write an essay answering the question: What is the best form of government? Most of his classmates picked one and argued for its merits. Jem said something different: No form of government is good or bad. Its goodness or badness depends on the people within it. Please discuss.

The snowman on the sign

The other adults in the family unit took the kids to a cabin up north over the recent school break. The cabin was decorated with seasonal and state-related geegaws and notions and faux-stamped signs–about bears and moose and lobsters and skiing and so on. Willa made a list of the signs; there were around 20. […]

Muffin the Clown

My kids were recalling a sign they once saw at a birthday party, or perhaps a country fair. The sign was a list of events happening at the party/fair that day. At 1:30, the event was: “Muffin the Clown begins to roam.” Which they have never forgotten.

About a boy

At dinner one night I was talking with my 10-year-old son, we must have been talking about myths, he’s been in a myth phase for a couple of years, Greek and Roman and Norse and Egyptian, and this must have led us to compare myths to contemporary religion, and then to science, and he said […]

How were the trails?

I was talking with a friend who lives on a lovely plot of land way outside of town, her driveway is a dirt road at least a mile long, halfway into it you’re sure you’ve taken the wrong road, but the point is that she and her husband can wake up in the morning and […]

Addressing the wind

Yesterday I was walking in town, and the air was frigid and the wind was stinging, and I was reminded of the times when I lived in Chicago, the coldest place I’ve ever lived, and although I am not known around town as a guy who talks aloud when wandering the streets alone, I found […]

The breakup: three tableaux

I was walking around a small town in Maine, and I passed a couple–a man and a woman–in their 20s, talking on the grounds of a brick-faced Customs House. It was in fact a museum, closed for the day, with a short brick walkway, a fair amount of lawn, and knee-high wrought-iron fencing. They were […]