Before I go, I have something to say

Author: Pam Kress-Dunn

Bird of My Dreams

My life list of birds I have seen is pitifully short, just over forty at last count. They range from robins to much more exotic types. Take, for instance, pelicans. I had no idea they hung around these parts until, three years in a row, […]

Another Thing My Assistant Can Do

Like all good assistants, mine should have a candy dish. It should be filled to nearly overflowing with all the candies I crave now and then, and especially now. Things like circus peanuts. No matter how small the bag, there are always too many circus […]

Another Thing My Assistant Can Do

Ever since I started writing poetry seriously, I’ve wished for an app that does a very specific thing: show me how many of which words I’ve used. Words are important to poems — I mean, come on — and any poet worth her salt wants […]

Another Thing My Assistant Can Do

I need an assistant to find an Airbnb for me. It drives me insane, looking at all the possibilities in, say, Austin, ranging from adorable tiny houses to alleged “ranches” on the edge of . . . somewhere. What does “cozy” mean? What does it […]

Too Much Tenderness, or, The Anguish of Moving

I presented this sermonette to the UU Fellowship of Dubuque on July 24, 2016: Too Much Tenderness “We are being sentimental when we give to a thing more tenderness than God gives to it.” J.D. Salinger, the writer who brought this quote to my attention […]

Sylvia Plath: Matter and Spirit

Herewith, a sermonette I delivered at the UU Fellowship of Dubuque on August 8, 2010:   Sylvia Plath: Matter and Spirit If you want to know who Sylvia Plath was and what happened to her, I can tell you in a handful of paragraphs. As […]

“Help, Thanks, Wow” — Anne Lamott’s 3 Essential Prayers

Here’s a transcript of the sermonette I gave at the UU Fellowship of Dubuque on August 5, 2018   Today I want to introduce you to Anne Lamott, a quirky, cranky, funny, endearing writer of seven popular novels, one beloved book on how to write, […]

On Being Internationally Recognized

I was just reading Poets and Writers and saw one more ad for a summer writing program touting its “internationally recognized” faculty, when it dawned on me: I, too, am internationally recognized! No, really. My husband and I were in Florence on our honeymoon, walking […]

Things my Assistant Can Do

How many times a day do I think of things my assistant could do, if I had an assistant to do them? Many. Countless. Or no, they could be counted, but I would need an assistant to do so. Just lately, I’ve been wishing I […]

Tarted-Up Tea

I like tea, but I’m picky. I like tea that’s not too bitter, too tanniny, and has a little sweetness not conferred by sugar or <shudder> artificial sweeteners. For years, I could not figure out why the tea I made at home was so unappealing, […]

Anne Lamott’s One-Inch Frame

I like Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, I really do. She offers all kinds of good advice for writing, especially for those who, when they dutifully go to their office/fire escape/laptop in the garage, tend not to write but to crouch fearfully under a […]

A Story Problem in the Family

My daughter and I have a running joke about math. One of us will ask, “What time should I pick you up if we want to be in Grinnell in time for lunch?” and the other will shudder visibly and moan, “Oh no. Story problem.” […]

Eyes Half Open

I was going to call this blog Siege of Headaches, but then I thought, 1) Who wants to read about someone with headaches? and 2) What if I want to write about something other than headaches? So instead, we’re going with Siege of Words, which […]

Annie Dillard and the 20-foot conference table

Annie Dillard and the 20-foot conference table

There is a quote about writing I have been searching for, and finally found today. I knew Annie Dillard — one our best writers ever, and one of my favorites — had written, somewhere, about how she writes, and the passage that really stayed with […]

What I Gave My First Husband on our Honeymoon

I love this picture of myself, taken by my first husband on our honeymoon in Switzerland. I look happy, my guard down, and my hair — well, I was growing it out. But it was so thick! So healthy! We couldn’t exactly afford a celebratory […]

My Trip Advisor Badge

Hey, this is funny. I have a Trip Advisor badge. I think I’ve only reviewed two restaurants and one scenic destination, but I have over 5,000 readers! People must be flocking to the Credit Island bird sanctuary in Davenport, Iowa, all because of me. I […]

My Tribe

My Tribe

A lot of people I know were stunned by the outcome of last November’s election. How could this happen? Why didn’t we see it coming? Why did they vote for him? Therein lies a problem. Who, exactly, are “they”? The ballot box is secret. Unlike […]

The Perks of Being Fired by My Doctor

The Perks of Being Fired by My Doctor

Have you ever been fired by a doctor? When it happened to me, six years ago, I was devastated. Not only would Dr. Doe (name changed, pronouns scrambled) no longer see me after three years of treating my headaches, he would not allow any of […]

Dishwashing As Spiritual Quest

This summer, I had grand plans for my medical leave following what my doctor called “major surgery.” I stocked up on DVDs, magazines, and, especially, books. I bought new artwork for the bedroom walls, and readied the cherrywood lap desk my daughter gave me for […]