Little House in the Big Woods wasn’t just a pioneer narrative for me; it was an instruction manual, a way to look back and mark the shape of my own work. Rereading the book showed what I actually value in writing.
When my daughter was little, we went on a tour of Laura Ingalls Wilder sites in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri. It was an endless round of log houses, sod houses, dugouts, old churches, schoolhouses, post offices, banks, jails, and depots, hand-dug wells and pump organs, replica
Whenever I travel, I think back to “The History of the World through Toilets.” This is the title of a series of notes for an epic poem jotted down by Isodora Wing, the narrator of Erica Jong’s 1973 novel Fear of Flying. “British,” it begins: British toilet paper. A