We’ve all seen images of people meditating in tranquil locations. Picture yourself seated on a dock in the cool dappled light of sunrise, the mirror-like lake and mist acting as a metaphor for settling the mind.
It is easy to convince oneself that, “If only I could be there, I wouldn’t have all these difficulties. Whenever I try, it’s too noisy, I get bored, and my legs ache.”
I blinked at the text message:
Your father had a fall.
How many stories of personal loss begin this way? I don’t mean as a text message, but as a wake-up call to the truth of impermanence and what we see in ourselves when we watch another disintegrate.
In the months that followed my father’s fall, our relationship transitioned from son, to storyteller, to curator of his life, and finally to the keeper of memories.
The journey with my father would not just be about a physical impairment, but an altogether different experience as the witness to a loss of…
“So what are your plans for the weekend?”
In most workplaces, this innocuous question would relieve the need to talk about work or the weather.
I am recalling a pre-covid moment in the employee dining room of my then employer. A subterranean cafeteria with a few designer flourishes. Because my schedule changed from day to day, I dined with different people, including those from other departments. It was a subtle form of networking which improved inter-departmental relations and cast a net as a writer as I sat with interesting people.
On this particular Friday, already a few mouthfuls into my…
When was the last time you listened to an ‘album’ of music?
Our perception of time ‘well spent’ has changed. During the Covid19 pandemic, many people have simplified their existence, living in a smaller sphere with less personal interaction but enjoying the opportunity to explore personal pursuits. Others, face unbelievable stress, working with a diminished support structure, finances, and in particular those in the health industry — the constant stress of being exposed to Covid19.
For both groups, this is a time to rediscover what an album of music really means and how it can be of benefit.
A wrinkled photocopied sheet of paper, pinned to a Starbucks cork board, called for immediate attention:
2 in 1
2 persons, Swedish, no home, please let us be your roommate — don’t need much space, can even share a bed!
I imagine ‘Two persons, Swedish, no home, can even share a bed’ is a popular writing prompt for erotic fiction. The plea is also reminiscent of a storyline in the movie ‘Love Actually,’ where an English bloke, not too clever, not too good looking, heads to the U.S. thinking he will be more attractive as a foreigner. As the world…
The prostitutes laughed at me. At least some did. Most would smile, while others offered a curtsy in mock formality as a response to my genial nod of greeting as the overnight doorman at an urban luxury hotel. They all knew better than I did, that a twenty-year-old gangly white kid from a good neighborhood didn’t belong at 3:00am in the company of prostitutes and people experiencing homelessness.
That didn’t prevent me from learning a few things.
In 1983, I worked as an overnight doorman and desk clerk at an urban luxury hotel. It was a summer job from college…
A Cafe Voyeur waits for his theater to re-open
Every writer’s toolbox should include a bistro table and a latte. It may not be the sexiest power tool available when compared to a butterfly keyboard or the most current version of Scrivener, but similar to a seldom used ball peen hammer-impactful when needed.
As most writers nod in agreement, a few will wonder at the banality of such a statement, but in anticipation of cafe’s reopening, I invite you to take a seat and appreciate the return of this unique theater.
The 2020 pandemic rewrote the playbill, and postponed these…
During this time of social distancing, and in anticipation of it soon being over, I am reminded of an interactive fantasy story that I wrote and often performed. A perfect activity for a small group of children: ages 4 through 9.
This is an original story that I had ad libbed for my son when he was young and was a favorite for all ages in my performances.
At the end of the story, read on for some guidelines that have served me well for presenting this story to groups of children. …
A photographer, writer, and storyteller who uses many lenses to view this and other worlds. On Instagram @kevinsmoul