Things to write about

These are my answers to the writing prompts given in the great book “642 Things to Write About”.

What can happen in a second

Many things. A heart starts beating. A heart stops beating. Love at first sight. Lust at first sight. A slip, a fall, broken bones. Your concentration vanishing because someone walked into your office. Relief of finding your keys when you’re trying to leave in a hurry. Recognizing a friend in a crowd. Registering the first bite of ice cream. Waking up from a bad dream. The cold plunge when you jump into a pool. Adrenaline in your blood when the roller coaster drops. Elation when you hear you got the job.

How you feel about love these days

I feel like I have a more mature understanding of love these days. As of this writing I’ve been married to my wonderful wife for eight years. Known her for 13. Love used to feel bubbly, giddy, chemical. Now it feels warm, comfortable, and secure. It feels like having a new best friend. Being able, and willing, to accept them as they are. Not worrying too much about their flaws and not trying to change them. They’ll change when they’re ready, and I need to be up for going on that ride with them. Not always easy, but worth it.


Very difficult. Not having something to do allows for a gap in mental activity that lets the worries come in. I’m trying to make peace with that gap, with just being, but it’s hard. Weirdly enough, something that involves literally doing nothing is one of the hardest things to do. Who would’ve thought?

The next sound you hear and what caused it

Rain. I’m in a cabin in the woods around Olallie Lake in Oregon. I’m sitting on a hard bench, writing on a table that’s a bit too tall. I can see a beautiful lake out the window, between some tall pines. If it weren’t cloudy I would also see a snow-covered Mount Jefferson in the distance. No electricity. No plumbing. A wood stove for heat with some logs crackling inside. And outside, the notorious Northwest rain, falling on a roof with wood shingles and no insulation. It varies between a light patter and a shower. Right now it sounds like a white noise machine – a consistent, low, comforting hum.

A newly invented product that will change your life

The EmotiSense. A very thin and sparse titanium mesh that can be worn on the top of the head, or embedded in a hat. Monitors your brain waves and picks up the onset of emotions quicker than your conscious mind. Pairs with your smart watch or AR glasses and flashes a warning when a potentially unwanted emotion is coming up. By knowing about it you can choose whether to give in or not.