“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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“I See You’ve Made a New Friend”

These are the things I remember about the Gone Boy. Hazel eyes. Slippery black hair. Fluidity of motion. Chipped front teeth. Velvety skin. A goofy laugh. A whipsmart brain …

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Feeling Blue On Valentine’s Day

Today is a blue day for no particular reason. My children are thriving. My marriage is solid. We have money in the bank and a roof over our heads. I have the privilege of defining what I’ll do each day.

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People Who Do the Dangerous Things That Need to be Done: Tim Hetherington

I’ve just finished watching a must-see Documentary Famed war correspondent and filmmaker, Sebastian Junger (War, The Perfect Storm, Restrepo) has made a documentary about a late-friend and colleague called, Which Way Is The Front Line From Here: the Life and

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A Few Things From My Life

Ellen Marie Stradall Thank you everyone for all your kind, well-wishes for my grandmother’s memorial service. It was so lovely. All the words spoken were a testament to my grandma’s particular love. Here she is in college in Hays, Kansas

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Dark Night Of the Soul: Lost Friend

My friend Ion’s memorial service is on Saturday. It’s going to be at a lifeguard tower in Santa Monica where he worked and saved lives for years. I miss him today. I keep seeing flashes of moments between us from

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When Someone Dies Too Young

An Unexpected Call I was working in my outdoor office last Thursday in the 90-degree heat when my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the phone number, but I wanted to escape my writing duties for the moment and answered. 

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When Caregivers Strike

“We’re born in diapers and we die in diapers.” This is what my grandpa Rusty told my mom, aunt, grandma and me as we hovered over his deathbed. “You four look like a buncha buzzards waitin’ to finish me off,”

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My 99-Year Old Grandma Saved My Life

My Grandma Ellen turned 99 Today She was born in Wakeeny, Kansas, Trego County, July 2, 1913. We celebrated with wine and cake. I lay in bed with her last night holding her birdlike, blue-veined, sun-spotted hand, the one that

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The Celebration of a Life

On Saturday my mom had a celebration at her home for her passionate, intelligent, macho, intrepid, intractable, loving, Rennaisance-Man-of-a husband, Guido, who passed away last September. My mom couldn’t face a memorial until now.   Among his vast array of

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Love Is All That Matters

Loss My father-in-law passed away Sunday night. He’d been a young stage actor in New York. He’d been one of the original writers on Captain Kangaroo. He’d won a television Emmy for his work on Barney Miller and worked on

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Requiem For a Heavyweight

September 16th, 2011 At 9 a.m. my stepfather Guido (yes, Guido, will all the ardor for life that implies) passed away due to the repercussions of a stroke he had six-and-a half years ago. He was my mom’s fourth husband

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Daring to Love

Here’s the problem with ice cream. You mean to eat it slowly so that your eating pleasure is in direct inverse proportion to ice cream’s legion, fat-propagating calories. But ice cream melts. You can’t eat it slowly unless you’re living

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