John Updike puts everything so beautifully here, in this poem, which sums up why you need to make absolutely sure that the people in your life know you love them, so that when it all goes “poof,” they will know, without question, that you left this earth with a piece of them in your heart. Because really, the petty jealousies, …

Vanessa McGrady

Follow the Recipe

One of the most profound lessons I learned this year — and believe you me, there were a LOT — was over Christmas. For Christmas Eve dinner, I made bouillabaisse from the New York Times Cookbook, as I have on dozens of occasions before. But this time, instead of using the recipe as a suggestion, I followed the directions to …

Vanessa McGradyFollow the Recipe

A Bear Crapped on My Table

I’ve been told by a very inspiring and influential person to get my papers in order (well, outline and proposal) and start working on my memoir after she read my article about living off the grid in Grist. I feel like I landed on the soft pillow after riding bareback in the woods for years. There is a crack in …

Vanessa McGradyA Bear Crapped on My Table

Creative Fall

The Celts have a word for this time of year: Samhain. It’s a time when you go indoors, work on crafty things, ponder existence, and listen to Led Zepelin and Etta James. My inner Celt is apparently raging, as I have made no less than five scarves in the last month. Mostly because I don’t know how to make hats …

Vanessa McGradyCreative Fall