Summer’s End &

The most bittersweet time of the year. You can hear me next week (9/20) on WCAI (or on or point your podcatchers to A Cape Cod Notebook) with a timely essay on the surprise of being able to hang on in a strange, fragile place like this.

I also have a longer piece up on Literary Hub about escapist novels and the fantasy vs. reality of Nantucket Island.

Late July

I don’t know when it got to be late July either, but it is, and here we are.

This was not taken in late-July, but during a much cooler late-September.

It’s been busy–first, we had the Nantucket Book Festival in mid-June, where I interviewed Tiya Miles about her National Book Award winning book, All That She Carried. If you haven’t read this exceptional, stirring history–you must. I cried while interviewing Tiya, and then other people cried, and it was a Whole Thing. Tiya is one of our national treasurers.

Then, as always, on the third Tuesday on the month, you can hear me on WCAI. The fine radio folks who do the website have organized things over the last few years, and you can click here to be brought to a link that has most of my essays (not all of them, the first two years are not filed this way).

It’s crazy, but next month marks four years of essays for “A Cape Cod Notebook.”

This essay from July, about living more in memory than in the present, really speaks to how I feel these days. I have heard from some listeners that it resonated with them, so I’m particularly happy to share it here.

I’m constantly working on one project or another. This winter, I was asked to contribute a few short essays about growing up in Provincetown for a new art book a few folks are putting together.

Spring Radio Roundup

It’s been a busy winter on Nantucket. The days are getting longer, and it looks like maybe we’ll end up on Atlantic Time after all. I’ve been hearing from more of you in the coffee shop, at the post office, or on the street that you’re listening to my essays on CAI, and I’m pleased as punch that you’re not only listening, but letting me know!

Here are a few essays you may have missed since the last update.

December’s recounting of a week in Truro where cold-stunned sea turtles made me feel adrift.

In January, the wind blew hard and there was nowhere to go.

In February, we went down some secret roads.

In March, we peeked in windows.

I’m happy to report the 10th annual Nantucket Book Festival will be back in person and features some heavy hitters, emerging voices, movie stars (??!), and local favorites. It’s going to be a weird and wild time, as it always is. Would love to see you there.

And the other thing that’s tangentially related to writing is that my sister and I have started making some hyper-local bumper stickers, so if you’re from the Cape and Islands and appreciate a certain seabird sense of humor, click over to our shop, Shoulder Season, to be part of a mobile public art project.

A Wintry Mix

Hello, pals. I have been finishing a grad certificate program and working on some longer nonfiction works, and a queer (in every sense) climate change novel. You can catch my essays on WCAI on the 3rd Thursday of the month, or at or in your podcatchers.

I’ll make it easier, you can click right here to read/listen to my November essay for CAI, which is all about how I can’t grow anything in my sandy garden, and more about trying to figure who I am supposed to be. the things you can write about if you write about nature!

Summer words

Here is what I have been up to since I last checked in.

Radio Essays:

A Shifting Vision of a Post Pandemic Future, April 2021 This is one I wrote just as I was vaccinated.

Rights of Way, May 2021 In which I declare my intentions to walk around the island. I’m still trying to find the time to do this, perhaps Columbus Day weekend.

Bike Path Front Property, June 2021 A story of town meeting, real estate, and my unending love for mid-island.

Next week–July 20, 2021–you can catch me on WCAI with another essay.

You can find all these essays on

Reports from Radio (Is)Land

Here are some essays from “A Cape Cod Notebook” on WCAI you may have missed in the last couple of months!

October 2020: Off season exploits: or, what is there to do on Nantucket in the Winter?

November 2020: Early morning on the island

December 2020: The eye of the storm

January 2021: Reflecting on my five years as a tour guide at the US Capitol

February 2021: Were people heartier in the past?

March 2021: The last time a crowd gathered on Main Street

And next week, the third Tuesday of the month, you can tune in or listen online ( to catch my latest essay about the Titanic, the lifeboats, and the vaccine. I’m also told that the From the Farther Shore poetry anthology, which was supposed to come out last year in line with the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing, is back on track and planning to come out later this year. I’ve got two poems there!

A Summer of Essays

summer, babe

I can’t seem to get excited about fall. Back when it was March, I remember thinking how difficult it would be to be dealing with a pandemic as the winter light waned. At least in March, the days were getting longer. There was the inherent hope that comes each year with spring.

No such luck now.

It seems everyone will have to learn to live more of their lives outside until the end of 2021, at least. It isn’t so bad out here. You need a warm coat and lots of layers. A hat. Oh, and don’t forget your mask.

But in the hopes of holding tight to summer as it slips away, here are the essays that were published this summer you may have missed.

July: An essay for WCAI about swimming, about the ocean as the only being allowed to break pandemic rules and reach out and touch you.

Also July: An essay in Stonecoast Review called “Out Here” for issue 13–the superstition issue. It’s an essay about berry picking and sharks and the lingering fear of the end of the world.

August: I got this second hand rowboat and now some seven-and-a-half foot oars live inside the Ford focus…anyway, this essay on WCAI is about that, and finding strength in your mind and arms.

September: I went over to Martha’s Vineyard in September and was floored by the trees. Can I ever live in a place that isn’t a scrubby pile of sand? Seems unlikely. I wrote about it for WCAI.

That’s it for now! You can catch me on WCAI the third Tuesday of every month. Until then, I’m in the sea or along the shore.

A Different Sort of Spring


The weather here has been so insane, windy as hell since October. I stopped paying attention to the cancellation of the boats in March, around the time my world began to get a lot smaller. There is nowhere to go.

In those early days, as the pandemic rippled across the country, moving left to right like words on a page, I listened to for the whistle of the 6:30 boat in the morning and the 10:00 boat at night. It was a comforting sound, a reminder that we were still connected to the world.

This place did a pretty good job of locking itself down, and now we wonder what the future will look like. It is foggy here one out of every three days, on average. Now all of us, nationwide, are enveloped by a fog, the future clouded.

Actually, in those early days, I could not shake thinking about the virus as though it was a fog. I knew otherwise, but I kept envisioning it moving across this place, and all places, as inescapable.

I was so anxious then. I felt like I had an electrical current running through me as I tried to figure out what the next move was going to be. Every night there was another update, a huge story.I wrote this essay for WCAI about this anxiety, and the looming feeling that something was on the horizon, beyond the waves.

Things have ebbed, even though the news gets worse. That is the wild thing about being human, isn’t it? How easily we adapt to the world. Things that seemed insane to us weeks ago, we have accepted.

I wrote this essay, also on WCAI,during the first couple of weeks of this new world. I was crying at every beautiful thing. Now every day feels different. I read somewhere we move through so many emotions in a day during this moment because we aren’t sure how we should be reacting. So we try on emotions and responses rapid-fire until we find one that suits us.

That can make it hard to write! Hell, it makes it hard to do anything. But I find myself dipping into fiction a little more now, editing short stories and trying to get them out there. I like to write about relationships, about weird people living in strange, sandy places. I was writing a scene in a bar and it felt so strange to remember what that was like–to sit close to people, to hold hands, to smell another person at close range.

We are all going to be different people on the other side of this. As someone who writes about memory, I wonder what it is going to feel like to remember this moment.