Author Archives: Jean Carroll Nolan

Jean Carroll Nolan lives in Seaside, California (just north of Monterey), in a perpetually disorderly house, with too many books for the bookcases and a housemate whom she has known since 1985, when they met on their daughters’ first day of kindergarten. She enjoys music, reading, writing poetry, talking with friends, and watching old films. She is cared for by two dogs: Sonny, a 90-pound bully dog; and Mojo, a 14-pound chihuahua mix. (The chihuahua, of course, believes himself to be larger than his enormous younger brother.) Nolan’s reading tastes are eclectic, ranging from sociology to murder mysteries, royal biographies, and military history. She considers herself a liberal and a patriot, and sees no dichotomy there. She supports animal rescue projects and facilities (race horses and pit bulls, in particular), and is trying to preserve a diminishing belief that courtesy and kindness have power to reshape the world. She adores her two adult children and her daughter- and son-in-law, who are as good as it gets. She is desperately in love with her grandchildren, Brody and Sarah, her grand dogs, Wayne and and Chance and Suzy Snowflake and Valentino, and her grand cats, Oliver and Greta. She enjoys finding and enjoying the miraculous in everyday life, a trait she first discovered in the subway stations of Chicago, observing former field mice who, amazingly, not only survived but thrived on the track bed below the trains. (Author Photos: John Nolan.)

The Premise

“The thing is, we know nothing about death/Except what it is not. It is not pain,/Nor struggle. Stripped of need even for breath/Our bodies settle. Minerals do not strain;/Achievement and failure do not call to chalk./As we lose the sometime burden of our flesh/Our obligations melt. Was blood the caulk/That sealed our souls to bone? […]

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Barbaro Takes Flight

“I did the thing one should not do, and anthropomorphized them, but only until I understood that it was a rare human being who displayed the brand of determination, which we call ‘heart,’ common to the thoroughbred. At the age of eight, therefore, I had already decided it was much wiser to judge people as […]

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“Puzzle” & “Two Moons”

“Do you know it when you meet him? Do you see/Through the glowing filter of happy lust,/On down the twisted tunnel of the years,/ The anguish and the shock of recognition—/The moment when, in simultaneous stroke,/You and he have swum the river of time,/And found a flat topped rock.”— Jean Carroll Nolan More Light By Jean […]

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Stargazing (& Shopping for Shoes) with My Mother (Best of Hubris)

“That is how I remember us, styling away, off to where Miss Nightingale, clad in her long, dark woolen skirts—(it was always after Labor Day that I saw her)—and twin sets, brandished her metal foot-measuring device as a knight might his shield on the broad field of beige-carpeted showroom. And, after I had nodded mendaciously, […]

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Morning Has Broken

“Even in the disastrous political climate of today, with neighbor turning on neighbor, and families divided on issues more deeply, I suspect, than at any time since the Civil War, even when global warming threatens us in ways known and as yet unknown, even as the ice melts where it should not, and polar bears […]

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The Devil’s Playground

“We have a clearly conflicted relationship with our less virtuous traits, and that confusion is evident in our portrayals of the Prince of Darkness. Much of it is Milton’s fault. The devil is far and away the most interesting character in “Paradise Lost,” angry, suffering, an angel in exile, beautiful, and tragic. That is the […]

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Baseball is Life

“I love this part of the season. The distortion in today’s schedule, a natural result of the league expansion, means that, often, crucial playoff series are played in weather better suited to football, and the death of a hope-and-dream-filled season occurs in bitter cold, a foretaste of winter instead of a culmination of summer glories. […]

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A Late Quatrain for Mr. Carroll

“Pop saw no reason that my youth and gender should prevent me from being interesting company for him. So, while other little girls learned decorum and how to curl their hair, I listened to baseball on the radio and, on Friday nights, to the Friday night fights, presented by Gillette. (‘To look sharp . . […]

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Tough Love

“The intensity inherent in such relationships is wearing, demanding in the extreme, and likely to produce missteps and strange, if not actually bad, judgment. But, it is glorious. Ashley Wilkes may be virtuous and upstanding, but it is Rhett Butler whose blood sings to Scarlett’s.”— Jean Carroll Nolan More Light By Jean Carroll Nolan SEASIDE California—(Weekly […]

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Stockholm Syndrome

“And before that, my mother singing ‘I’m a Poor Little Petunia in an Onion Patch,’ my father making up bedtime stories hilarious and delightful. The little Ling-Po, making his way through the Himalayas with his best friend, a little (of course) yak. I have a feeling that story followed the Chinese invasion of Tibet, as Pop tended […]

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