Friday, December 31, 2010

Ring Out, Wild Bells

Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind, For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor, Ring in redress to humankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause, And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life, With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin, The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes, But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood, The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right, Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease, Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant soul and free, The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land, Ring in the Life that is to be.

~Alfred Lord Tennyson, adapted


I'm not one for resolutions, they're pretty much vows to do more of something good or less of something less good.

Happy New Year. Thank you for traveling through 2010 with me -- I look forward to sharing 2011 with you. Peace, Linda

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reiki Master

The morning Merilee disappeared, my lover died in a fire that started and ended in her queen-sized bed. The fire department declared arson, perhaps self-immolation, although they never found traces of accelerant. But I’d discovered Twenty-One Love Poems spread open on the rug, and remembered the heat from her hands stilled inches above my mons.

Inspired by the 52-250 Flash a Year theme -- spontaneous combustion -- and the urge to write a 55-word story. Heck, why not? Brevity is good. And feeling a tad naughty as I head into the new year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


twenty-six is out.

The best of the second quarter of 52/250 flashes, 26 features tremendous writers and artisits, including Marcus Speh, Catherine Russell, Kim Hutchsinson, the Susans (Susan Tepper and Susan Gibb), Dorothee Lang, Elizabeth Kate Switaj, Guy Yasko, the Matts (Matt Hamilton and Matt Potter), Al Mc Dermid, Nicolette Wong, Bernard Heise, Stephen Hastings-King, and about two dozen others, give or take. And of course, the flash-wisdom of congenial hosts Michelle Elvy, John Wentworth Chapin, and Walter Bjorkman.

Thank you kind editors for selecting several of my stories, including STONE, which you can listen to HERE.

Come join in the fun. Read and listen, then take your own spin at the weekly theme. Peace...

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Two years ago, after a visit to a tree farm, my children asked me to write a children's story. I wrote The Loneliest Tree for them, and for all the people in the world who are -- or who have ever been -- children. My gift to you. Blessed be, happiest of holidays, and peace...

Once, high on a golden hill, lived the smallest fir tree. His older brothers and sisters often sent him special gifts: a spider trailing on a silken thread, milkweed spores drifting on a summer breeze, soft pollen that painted him yellow. These presents made the littlest fir tree tremble with joy. But when the spider lifted away, the downy milkweed fluttered to the field, and the wind dusted off the pollen, the littlest fir tree was lonelier than ever.

One Spring day, a wren chose to nest in the smallest fir tree. Mornings, the baby birds chortled as their mother searched for grubs and worms. One afternoon, as the littlest fir tree and the baby wrens drowsed in the wan sun, the wren squawked loudly, rousting her family from the tree. A man and a boy, both clad in overalls, walked through the orchard, throwing fertilizer around the firs.

“There, there.” The boy tossed pellets under the littlest fir tree’s boughs. “Grow strong and healthy and green.”

He squinted up at the nest perched in the littlest tree, his Red Sox cap on backwards. His fingers stroked the needles and the tree shivered.

“So soft, papa,” the boy said. “Like a kitten’s tail.”

“Yup,” said the man. “He’s the youngun here – just like you.”

That summer, the wind smelled of sweet hay. Buzzing bees filled the air with song. The farmer and his son came to the hill almost every day, watering the trees when the sun withered their needles. The boy panted and groaned as he hauled the full pails up the hill, but he always watered the littlest fir tree. Afterwards, he collapsed in the cool shade cast by the littlest fir tree and told stories about the puffy cloud creatures scudding across the sky.

One day, the farmer came with a machine that whirred and twirled. The smallest fir tree watched the farmer trim his brothers and sisters into triangle shapes. The other trees danced in the breeze, happy with their new look, but the buzzing tool scared the smallest fir tree.

“This won’t hurt,” the boy said.

And it didn’t, the tool tickled. The fir tree shivered with delight.

The leaves of the forest Maples flamed red. Shadows stretched long across the meadow. The man came to the orchard, but always alone; the littlest fir tree missed the boy’s visits. On the first hard frost, the hill sparkled with diamonds. The man walked the orchard, still alone, pulling long red and white and yellow ribbons from a leather bag slung over his shoulder. He tied a ribbon on each tree and soon, the ribbons fluttered like flags in the brisk autumnal air. The littlest fir tree wondered what color ribbon the farmer would tie on him. But when the man reached the hilltop, he paused before the littlest tree and sighed a deep sigh, then walked back down the hill.

The sun dropped behind the forest ridge. The littlest fir tree shivered, sending needles to the ground.

The ground rumbled. Cars and trucks filled the bottom field. Shouts of children filled the air.

“There! This tree!”

“No, this one!”

The children swarmed around the littlest fir tree, sometimes even saying “This one!”

But the fathers said, “This tree is too puny. Besides, it has no ribbon,” and strode past, saws and axes thrown over their shoulders. The littlest fir tree trembled as his brothers and sisters groaned and fell to the ground.

Snow dusted the stump-stubbled hill. Without the protection of his brothers and sisters, the northeast gusted hard and cold, coating the trembling fir tree in ice. The mockingbird trilled as the wagon, pulled by the man, bumped and creaked up the hill. When the man reached the top, he pulled off his wool hat and wiped his sweat-shined forehead. In the wagon, the bundle of blankets moved; the small boy, pale and drawn, poked out his head. He smiled at the littlest tree, but the smile seemed as big an effort as lugging pails of water.

“This one?” the man asked the boy. “You’re sure?”

The little boy nodded and closed his eyes. The man gazed at the boy for a long moment, then turned away, a tear frozen on his cheek.

The littlest fir tree looked down the hill at the stumps of his family one last time. Then he pulled his limbs tight and waited for the axe’s blow. But the man plunged a shovel into the frozen earth. He chipped a circle, deeper and deeper, around the tree, loosening the dirt around the fir tree’s roots.

The man pulled the tree tight to his chest; more than anything, the littlest tree wanted to stay in his embrace. But the man tugged hard, yanking the tree from the cold ground. The boy clapped his hands, his laugh sounded like birdsong.

“Your little tree will grow strong in the front yard,” the man said. “There, we can see him from the kitchen.”

“And I can visit him in the spring?” the boy whispered.

“Yes.” The man wiped at his shiny cheek. “Yes, you can.”

The man wrapped the trembling tree in burlap and nestled him in the wagon beside the boy. The boy snuggled into the littlest fir tree all the way down the hill and across the bumpy field. When the wagon stopped, the farmer unfurled the littlest fir tree from the cloth and propped him in a large hole. Shovels of dirt and snow covered his roots. The boy clambered from the wagon, falling twice in the deep snow. When he hugged the littlest fir tree, icicles tinkled to the ground.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Golden Moment

I draw the bow across the strings, the trembling G of Chopin’s Largo, and wait for the small gap of time suspended between noise and its absence, the space where the note vibratos into nothingness. I lower the bow, and the hall thunders.

Planes careen into fields and skyscrapers, a cacophony of metal and fire. After, the sky stills, an eerie instant slouching towards an infinity of sorts. I rest my cello in its velvet-lined case, and close the lid.

You enter this world amidst the clack and clatter of machinery, the urgency of voices, and the stench of laser-burnt skin. The surgeon reaches into my abdomen and your head crowns, waxed with blood. The surgical suite melts into white static and you yelp your hello.

Your science project involves water tension and other physics I do not understand. I watch you release the eyedropper, amazed at the utter perfection with which each bead breaks the awaiting meniscus. You record the seconds it takes for the water to resume its placid surface.

The hushed morning after the snowstorm, you sleep upstairs. The ground glitters with diamond dust, the only sound the tinkle of flakes falling. I pick up my cello and play to find the space in between.

Inspired by this week's 52-250 Flash a Year Challenge theme: silence. What is often most significant is that left unsaid: the blank page, the unbroken snow, the beat between notes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12 Reads of Christmas -- Serious Stuff for the Stockings

My 2010 reading list sounds a bit like Goldilocks when she entered the bear's home -- books too big, too small, and just right. All three classics are worthy of a read.

TOO BIG... Without doubt, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW (Thomas Pynchon) is a tad gargantuan. Weighing over one pound and clocking in at 776 pages (and the font -- so small!), this tome deserves its own spot under the tree. I admit -- GR IS a tough slog, but the prose is so worth the effort. I read along with a reading group, which lessened the pain and helped when I hit a WTF spot in the story. First sentence: A screaming comes across the sky.

TOO SMALL... A teeny book with huge payout is TINKERS (Paul Harding). This DEBUT novel published by a small press (Bellevue Literary Press) won the Pulitzer this year. A gorgeous book about the love of a son for his father and understanding how epilepsy changes lives. (DO check out the quarterly literary journal put out by BLR -- among the best essays, poems, and fiction focusing on health and disability. I have subscribed for four years and just signed up for another 3 year stint). First sentence: GEORGE WASHINGTON CROSBY began to hallucinate eight days before he died.

JUST RIGHT... THE CORRECTIONS by Jonathan Franzen. A beautiful tale of family dysfunction and how we carry what we learn from our parents into our own lives. All that dysfunction comes to a when the patriarch's failing health due to Parkinson's disease brings the kids home. I heard Franzen speak two years ago at Grub Street's Muse and the Marketplace and finally got around to reading this masterpiece. First sentence: THE MADNESS of an autumn prairie cold front coming through.

I've been shopping hard for others, and need a few treats myself. Here's what I've ordered for MY stocking:

WHAT MAY HAVE BEEN - Love Letters of Jackson Pollock and Dori G by Gary Percesepe and Susan Tepper (Cervena Books Press). Because it just sounds so SEXY! And friends have recommended it. And because I love Pollock.

Coming soon... WEST OF HERE by Jonathan Evison. I adored ALL ABOUT LULU. Enuf said.

Jennifer Egan's A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD has a lot of people talking. She presents her story in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd POVs, along with a powerpoint presentation. Must read for myself to see how pulls the story off.

Happy reading, writing, and shopping! And whenever possible, please purchase your books through independent retailers! Peace, Linda

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12 Reads of Christmas -- Collectable Collections

Being on the diminutive side, I remain partial to all things small, including my reads. Here, three of my favorite collections from 2010.

HINT FICTION (edited by Robert Swartwood; Norton) proves the adage great things come in small packages. Swartwood, who coined the term hint fiction, says a story of 25 words or less "should not be complete by standing by having a beginning, middle, and end. Instead it should be complete by standing by itself as its own little world." This small book delivers over 100 stories (culled from over 2,400 entries) written by award-winning authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, J.S. Konrath, Ha Jin, Tess Gerritsen, and James Frey, but also lesser known but equally talented writers, including Kelly Sptizer, Jane Hammons, David Erlewine, Roxanne Gay, and a host of others, including my novel writing buddy Jennifer Haddock.

Pregnancy Test (Jennifer Haddock)
A drop of pee. An unanswered prayer. The second pink line draws one childhood to an end as another begins.

Golden Years (Edith Pearlman)
She: Macular. He: Parkinsons. She pushing, he directing, they get down the ramp, across the grass, through the gate. The wheels roll riverwards.

Progress (Joe Schreiber)
After seventeen days she finally broke down and called him "Daddy."

WHet your appetite for more? Read HINT FICTION's oodles of accolades and pick up a copy for yourself.

I have traveled a lot the last few months, and the first item packed after my laptop is BEST OF THE WEB 2010 (DZANC Books; Guest Editor Kathy Fish, Series Editor Matt Bell). Almost 100 stories, poems, and essays covering a lot of writers -- Dan Chaon, Terese Svoboda, Robert Olen Butler, Claudia Emerson, J.A. Tyler -- published in some of the finest online literary journals -- BluePrint Review, >kill author, failbetter, Necessary Fiction, elimae, Wigleaf, Guernica, Brevity.

I have no favorite piece; I keep reading and rereading, enjoying as a reader, learning as a writer. Here, GLORY, by Cami Park, a talented author who died too young and too early (originally published in Staccato).

A woman's hair is her crowning glory, my grandmother always said. Brush it every night, one hundred strokes.

She also once told me she felt like she was drowning. We had been doing the dishes together in silence, her freckled hands wrist-deep in suds. I placed the plate I'd been drying in the rack and leaned over the sink on tiptoe to look out the window at the star-speckled sky. Searched for the Milky Way, scanned for the moon.

Purchase your copy from DZANC Books. Of course.

Not too long ago, I wrote nice things about Peter Selgin and he kindly sent me a copy of 179 WAYS TO SAVE A NOVEL (Writers Digest Books). Since he's read my work through DZANC's Creative Writing Sessions, I assumed he thought this craft book might salvage my own Works-In-Progress, and it just might. Divided into six sections such as Matters of Substance and Matters of Style, each page is like a meditation with a get tough message.

My favorite today is #48: The Quest for Happiness and Other Irritants: Two Plots -- Only, which pretty much distills all literary stories to two plots. Since I struggle with plot constantly, this message simplifies my writing life immensely. I already own every one of Peter Selgin's books (though he has a new one coming out early 2011), so I'm hoping this time he sends me an agent ;^) Purchase your copy at Writer's Digest Books -- pssst, they're having a SALE!

Next up, three favorite serious reads from the past year, and the three books I've slipped into my own stocking. Peace, Linda

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Missing the Bus

Grey clouds tangled in leafless tree limbs and telephone lines. Gertrude twisted the watch, puzzling at the liver patches circling her wrist. Almost noon -- where was the bus? If she was late who would feed Norry her tomato soup and animal cracker lunch? Who would put her down for her afternoon nap?

The wind whipped leaves into an eddy of bronze and carried the raw smell of impending rain. Perhaps she should not have tarried for coffee after her shift -- her co-workers were such awful gossips. But what wicked fun. And she deserved some fun, Gertrude thought. She worked hard to put the potatoes in the larder.

A bus rumbled past. The Number 9 to City Square. Panic wormed through her stomach and seeped to her chest. Where was the 55 to home? Raindrops splattered her flannel slippers. She looked down at the deepening puddle. Where were her white shoes? She touched her head. Her nursing cap?

The sky cracked open. Gertrude hiccoughed a rending sob and sank knee-first to the muddy ground. She clasped her hands in prayer. Mother Mary, take care of Norry and bring me to her.

A siren wailed lonesome. She crunched her eyes and prayed harder. Behind her, feet pattered closer. Firm hands grasped her shoulders.

“Thank God we found you!”

Gertrude stopped her prayers. She wobbled up and let the kind-faced lady lead her down the street. Something about her eyes reminded her of Noreen.


Inspired by this week's 52-250 Flash a Week Challenge Theme: missed the bus.

It's snowing here ;^)

Peace, Linda

Armchair Traveling ==> Language/Place Blog Carnival

Writers from all over the world share their places and spaces. The second issue of LANGUAGE/PLACE CARNIVAL BLOG live at Meditations in an Emergency, hosted by the congenial and talented Nicolette Wong.

My small contribution -- Lost in Suomi. Alongside word weavings by Dorothee Lang, Marcus Speh, Stella Pierides, and Nicolette Wong.

Come, travel with us. Peace, Linda

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Twelve Reads of Christmas -- Great Things Come in Small Packages

'Tis the gifting season, and what better present than a book? Over these final 10 shopping days, I'll highlight 12 of my picks for giving. Up first, three small gems well worth purchasing for a friend -- or yourself.

MYRA KING is an amazingly versatile writer whose collection of short stories, CITY PADDOCK AND OTHER STORIES (Ginninderra Press) hit the Australian bookstores this spring. Ten stories, each packing its own particular wallop: a former soldier's love for the dignity of his horses and his life, the futility of bringing a child into a bitter and brutal world, a future where love is prohibited. Here, the opening of CITY PADDOCK: I've been watching grass grow. Every morning you can see me, an old bloke, on my way to the shops, lifting my feet carefully as I cross over a strip of it outlining a path.

A beautiful little book by Tim Horvath, CIRCULATION (Sunnyoutside Press) pays homage to books and maps and the intricate relationships we have with our parents. Tim Horvath writes lush and spare; yes, I intend the apparent contradiction. The first sentence: When we were awash with youth, we were all led to believe that our father was assembling a book called The Atlas of the Voyages of Things. Buy it ==> HERE.

LAST WINTER'S LEAVES is an intimate and moving chapbook of poems and micro-short stories by MICHAEL SOLENDER (Full of Crow Chapbook Series). The contents show a 'tender' side of Michael, and a personal side: the poems and stories reflect the end of a crippling despondancy. From his poem PANIC ATTACK: Panic skips like flat spinning stones my mind's stagnant river/apathy growing at desire... Interested in a copy? Contact the writer himself ==> HERE.

Please support authors and their creations. Next up, collections for the pack rats among us. Happy shopping! Peace...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Watch

After the wolves killed the sheep, then Damien, I fled the backcountry. Without cricket and tree frog song, the silence grew too deep.

I packed light: food for a lifetime, clothes and boots, and all the guns. One photo of my love, sewn into the pocket over my heart. The audio of our poetry.

On the last night, I siphoned 30 gallons of ethanol to power the ATV, and sloshed the rest around the perimeter of the house, the shed, the still. The timber flared with a loud wumph. The wolves gathered, mesmerized by the flames. Their low snarls trailed me as I drove from the forest, the evening star obscured by smoke.

It took three days to reach the City. From the top of the tower, I watched the horizon. The tinny pop of guns from the last of the resistance punctuated the low whine of advancing tanks. For some reason, these noises comforted me.


The cusp of a new year always brings out the dystopian in me. Inspired by the 52-250 Flash a Year Challenge Theme: Urban Convert.

Coming up next week: The Twelve Days of Books. Stay tuned. And stay warm! Peace, Linda

Saturday, December 04, 2010

One Year...

One year ago today my father breathed his last breath. I love him. I miss him.

He was happiest at the ocean, his family and dog with him...

I walk the beach, south to the point. Waves tease the beach with a lazy roar, sea oats rustle from the dunes. Smooth as silvered glass, the sea melds into sky, endless horizon. Here, there are only two colors: sun and water. Hermit crabs scuttle before my shadow. The receding tide leaves foam memories. I walk. Sand squishes fine and smooth between my toes, polished for eternity by God’s rock tumbler. The pack bangs lightly on my back with each step. The sun settles an inch above sea’s edge. I look back to where I was and the memory is miniscule, my footprints swirled away.

Oh Daddy… remember?

Those mornings you fished, we always walked, my sister and I. She skipped ahead, seeking the next adventure and casting sideways looks at the sun-baked boys in their bleached cut-offs. While I, the slower, more serious one, kept eyes to the ground, seeking a starfish, an intact sand-dollar, a smoothed piece of colored glass. We walked and walked, chattering about everything and nothing, stopping to poke birds and beached jellies, diverting into the dunes to imagine forts made among the stilts of unoccupied beach-houses. Oblivious to time and distance and all that left behind. Until some sound, a keening tern perhaps, or maybe a red kite swooping from the sun, reminded us how far we’d come. We’d turn around, panicked that we’d strayed too far, that you’d be done with the fishing and packed up, ready to leave without us. We’d run back, mile and miles, chests heaving, toes digging into soft sand, until the jeep distinguished itself from the endless beach, and you standing by your poles, staring to the end of the world. Mom would sit in the front seat staring at the same spot you were, that faraway place, her knitting on her lap, the dog curled beside her where you sat. Our return animated you and mom, you would smile slow like you’d been asleep for a long time. We related our adventures, gave news of the beach beyond the point, displayed our treasures proudly. You laughed, indulging us, and mom unwrapped tuna salad sandwiches in hot dog buns, celery sticks, chips, all gritty from sand.

That was how it was, each day new and yet the same, finite and never-ending.

Daddy, I wish you were here now…

The tide’s coming in, and the water churns here at the confluence of sound and sea. I walk past the fisherman and their four-wheel-drives pocking the point. From a distance, they seemed charcoal smudges: a log, a boat’s broken hull, a beached seal or other detritus tossed carelessly upon the shore by a rogue wave. Closer, details emerged, rods stuck in sand, lines tight, silver filaments set to garrote the unsuspecting who pass by. Have you ever noticed how fishing lines, when taut, sing when the world spins away from the sun? They smile at me when I peek into their white buckets filled with the bluefish, silver-scales reflecting sky streaked orange. But when I look up, into their brown wind-carved faces, I see you. Waiting for the big one.

Daddy, the blues are running...

Seagulls and cormorants squawk and dive bomb into the writhing waves. Even pelicans gather, skimming low to the sea’s surface. The men reel in fast, rods and arms quivering. I sit at the dune’s base, back pack snuggled in the sand at my feet. I withdraw the box. It’s heavy, made of wood, I know the inside is steel-lined though I haven’t yet opened the lid. The sun taints the fish-covered beach in blood. I wait. The men load their buckets, their trucks, and soon all that is left are deep treads leading away.

The sun melts into the sea, shimmering like molten lava. The box feels lighter somehow. At water's edge, droplets of saltiness kiss my face, so many tears. The lid comes off easily. The wind wisps the dust and instinctively I reach but it’s gone, it’s gone, you're gone, and I reach inside, your fire-polished ash so fine in my hand, so much finer than the sand under my feet yet as timeless, and I toss the first handful intothe air. The wind shifts, carries the dustiness of you aloft above the waves… daddy, oh daddy… the blues are running, the blues are running, and the waves will carry you, carry you, so you will be one with them… oh daddy, you’re running with those blues…

Love you Daddy. Every time I feel the tide tugging, the sand shifting below my feet, the smell of salt and the keen of a gull, I think of you. Peace...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Palm of Her Hand

When Lorelei emerged from the Bentley draped in pink silk and pearls, E.B. Whiting’s heart quaked all the way down to his RocketBuster boots. For over a year he had pursued the Geisha, through the cobbled streets of the French Quarter to the high rises of Hong Kong. Rebuffed in every city, he paid for her best courtesans instead. The next morning, he sent her ivory roses, accepted but never acknowledged.

He strode across the foyer, Dom Perignon clutched in his hand. She followed him to the window. Below, the Dallas skyline glittered. American flags and Whiting banners floated ghostlike from dozens of cranes silhouetted in tiny white lights.

“You have built a kingdom,” she said.

“As have you.” They clinked flutes. “Have you considered my proposal?”

She rested the champagne on the table and took his hand. The subtle scent of vanilla wafted from her. He trembled as she splayed open his palm and traced the left side with her finger.

“Long career line. And success, but the two do not intersect.” She pulled his hand closer, her breath warm on his skin. “Love line also long, but see?” She drew quick perpendicular cross-hatches with her nail. He winced.

“Marry me,” he whispered. “Please.”

“Life line starts here.” She slowly trailed her forefinger from the base of the thumb to the middle of his palm, and stopped. A frown creased her forehead, then smoothed.

“Yes,” she said and smiled. “Let us marry.”


Inspired by the 52-250 Theme: Palm of Your Hand, as well as by my former graduate student who read my palm during dinner at Emeril's in New Orleans.

Thank goodness my palm has a longer life line!

Peace, Linda

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Gobble, gobble... pass ON the pie, please!

Good news! Being super-skinny isn't healthy. In a new study published this week by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that folks with the lowest mortality rates are those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 20 and 24.9. Those on the lowest end of the BMI scale comprised a mixed group of sicker indiivduals (current smokers, those with illnesses with a wasting component, such as HIV/AIDS or cancer) and healthier folks (those who eat lean and run mean). In the study, those with the highest BMIs had the highest mortality.

The study used a meta-analysis technique that reviews already conducted studies, and controlled for important factors that influence death, such as alcohol consumption, smoking, cardiovascular disease, and other confounders.

Curious how you stack up? Calculate your own BMI HERE.

So before you slather on that extra dollop of whipped cream, think... BMI.

Peace, Linda

(So, what inspired this post on pie and BMI? Stress. The holidays, work, life... I've been a two-fisted stress eater of late, and when I saw this little blurb on BMI, it both heartened me and motivated me. Writing and professing are sedentary pursuits and I need to kick my life up a notch).