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Brett Ropes

on October 16th, 2016 by mark

He was tall and lanky and had dark hair and bright eyes. Brett was an athlete, he had been since he was a boy, and he carried it with him into his 40’s as he continued to be an avid golfer and surfer. We met 20 years ago for the first time when he subbed […]

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A grace of time

on March 26th, 2016 by mark

For almost 10 years, I’ve identified myself as a writer. Publicly and even privately, I’ve indicated that I’m a journalist, a writer and a reporter. I have business cards that say so. My social media profiles indicate it. I have bylines in the New York Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the Ventura County Star, […]

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A long winter’s nap

on November 1st, 2015 by mark

So fervent have I been in search of, in need of a break, that I didn’t even write about the break. Allow me to change that. The short version, so as not to bore you, is that in 2007, I went into spring semester wondering what I’d do for the summer. I didn’t want to […]

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A game of Faith’s Perfection

on September 20th, 2015 by mark

With apologies to Gus Van Sant, Sean Connery and Rob Brown, last night’s Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers game was for me, a distinctively faith-based enterprise. I’m relatively new to baseball mania. As a kid, I went to a few games, my first was at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh in 1974. The Cardinals […]

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Posted in Culture, Work/writing life

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Teaching Me

on May 15th, 2015 by mark

The bright sun doesn’t catch me in bed these days and, in fact, hasn’t for some years. I’m up by 5:30 in the morning and out the door by 6:30. That part of the routine hasn’t changed. But a new life has begun for us all in this new place, a house we rent from […]

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Frankenstein

on October 25th, 2014 by mark

The ineffable pull of direction as I grow into middle age is harder to manage. It’s not demands on my time that I mind, it is demands on my personality and my sense of self. Until suddenly, I awake with that very feeling I didn’t expect–the one I should have dealt with many years ago, […]

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That was Then…

on June 1st, 2014 by mark

I awoke this morning earlier than perhaps I would have liked. I took yesterday off entirely after having been out late with my father. I hopped on a spontaneous opportunity to go see my favorite baseball club, the Pittsburgh Pirates, play at Dodger Stadium. Dad lives about three hours north of here, but I sent […]

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Balance

on May 12th, 2014 by mark

The heat wave has come slowly, but come it did. 90’s today and hotter through Thursday of this week–maybe even Friday. Wind, too. Lots and lots of wind. But none of that prepared me for this evening which turned out to be, not cool, but cool-ish. So Shannon and I hooked up Simon for a […]

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Grace

on April 26th, 2014 by mark

“To him all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.” ― Norman Maclean. Art does not come easy. It’s also, at times, vastly over-rated as a kind of spiritual entry point. If your art is good, your salvation will be assured. I’m […]

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Breaking Spring

on April 16th, 2014 by mark

Spring break a year ago was feverish. Literally. Shannon’s birthday arrived and with it, a gift of the flu for me. I only mention it because it doesn’t seem possible it was fully a year ago–more now, actually. This year so far, germ free thank God, and enjoying myself. The smells coming from the kitchen […]

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