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Marion Franck

A young performer nails poetry out loud

Recently, I had the pleasure of being the first person in the world to interview Corbin Gomez. I have a feeling I won’t be the last. Last month, Corbin won the Poetry Out Loud contest in El Dorado County. In order to do so, he had to compete against first-place finishers from eight other high […]

March 18, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Ten thousand hours seem like only yesterday

Every now and then something I read in a book — something that doesn’t seem to apply to me at all — turns out later to be true. Here’s the story of my latest discovery, beginning with the math. I started writing this column in March 1996, alternating weeks with former Davis resident Stephanie Szmyd. […]

March 11, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

For good or ill, our parents leave a road map

I write this on my mother’s birthday — although I may not publish it right away. If she were alive, she would be 99 years old this year. She wouldn’t have wanted to live that long. A Christian and a believer, she expected to be reunited with loved ones after she died. I’m sure that […]

March 04, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

When should grief be treated by doctors and drugs?

I begin with a sample story of grief. “Jane” is 40 years old, working part-time and parenting two young children, when her mother, who lives across the country, suddenly enters the hospital. Jane can’t sleep. She can barely think straight. She flies out to visit but can only stay a week because of her kids. […]

February 26, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

What’s it like to get noticed by the big boys?

This column is entirely my idea. Davis resident Janice Bridge, who recently experienced more than 15 minutes of fame in this newspaper and elsewhere, would have been happy for me not to write it, but I was too darn curious. What’s it like to be featured in the New York Times? How does the Times […]

February 19, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

I swear, it’s time to throw this stuff out

* Editor’s note: Marion is taking the day off. This column has been slightly edited since it first appeared in December 2000. You want to know what I’m sick and tired of? The junk in this house. Here’s what’s happening right now. My husband and I decided to paint our daughter’s bedroom and let our […]

February 12, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Can I paddle my way to meditation?

A psychologist friend proposed a different definition of meditation that has my gears whirring like a GPS trying to “recalculate.” I’ve always had a respect bordering on awe for people who can meditate, but here’s what my friend said. “If you’re fully involved in something, active, paying attention only to that, you’re meditating. You don’t […]

February 05, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

I urged change but didn’t expect this much

This might be the last time I can write about the man I call “Larry.” He may become too well-known for me to be sure that I can preserve his anonymity. I first wrote about Larry in 2005. He was the home health aide on duty when my dad died in New York City, and […]

January 27, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

The baby train doesn’t have a stop on campus

When it comes to babies, the “rules” of the job market for young female academics are clear. Don’t have a baby. If you do have a baby and manage to get a job interview, don’t mention the baby. Don’t mention your husband or partner. Don’t mention your second child, if you have one. Don’t have […]

January 22, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Led by my palate into violating my principles

This is the story of a love affair, my love affair, a passion that I admit embarrasses me. What was so special? Why did I get so attached? It was the firmness, the sweetness, the hint of spice. But, like every romance, it wasn’t perfect. The first serving, before I got to the honey oat […]

January 15, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Trains, planes, automobiles? Bring ’em on

When I was young and single, I made several international trips, traveling cheaply, getting as close to the ordinary life of the people as possible, soaking in every new or funky experience. I chose countries where I could speak the language and I always stayed as long as I could. I even dreamed of living […]

January 08, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Not diet or exercise: I’ll try a new resolution this year

* Editor’s note: Marion is taking the day off. This column has been slightly edited since it first appeared in 2006. If I tell you exactly what I’m doing at this moment, it will sound perfectly normal to you. I’m making coffee. I’m looking at my router, which has been having problems lately. I’m checking […]

January 01, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

How does a crazy idea become a family tradition?

Charity appeals are relentless during the holidays, especially with the tax-year ending a week from now. Every nonprofit that has my email address is writing to me, usually more than once. Some send snail mail, too, often with appeals that are poignant and beautifully written. For my husband, communication to and from charities is more […]

December 25, 2011 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

By their bookshelves shall ye know them

Writers in the New Yorker Magazine have recently explored the topic of home libraries. Their question is, “How much can you learn about a person from the books he or she keeps?” When it comes to literary figures, this is an important line of inquiry, but it’s also interesting to ask about ordinary people—or yourself. […]

December 18, 2011 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,
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