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"I'm gonna live forever/I'm gonna cross that river/I'm gonna catch tomorrow now."

Billy Joe Shaver passed away, last month — another brilliant light in a sky filled with stars who have left us, this year — and these words have rattled around in my head ever since.

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Yesterday was March and now it's almost Christmas — or so it seems. I am currently asking myself if it's too early for Mariah Carey while simultaneously laughing because, of course it isn't. Have you seen this year? Are you presently on earth? Do you miss joy? Mariah's up-tempo chart-smashing holiday banger "All I Want for Christmas" is exactly what we need.

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When I began contemplating a theme for a weekly essay that would be enjoyable and, more importantly, productive, it became clear that "Meet Me in the Middle" was where I wanted to land. At a time in our country's history when it seems that its people are more divided than ever before, and a time when we find ourselves in the middle of a very close — and, at this writing, still unresolved — election (at the end of the most calamitous year of our lifetime) meeting in the middle is at the top of my mind.

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