Essays from an american mutt

Mirrors & Mountains

My phone was on the bathroom counter while I brushed my teeth in front of the mirror. I stood there studying myself in the most mundane and unattractive of moments. My phone lit up...

Giggling at hell

There’s a man who makes birdhouses. He’s a jolly guy, the kind you’d think would be good to suit up as Santa come December. He’s a craftsman who hits the southeastern arts festivals, sits...

This is our home

The kid’s shot to right field was the kind that made you gasp. It came off the bat like a laser, and it didn’t matter that little leaguer was barely 70 pounds. The ball...

Marriage and the power of luck

She nibbled, and I didn’t understand why. I came from a family of people who took fresh bites of their food before fully swallowing what they’d just chewed. Michelle, a petite girl who played...

Mistakes

This is a story of two mistakes with eternal consequences. They happened almost exactly three years ago, but I’ve never written about them publicly. There are a lot of things that happen when somebody...

Threadbare troubadour

Getting old is easy. It happens without your permission. It happens on its own. It’s literally effortless. The hard part is finding any good in it happening. Something happened last night, and it made...

My dog swallowed what?

I learned a new word this weekend: radiopaque. It’s not the kind of word you just throw out over coffee, or really, in most polite conversation, but it is the kind of word you’ll...

8 seconds

So, here’s a story. On January 8, 2003, my phone rang just as I was getting up for work. A plane had tried to take off from Charlotte, NC bound for my home airport,...

Notes on fear

The note read, “If I die.” Nothing else. There was no last will and testament. There were no instructions. There was only a flower blossom picked from somewhere else. I was soaked with sweat...

Dogs at large

The dogs were determined, six in a haphazard row, straight from Disney, a mix of colors, sizes, and uncertain breeds. They looked as though they owned the streets but had a higher power to...