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Articles written by Sondra Ashton

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Looking out my backdoor: Why I'm not a real writer

Several years ago I attended a prestigious writers’ conference in Seattle. It was time. I was committed. I paid a bundle. The conference offered a chance to mingle with real writers, to talk with...

 

Looking out my backdoor: Topsy and turvy

Last week, Crin wrote that she saw two full moons. I shrugged. That fits. The earth is flat, thank you, Pam. And the sun gallops around the earth at an unprecedented rate. The world and all its people...

 

Looking out my backdoor: Anything worth doing is worth doing badly

I don’t know why so many of my life’s lessons seem to require humiliation. Learning has always come easily to me, book learning, that is. And in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think book...

 

Looking out my backdoor - Monsters in the night

I crawled into bed early, barely darkish. Wasn’t feeling great. My stomach/intestines were slightly crampy, nothing dire, just not my usual cast-iron gut. Went to sleep with clear conscience. Woke...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: A rendezvous with death

I woke in the night reciting lines from WWI poet Alan Seeger’s, “I Have a Rendezvous with Death.” Where did that come from? “At some disputed barricade, When spring comes back with rustling...

 

Looking out my backdoor: Greetings from Gringolandia

Michelle and Ana, up the road in Oconahua, tagged the name “Gringolandia” onto our enclave and it stuck. Though there has never been a dozen of us in residence at any one time, we are the closest...

 

Looking out my backdoor: I know where the keys are kept

Kathy said that she told Crin they should ask Josue to put locks on their closets because I am out of control with my sewing machine. Once my creative juices begin flowing in a particular direction, t...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    July 30, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: The allegory of the green beans applied

Several years ago, while I still lived in Washington, I visited Dad in Harlem. It was during the last days when my step-mom was still able to do simple things for herself. She put the meal on the...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    July 23, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: Goo-Goo-Googling along

I woke up with yellow eyeballs. The color was not quite glow-in-the-dark neon yellow, but definitely, the whites of my yes sported a sickly yellowish cast, gunked with matter. In lieu of a...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    July 16, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: Along for the ride

Now and then, I am reminded how utterly unimportant I am. Sometimes a nudge from memory. Or a “knowing” I’d forgotten. Being alone as much as I am with only a couple flesh-and-blood people to...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    July 9, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: This too shall pass and coffee

Last week I forbade, with wagging finger, I forbade Leo, our Rancho gardener who mothers all of us oldsters, to get sick. The next day Leo landed in the hospital. No, he does not have the virus. But...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    July 2, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: Got myself in trouble

The week has been filled with emails sailing back and forth between myself and my friends in the States and in Canada. We each are settling into a way of living that might be our new norm for months,...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 25, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: Life in the slow lane

Life is such a mixed bag of tricks, isn’t it? In the morning we slide out of bed, make coffee, check the obits to see if we made headlines, put our two hands (some of us are greedy) in the bag and...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 18, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: Never a dullish moment

In quiet desperation, this morning I joined the ranks of those who cut their own hair. Using nail scissors. I do not recommend it. If anyone should ask, I’ll say my favorite hairdresser trimmed it...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 11, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: Wonders of my world

Outside my big front gate, the one used for truck delivery and such, a clump of lantana took root voluntarily. Lantana wears one of the world’s most beautiful flowers, like rings on its fingers,...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 4, 2020

Looking out my backdoor: Looking for love in all the wrong places

He’s not feral. I assume the stranger is a him. He’s not a rack of bones. He yowled around beneath my bedroom windows three nights before I glimpsed him in his white coat with yellow patches....

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 28, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: Back to the future?

One must make one’s own decision, must do what each figures is best for self and family and community. As for me and many of my friends, we choose to continue staying home, having no touchy-feely...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 21, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: When garbage day becomes an event

As soon as I heard the smoke-belching diesel truck rumble off the highway into the Rancho, I grabbed pruning shears and artfully poked around in a pot of lavender on the front patio. Well, I...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 14, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: If I could ruin my life differently

“I want to be 14 again and ruin my life differently,” Kathy told me. After that surprising statement Kathy wriggled past elaborating further than a mumble about kisses with a fellow cellist at...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 7, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: Creatures great and small

Though not the least bit dangerous, Argentine Ants win the grand prize for pesky, irritating, prolific and impossible to be squashed with any permanence. You in the North Country don’t have to...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Elegant living in a green dress

We have numerous ways of fooling ourselves; at least I have. Little things, like “A change is as good as a rest” for when I get bogged down on a project. Or, “If I take a walk, I will no longer...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Sweat the small stuff!

I am unhinged. This morning my daughter sent me a picture of a lap blanket she bought me. I am in tears. The blanket, purple and turquoise, with feathers and butterflies and such, is beautiful. Beauti...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Re-reading the classics, irreverently yours

Occasionally I pick up one of the classics in literature for a re-reading. I don’t recall what prompted me; it wasn’t the virus. Several weeks ago, in the interests of perusing a translation...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    April 9, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: This time reminds me

It must have been the winter of ’65-’66. I was pregnant with Dee Dee, who was born in April. Harvey and I lived on the ranch south of Dodson. A mile-long dirt drive with three “farmer gates...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    April 2, 2020

Looking out my Backdoor: How to survive and maintain sanity in the 'new normal'

Now that I gained your attention, I confess, I have not a clue. Neither to survival nor to sanity. I’m fishing for answers. I figured if I cast out a line, I might hook you and you could tell me!...

 

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