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Karen Paul
Writing at the still point of the turning world.
Recent Activity
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I’ve been very blue throughout the pandemic. Not the I-wish-I could-go-to-the-movies kind of blue, but the I-don’t-know-what’s-worth-living-for-anymore blue. I’ve inhabited this hole before. I always find a way out. But I have to admit that this moment in time has definitely pushed me to new depths of existential mournfulness, much... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Dwelling in Possibility
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On June 3, it will have been five years since I left my office at the end of the day, walked around the corner to have a drink and dinner with a friend, saw my phone light up with a call from my husband’s phone, and knew, with my witchy... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2020 at Dwelling in Possibility
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There were three must-see television events during my college stint in the early 80s (actually four, if you include the release of the Thriller video, which, for those too young to understand, was actually something we waited for with great anticipation.) In the spring of my freshman year, 1981, American... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2020 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Many years ago, not long after the birth of our third child – our daughter, who was our baby born a little over a year after the death of our second child – my husband and I and our two small children were at the beach with some friends. A... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2020 at Dwelling in Possibility
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My oldest son returned home last night, not triumphant but exhausted and defeated. Three months into what was supposed to be his year-long quarter-century adventure, during which he planned to travel and work his way through Australia and figure out the rest of his life, his entire trajectory has been... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2020 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Today is a bonus day, a day, during this strange, long winter that has been too warm and yet not warm enough, where we have a little breathing room. It’s not quite February, and it’s not quite March. Where we are recalibrating the calendar, and with it, our selves. I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 29, 2020 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I’ve started to clean out my house, in preparation for … many changes down the road, none of which are yet certain. But what is certain is that I want to rid myself of objects that belonged to my old life, with my husband, and no longer have a place... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2020 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I sat on the side of the bed this morning that I always do to pull on my clothes. It’s closer to the bathroom and my dresser and closet. The sun, which has been in hiding in recent days, made a reappearance and poured into the room, bright and blinding.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Four years ago in the midst of a year in which I was taking care of my terminally ill husband 24-hours-a-day and still trying to keep up with my full-time job and be present for my three scared and hurting children, I started to realize how low my tank had... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I have just returned from a grief retreat at the famous Kripalu yoga center. I spent three days in the company of around 40 other people who were there to process their grief under the gentle and guiding hands of two facilitators and writers, whose skill and expertise in the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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There is a giant patch of orange day lilies in my neighborhood. They begin their journey in the dark of winter, their green stems poking up around the time the first crocuses are fading, twisting and growing all through April and May until they finally explode in early June. Their... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Last week I had the honor of volunteering in two Washington, DC, schools. I accompanied a grief and trauma counselor from the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing – an extraordinary organization dedicated to providing support services for people grappling with all sorts of loss and trauma in their lives... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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Ari Joshua Stern would have been 21 years old today, March 5. A lifetime. Majority. Adult. Instead, he died on March 10, 1998, five days after he was born, because of a doctor’s error and an ensuing tragedy. He died in my arms. It was the first time I was... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I’ve just spent an entire weekend alone. My youngest son had a weekend away at a friend’s house, my partner is at a work event all weekend and no friends popped up magically and suggested a date. I’m sure I could have packed my weekend with social activities, but when... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I woke up with pliés and jetés twirling in my head. No sugarplum fairies, but rather the most basic of dance steps. Because last night, I took a ballet class. My first class, when I was five years old, was in Miss Ruth’s ballet studio in Jackson Heights, Queens. I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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There was one oak tree that was stubborn this year. It held onto its leaves until after the final date of curbside leaf pickup. I finally had to hire my leaf guys to take care of my house before the tree was done releasing its bounty. Today, a beautiful 60... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2019 at Dwelling in Possibility
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I am an orphan. My father died earlier this year, after having suffered from COPD for many years but with a very quick, final end. My mother died 14 years ago, also a rapid demise, three weeks from diagnosis of lung cancer to her painful and untimely death just two... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2018 at Dwelling in Possibility
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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 Dec 9, 2018 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