Slice of Life: Sorting Through Things

It’s Tuesday. Time for Slice of Life writing with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you  Tara Anna Dana Stacey,   Betsy  and Beth for providing this space for our writing.  Join us every Tuesday to read or write a slice. You can find more  here. 


“I wouldn’t let my kid live in Isla Vista,” my husband said when I walked in the kitchen Sunday morning.

This statement  weirdly transported me back to my parents’ worries.

My alma mater, UC Santa Barbara, was in the headlines. That’s where I lived I told him. That’s where all students live.

Two of our children are at sister campuses, three weeks out from their finals. They are  living in communities just like Isla Vista, with students just like the ones at UCSB.


Looking for a problem to solve, my husband went off to shop for bookshelves.

Early in the day he had constructed and filled a bookshelf from Target. This worked for the corner of one son’s bedroom, but there were still stacks of books and the thought of more of these white leaning towers wasn’t pleasing. The next thing I know we were traveling to Memorial Day sales.

After a few stops, we wandered into Pottery Barn. It felt like the MoMA gift shop: very modern, clean and gave me the intense urge to buy things I had no use for. The cabinet that opened up to become a bar was fascinating. I loved it. When I showed this wonder to my husband he gave me a you-will-never-use-this look. To which I responded with, “I know. I just thought it was so neat, look at how it folds up!” The fact that he thought I wanted to buy it still makes me smile.

Upstairs we found  two “real” book shelves made of solid wood. While these will help, I know there are still many corners to stack books; where bookshelves will eventually tower.


Organizing our ever expanding book collection is a good problem.  Helping our children find their way in the world is frightening, but something we want to do.  We try to help them figure it out, sort through the confusing parts and make sense of it. We send them off with our fingers crossed.

My heart aches for those families affected by the events at UC Santa Barbara and for all of us who send our beloveds out into the unknown.  When it isn’t ours that are hurt, we breathe a sigh of relief, pull them close, say a prayer and send them out again. And we are thankful for those problems we can solve like bookshelves.