Untethered Dog

A Commonplace By Tom Swift



The car jumped the curb and smashed into his bicycle, sending Kevin Warren flying over concrete. He landed on the only nearby patch of grass, saving his life but not his femur. At 11, Warren found himself in a body cast, his parents calling him their “house plant.” His muscles atrophied and his doctor warned […]


There’s something calling to you — a date, an interview, a hard conversation, a trip, a move. What scares you will also charge you up. There’s fuel there for developing yourself. So go on and face it; step into it; invite it. -Holiday Mathis, “Horoscope,” StarTribune, 10-29-2017


“I want to know why I got damaged and why I’m glad,” [author Amy] Tan said recently, sitting in her living room, sipping licorice tea. As she laughed, she tilted her head back, tousling her angular, blue-tinged bob. “I wouldn’t want to change anything. It’s all me now. “But I just want to know what […]


And [Stephen King’s] needs are modest — he stays at Motel 6 and eats at Waffle Houses. “I’m not hard to please. Give me a motel room somewhere near the interstate with a chair out front where you can sit and read a book and I’m just as happy as I can be.” -Nell McShane […]


Hang on through the tense parts of the day in the knowledge that they will pass soon enough. These little conflicts, inconveniences, and expectation adjustments are really unavoidable. -Holiday Mathis, “Horoscope,” StarTribune, 9-17-2017


The number of people who love you is growing. A new environment you visit will give you a boost in more ways than one, so make sure to put yourself where you’ve never been before. -Holiday Mathis, “Horoscope,” StarTribune, 8-27-2017


WAPAKONETA, OHIO — We were driving up the highway, and off to the side of the road were telephone wires bare and black against the leaves of autumn. Winter wheat had been planted, and the cornfields remained. There was a barn constructed of gray wood. I saw the sign saying that the next exit was […]


When I asked Norwegians why they are so darned happy, their answers began with “we” rather than “I.” While many people base happiness on how they are doing compared with others, Norwegians seem to want everyone to do well. -Eric Dregni, “The Height of Happy,” StarTribune, 6-11-2017


Later, when I spoke with [friend] Jarle [Nesvaag], I understood better why natural beauty is so important to the Norwegian national character. Earle explained the importance of jordnær, or nearness to the Earth, which includes embracing your past. “My parents were hard workers, fishermen and farmers. Happiness is about accepting who you are: your family history […]


It’s important you supportively interact with yourself. High stress levels make this harder. Reduce the stress! It’s not because you want an easy life; it’s because you’re not helping anyone by having a hard one. -Holiday Mathis, “Horoscope,” StarTribune, 1-16-2017