The Matchbook Diaries

The Matchbook Diaries True stories of travel and inspiration

Power of Grief

Because of my personal history, the majority of which I wasn’t acquainted with until I was 49 years old, I have a lot of grieving to do.  The agony hits me night after night, all in a row, then, once in a while, I have a night or two when CONTINUE >

In the Shower

Wisdom I happened across years and years ago has proven to be priceless.  I love Texas holdem.  Back in the US, I could watch the World Series of Poker for hours and hours on television and I can’t sit through most 90-minute movies, never mind even 5 minutes of TV. CONTINUE >

Secret Ingredient

Redemption is enigmatic.  Children necessarily see things in simple terms – if I do these 3 things, I will be rewarded with free time, a good grade, or desert.  But the human soul is infinite and occupies a realm that I am unfit to reach.  Since I am badly contorted CONTINUE >


We are the agents of love in the world.  If other living things have a soul, and maybe some do, then they love too.  Our cat, Dan, with his long, eye to eye contact, certainly makes a good argument for animals having a soul, but it is pointless to debate CONTINUE >


We spent a summer in Cow Head, Newfoundland so we could hike Gros Morne and all of the surrounding peaks.  Newfoundland is absolutely glorious. Whilst there, we wanted to go out with a real lobsterman.  We hung around the stony beach where the lobstermen had their supply shacks until we CONTINUE >

Movement & Direction

There is no moving up.  There is movement, movement from one stance, one position in life to another, but there is not a ladder to climb.  I live in a place where most people have not crossed the threshold into Western life.  People live here in houses they build with CONTINUE >


My name means beloved.  My worth can’t be measured by anything in the world. My value is independent of the world.  I regularly see, here in Dar Es Salaam, people in utter despair, families living in the garbage on the beach, people without legs or hands begging, young people so CONTINUE >

Punch Drunk Love

Risk is frightening because you are standing on the air and you have to put your foot down and you have to believe that when you do put your foot down, you won’t die or otherwise commit a catastrophic error.  When I am drawing I am often in that state CONTINUE >


My favorite coffee table book is titled:  “Never Stop To Think, Do I Have A Place For This?”.

I love little, pretty things.  When I was a child I collected glass animals and doll house furniture.  When my son was a baby, he found something most days that he wanted to CONTINUE >


Hell as a consequence imposed by God is hard to swallow and luckily, not true.  Men are the architects of hell, not God. Hell is not a designed condition, it is a byproduct of free will, an unavoidable consequence of moral disease. Hell doesn’t contain a single soul that loves CONTINUE >


One spring we stayed for a few weeks in Hoi An, Vietnam along the coast of the South China sea; it’s a teetering pile of old colonial buildings along canals and on the street level there are wonderful little folk art shops.

My son ate silk worms on the street, we CONTINUE >


The only thing I have that I want others to envy is freedom. Anyone, right now, can have the same freedom without fiscal cost or moral effort. Freedom is unearned and unearnable. I think, when I see peasants crowding into cities, “They are losing the only thing that matters.” In CONTINUE >


My next-door neighbor in our compound reconstructed a Banksy stencil and spraypainted it on the outside of his house. It’s of a guy dressed in terror garb hurling a bouquet of flowers. I trotted right over and borrowed that stencil and made a few copies for myself and my friends. CONTINUE >


The essence of folk art is its humanity. Folk art doesn’t have any pretenses; it’s sturdy, nearly sloppy, almost practical. Folk art isn’t above being likeable and is never in danger of being misunderstood. In a museum, fine art is regal and sublime; when I behold such things, I feel CONTINUE >


Whenever I pray, I’m trying to avoid catastrophe or to gain power over involuntary compulsions. My original belief, when I prayed as a child, was that prayer is an agent of change. My prayers have all been answered; but they have changed me rather than my circumstances.

A product of my CONTINUE >


My question was: How do you accommodate a catastrophic truth? That question drove me into my faith, and, from that foundation, into the life I now lead. I’ve been unbelievably lucky. Years ago, on August 19th, 2003, my husband and I went through a stage where we played the dice CONTINUE >