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South, Very South

On the nights when the seas were rough, I lay in the narrow bed in my cabin and imagined I was riding on the back of a dolphin as it leaped and plunged through the waves. My cabin was near the bow of the ship, and each pitch and yaw was accentuated by the percussive […]

The How and the Why of the Wend

How have I done it?

And why? And what does my lifestyle have to do with my English degree?

In November I was fortunate to be invited to speak at the Clark University English department’s annual alumni event. I was asked to address these questions in front of an audience of current and potential English […]

Finish this sentence: All work and no play…

…make Jack Nicholson chase after his family with an axe through a topiary garden. Right?

Santiago isn’t exactly in the running for the setting of “The Shining II”, but I was definitely beginning to feel twitchy and cooped up. No wonder, with this as my most frequent work space:

Working through my pile of […]

Images from America’s Past

Gray skies gradually succumbed to the spirit of honor, gaiety, and remembrance at the 2011 American Indian Association of Florida, Inc. Powwow. By early afternoon the sun had emerged to cast its gentle, fall warmth on the gathering. I can’t duplicate the melody of bells jangling, feathers swooping, streamers flying, drums reverberating, and singers chanting […]

Crowd-Support

5:30 pm. I stood on the platform of the Santiago metro. No, not stood, sagged. Eyelids blinked in slow motion. Shoulders protested the weight of my bag. I was exhausted. The day’s interviews (two: one with a representative from Ecosistemas, and the second with a spokesman for Costa Carrera) and the wealth of information they’d […]

How to Get into Santiago from the Airport…without a taxi!

I landed in Santiago on Friday morning, jet-lagged, sticky, bleary-eyed, and with a stomach dancing about in what Syreena assures me is excitement, not fear. I broke down the things I needed to do into tiny steps. First, immigration and customs. I did NOT have to pay the silly $100 reciprocity fee (only because I […]

John Muir’s take on friendship and love

“To ask me whether I could endure to live without friends is absurd. It is easy enough to live out of material sight of friends, but to live without human love is impossible. Quench love, and what is left of a man’s life but the folding of a few jointed bones and square inches of […]

Susan’s next adventure – and first real writing job!

I’m planning a trip back to Peru in March and April, this time not just for fun, but with a purpose. I’m going to be working for a non-profit organization (Awamaki) based in Ollantaytambo, a small town not far from the famous Inca ruins at Machu Picchu. Ollantaytambo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited […]

secrets i’ve been keeping

Have you ever read the Stephen King novel, Cujo? I haven’t, but I know it’s about a dog. And as it’s a novel by Stephen King, I imagine that the dog turns into a monster, or is a monster in disguise, or is some sort of portal by which monsters are able to enter our […]

on the rocks

The streets were slippery in the rain. My battered red sneakers slapped against the gray concrete in a steady rhythm, and I twisted my wet hair back behind my ears for the tenth time. Dawn was red this morning. The trees of the park outside the hostel’s front door blocked most of the sky, but […]