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Emails to my Therapist:
On God, Sex, Death, Love, Life Changes, Fears, Desires, Writing, and Anything Else on My Mind

Peggy Payne Bob Dick

Our Better Marriage Weekend: The Art and Science of Love

October 17, 2017
Dear Nicholas, When Bob first mentioned our going to a better marriage workshop, I was hesitant. Things were good, so why rock the boat? And he and I have been together happily most of most days since 1982. Did we need this? Well, better marriage was not his motivation. As a psychologist, he wanted to […] Read More

feeling unattractive, band-aid

Feeling Unattractive

September 27, 2017
Nicholas– I have a band-aid on my face. One little awkwardly-located temporary band-aid should not lead anyone to feeling unattractive. This is vain, shallow, and petty of me. Doesn’t bode well for a peaceful ancient age.  However…. It’s between my nose and upper lip, sort of like a pink mustache. I feel it when I […] Read More

Guilt trip road sign

Saying the Wrong Thing — Scrupulosity and OCD

September 20, 2017
Dear Nicholas — Yesterday on a beautiful morning driving to my office, I rehashed a moment of saying the wrong thing 46 years ago–something that might have been taken for an ethnic slur (which I didn’t intend!) That led to thoughts of other times I’ve stumbled into saying something hurtful or damaging or that I […] Read More

Crone? Me? How I Want to Age

September 15, 2017
Dear Nicholas, You dared to suggest the crone archetype as fitting where I now am in my life. Okay, I’m fine with the wise woman idea. But the word “crone”? Very troubling. And I do believe words matter. I want a clearly positive term for an often derided stage of life. A mild example of […] Read More

ocean wave storm stormy sky

Storm Target: Houston, We Have a Problem

September 1, 2017
Nicholas, Talking about my life feels wrong while Houston is under water. Seeing what the storm has done there, I feel I have no problems to solve. The damage there is horrific. But as a child I thought hurricanes were a great adventure. Nothing shows a change of perspective more than how my view of […] Read More

Wrapped metal strands of barbed wire fence.wired tired stress

Can You Be Stressed and Not Know It?

August 22, 2017
Dear Nicholas — I have a couple of minor health glitches of the sort that can be caused by stress and one that has been made worse by stress. I don’t usually have many health glitches and so I have to ask myself: can you be stressed and not know it? Wired and tired I […] Read More

N.C. Legislature, Dudley Price, Peggy Payne, Harry Payne

How Life Turns Out, So Far: Last of 3-Part Mini-memoir

August 14, 2017
Dear Nicholas, “How Life Turns Out (so far)” is the final piece of the personal history I started unfolding here several days ago. The first, “City Love”: brought me to the point of getting a newspaper job in Raleigh, the city that’s the original reason for writing all this. The second was “Single Girl in the City.”  This […] Read More

Single Girl in the City: Personal History

August 11, 2017
Dear Nicholas, “Single Girl in the City” is the second part of the personal history I started spinning out here a couple of days ago. The first part brought me to the point of getting a newspaper job in Raleigh, the city that’s the original reason for writing all this. Here’s the second in this […] Read More

Personal History: City Love

August 9, 2017
Nicholas, A few years ago, I wrote a piece of personal history for the anthology 27 Views of Raleigh. Turned out to be a story that stretched across all of my adult life, which of course I want you to know about. In the language of Facebook, I called it: “In a Relationship with Raleigh: […] Read More

The Real Facts About Life: Email to My Therapist

August 4, 2017
Nicholas, I have trouble believing in two major facts about life: birth and death. The real facts of life, it seems to me, are love, work, and running errands. Plus, being a believer or non-believer. And going to the beach, etc. The idea that people vanish seems utterly implausible to me. The idea that people […] Read More


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