Photo: Lena R., Playground, 2020

The spider hung delicately to her silken web; long articulated legs making small adjustments to keep her in place. When her home was in motion, like now, she retreated to the top right corner of the passenger mirror and the safety of the black plastic bezel that housed the rotating mirror. Every morning and afternoon she rode with us on the journey to and from school. I suppose she also came to work with me, but we only ever talked to her in the mornings — usually to admire her web, her accomplishment overnight slung between the door and the…


Once upon a time I was on a committee, and it was the highlight of my week. It was a high-functioning productive group without limits. We took on wild ideas, we made things happen. We were structured, disciplined, and flexible. We thought big, but always in regards to the personal. How could this help? What problem could we solve?

What I enjoyed most, though, was checking in on my friends; learning from them, challenging each other, struggling together with hard things. I could think aloud, working through something from a vague feeling to a full-fledged opinion without risk. I could…


There are stories that we tell about ourselves that are so convincing they shape how we actually begin to see ourselves. To change my own narrative, I had to start calling myself a writer, even if I didn’t feel like one yet. Maybe I wasn’t there yet, but I could make it true. Writers write. I could bend the truth to me, through practice.

But I struggle, not to find the words, but to find my subject, my muse. I still call myself an Art Historian, even though I haven’t been employed as one in over a decade. I cannot…


Photo: Anne Lawrence, 2021

All I needed to do was provide a place for her wings to dry. She perched there for about half an hour while I watched her wings gradually fade in color as the water evaporated. She stayed alert, but perfectly still, resting on my hand yesterday morning.

Over the weekend I fell on a rough hiking trail. I tripped on a rock, the kind I’ve hopped over a thousand times, but not this time. I had been walking and just decided to start running again, I scanned the trail ahead and missed the rock at my foot. The first move…


Look to how you spend your time, this is what you value. What you say you value is just wishful thinking, time is the currency.

I’ve been thinking about why I write about work, employee, employment. Like a lot of Americans, I spend a tremendous about of time working. It is part of our national ethos; work is good, to succeed do more of it. When we tie or even transfer our identity to our productivity, we push into it even more. Binding our physical and financial needs to this success, through our health insurance and paychecks, transforms the idea…


“See you next weekend!” the man in the yellow vest standing by the gate called out with a big wave as I walked out of the park towards my car. Crowds are heavy on the weekends at the nature preserve where I like to run. I usually park down past the rec center, but most people wait to be waived in and park on-site. Every person, whether on foot or in a car, gets a friendly greeting and farewell, more if he’s not too busy.

He treats his role like he is everyone’s motivational coach. As I walked away utterly…


“When you focus on the past, that’s your ego. … When I focus on the future, that’s my pride. I try to focus on the present. That’s humility.”

— Giannis Antetokounmpo (source)

When I first read this early last week, I was stunned. All of the thoughts I was having about myself, my work, my project, my sense of place, and my anxiety about it all — all of it was calmed with this simple framework. Watch the video, he explains more about what he means.

The past is your ego; what you’ve done, how you feel about, your boastful…


I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus as my last project ramped up and then completely took over my life. I have been slow to come back to writing because I feel that I have not adequately convinced myself of the purpose here. What am I trying to do? Is the purpose too broad, not narrowly defined enough, not crisp enough to motivate?

From my “break” one thing is clear — I never stopped writing, it was just 100% directed at projects. Most were draft texts to inspire and inform others, notes and other pieces of communication. …


It’s almost late July. I’ve lost track of whatever my running goals were and I’m writing less frequently. I plan for short runs because of the heat, but I lose track of time or miles or both and just keep running, lost in thought, running away or running to.

Last Sunday, I wandered a full 13 miles. I had a rough idea that’s what I was going to do despite the heat — once I started I just couldn’t turn around, another mile, another mile, with a final vision that at sometime I might make home again. I counted 7…


“I think you just need more experience,” my previous manager explained.

My question had been centered on action, steps I could take, like additional degrees, classes, certifications, activities, readings, but the response clearly pushed the power away from me. In her opinion, in order to advance, I just needed to excel at the job over time, lots of time.

I realized a few years later, when recounting this conversation, that perhaps she didn’t have my best interests in mind. What was her motivation for keeping me from depending on the work for her for my career advancement? …

Anne Lawrence

Writer, researcher, observer

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