Blog/By Rob Bywater

Poem made of lines from other poems

The artist formerly known as my wife is the poet laureate of our town. A little while ago she hosted an event that featured a bunch of people reading poems by other people. And she added a wrinkle: during the course of the reading, audience members were to write down lines that caught their attention. […]

A word about love

From James Baldwin, in The Fire Next Time: “Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word ‘love’ here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace–not in the infantile American sense of […]

The false step

Hugely inspiring lines from Agnes Martin, via Jennifer Higgie’s excellent Instagram feed, which is dedicated to women artists: “Of all the pitfalls in our paths and the tremendous delays and wanderings off the track, I want to say that they are not what they seem to be. I want to say that all that seems […]

Behold! My daughter!

She is in 8th grade. Two things she did today: Thing one: At the end of her half-hour shift hosting a “youth radio” show on a community radio station, she attempted to play “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Mis, intending to sing along with it. But there was a technical glitch and […]

Nighty-Nightvale

My kids have been getting into Welcome to Nightvale. “Getting into” means “listening to an episode in the car if they remember they like it,” but also “making a sincere parody podcast called Nighty-Nightvale that in many respects is better than the original.” The original is a news broadcast from a suburban Anywhere city that […]

The man I am

Our public elementary and middle schools are full of hard-working, good-hearted people, none of whom teach languages other than English. Yet at some point in his education, J. encountered a teacher who was brought in to teach Spanish for a few months. He remembers a few numbers, a few months of the year, and one […]

The end of disruption

I was staying at a sassy little hotel chain called Tru. It’s a Hilton spinoff. It’s got a pool table and board games in the lobby! It’s got hand-written messages about local activities on whiteboards facing the elevators! The walls are painted mint and teal and other fizzy colors, and the floors are made of […]

Why haven’t I written?

Because blogging is dead. Because the WordPress blogging interface changed and I’m old and don’t want to deal with it. Because I don’t know what to say. Because The Thing That Is Happening In Front Of Us is so distracting, so depressing, so consuming, that to write about anything else feels like a declaration of […]

13th doctor positivity

My kids are watching the new season of Dr. Who. It’s not my thing (lasers! time travel! futuristic “wit”), but I watched an episode at my kids’ behest. And I love, love, love the new doctor. Who is a woman. Which is a first for the show. (There have been 12 doctors, all male, before […]

Superlatives

The yearbook staff at my daughter’s middle school sent around a survey asking students to nominate superlatives. Her responses to a few categories: Best Dressed Style is subjective. Most Popular I refuse to contribute to the toxicity of popularity. In my opinion it only lowers self-esteem and makes school less fun. Most Competitive and Loudest […]

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