The Long Winter

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


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

Elections Have Consequences

Dear Hope Nation, Elections have consequences. Although I don’t talk about it a lot these days, I am a veteran. For four years I served my country, primarily with the 8th Infantry Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. Although to younger readers this may sound as distant as the sinking of the battleship Maine in Cuba, the … Continue reading Elections Have Consequences

Platonic Drunkeness

For at least two reasons, I don’t get to write about philosophy very often. First, most people’s eyes and brains glaze over when the subject comes up, believing they’re in for Latin phrases and other even less clear language. I promise no cogito ergo sum nor ontological proofs will cross my lips here. Second, although … Continue reading Platonic Drunkeness

7 Habits of Highly Addicted People

Dear Hope Nation, While I have new thoughts bubbling up all the time, I’m not above stealing borrowing employing the fair-use doctrine to create derivative works for the purpose of satire. Typically, and in this case, I take smart and decent people’s ideas and render them either unintelligible or at least vastly different from their intended purpose, much … Continue reading 7 Habits of Highly Addicted People

98% Excited and 2% Nervous

Dear Hope Nation, As you may have heard, a vaccine for COVID-19 has been released for distribution. Because we spend so much time with folks who may be positive for the virus, the Hope staff falls into a priority group for receiving the vaccine. In fact, I’ve signed up with the state and with the … Continue reading 98% Excited and 2% Nervous


Dear Hope Nation, As I write this, I’m looking at a woman who is looking at me. It’s disconcerting, since I’ve been doing this for 30 minutes or so, all in the name of a project I’m very excited about. As you may know, I have three daughters in their 20’s. They get along well … Continue reading Portraits

Archeologists & Detectives

Dear Hope Nation, Archaeology has to work with the stuff that gets found.  For instance, much of what we know about Roman Britain isn’t based on written records left lying around for 1600 years; it’s conjecture drawn from types of pottery and crockery exhumed from the earth.  It’s all a matter of inductive reasoning—drawing conclusions … Continue reading Archeologists & Detectives


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