ARCHIVE FOR Writing the Family

The Art of Overhearing

Take a sharpie away from my three-year-old and she will invoke Whitman, will begin sounding her barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.


But plop her on the toilet and the scene is much more reminiscent of the Romantics – as she ponders philosophical questions, her imagination wandering wildly and her intonations somewhere between speech and song.


Ben Berman

Craft Advice The Writing Life

In Brief

Help, my three-year-old yells, tugging on my leg. There’s a monster under there!


Under where? I say.


And then she falls to the ground laughing, having made yet another unsuspecting adult say underwear aloud.


Underwear is a big deal to my three-year-old – a source of both great silliness and pride – which strikes me as fascinating, given how often I have panicked dreams of standing in front of a small audience only to realize that I’d forgotten to wear pants.

Ben Berman

The Writing Life

A Loose Truth

It was one of those unseasonably warm evenings earlier this fall when I bit into a beet and my front tooth came loose. It was a false crown to begin with but I’d had it for so long I’d forgotten it wasn’t real.


My dentist replaced it with a temporary cap that turned out to be even more temporary than expected, and no matter how firmly he cemented it in place it kept coming loose.

Ben Berman

The Writing Life

Sometimes, When We Pick Our Poems Up

By the time I’d get my poems back…I could see them in a new way, maybe like children getting off the bus from their first day of school.   – Kay Ryan


Sometimes, when we pick our poems up, they come sprinting into our arms and we can’t tell if they are overjoyed to see us or if we are rescuing them from the cruelties of the playground.

Ben Berman

The Workshop The Writing Life

Passports to Wonders and Miracles

It was hot and muggy.


My five-year-old suggested that we cool off by heading to the library. And though I worried that she was beginning to think of our local branch not as a space filled with passports to wonders and miracles, as Libba Bray writes, but as that place with central air, I was desperate for AC.


Luckily, not only was the library air-conditioned, but it happened to be hosting a live animal program for kids – and maybe I was just trying to justify our outing in my mind but I couldn’t help but notice how ...

Ben Berman

The Writing Life