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…


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? …


“It’s just physics,” the voice on the other end of the line reasoned. “When you hit an immovable object, something has to give. That’s how it works.”

The logic was sound, but I hadn’t thought of it that way. I was walking around the neighborhood chatting on the phone, relaying the story to a family member, who had reduced it to a simple question of force. If one object couldn’t move, didn’t it follow that the other one would, somehow making that seem like a good thing?

I’d gone for another walk earlier, holding a homemade ice pack to the…


I didn’t have to think. I knew what I needed to do and why. After a few rounds of arguing my position, I had solidified my case, which I continued to refine as we worked out the strategy to present to the client. I had spent too long trying to make others understand the employee’s point of view — I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to act on what I knew was best for the team now that I was finally in a role with enough authority to do so. …


The skin on my legs burned like it was on fire. I tried to scratch and keep going, clawing at my legs, until I couldn’t stand it anymore. The simultaneous feelings of confusion, pain, and hopelessness were burned in my memory — running wasn’t for me. I had chosen a stretch of road behind my apartment complex that wound into an undeveloped area, full of empty fields, so there would be no one to watch me struggle to make my legs work. …


Why do we work jobs?

  • For stability, for independence? Do we work for the financial incentives that give us control over our lives and let us shape our own futures?
  • To contribute, to be a part of something? Do we work to make change, whether inside an organization or in society-at-large?
  • As identity, a surrogate for self? Do we work to better understand the essential part of ourselves that moves forward to do a thing, while simultaneously pushing inward?

Is it some combination of these, with varying ratios of each at different points in our lives? For me, rarely was…


“Be safe Danger!” we called up at the tiny moth on the wire by the tree.

The tiny, ragged edged, fuzzy moth kept flitting dangerously close around the pool. The first time we saw her, she landed on the drawing of a branch and leaf on an inflatable. Carefully, I lifted the entire floatee up and out of the pool, gingerly setting it in the grass, away from the water. She returned the favor by landing on my head, like a bow. …


An education in the creative arts teaches you how to be comfortable with ambiguity — the unknown — so argues Rosanne Somerson in the latest Design Better podcast. Somerson, President, Rhode Island School of Design, making her case for training in the arts, regardless of final occupation, said that art school teaches you about ideas, not just process. You have to be comfortable existing, and sometimes even struggling, through the empty space between idea and execution.

Proponents of liberal arts degrees have long contended that critical thinking skills are foundational to success in many careers, but usually, they are referring…


I psyched myself up with a pep talk during the drive. I selected comfortable, but presentable looking clothes. I hadn’t seen anyone in so long, it didn’t really matter what I chose, no risk in repeating a favorite shirt. I parked maybe a little too far away, but I didn’t feel like doing a left-side parallel parking job with my new car just yet. The walk gave me more time to get ready, mentally.

Big smiles, excited hellos, and a few hugs, so went my first big social outing since the pandemic started. After the usual awkward moments post-arrival, I…

Anne Lawrence

Writer, researcher, observer

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