From Columns and Poems I'm Ed Weathers. I'm a writer, editor and teacher. These days, I'm 90% retired. Occasionally I'm a far-left-of-center political columnist, as well. Originally, I created this site to promote my writing and editing services--and, frankly, to learn how to build a web site. Now this site is just a place to display some of my writing, for whoever might care to read it. (To contact me.)
Below are some short samples of my writing. Most of them come from a column I wrote for nine years that appeared in a small number of magazines and newspapers. At the bottom are two poems, for what they're worth. For two full-length pieces of political writing, please see the "political samples" page of this site. For a full-length piece about writing, please see "longer writing sample."
Feel free to rummage among these writing samples. If you like what you read here, great--please look at my other web pages. If not, then I'm probably not the writer for you.
There is no form of human misery--from war and pestilence to acne and adolescence--that can't be cured by a nap.
On cleaning the house
Dust is not dirt. Dust is dry and soft and harmless. It lies gently on the surfaces of life, like newfallen snow. Its depth and whiteness are testaments to the stability and serenity of the personalities within a household. The trackless dust on a piano or a vase speaks to us. "Ah, yes," it says, "here live creatures who are reluctant to bustle and slow to mess, who touch only what they need to touch, leaving alone that which would not be disturbed." Dust minds its own business; it is there because you have minded yours. Dust is beautiful in its inertness; it smells not, neither does it grow or change color. Dust is the settled stuff of eternal peace. Leave it alone.
Aphorisms for the modern age
On fun: Without the bubbles, a Jacuzzi's just a bath. On learning: An airplane is aluminum with an education. On wealth and fame: In first-class seats sit expense-account souls. On leaving your body to science: Recycle the can.
(The article from which the following is excerpted originally appeared in the June, 2002 issue of Golf Digest and was reprinted in the 2002 U.S. Open supplement to The New York Times. Click here to view entire article.)
With brassie in hand, I looked into the fog, took a practice swing, set up to the ball, and swung. I have never hit a ball more purely in my life. There's a good chance I have never experienced life more purely than I experienced it at that moment. "Jeez," said a grown-up voice somewhere behind me, "I hope I hit it that good."
The ball came to rest maybe 160 yards down the fairway, in the middle, barely visible through the fog. I have heard players talk about their perfect golf conditions--sunrises, sunsets, Scottish wind, Irish rain, dusk with the sprinklers going. Me, I'm always waiting for another morning with the fog rising and New York grown-ups at my back, saying, "Jeez."
Buy cheap, wear often. Never buy clothes that are much more expensive or much nicer than the rest of your wardrobe. Such clothes are nearly always reserved for "special occasions," of which there are, on average, but two per decade. Hence, your "best" clothes, like your fondest dreams or your highest principles, are the least employed.
I've never held with those who call the body the temple of the soul. "Temple" is a bit grandiose. I think of my own rickety, patchwork body, for example, as the thatched hut of my soul. In any case, if the body is a dwelling, then eating is just a form of housekeeping. A cup of yogurt is nothing more than fresh paint for the living room walls. Liver and onions is the weekly laundry. Downing prunes is the same as vaccuuming, and munching jalapenos the same as stripping wallpaper. To eat, in other words, is to work.
February has an ice-chip on its shoulder, and an icicle shiv in its boot. February spoils for a fight, and by the middle of February, you want to start fighting back. You want to insult February's mother. You want to kick February in the knee. You want to give a party and not invite February.
On finding the perfect mate
"Shut up and listen," said Wormley. "Let's say I started looking for the perfect woman when I was 21. And let's say I live to eighty"--he began poking at the calculator--"and let's say I really work at it and meet five new women a day every day of my life. Let's see, that's 59 years, 365 days a year, five women a day. . . . That's just 107,675 women! I'm already down to"--he poked some more--"just .08 percent of the female population! Oh, woe is me!" He commenced to pound his forehead on the table.
"Well, 107,675's not so bad, Wormley," I grinned. "Some men would be happy with half that number."
Wormley was not amused. "You don't get it," he said, looking up. "You know the chances of my perfect woman being in just that .08 percent of the population that I manage to meet? I'll tell you: less than one in a thousand. And what if she really lives in China or Finland!" Thunk, thunk, thunk.
The following poem appeared in The Southern Humanities Review:
My son creeps now. He's on the prowl. Protect your drapes, your books, your skin: his hands shred things, his fine nails are sharp as claws. He listens to no laws. He wets the bed. He nightly breaks our quiet with his sleepless howl.
He maddens, underpetted, underfed. His eyes gleam and narrow, kindle first, then flare. He moves in rugged silence toward our thighs. If he could he'd rise, reach and tear flesh. Instead he squalls and his face grows red.
He bites with teeth that don't yet bud. With half a grin he hones his hungry gums on fingers, and he paws as he suckles, hunting hair. He knows how to stare. His look lingers. Watch: at night his toothless smile thirsts for blood.
The following poem appeared in The Kentucky Poetry Review:
We all suspect that in the back garden, behind the fence and hedge, thick rare vegetables are dropping their lyric seeds onto Mr. Sickle's page of earth. Back there every day in the imaginative shade, he persuades strange growth with sandy rhetoric and whispering hose. We hear what we think are his hands talking like dry stalks to the deaf final days of each August.
And we have also heard, daily, after dark, from the one lighted room on his ground floor, a flute reaching slow as a root into the moist soil of a neighborhood evening. How long has he been our neighbor? How long has his corn grown so cynically high, overtopping his own fence like the last words of a long debate? No one knows, now; Mrs. Quickly died in May.
Sometimes Mr. Sickle goes to town, his hands planted in his back pockets like unwanted advice. At the hardware and nursery he silently buys things that will rustle in the rain next Thursday, perhaps: soft rakes, sweet powders, ambitious seeds.
Of course, legends grow around him. Just last week, on September twelfth, well into dusk, a bird is said to have passed and circled back over the rectangular secret of Mr. Sickle's yard, and the family of Annie Brisk claimed it heard a humming rising over the hedge for hours, human as the moon, as if, said Mr. Brisk, some hoe had taken root and were singing itself into leaf. Or better still, we all decided after church next day (for we too have grown a little leafy in these last years), maybe Mr. Sickle himself, after a long day tuning his blooms and vines, had found a chorus of white blossoms finally singing out of his own finger tips, and he couldn't keep the melody off his tongue and out of his head.