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Karen Paul
Writing at the still point of the turning world.
Recent Activity
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I have always been a pretty organized and efficient person. Sure, things have slipped as I’ve gotten older, both a tribute to a busy life, parenting, and allowing myself some slack. But I have rarely missed an important deadline, whether self-imposed or outside pressure, to get something done. I pay... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Dwelling in Possibility
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On the night before Thanksgiving, I tripped while walking the dog and fell. On my face. On our concrete driveway. As I was falling, I was terrified. I was foreseeing the future – brain injury, broken nose, injury to my eyes, broken bones. Not able to take care of myself... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I just spent two intensive days at a workshop with six writers. Our host, the wonderful Meghan Daum, is a pull-no-punches writer, whose essay, “Matricide”, is one of the hardest pieces you’ll ever read. And, as she told us this weekend, it was one of the hardest things she’s ever... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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These are the days that social media was made for – it is Election Day, 2018. There is not one of my close Facebook friends who is not talking about voting, about our future. Everyone around me has been working to the bone the past few days, canvassing, phone banking,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I had a strange experience over the Jewish holidays. I attended a service that was held in my synagogue, but it was not held by our congregation. It was another shul that doesn’t have its own home, using ours while we used a high school auditorium. I was interested in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Last night I attended a workshop on self-care entitled “Wisdom, Wellness and Spirituality.” It was a Jewish communal gathering, focused on giving women of all ages, denominations and levels of knowledge entry points in to the various spiritual practices available to find our center using Jewish traditions. While the audience... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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When I was 15, my parents, deep in the throes of the angry end of their marriage yet still not separated, allowed me to take a train from New York City to Boston to visit a family friend who was a student at Wellesley College. This was one of the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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(NB: this is written from the perspective of a straight widow, who was married to a man and is now partnered with a man, so it has a heteronormative bent. I do not know what it’s like to be a widow who was married to a woman, or, for that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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The dogwoods are the first to announce it, the tips of their leaves now tinged with red. The crape myrtle are resigning their late-summer throne of just a couple of weeks ago, and the yellow petals of the black-eyed Susans are fraying. Change is in the air, as we wend... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Dear E, T, & N, Last week I was taking a long hike with someone I love in a beautiful outdoor sculpture park, when images started to flash before my eyes. As I meandered in the summer heat over the rolling green hills, peppered with soaring pieces of art, I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I’ve just returned from a writing retreat, where I spent three days writing to many prompts. One of the prompts was to “write about something that happened, but that might not have happened, and the effect of that occurence.” I wrote about a car accident I had, where my youngest... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I am in the third week of being away from the responsibilities of work; I am beholden to no one but myself. I am traveling, talking, walking, writing, smiling, loving, missing, crying. I am feeling the freedom of life, of being able to choose where I am and who I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I have spent the majority of my life being body conscious. From the time my legs started to sprout up underneath me, to the unmitigated pain of breast development in fifth grade (please please don’t bump into me), to the cat calls, whistles and boob stares of most of my... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I’ve been so busy thinking about how my children will react to their second Father’s Day without their dad that I forgot that this will be my first without mine. Now that I am an orphan, these Hallmark holidays irritate me even more than they did before. I really have... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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One of the things I always appreciated about my relationship with my husband was our independence. We loved each other, and we enjoyed doing many things together, but from the very beginning it was clear that we also had quite divergent interests. I could only pretend to go for a... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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It has now been two and a half weeks since my father died. It feels like a million years ago. My work life is unbearably busy and my work as a mother who needs to be present for her grieving children goes on. As does my own life and work... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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This will be the first blog I’ve written that my father won’t read. He won’t read it because he died today. I wish I had written it before he lost consciousness; as my husband knew, it’s kind of nice to know what nice things people are going to say about... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Just One of Those Days Everyone has one of those days. The day when the alarm fails, or the subway fails, or you’ve run out of food for breakfast, or the dog throws up or the kid throws up or you throw up and there’s a mess to deal with... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I’ve developed a different relationship to place ever since my husband died. I no longer covet beautiful places of my own, as I did for so many years as we built our home. I now appreciate the evanescent beauty of different scapes – city, beach, mountains – but feel unmoored... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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When I was a kid, long before I could drive myself, I would be terrified to see the gas gauge in a car move towards “E.” Even though we lived in New York City, I imagined the sputtering car dying on a roadside in the desert, with no civilization or... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I The Neon Widow My energy is returning, 19 months in, molecule by molecule, and I am starting to say yes to more evening activities, whether dinner with a friend, a party, or a work-related or political event. But I am reminded, each time, that every encounter also depletes that... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Dear Friends and Family, It has now been one year and seven months since my husband died. Many things have changed and shifted in our family’s day-to-day life, and I thought I’d fill you in on a few and how the year unfurled. January We’re still in shock. We’re in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I visited the Sylvia Plath exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery recently with a friend who’s a journalist. We both were struck by the description of how Plath – a writer whose brilliance, tragedy and mental illness loomed large for both of us in our own adolescences and fed our... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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The first time I heard the trope was when my mother died, suddenly, from lung cancer, 13 years ago. “It’s not a club anyone wants to belong to.” That was for sure. I didn’t enjoy being 41 years old, with three children, nine-and-under, and suddenly without my mother. She was... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility
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The Republican-sponsored tax plan has been on mind of late, for both professional and personal reasons. Professionally, I’m concerned about its implications for philanthropy. In my many years of working with donors, even during the Great Recession, I’ve found people to be exceedingly generous, and concerned about their ability to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2017 at Dwelling in Possibility