From Claire Carey Deering

THE MINIMALIST
Claire Carey Deering believes less is more, in writing and in life. She’s not too fond of makeup (much to her mother’s chagrin) or clutter, but can’t get enough of sentences that cut to the heart and people that others overlook. She spends her days dreaming up characters, writing YA and memoir, and enjoying the grace of a second chance. Claire currently lives in Seattle, but feels most at home wherever her husband and son happen to be.

Quiet Gifts in a Loud World

When the rain is falling and the wind is stirring up the remnants of leaves across my window, I can hear it. For a moment. The hoarse whisper of nature, echoing her Maker’s lips. And then it is gone; or, rather, I am gone. The car on my bumper. The items on my list. The…

Surprise ending

When my boy was born, I could not nurse him. No matter how much Mother’s Milk tea I drank or lactation consultants I visited, I was bone dry. The fancy pump? It could not extract what my body refused to produce. I felt on par with Lady Macbeth’s maternal capabilities every time I went to…

Breath

In tiny waves of light the morning came. I stood above my son, watching him sleep. Outside the ash fell and the birds were quiet, but, inside, the house was full of his breath. I wonder if this is how all mothers will feel on the day the world ends. The wildfires are still burning…

Homesick

There is a field behind our new house, with an invisible stream buried under all that tall grass. I know–from a map–that this little swath of hidden blue becomes the Lacamas River, just east of where I can see. In the morning, I watch the cows, gathered in circles, gossiping in voices that sound like…

Candle-Makers

From the freeway, the empty wagon bows straddling the Oregon Trail museum look like the giant ribcage of a prehistoric whale left out in the sun. Inside the museum, we join school children as they watch a documentary in which dramatic voiceovers of settlers talk about their run-ins with the “Red Man.” A few minutes…

The Ghost of Joy

We’ve just returned from Hawaii, specifically Ko Olina, a stretch of land named for joy. Literally: the fulfillment of joy. I’m not great at joy. Empathy? Yes, pretty solid. Introspection? To a fault. Raucous, made-you-look-joy? Well, let’s just say it isn’t my default. We’ve recently moved 143 miles from Seattle to Vancouver, and I’m in…

Blind as a Bat

As I left work in the afternoon, I felt my contact lens bunch up into the corner of my eye. I blinked a few times, contemplated getting off the freeway to fix it, and then decided it wasn’t that bad. By the time I was on the 520 bridge, both eyes were watering. I squeezed…

Bedtime Stories

We begin and end our days in darkness right now. Seattle is in full-blown winter mode, and so am I—hunkered down and hibernating in this long season. Just getting myself and my three-year-old dressed and out the door in time for work and preschool feels daunting. To top it off, he is especially clingy right…

Disarmed

On Friday, I woke up early, put on my jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, my wool jacket, and a pair of thick-soled tennis shoes before grabbing Dan’s ski gloves from the closet. The campus-wide invitation said to bring a pair, and, if there is one thing I’m good at, it is planning ahead to avoid pain.…

Unsolicited Advice

I smelled her before I saw her. A floral-fruity sweetness clouding the crisp morning. I looked up in time to see her path cross mine. Just long enough to see her finger the hem of her silk dress–a frock that belonged in a Free People catalog, not on an actual body in 48-degree weather. A…

Heavy Lifting

I begin my mornings like a cat burglar. Before the alarm can even ring in our dark house, I turn it off, creeping down the hallway in long steps and slow shuffles to avoid the creaking hardwoods. I’ve found heel-then-toe is more effective than tip-toe, that the whole area around the dining room table is…

Bridge

I’m a native Seattleite. My roots are here, buried deep in this seaside soil. My quiet awkwardness fits in nicely in this land of isolation, where neighborhoods are spaced out and teetering on tips of dark green hills or buried under layers of evergreen branches. A place where water dominates the landscape, a city so…

Book It!

In the late 80s, we had Book It!, a reward system designed to get kids to read with the promise of free pizza. It’s no surprise that a program that motivated kids to read by rewarding them with Pizza Hut fell somewhat out of vogue–the fear of gluten and childhood obesity making it less enticing.…

Howl

This weekend we went to a wedding, and I’ll be honest, I felt like a middle-aged mom in a mall-bought dress. For good reason it turns out, as I am in fact a 36-year-old mom, and I was, in fact, wearing a dress purchased from the mall. The whole way there I was fidgety and…

The Asking Years

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Zora Neale Hurston When I sit down to write, there’s a fly bashing its body against the glass. I stand and walk towards it, moving slowly as to avoid startling him. I push open the window above the sink, and the kitchen door, too, and…

Muddy Fields

Well, it happened. All of my years in the classroom made me shudder at the thought of becoming a helicopter parent, those well-meaning and well-coiffed moms circling just outside the door ready to conference about every perceived injustice, ready with an excuse why their beloved child had not turned in the assignment. I vowed never…

Floating Thoughts

We live close to the Locks here in Seattle, giant steel channels where boats squeeze together as the water rises or drops, depending on which way the bow’s facing. Without these Locks, Lake Union would bleed out into the Sound, its borders and depth forever altered, but with them, the two bodies of water stay…

The Way Out

I’ll tell you a story. Maybe it will sound like an exaggeration, but I’ll tell it anyways. As best as I can say it, as true as I remember it. There was a girl living in Hawai’i who tutored students a couple of mornings a week at the university academic center to buy textbooks and…

Hope&Restoration [Hardware]

A handful of years ago, some teacher friends invited me out for dinner and drinks and a little Christmas shopping. I drug my feet. Not because I didn’t like the group, but I felt particularly alone at this time of the year and the thought of wandering around the crowded town center under twinkling lights…

The Sweet Life

My father’s brother is dying right now. I would say my uncle, but I don’t know him well and the title feels like a claim I’m not sure I’m entitled to make. When I was a child, we visited my dad’s family in upstate New York each summer. I would swim with my cousins in…