The Sun Is a Monster (Or, Three Van Sewing Projects)

Summer in Colorado. Mostly sunny or sunny every day. The sun’s intensity amplified by our high altitude’s thin atmosphere. I hear this is some people’s idyll, but it’s certainly not mine. Give me an icy river to forge, numb toes, beer cooling in snow. Right now, I’d even take the spring hailstorm I encountered in a supermarket parking lot last year, the floodwater rising up my car door, my recently purchased frozen peas melting in the backseat. At least that was exciting. But this—my scaley, reptilian lips, my one red shin, my beheaded aloe vera plant—these are just garden-variety consequences of careless sunblock application, my lips worsened by my bad habit of licking them in direct sun. If my van were ready, I’d leave this Colorado summer in a second. Continue reading “The Sun Is a Monster (Or, Three Van Sewing Projects)”

When will the van be done? A definitive answer.

One of the semesters I taught freshmen composition, I had my students keep a blog. The point of the class was to teach students how to tailor their writing to their specific purpose, audience, and context, and also to the conventions of whatever genre they were writing in. Mid-semester, one of my brightest students started publishing her weekly blog posts late. When I asked her about it, she said she was just following the genre’s conventions. She pointed out that bloggers always start out with frequent, enthusiastic posts, only to peter out a couple months later, prefacing each post with an apology for their lateness, “as if anyone is actually still reading their blog.” Continue reading “When will the van be done? A definitive answer.”

Cedar Chest vs. House Fire (Wait, What About the Van?)

Last Wednesday just before 6am, I woke up to a strange light coming through the slit between my curtains. Later, I’d determine the light’s three sources: a firetruck, a firefighter’s high-output flashlight, and the flames shooting up from the townhouse in front of mine, 20 steps away. Heading downstairs, I smelled smoke, and, more subtly, cedar. Just seven hours ago, I’d finished building a cedar chest. The garage was still covered in cedar. Cedar shavings on the miter saw, cedar dust around the orbital sander, cedar off-cuts in a cardboard box I’d labeled “Cedar only!”. The cedar chest had been the last thing I’d worked on before going to bed, and now, even as I exited my apartment with all my valuables in a backpack, it was still on my mind. I looked back at the chest one more time and imagined the cedar lid catching sparks. Continue reading “Cedar Chest vs. House Fire (Wait, What About the Van?)”