The only thing that works for me.

spiral notebook with stickers on it and a pen next to it
Photo by Author (Journal #7)

My second-grade teacher told my mother I was good at creative writing. Encourage her to keep doing it, she told my mom. My mom remembered this when I was well into my adult life. In fact, my kids were beyond second grade when she finally shared that.

I found my second-grade report card. My mom was right.

In high school, when I got the same scores on my SATs, fairly high, in both the math and verbal sections, only the math button went off in my father’s head. …


It lasts a lifetime, but it can be done.

The ocean and mountains of Big Sur
Photo of Big Sur by Author

My first attempt at training for a marathon was a huge fail. Inserted between my second and third child (they’re 2 years apart), my body said nope. I thought maybe a marathon just wasn’t for me.

Several years later, in graduate school, I started increasing my mileage with a friend of mine until he said, “Why don’t you just train for a marathon?”

I considered his question and signed up for the Big Sur Marathon, two years in a row. Never made it to either one. I lived in Pennsylvania. Big…


We all need a Saturday in some form.

Photo by Carolina Marinelli on Unsplash

We all need time to regroup, rethink, and recharge. I have worked some jobs (including motherhood) when this time was not always easy to find, or make, for myself. I’ve learned how crucial it is, though, and how to make that time.

For me, it’s Saturday.

I work a full-time job right now as a behavioral specialist from Monday through Friday, and I need my Saturday by the time it gets here. Don’t get me wrong, I like my Fridays. Yes, thank god for them. I also appreciate my Sundays. …


And a wake-up call.

Grandmother and granddaughter smiling
(Very old) photo of my grandmother and me

I was very close to my maternal grandmother. She brightened up a room the moment she entered the doorway, her lively blue eyes ready to greet whatever came next. She danced around the kitchen at Thanksgiving, a dish towel in her hand, waving it in the air as she helped with the dishes. She played the piano and sang her Irish tunes, which I wish I’d learned but never did.

My grandfather died in a car accident when my mother, the youngest, was eight years old. My grandmother was left behind to raise three children as a single mother. She…


Helpful advice for a better recovery.

Leg in a cast resting on pillow
Photo by Author

On April 5, 2020, three weeks into the pandemic shutdown, I broke my ankle. I had never broken a bone or worn a cast. I’d never had major surgery or used crutches. But in the midst of a pandemic, I was able to tick off all four.

A year later, here is some advice to help ease the way to recovery if you or someone you know experiences a similar event, be it a broken bone, a severe sprain, or anything that puts you out of commission for any length of time.

Fun facts: In the United States alone, supposedly…


Case in point: my unfinished novel

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

The writing advice I’ve read recently seems focused on productivity rather than craft. I get it. Attract followers. Go viral. Make money.

My advice: be careful with that.

Writing is not merely a way to make money. It’s not only about having your voice heard. It’s about exercising your voice so you yourself can hear it as well. It’s also about choosing what you want others to hear, and what you want to keep to yourself. And yes, it’s about considering your readership and what they want to hear. …


It took signing up, again and again!

Photo by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash

It’s on your bucket list, right? Or, you’ve at least considered it? I get it. Running a marathon has become quite the monumental achievement to strive for, and not just for avid runners. I wholly recommend it.

It may take several false starts to knock it off your bucket list. But don’t lose hope. I didn’t.

I’ve been running since I was thirteen. I’d run around the block when I got mad at my mom, so I didn’t say something I’d get in big trouble for. I’d get back and we’d both be calmer.

I ran track and cross country…


I wish I had, much sooner.

Shadow of figure on beach
Photo by Author

I had a fairly positive outlook on relationships when I first started being in them. Healthy, in fact. When it was over, it was over. No lingering.

I broke up with my high school boyfriend to start college untethered. In my first year of college, I had several brief relationships. It was in my sophomore year when I got pretty serious with a guy. However, I began pulling away from him the summer between sophomore and junior year. I wasn’t ready to commit to someone for life. He was.

Everything changed that August. I suffered a traumatic brain injury (did…

Merre Larkin

Writer and avid reader. Teacher of writing. Trauma-informed counselor. Marathoner. Survivor. Here to share, here to learn.

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