Early this week, in a Chicago hotel room, I order French toast for eating in bed. Two rarities: sugar and silence. I’m punchy with anticipation. But then it arrives, and the plate is hard to balance on my legs, keeps tipping askew, the knife in need of a stable surface for cutting. I move to the desk, douse the whole thing in syrup.

Surprisingly, it tastes fine (better?), right there next to the phone charger and a brochure for night life.

window shadows

I am asked, What are you working on now?

The first truth is that I am attempting to become a better human, a force that requires – for me – great focus and a toppling pile of nightstand books. It has felt bravely ordinary.

The second truth is nothing else.

erin loechner

Books finished:
The Pumpkin Eater, by Penelope Mortimer
Hannah Coulter, by Wendell Berry
Between the Dark and Daylight, by Joan Chittister

We visit the pond for frogs. Bee catches two while I fish sand out of Scout’s mouth, grains grinding between his teeth. Summer is still new, neighbors not yet sick of one another, everyone slowly gathering to the water’s edge with loosened ties from long work days. A lawn mower starts. The sprinkler kicks on. Down the way, I hear a little boy’s banjo lesson coming along. The scent of charcoal for burgers.

Small chatter. We say very little, just happy to be outside. Happy to feel warm, to hear the toads.


Jotted: After all, spinning is its own reward. There wouldn’t be carousels if it weren’t so. –Adam Gopnik

  • I absolutely adore your blog posts! They’re so inspirational! I love what you do, and the things you post is exactly the kind of things I’m interested in.

  • Erin, you inspire. I’m 53 years proud (that’s a lot of living). Wouldn’t choose a younger age given the chance. However, your words (not just these…but so many before them) almost make me want to turn back the clock. Almost. Keep living! And writing!
    PS…would you recommend the books you’ve finished so far?

    • Oh I love this encouragement, Carrie, thank you! And YES! I’d recommend the Wendell Berry and Joan Chittister mostly — the Penelope Mortimer was fascinating in terms of the writing style, but the subject matter was odd/dark, so it certainly requires the right mood. :) LOVED Hannah Coulter most.

  • Anything in a hotel room with silence is wonderful and inspirational. We need this type of down time to rejuvenate our souls. It keeps us fresh and available for those around us. Quiet time has a way of realigning us to our better selves. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Love Wendell Berry! I wrote a blog post in his honor (it was about baking bread, of all things). And I love your honesty. It’s refreshing to read someone who just writes from her heart without trying to sell anyone anything.

    • Oh I love Wendell Berry, too, and thank you for your kind words, Myriam. I love this space so much!

  • So far I placed a hold in the books you mentioned here.
    your writing is real and both fun and deep.

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