What can YOU say in six sentences?
The Black-capped Chickadee sat with me every morning at the beach house in Martha's Vineyard, perhaps waiting for food or just curious about the woman in the wicker chair, her scribbling in a journal about how love sometimes dies, how even rocks erode over time.
I opened every drawer, door and cabinet in the house, noted the same ancient smells but never found anything of interest except the books downstairs: Life & Death of the Salt Marsh; Chess Traps,…Continue
She survived the shark attack, the deep bite severing major nerves and arteries beneath her left arm, a More Magazine story that was interesting not for the way this woman dealt with physical but with the mental and emotional assault of the attack.
What really stayed with me weren't the emergency measures taken to save her life or the blood color of the water, but of her swimming to the boat only seconds after the shark let go, knowing she was being followed, looking…Continue
Sanitary napkins and a Hustler centerfold shoot.
PB & J sandwiches and a nut shooting down a Batman theater audience.
A pig teat and Barbara Walter's bare feet.
A vintage Life board game and a field sobriety test.
Wile E. Coyote and Jenny Craig.
Speeding tickets and ninety year olds who die in their sleep.
Before I write about the ghost that blew in from the lisping Atlantic, the craggy spirit with tendrils of seaweed clinging like canned spinach to his one remaining black shoe, let me make this very clear: Martha's Vineyard is overrated, except for the very old ghosts.
As our tiny Cessna flew out of Boston last week (a plane built for eight to ten humans whose body and carry-on weight are considered before boarding) I admired the neat grid of land rows and roads,…Continue
My favorite memory of Fort Worth's Poly Theater is a fall evening in 1969, me staggering ahead of my parents pretending to be drunk. My family had just seen Paint Your Wagon so I took the liberty of singing the "bad" words in A Wanderin' Star, "Hell is in Hell-o..."
Boyd and Imogene Millican owned the theater built in the early '50s, a red and green wonderland with one screen, bright candy packages displayed beneath a clean glass counter, and a teller's…Continue
She lost her virginity at fifteen to an eighteen year old boy named John, said it hurt, details my mother only shared because I'd asked for them, but it's one of only a few conversations with her that I can't visualize or place in time.
It was while I was unpacking my suitcase in her apartment's one bedroom that I told her I'd finally started my period at the late extreme of normal; I stated this matter-of-factly, as an essential catch-up item between a mother and daughter…Continue
As the only one of three hundred guests without a sari, I will be conspicuous at Setu's classic Indian dance debut in two weeks, a celebration of the vast universe through expression of the body's beauty, a mystic manifestation of fire.
There will be extravagant temple jewelry and an orchestra playing Carnatic music on south Indian instruments: a drum, a long black pipe horn, flute, violin and veena; oil lamps will burn and large statues of the Hindu gods Nataraja, Ganesha,…Continue
For fun, I joined Southwest Casting company which sends emails when there are available parts.
There was a part in a plastic surgery ad; it paid $50 for someone with an attractive face and nose, a flat stomach, and big boobs.
There was a muscular dystrophy documentary that needed "friends" (15 people, ages 21 - 40) to dance in a bar around a woman in a wheelchair.
A non-alcoholic beer commercial needed "Fun attractive" twenty to…Continue
Smeared thoughts on this rainy dull morning:
1) Buff sweaty men air-fucking in the movie I saw last night, "Magic Mike"...yawn...friend's birthday request...nothing tingly except when Mike confesses to a girl he respects, then dances for himself.
2) Shy sparkless Holly Abernathy, a fifth grader, undoubtedly self-conscious about his name, first boy to ask freckled and gap-toothed me to be his girlfriend on…Continue
Nature program husband was watching on TV, snippet overheard from the kitchen:
The males want to mate with as many females as possible. The female bear is looking for the largest most dominant male. That way her cubs will have a greater chance for survival. Look at the males fighting to win. They're so engrossed. It's as if the female is insignificant.
Selma was at least 5'8", lean with small breasts, and though in her mid-forties and usually conservative, she occasionally wore a pink mini-skirt to show off her best feature, something Walt encouraged.
Her hair was brown and wavy, styled like the '70s Kristi McNichol in Family; her blackish brown eyes were large and round but even when she smiled, they expressed what you might see in the face of a Boston Terrier or Bulldog, a perpetually sad…Continue
Long before we met, Selma and I had a pre-connection. She was a member of Seabrook's local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter along with my mother, a group housed in a one-storey, once-white building, the sign on the door like the small print of necessity, of being forced to be somewhere: Clear Creek Club.
A few years after my mother died, Selma became my boss at a small free-standing mammography center where she told me new stories about my mother, then about her own drinking…Continue
At a recent Stella & Dot jewelry party, someone offered me their copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, a story about love, blindfolds and handcuffs which every other smiling woman in the room -- one with a theology degree -- had read and enjoyed.
As we discussed the subject matter -- sex between young Anastasia and billionaire Christian in the "red room of pain" -- the book sat on the countertop of the hostess' kitchen, the cover a man's gray disembodied necktie…Continue
It's a group on LinkedIn and provides daily writing prompts like: "Write about slow" or "Write about feeling stuck" or "Write about flying" or "Look at the clouds for ten minutes then write whatever comes to you". It's basically a way to prime the pump, open up without fear; no critiques allowed because these are safe, freeing exercises.
I wrote about clouds this morning, the ones that looked like a spine yesterday, the spine an…Continue
I made an appointment with a new doctor, a rheumatologist with a web cam at the front desk which takes photographs of all new patients, most of them two or three decades older than I am.
After answering questions about family history and joint pain -- I come from a bunch of alcoholic, HLA-B27 positive arthritic English, Irish, Native American Indians, aka, a gene pool of self-loathing autoimmunity -- I sat in an exam room decorated with fake plants, mauve vinyl and a picture…Continue
I should have married a writer. Two church mice living under a bridge.
The male Doctors I know don't talk to their wives, not about anything meaningful, nothing free and euphoric or deep and intimate, infinite.
Maybe saving lives is two different things: Doctors save flesh and writers save souls, or at least talk to them, keep them airborne.
Maybe flesh and spirit can live apart, or coexist, back to back or on different floors with intercoms…Continue
My first born, a creative gypsy, was never much concerned for anyone but herself.
Now she is living for another, choosing water over soda, vitamins over cigarettes, fruit over candy -- an unselfish self love.
Maybe she is involuting, becoming the child she carries.
I feel my adult child again, an infant in 1987, her life a Jenny Lind Crib, Winnie the Pooh motif, gray house on stilts in a small fishing town near Galveston Bay, our lives a…Continue
Fort Worth is a timid girl born in the sixties to low income alcoholic parents; she grows up feeling stained by her DNA and marries a handsome medical doctor, a union she hopes will dilute the Fort Worth in her bloodstream.
Fort Worth is a steep street called Crenshaw in a small neighborhood of pedophiles and children left home alone; it tastes like Bermuda grass and salty skin, like watermelon peppered with flies, its half-eaten crescents bleeding on Fort Worth's major…Continue