The Long Winter

The Ones I Like Best

Dear Hope Nation, It’s Friday and I’m going to use that as an excuse to rub some feathers the wrong way. All it takes is a few sentences. Beginning . . . Now: I hate the 60’s, or at least the music of the 60’s.  I’m 62 years old, and started listening to the radio … Continue reading The Ones I Like Best

What do you think?

Dear Hope Nation, Today’s letter will be shorter than normal. As it happens, I am chair of a commission to build a monument to honor people in recovery and to memorialize people who have died of addictions. Senator David Watters of Dover was the driving force behind this effort, and he deserves all the credit. … Continue reading What do you think?

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Dear Hope Nation, Please remember to breathe. When you do, you’re doing yourself good. Although it’s been a long time since I got my gentleman’s D- minus in high school biology, I seem to remember respiration being one of those things that contribute to staying alive, along with getting enough sleep and eating Flintstone’s vitamins. … Continue reading Don’t Forget to Breathe

What Lies Beneath the Current

Ocean’s Depth January 25, 2021 Dear Hope Nation, As is often the case, I’m willing to embrace a metaphor without fully understanding the original image. In rhetoric, metaphors have two parts, the tenor (the subject of the metaphor) and the vehicle (the thing the tenor is compared to). For example, in the sentence: As a … Continue reading What Lies Beneath the Current

My Relationship To Music

Dear Hope Nation, Saturday was the first day of a music group at Hope. Not a musical group like The Four Tops, The Four Seasons or Three Dog Night, but a music group, which will ultimately lead to music, but the first meeting was more talking. One of the first questions asked was, “What is your relationship … Continue reading My Relationship To Music

Self Interview II

Dear Hope Nation, This afternoon at 2, I’ll be part of the birth of a renaissance. I hope. And, yes, I know “birth of a renaissance” means birth of a rebirth, which sounds like I’m starting a new cult. I’m not. The music meeting is at 2, and I know I’ll see many of you … Continue reading Self Interview II

Mocking My Betters

Dear Hope Nation, I have a simple love of poetry—I like what I like and I ignore what I don’t. For instance, I like A.E. Housman way more than any other straight American male I’ve ever met. His plangent tone brings actual tears to my eyes, although they’ve never moistened my face. To most contemporary … Continue reading Mocking My Betters

Inauguration Day

Dear Hope Nation, I am an American. Today is a holiday, although not one that involves gifts or candy or days off work. Before the pandemic, it did involve parades of a sort, or at least large crowds. Today’s quadrennial celebration will be different in appearance, but not in substance. On Inauguration Day we don’t simply recognize … Continue reading Inauguration Day

Ideas Are Dangerous Things

Dear Hope Nation, Reading books is dangerous, and I recommend against it. When I read—and here I mean real, challenging books, not just novels or history which take up most of my time—I’m forced to confront new ideas. New ideas are always dangerous, and I recommend against them.  Introduced to new ideas, because I’m cursed … Continue reading Ideas Are Dangerous Things

“Do your little bit of good where you are”

Dear Hope Nation, Happy Birthday, Dr. King! Happy Dr. King’s Birthday to everyone else! Every few weeks, these letters consist of quotes from people wiser than I on topics deeper than my understanding. Luckily, neither is difficult to find.  In honor of today’s holiday, here are some meaningful quotes on peace: “When I say it’s … Continue reading “Do your little bit of good where you are”

If You Say So

Dear Hope Nation, I don’t know what your recovery looks like, and, unless you want to tell me about it, it’s really none of my business. My role, and the role of all recovery coaches, is to support your journey no matter what path you’ve chosen. If that path’s not working for you, or if … Continue reading If You Say So

Economics

Dear Hope Nation, I was in a meeting yesterday where the topic of drugs, particularly methamphetamines, came up. (I’m in meetings every day where the topic of drugs comes up.) One of the speakers talked about the necessity of closing our country’s borders and going after Mexican cartels to reduce the supply. Those may or … Continue reading Economics

Art and Music

January 15, 2021 Dear Hope Nation, Hope is a lot of things. Today, I want to talk about two of them. Before anyone accuses me of playing favorites because of any particular ability or interest on my part, let me explain a few things. If the topic were ping-pong, one might have a case. At … Continue reading Art and Music

Malagasy Proverbs

Dear Hope Nation, Before the pandemic, I really liked to travel. While I’ve written extensively about a couple trips to England, my favorite geography to visit is desert. I’m not a big God guy, but I will say I feel closest to my best self when I’m wandering the desert, whether Californian, Arizonan, Nevadan or, … Continue reading Malagasy Proverbs

Pops and AA

Dear Hope Nation, Don’t ask me why but I’ve gotten a fair number of messages asking for more fiction. My theory is folks can only take so much Keith. They need characters who are younger and more interesting than I, and who can blame them? The piece below needs a little introduction. Clayton is 15 … Continue reading Pops and AA

What Television Taught Me

Dear Hope Nation, I’ve spent a lot of time in various recovery meetings over the years. Thus, I’ve heard a lot of explanations for the source, the cause, the genesis of addiction. For example, many folks believe in a genetic marker for addiction. The person prone to addiction has a gene switch that will be … Continue reading What Television Taught Me

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