seeking the story in the ordinary


IMG_9872A wistful and welcoming look at life’s ordinary moments.

Here is where I explore the little things, the small moments that make up a life—and that reflect our shared humanity. In ‘seeking the story in the ordinary’—the world just beyond our front door, a long walk in late afternoon light, the first sips of a hot cup of coffee, the kindness of a stranger who lets you change lanes—I hope to call attention to the commonplace and the common strand that runs through us all. What we share is far more, and far more beautiful, than what sets us apart. We all may be a bit uncertain as we walk through this life, but it steadies us to remember we tread on common ground.

I hope you will read my words, look at my little life, see yourself there, and feel less alone. I’m glad you found me. And I hope you’ll find something of yourself in this Commonplace.

Find me elsewhere—

Twitter: @DinaLRelles.

My writing:

The Atlantic,
Atticus Review,
Barrelhouse (online),
Brain, Child Magazine,
Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog,
The Coil Magazine,
Full Grown People,
The Huffington Post,
Literary Mama,
The Manifest-Station,
matchbook literary magazine,
Paper Darts,
Rise Up Review,
River Teeth,
Scary Mommy,
STIR Journal,
Synaesthesia Magazine,
Unbroken Journal,
The Washington Post,
Waxwing, and


DRellesprofileI’m a mother of four, lapsed lawyer, writer, editor, and general Northeasterner. After practicing law for the better part of a decade, I stopped to spend more time with my children. Now I read and write in the crevices of my day, around the edges of a life filled with little ones and little time. I write to seek the story in the ordinary, and to take comfort in the commonality of it all—we’re all in our own homes, going about our separate, solitary lives, but maybe you’ve felt this way too? You’re out there walking alongside me, even from many miles away? Even if we’ve never met?

A Bit More About Me…

I’m a former litigator.

Turned writer/editor.

I’m a city girl.

Who’s now a country mouse.

I’m a people-watcher.

You can find me on my front stoop.

I bite my nails.

But I’ve been trying to stop. For 20 years.

My life doesn’t work without coffee.

Plain, black. Ok, maybe a teaspoon of sugar.

I love falling asleep to street noise.

…when I can fall asleep.

The Little Prince is my favorite book.

Who doesn’t want to be tamed?

I love everything about autumn.

Especially Thanksgiving.

My closest friends are from summer camp.

My husband is too.

I’ve been in love with R.E.M. since I was 9.

I once went on a road trip to Athens, GA to meet Michael Stipe.

I don’t enjoy cooking or eating.

I just do it to stave off hunger.

Sometimes I don’t appreciate moments as they pass.

But I always miss them when they’re gone.

Wistful and irreverent.

All at once.

I love public transportation.

Except when I’m running late for a train.

I love everything about the early morning.

The peace and quiet. The possibility. The productivity. The coffee. The fact that my kids are all here. But that they’re asleep.

I’m a secular humanist.

Or an agnostic Jew. Or both. I wrestle with uncertainty, but am learning to walk through life full of wonder and a love of the unknown.

These are a few of my favorite things.

You cannot meet someone for a moment, or even cast eyes on someone in the street, without changing. That is my subject.
— Carolyn Kizer

Often we forget the beauty of parking lots. — Michael Stipe

Wherever you go, you meet part of your story. — Eudora Welty

Every stage of life longs for others. — Andrew Solomon

Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it. — David Foster Wallace

Did you think you would keep your life, or anything else you love? — Annie Dillard

Life is made of so many partings welded together. — Charles Dickens

…if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


13 thoughts on “About

  1. Sarah says:

    I love you and this blog!!! I am in bed – too tired to come up with anything more creative. But I’m excited already to read more of what you write and share.

  2. bam says:

    this is breathtakingly beautiful. thank you for leading me to find you. a glimmer of the beautiful in my ordinary day….

    1. Oh these words went straight to my heart. I just left a note on your blog…so happy to have found you. Until next time…xo

  3. Dana says:

    I love your About page! I’m a recent country mouse who misses the city and a chronic nail biter who loves autumn, The Little Prince, coffee and your blog. Though I can’t ski unless you count rolling down bunny slopes and strategic falling skiing.

    So glad to have found your words.

    1. Thank you so much, Dana! Sounds like we could spend more than a few coffee-filled afternoons connecting over all we have in common. I’m so glad I found you too–always so wonderful to happen upon a kindred writer.

  4. bam says:

    so i just tried to see if i could like this twice. it didn’t work. but i just read through one more time, and could not believe how many threads we share……from love of gray, to early morning and autumn…..oh my. this will serve as my second “like” until the world catches up with the notion that some of us just need more than one…..xoxo

    1. Thank you to the ends of the earth, dear one. For being out there.

  5. jsolot says:

    I’m happy to find your blog. You write beautifully. I, too, am a former attorney, writer, storyteller, mother of three under five, people watcher, and lover of Tom Robbins. I look forward to exploring your blog when I get a moment.

    1. Justine! Wonderful to connect–I just left a comment on your lovely blog. So glad you found me & led me to you. I’m looking forward to following each other around in this shared cyberworld of ours.

      1. jsolot says:

        Me too, I can’t wait to explore your blog. Happy New Year!

  6. herheadache says:

    I just read your essay on Full Grown People. Beautiful. I love discovering new and amazing writers there.
    I have been writing on a consistent basis, on my blog, for a year now. I am always excited to find other writers and blogs that speak to me. This place feels like a real treasure and I look forward to getting deeper into what you have to say here.
    P.S. I met R.E.M. in 1999 and they were some of the friendliest guys. They put on a great live show.

  7. dpcoffey says:

    Hi Dina, it was an unexpected pleasure to connect with you on Twitter this morning. I hope you’ll follow me there, so we can chat. Be well!

    Dan (@itscoffeyagain)

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