We Do Not Fail

When I used to work in offices, I had this inspirational quote hung over my desk. It reads, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” I’d look at it every now and then and think about my parallel universes a lot: The one in which I lived on a farm in Vermont and made pottery. The …

Vanessa McGradyWe Do Not Fail

Three Things Making Me Mad & One Hilariously Sad Thing

1. This. Does this Jon Benet and the Chocolate Factory cover need any further explanation? What was Random House’s approval process on this new release of an iconic children’s classic? I betcha there wasn’t one mom or dad with a young kid on the creative team for this one. Unless Patsy Ramesy was somehow involved. 2. That a spectrum of truly …

Vanessa McGradyThree Things Making Me Mad & One Hilariously Sad Thing

Letter to my favorite grad

Dear A, The second you were introduced to me as our new intern, I knew I liked you. You’re cheerful and cheeky without being sticky or cloying. You’re capable and ‘fessed up immediately when there was a mistake, and we could fix it together. I like your long ombre hair and I want to know what mascara you use. Most of all, …

Vanessa McGradyLetter to my favorite grad

I’m sorry, Bossy Girl

Dear Bossy Girl, I’m sorry that I failed to use my powers of compassion when I thought you bossy for commandeering my child’s toys. I forgot you are just a kid. I forgot that it’s never about what it’s about. I saw you again at the park, and when you came over to play with Grace in the sand, I …

Vanessa McGradyI’m sorry, Bossy Girl

When a Hoax Goes Terribly Wrong

For as much as I promote hard — and sometimes painful — honesty in our family, I occasionally try to sweeten the truth. Like when Grace lost her teddy bear and I staged an elaborate Christmas comeback for Rainbow, something you’d see in a Bing Crosby movie. It didn’t go as I’d planned. In fact, few things do. Here’s the full …

Vanessa McGradyWhen a Hoax Goes Terribly Wrong

Affairs nobody wants to talk about are the most important


My dad’s 2003 death left a wake of confusion and conflict that went beyond the great loss of one of the universe’s shining stars.  Dad didn’t mean for it to go like that. A few years before, he’d had a will hastily drawn up on his way to the airport before traveling to Europe for a medical procedure, and never …

Vanessa McGradyAffairs nobody wants to talk about are the most important

Spirit: Forms of Forgiveness


This tree in Duekmejian Park is called the McFall Oak. During the Station Fire a couple years ago, firefighters surrounded it while everything else burned. Now the rest of the park has forgiven the fire, and it is moving along with its life. We live in uncertain times. By “we,” I mean we as a world, a nation, a bunch …

Vanessa McGradySpirit: Forms of Forgiveness