meet pete part one


The Saturday morning after my father passed, Karen and I gathered our courage and our children into our family room and prepared ourselves to explain to Maddie and Jake what had happened with my dad.

We thought it best to share the story with them as soon as possible. The kids were already playing and waiting for breakfast when Karen and I decided to talk with them.Both of them I know, in small ways, had observed and checked our comings and goings throughout the week with mild curiosity and a bit of concern. All the while much of the true knowledge of our reality was buffered by cartoons and video games, and hanging with their grandparents.

We had shared bits of my dad’s health story, without much gravity, to this point- and often Maddie would ask ‘when is Poppa Pete coming home?’ The hope in her question always lifted me and crushed me at the same time.

I began slowly, and simply relating the events of the previous night. And as expected my tears welled up, Karen’s were falling down her face, Maddie’s sobs broke my heart into even smaller pieces, and Jake held my knee with such force that I thought for sure there would be bruising. Tissues, hugs, more tissues and then eye contact with Karen happened and we have this moment like ‘okay keep going you can do it’… so I did.

Returning to Maddie I check in ‘what are you thinking?’ Maddie is staring and nodding like she is doing a checklist in her head ‘that I’m sad’ she says. Heart crushed, I breathe in – is this even possible I thought? More tears, deeper hugs, and several tissues later. I check in with my son.

‘Jake…what are you thinking’ ‘…’ he holds my gaze but no words come. ‘Are you sad?’ he nods. Maddie’s sniffling draws his attention for a moment. He looks back at me with those amazing deep blue eyes…rimmed with tears. I say ‘it’s okay buddy, you can tell me what you’re thinking..’ ‘if you’re sad it’s good to talk’ Maddie adds. A smile moves across Jake’s face. ‘Can we have waffles now?’

I laughed and in that moment I heard my dad. Jake’s honest question was so in the moment, so perfectly timed that it wrapped up our heavy conversation with the childlike glee that only comes from having waffles. And as my son pumped his fist in the air at the thought of breakfast… I swear I hear my dad saying…‘I’m okay, you’ll be okay too.’


Greetings Creatives,

What is noise?


I remember working in a classroom where adaptive technology was used. The students would speak using the voice assistive software on their iPads.

If the students spoke to me while my back was turned, I could not readily distinguish the ‘who’ behind the voice or where the voice came from. Mentally mapping the room helped me to locate the speaker sometimes.

We hadn’t adjusted the synth voice in any customized way. All students sounded the same, all the time.

I have often thought about the missed opportunity to explore the identities of our students.


Over the course of the last year my auditory memory has been wiped.

I have difficulty bringing to mind some of the sensual indicators of being in a school.

Yesterday I went into the school to gather my last bits of office miscellanea. I figured it would be a quick in and out since most of my gear had already come home before the April break.

It wasn’t quick though.

The smells and sounds and absence of sounds slowed me. I noticed a deep difference between what I knew about school and what I now understand.


A friend was telling me about her garden. She was recounting how spotty her success had been in actually growing plants.

She attributed her results to lack of watering and bad soil.

I asked her which plants do you spend more time with? Which do you listen to more? Which plants are planted close together? Which are further apart?

She laughed and said that she rarely spends time in and around her entire garden. But noted that the plants closest to the deck seemed to be more healthy.


I am not a great listener.

I tend to do it way too fast. My monkey brain is constantly chattering and prompting me to jump in instead of waiting my turn.

This has an impact on my memory. Most times because I am not actively taking in and beholding what is said to me, I miss the point and I lose important parts of what was shared.

Being in time, in tempo, in the moment is constant work for me. But when I get it right the sense of wholeness in the moment can sometimes be breathtaking.

Be well,


If you are interested in attending a monthly Words Keep Wolves At Bay meet-up, please drop a comment below and we can make arrangements for you to share your email with me.

The link for monthly digital meetups will be shared on the day of meeting. 

Meetups are on the 3rd Friday of each month at 8:00 PM.


May 21 - Secret stories. Private pieces in public.
June 18 - Light and Dark. Creating balance.
July 16 -  Loved and Lost. Pieces that broke, burned, or bothered you.
August 20 - Supporting people who don't support your Creative.
September 17 - Can I have more ham? Eff you it's called Prosciutto. And other misunderstandings.
October 15 - Ozymandias
November 19 - Baring bones. The structure of a Creative.
December 17 - Polymath

All past prompts are posted here. 

Post your work wherever you feel most safe and tag it with #wkwab.

Feel free to let other peeps know about our circle.

This circle is not just for words, feel free to explore any element of your creativity. Consider the 'Words' in #wkwab to be our ongoing conversation and fellowship in this space.


my house is vast 
and filled with prayers
i’ve made room for you
atop the stairs
the shelves are filled
with things you need
the light’s left on
so you can see. 
if i am asleep and
you need to talk
or you stumble in
and can barely walk
or you reach the door
with little left
from life and loss
and pain and theft;
others are here with
hands to hold
offering warmth to 
shake off cold,
suspecting that you might
need to be told-
you belong.