Today's Topic

Laurie Lindeen

Laurie Lindeen

Author, creative writing instructor, mother, public speaker and musician.

Monday, 03 February 2014 00:00

Morning Joe

Most weekday mornings while I make coffee, prepare breakfast (i.e. lay out a cereal box and a bowl or toast a frozen waffle), and hound my teenage son to get out of the shower so he has time to choke down some nutrition before school, I tune in to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

I’m not sure exactly why. Joe drives me bananas with his smug telepathic messages to social conservatives. Mika bugs me when she mugs for the camera aghast at Joe’s preppie vitriol, especially now that she no longer interrupts to inject logic into his daily campaign speeches.

Which does not mean that I do not sometimes agree with Joe, nor do I eschew his taste in music. He wants gun control. He likes the Replacement’s. He’s sort of cute in that ”preppies are my weakness” kind of way. It’s a reasonably balanced show in terms of the other folks they invite into their early morning lair to discuss the news of the day. Mike Barnacle’s cool. So is Donny Deutsch. I must be emotionally mature as I plunge into middle age.

I agree with and admire Joe’s morning foil/fox Mika. She’s gorgeous; I think my 75-year-old dyed in the wool Democrat mother tries to have her hair done up like Mika’s in that short blondie swoop. I, once a political junkie, have grown to despise American politics. I can’t stomach it any more. The system is broken. Washington is a joke. I hope local politics takes advantage of this tremendous opportunity.

My son shuffles downstairs, barefoot -- it’s a -10 degrees below zero morning -- and flips the channel to Sports Center without asking, and the day begins.

Friday, 24 January 2014 00:00

The Writing vs. Online Shopping Problem

Many are the days I would rather shop online than write. I have written so much in the past five-plus years that I’m unable to put to use. The mystery is eluding me and I know as a writing instructor that preaches this stuff that I have to be patient; it will reveal itself when it’s properly cooked. It’s been marinating forever; it may be over-tenderized. What if I’m a one-trick writer? Oh dear, the critic is loud today. Perusing the reams of unaffordable, yet breathtaking, boots on the Sundance site can take up a good half hour. I glance at the top right-hand corner of my computer screen and notice the time. Oops, gotta run; so much for today’s writing time.

It’s not just my writing time that is swallowed by looking at the pretty pictures of stuff that will not make me a happier person. It’s a go-to when I’m feeling stressed or lonely. Anthropologie, J Crew, oh the meaningless costly time we’ve spent together. Boden, why do I keep ordering things from you that I never wear because they don’t look good on me; they look great on your models? As a newly minted (ha!) woman of a certain age, am I supposed to be more sensible and turn my gaze to Garnet Hill? Nevah!

When I was an unsupervised girl with loads of unstructured time and no homework in the 1970s, my friends and I would go through every single page of the Sear’s or Penney’s catalogue. The game entailed that we each had to pick one thing from each page that we would like to have. It didn’t matter if we turned to the weirdly plastic men’s underwear pages or the small appliances pages. We were forming our boxers versus briefs opinions and brand name preferences. Boxers. Sunbeam. This made-up game has probably kept our nation’s economy chugging along, this want, desire, and need to have stuff, more and better stuff has had me by the throat since childhood.

This is a huge topic that will have to be re-visited, but duty calls. I did not proceed to check-out today. One day at a time. One word at a time.

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