TreeHouseLetter

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Always learning with a bit of fun. Readers receive a weekly letter with 2 to 10 minute read time.

Mylin Shattan sitting with her book

Recent Letters

The Blue Hour

3 Min read Phases of twilight 2 Book recs 5 Regrets of the Dying * It is the darkness which gives...

Deez Nuts*

5 Min read Nuts Nonsense Homage to a classic film Wordnerd alert Contronym AVAILABLE ON PODCAST...

What Men Live By*

8 Min read 1 Short Story 1 Lecture series, The Four Loves On Providence A sacred oath * AVAILABLE...

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Reader Favorites

Degree of Separation

5 Min read Social connection on Earth in 2023 Network theory U.S. Army and Armed Forces Math geek special, logarithm AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify iTunes * Thought exercise for the day. How many friends between you and anyone on the planet? In popular culture this...

A Day with the Night Stalkers

8 Min read 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) The Soldier and the Citizen Nashville Ides of March AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY iTunes * On a lonesome stretch of road north of Nashville, we turned onto a farmer's path. Strains of Johnny Cash and the...

Charlie Munger and the Art of Swearing

5 Min read EXPLICIT language, Ages 13 to 103 True Story, investing Toolbox Essay and book rec, Ursula Le Guin Patton's Speech AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify iTunes * Charlie Munger was making the rounds with investors. A living icon in the investing world, he was some...

The Meaning in Music

4 min read Song and Story Rachmaninoff Rybnikov AVAILABLE IN PODCAST (Listen to this letter to hear the piano music) Spotify iTunes Anchor.fm/emelle Your job will change, where you live will change, the people in your life will change, but you will always have your...

Books as Trophies? the Bibliophile vs the Bibliophagist

6 Min read 2 Book recs Music in Prose Funniest passage in modern literature Toolbox, Ages 9 to 99 Word Nerd Special AVAILABLE ON PODCAST iTunes Spotify anchor.fm/emelle * * I have a book problem. It's a good kind of problem because books teach me a lot and I get to...

On Becoming Sheepdogs, a Modern Fable

AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Anchor.fm Spotify iTunes In the wake of recent events regarding the tragic death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, this letter seems more relevant than ever. It has been updated to relate my own experience and the role of the brave men and...

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Browse by Topic

On Life

Small Delight: the Unexpected and the Good

3 Min read 1 Book rec * * I suppose it is the unexpected and the good which sustain us. The package arrived as media mail and I set the used copy on the counter. A week or so later, I began to read it, The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. What I discovered in its...

Dirtman and Dillard on Signs of the Apocalypse

5 Min read Earthquake Eclipse 1 Essay rec AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY * “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;” Revelation 6:12 * Earthquake...

The Blue Hour

3 Min read Phases of twilight 2 Book recs 5 Regrets of the Dying * It is the darkness which gives that first burst of light its brilliance. * This weekend my daughter returned from spring break. Sitting in the TreeHouse very early that day, I read with a booklight on...

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Stories

Dirtman and Dillard on Signs of the Apocalypse

5 Min read Earthquake Eclipse 1 Essay rec AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY * “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;” Revelation 6:12 * Earthquake...

Deez Nuts*

5 Min read Nuts Nonsense Homage to a classic film Wordnerd alert Contronym AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * One secret of life is that the reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day. Anne Lamott * I was organizing the pantry...

An Alabama Road

3 Min read Music Writing for the senses Songwriting AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY Each singer stepped towards the front of the stage, put a hand on the mike, and burst into five-part harmony. There are stars in the southern skySouthward as you goThere is moonlight and...

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On Education

Who Does Not Prefer Civility to Barbarism?*

6 Min read 2 Book recs Average of five people you know Affection, love between parent and child Mrs. Fidget, a character trope AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify Every Action done in Company ought to be with Some Sign of Respect to those that are Present. George...

How to Improve Your Writing – Part 1: from Tolstoy to Grohl

9 min read 1 English textbook 1 Book rec 1 Style Guide 4 Writers: Tolstoy to Grohl (of Nirvana and Foo Fighters) Improve writing immediately, ages 9 to 99 Toolbox AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * I doubt whether we are sufficiently attentive to the importance of...

Today is a Numeric Palindrome

1 Min read Word Nerd Alert Toolbox * * Today has a date format which is a numeric palindrome. Or, a palindromic number. Or, a palindromic number sequence. Fun, if you're in to such things as I am, sequences and syntax and such. Or alliteration. Or sentence fragments....

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On Literature

Small Delight: the Unexpected and the Good

3 Min read 1 Book rec * * I suppose it is the unexpected and the good which sustain us. The package arrived as media mail and I set the used copy on the counter. A week or so later, I began to read it, The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. What I discovered in its...

Dirtman and Dillard on Signs of the Apocalypse

5 Min read Earthquake Eclipse 1 Essay rec AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY * “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;” Revelation 6:12 * Earthquake...

Who Does Not Prefer Civility to Barbarism?*

6 Min read 2 Book recs Average of five people you know Affection, love between parent and child Mrs. Fidget, a character trope AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify Every Action done in Company ought to be with Some Sign of Respect to those that are Present. George...

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Bookshelf

Small Delight: the Unexpected and the Good

3 Min read 1 Book rec * * I suppose it is the unexpected and the good which sustain us. The package arrived as media mail and I set the used copy on the counter. A week or so later, I began to read it, The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. What I discovered in its...

The Blue Hour

3 Min read Phases of twilight 2 Book recs 5 Regrets of the Dying * It is the darkness which gives that first burst of light its brilliance. * This weekend my daughter returned from spring break. Sitting in the TreeHouse very early that day, I read with a booklight on...

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On the Military

What Men Live By*

8 Min read 1 Short Story 1 Lecture series, The Four Loves On Providence A sacred oath * AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * Friday was a cold, sunny day. The alarm was set for 6:15 AM and that would give me enough time to make it across the Hudson River before rush hour. I...

In the Company of Heroes*

4 Min read Operation Gothic Serpent / "Black Hawk Down" 30-Year Anniversary 160th SOAR(A), Night Stalkers Panel Discussion: Mike Durant (Pilot & POW), Dan Jollota (Pilot), Lee Van Arsdale (Ground commander) Veterans Day AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * This Veterans...

Why Do I Run?

7 min read 4 book recs: two on running and two on living Running gear for mid-life and the mid-packer Training, injury-free and effortless The Army Ten-Miler * AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY * Why do I run? I'm not sure I like running, even when I was fit and fast....

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Writing Features

The Music in Prose

An Alabama Road

3 Min read Music Writing for the senses Songwriting AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY Each singer stepped towards the front of the stage, put a hand on the mike, and burst into five-part harmony. There are stars in the southern skySouthward as you goThere is moonlight and...

Town Mouse and Country Mouse

9 Min read 3 book recs 1 film rec True story: Coffee with "Josh" The Music in Prose: Willa Cather on town and country Wordnerd special AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * The town mouse and the country mouse. Distress and agitation of the town mouse. Meditations, Book...

Poetry for Emergencies

Involved and Implicated: Narcissism and Poetry

6 Min read Poetry on a December afternoon 1 Book rec Word nerd special AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify If you're like me, you can use a bit of poetry. I've had a few days to consider this collection, its after shocks, surprised at my evolving response. Tony Hoagland's...

What’s in Your Trunk?

5 Min read New England's largest flea market* Poetry for Emergencies--on the folly of fame, legacy, empire Sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley Book rec on writing song lyrics Toolbox, use 7 senses to improve writing** Texan king in a cow pasture AVAILABLE ON PODCAST...

Fall is Like a Country Music Song

3 Min read Music and memory Norman Blake, Colter Wall Poetry for Emergencies * AVAILABLE ON PODCAST SPOTIFY iTunes * I'm listening to Colter Wall, titles like Corralling the Blues, Sleeping on the Asphalt, and The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie. I'm a late-comer to new...

Toolbox

How to Improve Your Writing – Part 1: from Tolstoy to Grohl

9 min read 1 English textbook 1 Book rec 1 Style Guide 4 Writers: Tolstoy to Grohl (of Nirvana and Foo Fighters) Improve writing immediately, ages 9 to 99 Toolbox AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * I doubt whether we are sufficiently attentive to the importance of...

On Flesh-Eating Beetles and Sins of the Mother

7 Min read Sense writing: traditional five plus two more 2 Reading recs: historical novel and story 1 Writing guide Improve writing immediately Toolbox, ages 9 to 99 AVAILABLE ON PODCAST Spotify * Writing Through the Seven Senses When I'm working on an aspect of my...

TreeHouseLetter

Always learning with a bit of fun

 

 

Readers receive one to two letters a week, with 2 to 10 minute read time. Includes regular features:

 

The Music in Prose
Poetry for Emergencies
Toolbox

 

 

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