I’m back from four weeks in Ireland. Literally, less than an hour ago, my family and I walked through our front door for the first time in exactly four weeks. I couldn’t wait to get to my desk and write a blog post.

I have no idea what I need so much to write about only that I do. And that the blog post wants to be titled “Solace.” That I’ll write some about the novel of the same name by Belinda McKeon. That I need to dig inside.

In recent weeks, I’ve read Belinda McKeon’s SOLACE, Jesse Ball’s THE CURFEW, Lydia Millet’s MY HAPPY LIFE.

I reread Lydia Yuknavitch’s CHRONOLOGY OF WATER, Roxane Gay’s AYITI, and Alissa Nutting’s UNCLEAN JOBS FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS.

I’ve read other books these past several and strange weeks, their titles just aren’t coming to my tired and jet-lagged mind.

There’s such suffering and loss depicted in the books I’ve listed above. There’s also so much about how we go on despite suffering. Maybe because of suffering.

So much in the books too about family and how fierce glorious insane those ties are.

So much in the books that I found fascinating and instructive and sad and hopeful.

We can learn from every work ever written. Written works allow us see ourselves and others anew slant upsidedown insideout.

I think about the truisms in the books listed above and I’m mindful that no one should judge anyone else. No point fingers sanctimonious egotistical think they’re so much better than others. But we do, don’t we? All the time.

Four weeks in Ireland gave me pause on many occasions for many reasons and in many ways. I thought a lot about how people need to put others down so they can feel better about themselves. As damaging to the putdowner as it is to the putdownee. Yes, I make up words.

The word solace won’t let me be. Like a warm whisper in my mind. I was about to type I’m not sure why the word solace returns returns returns, but now I know: I’m looking long and hard at what gives me solace and what doesn’t. At who.

I looked long and hard at Belinda McKeon’s photo bio blurbs on her debut novel’s jacket. I felt respect admiration jealousy.


In SOLACE, Belinda McKeon took paragraphs to describe a tractor and in one sentence depicted a fatal crash. Always, I felt the power of her prose.

In CHRONOLOGY OF WATER, Lydia Yuknavitch quotes Virginia Woolf: “Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”

Solace lies in arranging whatever pieces come my way. I’m done with Ifs.


I’ve no idea what this post is.

Yes I do.

I wanted to be back. here. home.

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