Janice Wilberg, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1986

Not often, but sometimes, people call me Dr. Wilberg. If they like me and want to rib me a bit, sometimes they call me Doc or Dr. J.

I don’t call myself Dr. Wilberg but I put Ph.D. after my name on anything that is remotely professional in nature. And I never feel the least bit self-conscious about it. I don’t think it’s an overreach, self-aggrandizing, or anything but concrete evidence of nine years of my life and hard work the likes of which I haven’t seen in the thirty years since the day I was hooded. Yeah. I really…


I wear a mask when we walk the dogs and when I see someone approaching a block away, I cross the street. I haven’t been in a store or a restaurant since March 13th. I wash the mail, well, not really. I let it sit in the front hall for a couple of days, push it around with my foot to see if there are any important bills. I text, I Zoom, I email but I don’t see any of my friends or family in person — not from six feet away, not from twenty.

The experts said that Covid-19…


Bernie Sanders isn’t alone in wondering if a woman can be elected president of the United States. I’ve wondered the same thing. I’ve said the same thing: I don’t think a woman can be elected president.

I think Hillary Clinton’s loss had an enormous amount to do with her being a woman, with the sexism from the right and the left so thick sometimes it made my eyes water. Her defeat depressed me so much that it called into question what might be a fundamental truth about my fellow Americans — they can’t bring themselves to vote for a woman…


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You can wish all you want, rail against the injustice of the locked door, commiserate with all your locked-out friends, none of that will matter. The door will stay locked until you ring the bell.

But it isn’t easy ringing the bell. You have to walk up to the house, stand on the porch, and push the button. And then you have to wait. The waiting can be murder, all the thinking about having made a mistake, being in the wrong place, not knowing what to say if a person answer the door. …


I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to convince people to give my little organization, Time of the Month Club, money to buy homeless women tampons and pads which, once used, will be heaved into some landfill along with disposable diapers and other unpleasant detritus of lives lived in the city.

If one subscribes to the notion that teaching a man (or woman) to fish is superior to giving them fish, then I ought to be doing something more substantial, more enduring that handing somebody a freezer bag of 20 tampons which will be used and tossed in a week’s…


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

I heard our local police chief refer to homeless people as an eyesore. An eyesore. Like a junkyard, like old wet carpet piled at the curb, like boarded up, burned out buildings on main street. Living breathing people seen as an eyesore.

He wasn’t speaking about his department’s official policy toward homelessness, as in, their mission was to reduce community eyesores. He was just talking off the cuff, albeit to an audience of a couple of hundred people, influential ones to boot. We all heard what he said. The word came out of his mouth like he’d used it at…


Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

Once, while she was sitting in a chair in my living room, I reached out and touched a Black woman’s hair. At that moment and without thinking about it in any way, my hand was drawn to her hair, its airiness and resilience. I patted her hair a few times before what I was doing struck me and I pulled my hand back. She never turned her head to look at me but I felt her stiffen her shoulders. She would never scold me, though. My young friend looked up to me, respected me as an elder, and touching her…


I have a writing life. I’m no Stephen King but I have a writing life. One that I think about a lot — how much am I writing, is my writing any good, does it matter?

My big accomplishment this year on my blog is that everything posted has been new. No reposts, no reruns, as my husband calls them. Just fresh content, as limp and pale as it sometimes is, like the Boston lettuce I bought Saturday at a market known for its produce. I dropped eleven dollars there, had it rolled up in my pocket and was holding…


Photo by Kenny Luo on Unsplash

I haven’t written about it for a long time.

When I wrote about it, it was still oddly fresh, even though it had happened so many years before. That’s what the first telling is always like. After the first time I wrote about my illegal abortion, I walked down the street to Lake Michigan feeling like layers of old wet wool sweaters were being stripped from my shoulders. I marveled at this. Had I been walking around for decades with all those thick, scratchy sweaters buttoned up to my neck? …


Photo credit: Jan Wilberg 2014

Lake Superior is very cold. Today, the surface temperature of the lake in front of our house in Grand Marais, Michigan, was between 54 and 56 degrees according to the Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System.

By the end of August, the water will be warmer. By Labor Day, it will be as warm as it will get. Then the temperature will go in the other direction until the ice forms into giant ridges on the shore and gathers in floes that ride the crests of waves. The lake that is beautiful and quiet today can kill people in a flash…

Jan Wilberg

Progressive activist, daily blogger at https://redswrap.wordpress.com. Politics, feminism, aging, and family.

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