and why Emily Dickinson is a true anti-hero

As we reach a new wall in these months of pandemics, of 2020, of 2021, of the anxiety and frustration that feels incessant and about to drive us all insane, or maybe already has — I thought about the first few months of the pandemic. I wrote this in March of last year, and I was reminded on coming across it this morning that there are some things that I will remember with gratitude about this time. Not in the sense that anyone should feel anything but frustration and anxiety and craziness…

Several years ago I lived in Norway, in a house that held layers of history. It was an enormous house along the Trondheim fjord, built in the early twentieth century. The house had no address, just a name, Saltburå, a reference to its location being a former cache for salt that was mined from the fjord just across the road.

The house’s earliest incarnation was as housing for doctors who worked at the children’s tuberculosis clinic just up the road (the only other large house that was built around the same time). The house was then later occupied by German…

Because these books deserve to be shared in good company.

Photo courtesy of the author.

As the world shut down in March and we all found ourselves turning inward — and needing new outlets for imagination and travel — I thought of the books that I’ve read and re-read, both as a reader and as a parent with a young son. Some are well known, others less so, and I’m so thankful that the writing fates led me to them. They continue to bring new joy, insights, laughter, wisdom, and love each time I read them.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell


(photo courtesy of the author).

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you

are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here

and you must treat it as a powerful stranger.

David Wagoner

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word shelter. Shelter in place, the idea of sheltering, of the shelter we seek in times of chaos, and that which we provide for others. For some, it may immediately evoke a place of calm and comfort. For others, it can be community or home. And for some it can be imposing and unwanted, a place of confinement and isolation, interrupting freedom…

What we will miss when winter is no longer a reality.

Photo courtesy of the author

For the past two weeks in Anchorage, the daylight has grown stronger and more visible each morning — every gain of five minutes a noticeable revelation. The landscape slowly begins to appear, as if revealing the mountains that surround us slowly to lessen their imposing height and intimidating shadow.

In December, only the hint of mountains can be traced in the almost-always-night landscape, a dark fata morgana, felt dark along the skyline. And then slowly, as the minutes of daylight begin to increase in late January, the shadow hint…

Photo courtesy of the author.

When I began writing poetry, I didn’t realize the power of the first-person voice in a poem — of how the personal is the vital doorway between writer and reader. None of my poems had an “I.” And they were boring — unclear, and unable to convey any power of feeling.

And because I was uncomfortable placing myself on the page, I had also shied away from reading “confessional” poetry. I admired it but never wanted to do the work of reading it. Maybe it was the intense starkness of its emotion, but I couldn’t face the mirror of it…

Freya Rohn

Writer and poet. Believer in the power of words.

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