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TreeHouseLetter

TreeHouseLetter

By Veteran, Mother, Writer

Rise above the tedium and join me in the TreeHouse. Sharing the best ideas and writing, MyLinh Shattan has a particular fondness for words, music, and the power of story. “I adore your podcasts; each and every one is a little gem. You never say three words when two will do. Everything you do shows unusual respect and appreciation for your listeners’ time and intelligence.” Buzz, former Managing Editor for News and Public Affairs Programming at WHRB-FM/Harvard Radio Broadcasting
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Kili at 50 - Episode 1 - Hiking Kilimanjaro on the Machame Route in Six Days

TreeHouseLetterAug 09, 2019

00:00
13:10
A Day With the Night Stalkers

A Day With the Night Stalkers

On a lonesome stretch of road north of Nashville..... Learn about the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), the Soldier and the Citizen, on the Ides of March
Mar 20, 202312:42
Hey, why aren't dogs alcoholics?

Hey, why aren't dogs alcoholics?

True Tale from Toxin Tails and the Pet Poison Hotline about Red, the retriever St. Bernard mix.
Mar 20, 202301:50
The Edgeless Sound and the Night Owl

The Edgeless Sound and the Night Owl

Poetry for Emergencies and the Leonard Cohen translation of Roshi's Poem. A footnote depicts the lesser-known, closed to the public "Poe Arch" or Edgar Allan Poe Memorial at the archives at West Point
Mar 05, 202305:15
Belief is a Powerful Elixir

Belief is a Powerful Elixir

It's a powerful thing, belief. If a person believes in you, you can move mountains. Music as a gift, and a passage from Maya Angelou from her essay collection, Letter to My Daughter. 
Feb 27, 202306:04
Presciption for Life and Rumi's Cow

Presciption for Life and Rumi's Cow

Poetry for Emergencies. A discussion of Melody Moezzi's memoir, The Rumi Prescription, and how the mystic poet helps her deal with modern life challenges. 
Feb 23, 202303:23
Two Things Everybody's Got to Do

Two Things Everybody's Got to Do

This winter I received five books I own, four as gifts. What do you do when you receive a book you already own? One was Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. I pulled my copy off the shelf to read my notes, the marginalia, the pages underlined, tabbed, highlighted. What is Love? What are the two things?  #blackhistorymonth
Feb 11, 202304:15
Good Luck and Smooth Sailing in the Year of the Cat

Good Luck and Smooth Sailing in the Year of the Cat

Happy Lunar New Year! The Vietnamese celebrate the Cat versus the Rabbit. Learn about the difference and pick up a writing tip from the songwriter and musician Al Stewart from his hit song, The Year of the Cat.
Feb 06, 202305:03
"Good Luck and Smooth Sailing" in the Year of the Cat

"Good Luck and Smooth Sailing" in the Year of the Cat

Episodes with music are only available on Spotify.
Happy Lunar New Year! The Vietnamese celebrate the Cat versus the Rabbit. Learn about the difference and pick up a writing tip from the songwriter and musician Al Stewart from his hit song, The Year of the Cat.  
Jan 30, 202311:24
How to Capture a Life in 400 Words

How to Capture a Life in 400 Words

Writing the obituary is a sobering task.  The structure and getting it right. WHO was the person and HOW did she live? Writing as a gift. 
Jan 15, 202306:34
Punch In, Punch Out: the Profession and the Side Hustle

Punch In, Punch Out: the Profession and the Side Hustle

Many authors publish one or two novels; few write full-time. Fewer write for a life-time. Excerpts and ideas from Haruki Murakami's memoir and essay collection, Novelist as a Vocation. On creativity, originality, and his writing process. 
Jan 09, 202306:49
Pithy and Practical - Time in Memoir

Pithy and Practical - Time in Memoir

A reader loves the TreeHouseLetter because it is "pithy and practical." The pithy in this letter is about the winter solstice and Christmas; the practical is about perceptions of time. How do we manage the human construct of time, as a child and as an adult and in writing? Learn about the divided self in memoir, how time creates meaning and tension. Understanding the character of "I" and the narrator of "I" helps writers and readers understand time in their own lives. Happy and Healthy 2023!  Please rate this podcast or share if you liked. It really does help! Thank you for listening.  
Jan 03, 202309:07
Giving Thanks for Dissent and Cookies

Giving Thanks for Dissent and Cookies

Gratitude is vogue, hip, lit. It's handy and eternal, an ever-ready virtue . . . but it's the sense of duty and expectation that gives it a gloss and cheek that's a bit off-putting. In walks a fresh voice on basketball coaches and how to make the best ever soft-in-the-center, crispy-at-the-edges  chocoloate chip cookie. 
Nov 30, 202206:47
On Perfect Love and Longing

On Perfect Love and Longing

What I learn from my mother on a Tuesday morning about love and longing. How Susan Cain's new book, Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Makes us Whole, helps me understand her. 
Nov 16, 202208:55
"Kinda This, Kinda That" in the Mid-pack

"Kinda This, Kinda That" in the Mid-pack

Mid-life has its miseries. And, mid-life for me has fitness challenges. It was most noticeably on display in the Army’s ten-miler around Washington, D.C. this October. Here’s a story of inspiration for the mid-packers and the mid-lifers.
Nov 06, 202207:22
What to Say When People Thank You for Your Military Service

What to Say When People Thank You for Your Military Service

True story from the SMA--Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston--who spoke at the Army Ten-Miler. A man with 35 years of service in the Army and a half dozen deployments shares his wisdom on service with grit and grace.
Oct 13, 202205:02
Everyone Should Write

Everyone Should Write

In her new book, Write For Your Life, Anna Quindlen argues for the importance of the diarist, such as the secret yet eternal life of Anne Frank. She ruminates on the doctor, the student, the gangster, the child, the parent. Love letters. Queen Elizabeth “spoke through her handwriting.” Writing is a human endeavor, for all of us, from criminal to royal. Learn why writing is one of the most precious and uncommon gifts we can give.
Oct 04, 202204:52
What can music teach us about writing?

What can music teach us about writing?

Just like song, for writing to work it must have rhythm. This has taken me a long time to learn. I came across the idea in Haruki Murakami’s memoir, Absolutely on Music. This book is about a series of conversations with the former conductor of the Boston Symphony, Seiji Ozawa. The novelist meets the maestro. They talk. Learn what the novelist has to say about writing and rhythm and decide if prose rhythm matters with less than average examples. Hear the music in the prose of Beryl Markham and David Foster Wallace.
Oct 04, 202216:52
Reading for Foodies: Zauner's memoir, Crying in H-Mart

Reading for Foodies: Zauner's memoir, Crying in H-Mart

My Vietnamese side of the family are foodies, planning visits and life around meals. Writers focus on the visual and often forget the other senses, taste and smell and sound and touch. Learn about Michelle Zauner's megahit-memoir and how it resonates with this reader, at times pitch perfect. 
Sep 15, 202211:30
Bringing Writers and Readers Together

Bringing Writers and Readers Together

Maybe the better way to think of this is, why you listen to or read TreeHouseLetter. For me, it’s about why I write. Which, are two sides of the same coin. Why do you Write? Who do you write for? 
Sep 13, 202208:51
"Old Age is Not for the Young"*

"Old Age is Not for the Young"*

Society obsesses with youth as if beauty were the monopoly of the young. Yet, wisdom and truth which come with age are beautiful in their own right and something we are quick to dismiss. The old and the very young have always held sway for me because of bald and unerring candor, and the lack of affectation. The title quote is from Ursula Le Guin's No Time to Spare. Learn what Le Guin and former Poet Laureate Donald Hall share about old age. 
Sep 07, 202211:55
What Book Would You Take to a Desert Island?

What Book Would You Take to a Desert Island?

What book do you believe is that good that you could hunker down and spend the remainder of your days with it? The absolute pinnacle of lexicography in one volume. Word work and how it improves writing. The Professor, the Madman, and Noah Webster. What is the singular trait common to each man and does each of us have the ability to tap into it? 
Aug 26, 202214:22
Charlie Munger and the Art of Swearing

Charlie Munger and the Art of Swearing

True story of the iconic investor. When is offensive language appropriate and effective? Ursula Le Guin on the last two swear words, George Patton on eloquent profanity, and Munger with the shock value of a well timed one-liner.
Aug 19, 202210:49
The Sentence Fragment

The Sentence Fragment

What is a good fragment and why use it in your writing?  Passages from Mary Oliver's essay, Upstream, and guidance from Priscilla Long. Two book recommendations. 
Aug 17, 202208:19
No Ordinary Hike: Marchback for the USMA Class of 2026

No Ordinary Hike: Marchback for the USMA Class of 2026

The march back is a 14 mile ruck with full gear and M4 rifle for 1200 new cadets in the West Point Class of 2026. It is the culminating event of Cadet Basic Training at West Point. Learn about the march, the Long Gray Line, and listen to life-changing stories. 
Aug 10, 202211:56
On Fighting and Writing: Blackwing and Bruce Lee

On Fighting and Writing: Blackwing and Bruce Lee

A visit to Augusta's Indie Book Store and local bakery. Learn about the cult pencil's limited volumes Blackwing 651 named for Bruce Lee, a prize purchase at The Book Tavern with insight on a fighting triad and writing. 
Aug 01, 202209:13
Spandrel: Byproduct of Evolution and Thing of Beauty

Spandrel: Byproduct of Evolution and Thing of Beauty

Word of the week. Dig into the word's roots--in architecture, psychology, philosophy, even philately--for a surprising and stirring take-away on function and beauty. 
Jul 22, 202206:37
Thoughts on Music and the Brain

Thoughts on Music and the Brain

Pitch is purely a psychological construct. If so, why do we love the music we love? A philosopher, a neuroscientist, a dog, and Roy Orbison help us understand why. 
Jul 18, 202211:39
Essays that changed me: Alison Lurie and 'When most boys... joined the armed services.'

Essays that changed me: Alison Lurie and 'When most boys... joined the armed services.'

In her 2019 collection, Alison Lurie wrote an essay, Their Harvard, which describes her life at Radcliffe in the 1940s. It has fascinating and humorous insight on her experience as a second-class citizen, a poorer relation to the men of Harvard.  She also includes a passage, shocking by today's standards, about the men and war.  
Jul 09, 202212:13
Simba the Designer Dog? A Perfect Combination of 5 Breeds

Simba the Designer Dog? A Perfect Combination of 5 Breeds

My latest canine addition, Simba, had his Dog DNA analyzed. What's in the analysis and what does that tell me about Simba? Word play on his breed types as a new designer breed: Bel-Ger-Sam-Box-Sky, BelGerBoxSky. Does it make a difference now that we "know" what he is? Embark public profile, Breed Reveal, Simba's Family Tree. We did learn why he has a curly tail and one floppy ear, his expected weight, and his percent wolfiness!
Jun 23, 202207:14
Notes on a Year of Love

Notes on a Year of Love

Reading a year of love stories, with examples of simile and metaphor. Why an apt metaphor makes the writing sing. Two book recommendations: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. The music in the prose. 
Jun 23, 202207:18
Why I write

Why I write

For fame, for money?  The creative process of writing and the incredible joy it can unlock. 
Jun 10, 202210:52
"The Q-tips Are for Your M4" and the Art of the Paragraph

"The Q-tips Are for Your M4" and the Art of the Paragraph

The soldier's pack list today includes items for women. Learn about the four types of paragraphs and the rites of passage for a family with generational service in the armed forces. What is the climactic paragraph or the turnabout paragraph? See how to create interest through suspense, concrete details, and idea development. 
Jun 07, 202210:29
"Keep the Faith For Which They Died" this Memorial Day

"Keep the Faith For Which They Died" this Memorial Day

Listen to "new" or lesser-known poems by Poet Warrior John McCrae, best known for his poem In Flanders Fields. 
May 30, 202206:10
The Last Recital

The Last Recital

An old carriage house as a music school and 17 years of piano recitals leave lasting impressions. Learn about the wisdom and lessons gleaned from someone who loves words and notes, how the music lasts and how sentence construction lends meaning to the experience. Writer's Toolbox on the series sentence and the infinitive phrase. 
May 28, 202205:31
"Django with One Finger," a Living Music Icon

"Django with One Finger," a Living Music Icon

Willie Nelson is 89 and still touring. What can we learn from his writing, his short memoir, and a life on the road?
May 22, 202210:44
On Puppies and Babies: a "Communion with Terror"

On Puppies and Babies: a "Communion with Terror"

What do puppies and children have in common? Learn about what Ross Gay describes as terror and delight in children, why the two coexist side by side. This truth in raising children applies to puppies or a full lunar eclipse. 
May 17, 202208:30
Books for Mothers and Daughters

Books for Mothers and Daughters

A list of books for Mother's Day, for ages 9 to 99. 
May 06, 202205:35
What Makes a Speech Great? an Admiral Tells 3 Stories

What Makes a Speech Great? an Admiral Tells 3 Stories

A great speech is one we remember. Notes on the 3 stories McRaven shares at the observatory of the One World Trade Center, or Freedom Tower, and what makes it lasting. An event which commemorates the 11th anniversary of Operation Neptune's Spear, the mission to capture Osama Bin Laden.
May 03, 202211:05
Exercises in Style: a Writing Tribute

Exercises in Style: a Writing Tribute

These tales pay homage to Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau published 1947 in French, English Translation 1958. Queneau was later elected to highly prestigious Academie Goncourt. In it, Queneau retells an unexceptional tale ninety-nine times: in Cockney, Haiku, sonnet, among scores of others. The examples in this TreeHouseLetter tell a different story but emulate his style: the narrative, two subjective points of view, and Unexpected, the final chapter.
May 03, 202205:18
1000 Push-ups? Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

1000 Push-ups? Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

A memoir about Jesse Itzler's 30 day regimen with a Navy SEAL makes me laugh out loud. It also has me doing more push-ups this week than I've done in the last year. 
Apr 26, 202210:55
Bedside Counselor on Parenting in Anger, in Two Translations

Bedside Counselor on Parenting in Anger, in Two Translations

An Ancient Counselor offers counsel and solace at midlife, with children on the cusp of adulthood. The language in two translations may vary, but the wisdom is eternal. Marcus Aurelius is dubbed the Philosopher King and his stoic writing has survived nearly two millennia.
Apr 19, 202212:08
What I Learned Walking With a Friend

What I Learned Walking With a Friend

My friend Kenny Mintz walks across America; I join him in Maryland and we walk into Pennsylvania together. 
Apr 09, 202212:37
A Poet Warrior Learns Kindness

A Poet Warrior Learns Kindness

It made me feel flawed as a human to read this passage in Lucia St. Clair Robson's Tokaido Road. What does a woman warrior learn from a poet and from poetry on the classic hero's journey?
Apr 04, 202208:32
A Fool is Full and a Pool Not a Pull

A Fool is Full and a Pool Not a Pull

For puzzlers and word nerds: Nonsense and numbers, Schrodinger's Cat and Edward Gorey have something in common. As do the numbers 91, 32, and 4122. Happy Spring!
Apr 01, 202205:55
Three Sunsets in One Day

Three Sunsets in One Day

Hiking the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon at sunset. The wildlife on the way and the ups and downs of spontaneity. 
Mar 28, 202207:04
Each sentence reflects 3 choices

Each sentence reflects 3 choices

What we intend to say and what we accomplish may not be the same thing.
Mar 22, 202204:26
Spicy Rooster and a Coffee Outpost

Spicy Rooster and a Coffee Outpost

Who were these people at an industrial facility where sugar packs, creamer, and stir sticks were arranged at the bar in green ammo cans? Welcome to the new coffee craze with outposts across the country and an outlandish and irreverent brand. Vietnamese cousins find comfort in hot sauce and hot coffee. 
Mar 17, 202209:05
Firecracker and a Humble Queen

Firecracker and a Humble Queen

Dreaming big: true story of a baller in Philly. Visit TreeHouseLetter.com to see photos.
Mar 13, 202208:06
Essays that changed me: Rachel Cusk and “Making Home”

Essays that changed me: Rachel Cusk and “Making Home”

The essay had me going back to it, not in the tangible way of opening the book though I did that, but in my mind. Have I inherited my mother’s view of home or my friends’ and what are my principles? Cusk chronicles the complete remodeling of her London flat and near compete personal breakdown. How much space does a body need? What makes a house a home?
Mar 10, 202210:32
Writing on the Road and the Creative Process

Writing on the Road and the Creative Process

How do you write when you're traveling? How do you know you're a writer?  Thoughts on the creative process with highlights from 4 writing books. Writing tight and making every word count while keeping true to your voice. Toolbox, ages 9 to 99. Learn more about the books on treehouseletter.com. 
Mar 05, 202210:16
Poetry for Emergencies: Ukraine, Howard Nemerov, and the War Dead

Poetry for Emergencies: Ukraine, Howard Nemerov, and the War Dead

2 poems for  a  crazy world as we think of our friends of freedom in Ukraine, who have everything at stake. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Howard Nemerov wrote: Poetry is a way of getting something right in language. Learn about the Soldier Scholar and Warrior Poet, why rhetoric and courage are essential in dire times. 
Mar 03, 202212:01
Sex Over 70 Years and the Synecdoche

Sex Over 70 Years and the Synecdoche

2 Books, 2 Rhetorical Devices, and the Music in the Prose of Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. How the language of sex has changed over 70 years and why we still read these classics. 
Feb 27, 202216:02
Adult Child and a Zen Koan

Adult Child and a Zen Koan

Adult child is an oxymoron but you never stop worrying about your children, whether they're 18 or 48. A ski story, 2.5 Zen koans, and the em dash. Bonus Footnotes: the Easter egg of the TreeHouseLetter. 
Feb 24, 202206:25
Love in a Sad Cafe

Love in a Sad Cafe

The only love you can be sure about is the love you give. This episode considers the Music in the Prose of Carson McCullers' story, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. Just what is it about her writing that makes the tale timeless? What does she teach us about love?
Feb 19, 202210:39
A Valentine Canine and the Circle of Life

A Valentine Canine and the Circle of Life

These holidays can seem a chore, another small way to feel defeated if I don't get it right. When I skip it like I did this year, opting to adopt this shepherd mutt from Texas, I figure I'm rebelling against the commercial mandate. Isn't it better to show love and affection on my own schedule? or in my own way?
Feb 16, 202207:58
If You Want to Write, Your Writing Has to Have Rhythm

If You Want to Write, Your Writing Has to Have Rhythm

Toolbox:  On Sentences and How to Improve Your Writing Immediately. No one ever taught me this. But, as someone who wanted to improve my writing as a craft, this is something I set out to understand: why is writing good? The best writing has rhythm and readers might not even be aware of it, but that’s why we return to the writing again and again. The story and structure have to be there, but without rhythm as the foundation, the writing doesn’t work.
Feb 12, 202213:46
The Meaning in Music

The Meaning in Music

Your job will change, where you live will change, the people in your life will change, but you will always have your music. What is the meaning in music? And, what makes it lasting? The best music is like the best writing. Without analysis, we know this: we like what we like and we love what we love. Here's why. 
Feb 09, 202209:40
Coaching Habit by Stanier: Short Take on How to Avoid Crappy Advice for the Wrong Problem

Coaching Habit by Stanier: Short Take on How to Avoid Crappy Advice for the Wrong Problem

If you're like me and have to work with people, at home or in the work place, then you're looking for ways to improve interactions and relationships. Here's insight from Global Coaching Guru, Michael Bungay Stanier, with a link to his TEDx video.
Feb 06, 202204:24
Books as Trophies, the Bibliophile vs the Bibliophagist

Books as Trophies, the Bibliophile vs the Bibliophagist

I have a book problem. It's a good kind of problem, if a heavy one. Learn the difference between these terms and hear a bonus passage about the Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges, a scene from Jay Parini's memoir, Borges and Me: an Encounter. 
Feb 02, 202209:46
Thay's Miracle: Short Take on a Long Life (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Thay's Miracle: Short Take on a Long Life (Thich Nhat Hanh)

A tribute to the Vietnamese Zen monk: I read his book No Death, No Fear after my father passed away. Thay (name for teacher) was from my mother's town of Hue and I imagine he approached his death in the manner in which he wrote. 
Jan 31, 202203:53
The Sexy Semicolon, Really?

The Sexy Semicolon, Really?

Loved and loathed, the semicolon has survived 500+ years. What you need to know, Orwell's Sixth Rule, and why the winking mark is sexy.
Jan 26, 202207:31
Poetry for Emergencies: Lain S. Thomas at Daybreak

Poetry for Emergencies: Lain S. Thomas at Daybreak

Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and I'm scared. Tragedy befell friends and a go-to for me has been poetry. Thomas at daybreak is a restorative for the soul.
Jan 14, 202208:06
New Year: Goals Versus Habits

New Year: Goals Versus Habits

What are your resolutions and goals? Consider focusing on habits instead.  Learn about Chi Running and the benefits of good habits.
Jan 10, 202212:36
Graveside Gratitude, Giving Thanks in November

Graveside Gratitude, Giving Thanks in November

I learned more from two friends in death than I had learned from them in life.  Giving thanks to those departed souls.
Nov 24, 202106:26
Summer's End

Summer's End

The last First Day of School, the end of summer, just what summer means, and life's next stage
Sep 21, 202111:25
Alaska Mountains May Spoil You For All the Rest

Alaska Mountains May Spoil You For All the Rest

Southeast Alaska, the Inside Passage, Klondike Gold Rush
Jul 30, 202113:33
Father and His Letters

Father and His Letters

A dying art, a gift from yesterday, there's nothing so full bodied and rich as  words on paper. Photos may capture the appearance in any given moment, but words, his words, they capture his mind and spirit
Jun 21, 202104:52
Memorial Day, Reflection and Celebration

Memorial Day, Reflection and Celebration

On generational service and the reasons we serve. Remembering  sacrifice and celebrating a new Army lieutenant in the family. 
May 31, 202114:30
April Dreams

April Dreams

A Story and Two Short Poems: by a Zen Monk & Mary Oliver
Apr 26, 202109:18
Two Truths and a Lie, a Fools Game

Two Truths and a Lie, a Fools Game

April Fools Day and Humor in Uniform. Three stories from cadet life.  The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes. Churchill
Apr 01, 202108:06
I Met a Man at the Top of Chimney Rock

I Met a Man at the Top of Chimney Rock

“Would you mind if I take off my shirt?” he said.  A story from a retreat in North Carolina.  The Odyssey, the Devil, and a Home
Feb 10, 202111:42
Family Travel in a Pandemic - By Air and By Land

Family Travel in a Pandemic - By Air and By Land

Fun things-to-do and great eats in Key West. New Year's on Wheels - Road trip (Ct to VA) and family skating. 
Jan 07, 202114:03
Giving Thanks in 2020 & Simon's List

Giving Thanks in 2020 & Simon's List

Tough times define us.  Whitman's Ghost or Simon, played by Joe Pesci in the 1994 film With Honors, shares a message. 
Nov 27, 202006:56
Spirits of the Fall: Episode (4) Toddler Vision

Spirits of the Fall: Episode (4) Toddler Vision

Brady Shattan joins us to talk about spirit friends, his guardian angel and extrasensory perception.  
Oct 31, 202037:41
Spirits of the Fall: Episode (3) Visits From Beyond

Spirits of the Fall: Episode (3) Visits From Beyond

What happens when someone dies, when the worldly connection is broken?  Where are the healers and the mediums and the shamans today?  This is the third episode in Spirits of the Fall: True Stories of the Season, eerie occurrences, real-life horrors, ghosts, and second sight.
Oct 26, 202015:35
Spirits of the Fall: Episode (2) Where the Driveway Ends

Spirits of the Fall: Episode (2) Where the Driveway Ends

Second in the series of the season: real-life horrors and ghosts.  
Oct 20, 202013:48
Spirits of the Fall: Episode (1) In the House

Spirits of the Fall: Episode (1) In the House

This is the first in a series of True Stories for the season, of eerie occurrences, real-life horrors, visits from the beyond, haunted rooms, and childhood visions.
Oct 14, 202015:10
Learning to Run

Learning to Run

Fall is the season for running. This story is about failure and mastery, how that became a commander's story.
Oct 08, 202015:30
Would You Kneel? A College Coach & a Veteran on the National Anthem

Would You Kneel? A College Coach & a Veteran on the National Anthem

Thoughts on the anthem and the flag, what they mean. 
Sep 24, 202009:41
Birthday and Death Day, Catholics and Customs

Birthday and Death Day, Catholics and Customs

A graveyard visit on a father's death day and a daughter's birthday.   Maya Angelou's advice on the legacy of departed loves. 
Sep 05, 202013:45
The Vulgar Parrot

The Vulgar Parrot

I've gotten to know my son better now that he's left. 
Aug 12, 202024:10
On Becoming Sheepdogs, A Modern Fable

On Becoming Sheepdogs, A Modern Fable

Today’s letter is about something that matters, an important debate happening in society right now. In the wake of recent events regarding the tragic death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, this letter is more relevant than ever. It has been updated to relate my own experience and the role of the brave men and women who are called to the profession of arms, with a special thank you to those in the West Point Class of 2020 who graduated this weekend. These young officers have taken an oath to support and defend the constitution against all enemies, giving their life if necessary, so that all Americans might enjoy the blessings of a free nation.
Jun 14, 202030:48
Memorial Day Reflection - Two Poems and a Tribute

Memorial Day Reflection - Two Poems and a Tribute

Death of a Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell and Twilight by Lucretia Maria Davidson A tribute to my Uncle, a South Vietnamese officer who never came home
May 26, 202005:03
Why Nursing Homes Suck

Why Nursing Homes Suck

My story about a Nursing Home. Some Gorey stuff, some sad stuff,  some crass stuff.  What gives life meaning? what would great writers say?
May 17, 202016:32
Are We Killing the Fat Man? The Corona Trolley Dilemma

Are We Killing the Fat Man? The Corona Trolley Dilemma

Consider the pandemic crisis and the moral claims of shutting down the economy. What are consequences, good and bad? How do COVID deaths compare to other mortality data?
Apr 17, 202014:47
For The Class of 2020 During the Pandemic

For The Class of 2020 During the Pandemic

A pulse on High School and College Seniors, where they are and how they're doing. Taking comfort in poetry and a mother's wish. 
Mar 23, 202007:02
The Three Gifts - What have you learned in 50 years?

The Three Gifts - What have you learned in 50 years?

A child's note, three gifts, and Leo Tolstoy's famous story
Feb 28, 202010:28
On Presidents, Politics and War, and Poetry

On Presidents, Politics and War, and Poetry

You ever have that moment when something you’ve believed for some time begins to shift and slip, leaving you a bit off-balance?
Feb 13, 202011:00
Raise Your Glass! A Toast by W.B. Yeats

Raise Your Glass! A Toast by W.B. Yeats

Three simple toasts, suitable for most occasions, and easy to remember. And, a little about the semicolon. 
Jan 31, 202010:25
The Light in Your Day - a New Take on Winter

The Light in Your Day - a New Take on Winter

How much light do you gain each day in January, over the month? and the next months? 
Jan 17, 202007:42
Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag - A Russian Novel About Your Life

Solzhenitsyn and the Gulag - A Russian Novel About Your Life

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn What can we learn from the Gulag? About the military, about the body and soul?
Jan 08, 202015:21
A Book for Everyone, Even Nonreaders and Grinches

A Book for Everyone, Even Nonreaders and Grinches

With special guest Hayley Swinson, writer and editor, on how books help her get into the season.  On receiving books and giving books. 
Dec 06, 201924:45
Giving Thanks in 2019 - Looking Back on Life's Big Questions

Giving Thanks in 2019 - Looking Back on Life's Big Questions

A friend in hospice talks about time, love, friendship, and the search for meaning.
Nov 28, 201908:24
TikTok Connect the Dots - the United States and China

TikTok Connect the Dots - the United States and China

 A college freshman and a Vietnamese centenarian on China.  Hong Kong Protests, Confucian Centers, TikTok security.
Nov 21, 201910:31
A View From Above: Army Colonel Ken Mintz on Afghanistan

A View From Above: Army Colonel Ken Mintz on Afghanistan

A true, gritty account of the American Soldier and a child's role, in the longest war in U.S. history.  Visit treehouseletter.com to see photos.
Nov 08, 201926:47
You've tidied up your closet and your house. Why not tidy up your writing?

You've tidied up your closet and your house. Why not tidy up your writing?

Thoughts on writing from Dreyer's English and Brandon Royal's Little Red Writing Book.  Get rid of useless words. How many drafts until finished?  Grammar Versus Style and the Big Three Nonrules
Oct 30, 201914:38
Murphy's Law and the Army Ten-Miler

Murphy's Law and the Army Ten-Miler

Did you know that Murphy was in the Army? 
Oct 15, 201916:17
On Poetry and Mondegreens and Teenagers

On Poetry and Mondegreens and Teenagers

Why memorize poetry and what's a mondegreen? 
Oct 10, 201911:19
The Making of a Myth or Legend - Stephen Siller

The Making of a Myth or Legend - Stephen Siller

Do myths and legends shape the stories we tell? Hear Stephen's story and retrace the steps he took.  A 9-11 memorial.
Oct 03, 201918:48
For the Love of Milk

For the Love of Milk

Sometimes a search for one thing leads to another. Like this Burl Ives folk tune: On a summer's day in the month of May, what was the burly bum singing of? 
Sep 24, 201918:04
A Case for the Personal Letter

A Case for the Personal Letter

In the Digital Age, do letters still matter? What about a dusty box of letters in the basement? 
Sep 16, 201912:36
Suicide and Suffering - Army Veteran and Secular Buddhist on the Four Noble Truths

Suicide and Suffering - Army Veteran and Secular Buddhist on the Four Noble Truths

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Hear a story and learn about the Four Noble Truths.
Sep 12, 201909:41
Whales, Migration, and Back-to-School

Whales, Migration, and Back-to-School

What can whales teach us about learning and mastery?
Sep 03, 201914:45
In These Walls

In These Walls

Unexpected summer visitors
Aug 25, 201910:17
Kili at 50 - Episode 3 -Summit Assault and Days 5 & 6

Kili at 50 - Episode 3 -Summit Assault and Days 5 & 6

Hiking Kilimanjaro on the Machame Route in Six Days - learn about the final days and Kibo, the volcanic summit
Aug 12, 201915:59
Kili at 50 - Episode 2 - Jambo! Dreadlocks & Day 4

Kili at 50 - Episode 2 - Jambo! Dreadlocks & Day 4

Episode 2 - Hiking Kilimanjaro in the Machame Route, Day 4
Aug 10, 201912:42
Kili at 50 - Episode 1 - Hiking Kilimanjaro on the Machame Route in Six Days

Kili at 50 - Episode 1 - Hiking Kilimanjaro on the Machame Route in Six Days

A middle aged account of Kili and more. First episode on Days 1 to 3 and the guides.
Aug 09, 201913:10