What can YOU say in six sentences?
The room I'm in is quiet for once. A girl swings to and fro in the back yard. A boy upstairs embraces Thomas the Train in his sleep. A man lifts weights in a back room. A dog sleeps by the window.
Their absent sound is like one hand clapping.
Writers write stories with a central theme, plot, twist and irony. They write characters who think, feel, dream, grow and die. They write symbols, connections and tie endings to beginnings along a believable resonating arc. They write conflict to achieve momentum and plot: man vs. man, nature, society or himself. The writer's work imitates life.
Real life ignores foreshadowing.
Our names aren't listed among those lost at Mauthausen.
We were transferred from Auschwitz in March 1945, a time when food rations were at their worst - one piece of bread per 20 inmates and half a liter of weed soup per day.
The transfers weren't expected to live past three months but Jo'zef and I lasted longer because he told me stories of home, sang Polish…Continue
Ernest Ledbetter was a blocked writer but committed to finishing what he started. Day after day he wrote then deleted, typed out dead slabs till his wife, Lenora, bellowed orders from the kitchen with her dependably oppressive thunder, "Mow the goddamn lawn and quit frittering away your life!"
He mowed neat rows front and back and thought about his life, that the only thing he'd frittered away was self-respect. His heavy black-rimmed glasses slid repeatedly off his…Continue
It was Leonard's first time as part of the "entrance procession" at St. Laurence, to lead the slow solemn march toward the front of the church holding the tall brass cross followed by: two other altar boys with large candles, Deacon Bob holding the red and gold Book of Gospels over his head, and the revered Father Drew at the tail-end.
Leonard prepared by wearing the appropriate vestment for this role - a plain, white, linen alb tied with a cincture. It would…Continue
She's been gone twelve years and the words still won't come. They stumble over blocks of love and sentiment, tangle their feet in briars and too much detail.
My memories of us are rooms full of too much furniture, stacked floor to ceiling, hoarded treasures. An editor who rejected our story explained to me as a father to a child: You're feeling too much to make us love this love story.
During my annual physical Dr. McMullen suggested I have an ultrasound of my heart because the EKG showed an abnormality on the right side, something I was sure was a fluke since I'm never ever sick but then again, my sister has cardiomyopathy (think Barbara Hershey in Beaches) so I went along with it.
I arrived at Sugar Land Methodist Hospital on time, met the sonographer and told her about my years in medicine so she would relax and realize I wasn't a real…Continue
After the Denny's waitress sets the cup of hot black coffee on my table, I add two Splenda and two teaspoons of cream. I take three sips of perfection and put the cup back down when suddenly the waitress reappears and tops off my nearly-full cup. As the additional coffee darkens the once caramel brown, I realize my delicate balance has been compromised.
A waiter I've never met shows up a few seconds later and offers me more coffee to which I reply, "No, thank you, I'm…Continue
Are you intelligent? You probably think you are at least in some ways, and according to Howard Gardner (proposed theory in 1983 which was never tested or subjected to peer review but sounds good to me) it could be 1 of 9…Continue
He agreed to meet me on a Saturday, telling his wife, Anne, when she called after him as he crossed the threshold of their home in Stratford upon Avon, "Give thy thoughts no tongue."
When he knocked on my door, I quickly wrapped myself in a bedsheet and ran to answer with a celebratory gift - a new quill - for his sucess with…Continue
Nancy and Sully were unaware of how little they had in common at the beginning of their marriage, a happy start fueled by lust, two-stepping at Joe's Tavern and Budweiser - shallow satiates which seemed in plentiful supply. In the carnival ride of the early years, Nancy conceived all three of their children, a time of warm hectic distraction. When the couple began to feel the space between them grow, they made the children their bond and priority, and when the children were gone and there…Continue
I often think about that primary pivotal moment when your life decides which way it will go.
In the 1998 movie, Sliding Doors, Gwyneth Paltrow's character lived out two versions of her life stemming from a single moment, parallel worlds hinging on whether or not she caught a train home from a PR job she was fired from only moments before.
In the life that begins when she successfully catches the train, she also catches her worthless…Continue
The first time I ever saw the fate of a relationship determined with a kiss was in the movie, Norma Rae, when she told a man who asked her to marry him that if the kiss was okay, everything would be okay.
There are overbearing kisses, controlling kisses that press too hard. Some want to swallow you whole or awkwardly lap you up like a gushing bulldog. There are corpse kisses that leave you all alone in the room or leave you wishing…Continue
His lonely songs blew like ghosts through the cemeteries at night, his tears gilding names on forgotten stones. I found him waiting for someone in an abandoned house. When he saw me he smiled, and his song became lyrical.
We walked past unburied corpses, through terrors in the blackest corners of his dungeons, crawled along the shifting floors of his oceans. He took me laughing through the glitter and nebulae of his heaven, one he'd worked hard - bled and died - to…Continue
Pregnancy is only seen by the world from the outside, an adorable round belly dressed in what is becoming increasingly vogue maternity-wear, a ten-month progression that becomes an even more adorable "bundle" dressed in soft delicate pastels that can cost more than a pair of Jimmy Choo's.
The world leaves out the gritty middle details, that Daddy didn't suffer the debilitating round ligament pains which feel like a metal vice clamped on Mommy's groin, or that Daddys…Continue
The day started at 6:00 am with cranky kids rising, my dog peeing on the floor (again), and a trip down to the local elementary school to meet Kristin, a speech therapist who will teach my 3 year old to say more than uh-uh-uh. After killing time in the school lobby while my son learned "cup" and "juice", we ran local errands then to Dennys where I quickly shoveled food into all three of our mouths so we could rush home to let our steroid-medicated dog out to pee one last time before…Continue
When she's ovulating...
1. Ava wants to show a fire hydrant some lovin'.
2. The world is Ava's oyster and she wants to suck it up with a short straw.
3. Ava's eggs gather in the dark, behead chickens and dance naked around a fire.
4. Ava's #1 egg is pulled into a pink feather boa who swallows and pulses the sacred gem toward a mauling crowd.
5. #1 taps her long red fingernails while waiting for 400,000,000 tiny lost…Continue
The gracious hostess has gone to a lot of trouble - seven-course meal, three desserts, expensive wine; a table setting involving white linen, tiny name cards, two dozen pink roses and her best china. After the initial greeting at the door she introduces us to the other dozen guests, all dressed to the nines, then launches into the expected, "So what do you do?" - at me, probably because I look unprepared or irresistibly mysterious - the latter I hope. I stumble…Continue
I got bored with MySpace and found Facebook (less like a rave, more like an adult cocktail party), though I thought people who were into Facebook's Mafia Wars were pathetic. There were Mafia Wars icons all over my Home page, taking up pages and pages of space so I had to scroll far up and down to see what my 40-50 close friends and family were up to every few days. My sister was one of the sadly addicted, racking up a list of "Mafia friends" somewhere near a thousand; it got so bad…Continue
The sermons at Boulevard Baptist led me to compulsive hand-washing and praying; there was even a short film shown at church on a Wednesday night about an "athiest" wrecking his motorcycle, images of his sudden decapitation and sentencing to hell leading to chronic day- and nightmares.
Not long after viewing another film, this one about communists taking over America and thrusting bamboo shoots into Christian's brains via their ear canals, my mother noticed my young…Continue