Have you been to Home Depot or Lowe’s lately?

Have you been to Home Depot or Lowe’s lately?

Now I haven’t (they don’t sell blog post ideas there), however all reports indicate the American big-box home improvement stores are packed. Lines out the doors, empty shelves, husbands holding “honey do” lists as long as an 8-foot length of crown molding.

And thanks to the coronavirus, “honey do” lists are becoming “honey done” lists.

It is no surprise in a societal shutdown, we must find things to do with our head and hands. We must stay busy or risk going insane.

A friend recently commented on my increased writing output over the last few weeks.

Since I’m no good with a saw or drywall or ball joint valves (still not sure what they are), building blog posts is keeping me sane.

Hammer and nails, nouns and verbs— they are the same to me. Measure and mix the ingredients to create something new or refurbish something in need of repair.

So, 9 weeks into quarantine, how are you keeping yourself sane?

I told you last week I’ve been on a Kurt Vonnegut kick.

When I finished “Breakfast of Champions” I moved to “A Man Without a Country,” a collection of letters and short commentaries the chain-smoking Vonnegut wrote about everything from his hatred toward semicolons to his criticisms and witticisms on politics and sex and marriage and the troubled American soul. It was his last book before he died.

It’s like listening to a cranky old man giving no-shits.

I can hear him saying these things at the kitchen table. A gift-shop mug of black coffee to his right, cigarette smoking in the ash tray to his left, stretched slippers ringed loose around his feet, running his hand through his gray hair, and working through the same questions you and I are having right now: Did I use my time wisely? Did I find joy in life? Did I live my best life?

There’s this cool part when Vonnegut explains creating something, is how we, “make more life more bearable.”

He encourages you to sing in shower or dance to the radio or tell stories or write poems– even if they’re lousy. Vonnegut explains creating something, getting lost is the intimate process, no matter how good or bad, is how we make “the soul grow.”

I find this interesting.

Making things, willing things into existence, like a little potbelly god wearing jeans and sneakers, is therapy for our bodies and minds.

It’s how we stay sane in the insane hours.

Make no mistake– we are born to create: children (a different type of creating but still creating) and birdhouses and tree houses and cinder block firepits and afghans and needlepoint and paintings and poems and photographs of sunsets and memories and finger turkeys for Thanksgiving and a new fireplace hearth for Christmas Eve and a dry meatloaf for dinner tonight that no one will like.

Our lives are measured by what we create.

If you don’t bring forth what is within you, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you. ~ The Gospel of Thomas

So, we stand on the porch or lay on the kitchen floor or sit like Vonnegut at the table wondering the same questions: How do we use our time wisely? How do we find joy? How do we live our best life?

The answer to all of those questions is: to create. Even if no one sees it. Create. Even if it’s bad and no one understand it. Create. Even if put your soul into it and no one reads it. Create. Even if it’s crooked or off-centered or misaligned or uneven or burnt or littered with grammatical errors. Create.

And if you’re afraid to create because of what people might say (as I often am), people move on quicker than you think. People are busy. They have their own lives to attend to.

They have their own “honey do” lists.

Be well,


I was a recent guest of the “Set Lusting Bruce” podcast. A podcast for Bruce Springsteen geeks like me. In this episode, host Jesse Jackson and I have a lively and deep discussion about my favorite song, “Thunder Road” and whether Mary got in car with the song’s angsty protagonist or not.


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Quarantine Blackout Poetry Volume 5: A Father-Daughter Project

“Walking away from America” attempts to capture my frustration with the political response to quarantine. Nobody has the right answer yet everybody pretends they do. Those in charge of policy and peacemaking are staring deep into my television screen “talking out both sides of their mouth.”

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