Beautiful Day of being Seen

Holy mother of Merman and Martin, this has been a beautiful day. So much good, not the least of which was finding this in my Twitter timeline:

(Actually, click here for a link to an even better version from 54 Below – which I cannot seem to embed here. Jeremy Jordan sings Losing My Mind.)

I adore Jeremy Jordan. I adore Losing My Mind. The combination is just – well, cause for more adoration. I cannot wait for movie of The Last Five Years. I am still mourning the end of Smash.

But, this post is about my beautiful day. It began with a private Twitter conversation with someone very dear to me, someone who made me feel so very loved and seen and heard and known — which is funny, because we have never met in person and probably never will, but, right now, this person(a) knows me so incredibly well and is one of those who make me feel loved. Seen.

Speaking of, when I returned to the gym after an eight-day absence – a gym where I have been going almost every day for the past two (?) years without fail but where I still, somehow, am not included in that group of “regulars” who are there every day like me, chat each other up, hang together in a sort of “in” club – and I was in the locker room changing when the fellow who is head of maintenance/cleaning, he of the prison-teardrop tattoo (although, not filled in, so apparently he did not actually kill the man) walked up to me and said, “Where have you been?” Now, me being me and unaccustomed to being – well – seen, although there was no one else anywhere near us, replied, “Me?” Yes. Me. He said, “I was worried about you, wondering where you went.” I explained that I’d been sick but was much better now and not a danger to anyone but I did “the Charlie” as some of my students used to call it; I started with the eyes watering, semi-cry. He said, “Whoa, are you okay?” I said, “Yeah, I’m good – just, sickness wore me out and it’s just so nice you noticed I was gone.” He semi-smiled and backed away. Pretty sure he won’t ask me where I’ve been ever again.

But, still, I was seen. It was lovely.

Then, a call came in on my cell. I NEVER ANSWER MY PHONE unless it’s someone I know. But, I did today because I am awaiting my lab results. It was not the doctor, but, rather, an establishment with which I did business in the past, had an account, and where it turned out I had credits – credits enough to qualify for TWO HOUR LONG MASSAGES! WHAT?

You’ve no idea how very much I have been wanting a massage, but they are just too pricey and despite the fact that I was trained as a Certified Massage Therapist and give ridiculously fabulous massages myself — I am known for my skills with my hands and healing and I will brook no snarky remarks about that — I have been unable to find anyone who is skilled enough with whom to trade. I don’t enjoy light massage, I am a deep-tissue, work at the knot, make me scream sort of a guy, and it is very difficult to find anyone who does that sort of work. The last two I found both quit within six months of me finding them — AND AGAIN, NO SNARKY REMARKS — and my dream of finding a man who combines massage skills with a deep and abiding affection for me — well, let’s not, this is a post about a BEAUTIFUL DAY.

So, all that good — dear one on Twitter, fellow at the gym, a massage going to happen — things are looking up; why, any day now I will, no doubt, find myself an agent and a room with windows, privacy, blessed silence and uninterrupted quiet, and sunshine. Good day, dears. Love and Light to you.

Short Story (Well, me being me, not THAT short)

Thunderstruck and other stories Elizabeth McCracken

Short Story Textbook #1: Elizabeth McCracken’s brilliant Thunderstruck. This is nirvana.

Whatever this THIS is with which I have been contending for more than two weeks, this THIS that has forced me to take antibiotics for the first time in ten years, this THIS that has resulted in wild ten pound vacillations in my weight (for example, I weigh four pounds LESS today than I did yesterday when I weighed three pounds more than I had the day before), this THIS that kept me away from the gym for more than a week, this THIS that – until last night, thank you – had me waking in pain at least once each sleep-cycle with a near-overwhelming urge to projectile-spew from one or another or multiple orifices – not least of which were my eyes from which I have repeatedly in frustration and fear and just plain, whipped weariness – wept, this THIS which has depleted and defeated and exhausted and exasperated me, this This which has caused my brain to malfunction, memory to disappear, and in general rendered my ability to think, reason and respond into a shape I imagined I wouldn’t reach until dotage, this THIS which has taken on a personality of its own separate and apart from me, Charlie, and become, well, this THIS; It finally seems (shhh, not too loud) to be dissipating. Not quickly, not altogether, and not without – just when I thought I was safe to venture more than two minutes and ten yards from a restroom – recurrence, but, still, dissipating.

Purdy, James

James Purdy’s complete short stories with an intro by John Waters. How did I only JUST discover him last year? WHY?

During this This, I’ve been working in a form new for me: The Short Story. Anyone who reads my blog (which, I guess, would be you?) would scoff at the possibility of me being short and concise about anything. I don’t disagree. I don’t necessarily think the discipline and format and requirements of short story writing are things at which I am, by nature, inclined to excel. However, having been challenged to cut my novel by 30% and being about as successful at that as Jerry Lewis was at cutting back on being maudlin and mugging, I determined I needed to exercise literary muscles I had never bother to develop: Concision. Editing. Brevity. The Point without Parenthetical Meanderings.

Davis, Lydia davis-thecollectedstories01

Lydia Davis – ashamed to say I only discovered her in the past month. These are the problems with being an autodidact. While I would never have made it following the formal routes of education, I did miss some things along the way I might earlier have found.

Good luck. But I am giving it my best, which, during this This, has been unpredictable, fevered, chilled, less than focused – as I mentioned above, my thought processes and ability to reason/respond have been off and on like senility – and iffy. So, when I simply cannot write onemoreword, when the thought of spending one more second re-arranging the same string of words into a shape that actually conveys my heart makes me wail or weep, I turn to my textbooks. Oh, the joy I have experienced reading short stories. So, here they are, some of the best, scattered through this post. You’re welcome. I’m a giver.

Bowles, Paul Collected

Paul Bowles, my spiritual father. I think “Pages from Cold Point” is brilliant. I gasped the first time I read it, that someone could go the places he went without going there and yet going there with such force. Genius.

Bowles, Jane collected

Jane Bowles, my spiritual mother. Everything. She is everything. Just read her.













I do not mean to say that this list of short story writer is all-inclusive by any means. There is Alice Munro, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Roald Dahl, Elizabeth Spencer, George Saunders, and, of course, Dorothy Parker … and others. But, for me, right now, where I am, Elizabeth McCracken, Lydia Davis, James Purdy, and my parents, the Bowles, are most instructive. Enjoy your day. I’ve got to get back to work on finishing one of these damn shorts. Love and Light friends, Love and Light.

(Look Mommy and Daddy, less than 700 words!)

Whelmed, though not quite over. It’s Monday in Sepia Fallows.

It is Monday here in Sepia Fallows and the burning bush has gone all over red;

Oct 27 2014 burning bush

And the sentry in the front continues, every day, its metamorphing from rusty-red blush to yellow, dropping leaves from the top in its unmantling:

Oct 27 2014 fading trees

Gorgeous, yes? And so certain. They just do what they do, day after day: Being.

Being. They aren’t waiting for anything else to happen. They are fulfilled, as is. Now.

What? I’ll try to explain.

I used to worry because it seemed when I’d at last disciplined myself to writing desk, preferred Uni-Ball Vision Elite micro-point, black ink pen and Clairefontaine Pupitre spiral-top tablet at the ready to receive my stories, the following would happen: I’d write the sentence meant to begin the tale on which I’d been ruminating — often a matter of transcribing a quickly scribbled semi-thought or a-ha sentence deposited previously in one of the notebooks, sticky pads, index cards I carry with me everywhere — and in the doing, in the effort to sing it like the song it was in my head, I would become lost in etymology and rhythm until what I’d meant to say, what I thought I’d heard, those first imaginings, the spirit-speak of a phrase that had whispered and urged me to tell a particular story in a particular way, had become something so entirely different that often its beginnings were undetectable.

In fact, example: this blog entry.

I meant to tell — briefly — how my day began with the whispered urge to say I was feeling overwhelmed, which thought gave me to wonder, “Can one be merely whelmed? Is there whelming without over-ing?” And I was off. Thus began the dance through multiple dictionaries, on-line sources, each of which I followed down (and up and over and around and all sort of other prepositions*) a digressive path until it was — is — now afternoon when I began this at eight a.m. and meant quickly to dash-off and post, so I might get on with my day, with the project I need to complete in the next seventy-two hours, the project which — along with my continuing malady — is, well, causing me to suffer one of the following:

  • Whelm: cover over, submerge, engulf. Or;
  • Overwhelm: to turn upside down, figuratively bring to ruin, to heap upon, overpower with an excess of anything, destroy, crush.

Well then. I am whelmed. Not quite over-ed. The thing being, now, having reached my fifties, having remained mostly unpublished — which accomplishment joins the list of other “mostly un’s” that have been my life story: Unfamous. Unmarried. Unpartnered. Un-child-ed (that’s an awkward construct – but, you know, I’ve not parented anyone). I never quite-ed quite a lot — where was this going? Oh, right, my fifties, now, and this thing I do, this life I am living, this writing and my way of doing it, well, you see, I am slowly coming to an understanding that this is my Being.


I won’t — likely — be published between hard covers. I won’t be invited to book festivals. I won’t be meeting my pals at the Algonquin — hell, that Algonquin doesn’t even exist anymore. But, all this “won’t” and “un” about which I have spent five decades worrying, well, it doesn’t really mean shit, does it? That burning bush and front yard sentry are not concerned about what they’ve not. They change colors, undress to scheduled dormancy, content to do so.

I’m much better. But, I’ve still the chills – off and on. I continue to feel something off inside me. I am on my way today to a lab for tests. I am being tested, again. These tests. I am “un” and failed by many measures and this is why I try to avoid labs, avoid putting myself in the position where testing is required. I want, quietly, to unmantle — like the front yard sentry, my colors bursting until the fade, simple, accepting my season — but, instead, it seems, I dismantle. I try to settle, try to Be, but find myself, always, this always, now always, so always, taking myself apart.

Look, I found these pictures last night as I was dreaming of where I’d like to go for a quiet decline.

apartment outside

apartment garage 2

apartment garage 1

Little spaces. Sunshine. Color. Light.

I have to go to the lab. I have to finish my story. I haven’t much time.


* The simple act of typing “prepositions” resulted in a consult with my Fowler’s Modern English Usage, that I might refresh my knowledge of prepositions. Therein, a historical note that it was Dryden who unintentionally instituted the interdiction against ending sentences with a preposition. Who knew? Fowler devotes almost three pages to this. I read all three.

Step-Ladder Stool Sunday

StoolIt is Sunday. Newspaper day. As a child, I spent most Sundays with my aunt, Sissie, in Libertytown, where came the Washington and Baltimore Sunday papers. They would be sat upon a red-metal step-ladder stool, where they’d stay until the next Saturday. So busy was Sissie’s life of caretaking and working that it often took her a week to finish them. She read every word. She didn’t want to waste anything.

For some reason, I am missing that stool today. Which is just another way of saying I am missing Sissie. Today I miss her because I did something stupid last night that she would have turned into a story about how special I was. Am. No, I’m not, you see. Not since she’s gone. Which is why I miss her – I need someone to convince me (or delude themselves) to believe again. To take me into a world where my Twitter profile is closer to the truth.

There, in my Twitter profile, I hubristically proclaim myself the love-child of Jane and Paul Bowles. Which also has to do with Sissie.

Bowles Jane Solo

Jane Bowles

I did not discover this spiritual lineage- indeed had never heard of the Bowles – until 1981, when the damaged, tender boy-man I was had flown home, prodigal-nephew-like, to my aunt, Sissie, landing neither for the first nor last time on her doorstep in a state of spiritual dishabille and despair. That boy I was knew he’d be welcomed there, knew he would have no need to beg forgiveness there, because there, in Libertytown, there, with Sissie, he was not capable of sin. We – Sissie and I – fell easily (again) into our private world. She was someone who but for the vagaries of the needs of others might have been (should have been) Edna St. Vincent Millay, and having sacrificed herself on the Catholic-altar of duty and convention, determined – fairy godmother-like – that the same would not happen to me; she would foster my inchoate genius and mordancy, her plan being to treat me as if I’d already become Truman Capote/Tennessee Williams/Marcel Proust/Dorothy Parker and thus was excused the expectations of polite society and obligations of real-world adults.

With her, for her, to her, I was a star.

We spent – some might say we wasted – many decades and dollars on this literary, faux-Algonquin Round Table fantasy of ours, and it was 1981 after my having run-away from whatever it was in my life that had crushed me then – the details are hazy now and my journals are lost somewhere in a storage unit at the moment, but I recall it vaguely as being about my younger sister having left the East Coast for a Hawaiian idyll, Tequila-sunrises in plastic pitchers, and men who sported chest-revealing, Quiana shirts emblazoned with Marilyn Monroe astride a swan – to California at the behest of friends who thought I’d find solace and my heart in San Francisco.

Not quite.

I did discover Barbara Cook and my incompatibility with yet another culture – the gay one – and a paralyzing fear of earthquakes. After a Californian Thanksgiving-weekend spent with a soldier my friends picked up for me when I dissolved into weeping having spied him sitting alone at the restaurant where we were all pointedly not having turkey, and his explaining as he left on Monday morning that we would never see one another again – he thought I’d understood that – HA – that is something I have YET to ever understand,  even when trading fake names and stats with Craigslist and Grindr tricks post-tryst – I flew home.

Not a star. To anyone. But, Sissie. And like Sissie not having been Millay, I was, then, on that return, not Armistead Maupin – another name added to the list of all those I had not and would not become.

Missing, then and now and still and always – or, so it seems, here in my implacable decline – the point that I might have spent less energy trying to be those others and more being just myself.

Bowles& Mrabet

Mohammed Mrabet & Paul Bowles

That post-Californian-Thanksgiving-soldier-return, that not being Armistead Maupin adventure in fail, was the one during which Millicent Dillon’s biography of Jane Bowles, A Little Original Sin, was published. Sissie and I read a review and bought it and I devoured it in one of those hardly-any-sleep, blizzard winter weekends when the world went silent and the wood stove kept us warm. After that, I delved into the collected works of both Bowles, obsessing, wanting my own shady, exotic Tangier-ian lovers who I would share with their wives.

Careful what you wish for. While none of my poor choices were from Tangier, there was much sharing – and hiding – and while I didn’t approach matching Mr. Bowles artistic output or gift, when one compares our habit and pattern of messy emotional involvements with needy lunatics – well, I’ve said enough.

Enough. You see? Without Sissie, without our wood stove, deep reading, shared-discovery weekends, without our papers piled on the red-metal-step-ladder-stool, I have devolved into this lumpen mass of myself – and there is so little of me left – such energy I have spent trying to be those others, trying to please so many others – I can’t focus. I can’t find where I am – was – should be?

waugh bridesheadrevisitedAnd so disconnected am I from reality, so busy trying to be other, that last night I set all the clocks back an hour. Why? Because I am such a delusional Anglophile that the majority of people I follow on Twitter and the websites I troll are located in the United Kingdom. So, all day yesterday I kept reading about and being reminded to set back the clocks, unaware that I was being fed these things by U.K. sources. It took me until 9:30 this morning and a not pretty bout of raging at my laptop and smart-phone about how NOT smart they were for not re-setting as they ought – that I realized what I’d done.

Sissie would have said, “Well, you really are British at soul, anyway. Very Evelyn Waugh Brideshead Revisited and Noel Coward. That’s why.” And made me feel all sorts of all-over powerful. As if my idiotic behavior was somehow a gift, a blessing.

I miss Sissie. And I want that stool back. It, like my journals and my belief in myself, locked away somewhere, in storage, waiting for me to find a place I can call my own home again.

Sunday. Bloody fucking Sunday.


Patience, Patient.

After eleven days of unrelenting dysentery-like symptoms, I finally turned to the medical profession. But . . .


First and most importantly, I want to go here: The Porches. [CLICK ON IT – REALLY!]

PorchesSummer500px PorchesEast_bedroom_study_300px





It’s a writing retreat, approximately three hours from me, and a two-week stay is $750. Or, better, a four-week stay is $1500. Well, plus food and such, which one does on one’s own. No cell reception. Five private rooms. I am dreaming of this. Dreaming of this.


Didion 3I came across this via Twitter late tonight, by Andrew O’Hagan, called A Hotel Room of One’s Own, [CLICK ON IT- READ IT- RIGHT NOW] and it is great. Not only does he talk about my idol, Joan Didion, but he talks about loving to disappear into hotels. Once upon a time, for a few brief years in my then quite horrible life, I managed to spend my birthday week at The Algonquin. It was before the Marriott corporation bought it and destroyed the lobby, killing the charm of its historic lobby by trashing all the tattily-upholstered wing-chairs and sofas from the 1920’s & 30’s, discarding the dark wood, unmatched, cocktail-tumbler-sweat and cigarette-scarred side-tables in favor of matching, horrid furnishings and lamps and chandeliers resembling anal-beads, stripping away the velvet curtains and disrespecting the Round Table Legend by coating the place in a veneer of cheap, corporate modernity — AND removing the ORIGINAL Dorothy Parker cocktail from the menu, replacing it with some sweet, sugared sip of saccharine shit. Oh for the olden days, when I loved staying there. When one could easily pretend not only that you were another person but, even better, that you were living in another time, a magical-nother-place. I pretended I was a real writer, a real New Yorker, and I would spend hours in the lobby composing my sure to be best-seller and those pithy, witty, honest, only to be posthumously published journal scribbles, and, dear heaven, watching, listening to the impossibly glamorous people, waiting for fur-wrapped, pale unto ghost-like Karen Akers to float into the elevator – which we once shared.

Oh, I loved it so. I want to disappear like that again, really I do. Would that it still existed, but, alas, it, like so much else into which I long, ache, dream of dissolving again, is gone. Like so many of the loves I have loved, gone. Oh, oh, oh my dears. I need to get away, somehow, to go, somewhere, and New York would be nice, but, I think, The Porches is what I need now. No distractions. Just write. Just right.

  • OSCAR WILDE and his FLINGS . . .

I read this brief and delightful article today from the Paris Review about Oscar Wilde’s use – or, over-use? – of FLING in all its forms. [CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE] I have a few favorite words I fling around too freely and frequently as well. Tessellate and all its variations. I actually have to search everything I write and delete it, so frequently do I use it to try to describe a character’s perception of reality.

  • NOW, THE MEDICAL SHIT (so to speak) . . .

After eleven days of what seemed like dysentery, by this morning I was feeling that headache and chill thing one gets from dehydration. TMI ALERT: nothing has stayed in my body for more than an hour or so for the past eleven days and the exiting has been rather urgent. I’ve not had a fever and until this morning had not experienced cramping or pain, but, when I woke up today, my abdomen/stomach/insides were just exhausted-sore from all of this and I knew I was getting weak. So, after doing what I needed to do today, this afternoon around 1p.m. I called my so-called Primary Care Physician.

HA! Long-short, when I said I needed to see someone I was told the next available appointment was two weeks from now. I expressed dismay and alarm and explained the symptoms I’d been having for eleven days. I was then lectured that one should never have diarrhea for more than two days without seeing a doctor. I said, “So, you’ll fit me in?” Well, no. The absolute EARLIEST they could see me would be “late next week, maybe.” I said, “So, let me understand, I should have called you after two days because that’s as long as I should have projectile diarrhea without seeing a doctor, so then you could tell me you would see me in two weeks?” She was not amused. She suggested I go to a clinic-type place or emergency room and follow-up with them when they could fit me in. I suggested – well, never mind.

I went to a clinic-type place. I was seen immediately. Upon hearing my symptoms, the nurse lectured me that I should have seen my doctor after two days (DOES EVERYONE IN THE WORLD KNOW THIS TWO DAY DIARRHEA RULE BUT ME? WAS I ABSENT THAT DAY IN SCHOOL? Or, more likely, high?) and furthermore, “this sort of thing requires a lot of blood tests and other tests and we don’t do those here. You should go to your regular doctor.” I explained that my regular doctor had instructed me to come to them and … well, she huffed and puffed and wrote my (increasing) blood pressure down and went on her way.

The marvelous nurse practitioner arrived shortly. Loved her. We talked for forty-five minutes. She was great and treated me as an equal, intelligent partner in my healthcare. She was the first one to ask why I had waited eleven days to do anything. Because she was not judging, I answered honestly.

  1. I am afraid and distrustful of the medical profession as a result of the years I spent working on health insurance claims; and
  2. I was losing a half pound to a pound each day – I weigh less than I have in years and am close to my goal weight.

And still, she didn’t judge. She understood my hesitance to do tons of testing – not really what they do there anyway – and my irrational fear of needles, and so, together, after many more very personal questions about my habits and my life – in particular all around the time this started – we arrived at this: she would prescribe two antibiotics usually used for the things it seemed I might have and we would hope these knocked it out. If not, I would follow-up with my primary care doctor for all those tests and such I hate so much and have managed to avoid.

So, here I am, first time in ten years taking antibiotics. Flagyl and Cipro, both of which in just the sort of nonsensical, contradictory way that medicine works, can have the side-effect of causing diarrhea. Go figure.

In any event, need to go to bed – although the massive amounts of water and Gatorade I have been ingesting as instructed to undo my dehydration will no doubt cause me to wake every hour or so for a trip to the bathroom. Oh well . . . until I can manage a hotel room of my own, guess I’ll have to make do.



How’s It Going to End?

  • I’VE BEEN BUSY (sort of)

Sorry about the lack of new entries. I don’t want to jinx it by speaking too much of it – I am having some success with my writing efforts. Not, mind you, at achieving publication, but, rather, at the actual act of composing. I’m not sure I even care much anymore if anyone ever reads any of it. I used to think I knew who were the regular readers of this blog, but, conversations of late – real and virtual – have made me realize that I was once again wrong.

I am wrong so often, it doesn’t even surprise me anymore. And I am also – final-ish-straw time – no longer phased, hurt, even bump-in-the-road-shocked when people I thought were listening to me turn out not to have ever much heard anything I actually said.

People are busy. And I guess I’ve never been much fun. It’s a Tom Waits sort of morning.


In other news, the child on whom I happily showered massive love through his formative years, he who has always been so kind, so there (here) and never once sold me up the river; he has scored ridiculously well on the LSAT. I am wonderfully happy for him and hope when he goes to law school he has Annalise Keating for a professor. And a lover who is not a murder suspect. Or crazy. His luck with women has been rather . . . well, he is a magnet for crazy. Thus, our long-standing devotion to one another. Speaking of, ever since our night of too-much-wine more than a week ago . . .

  • I’VE BEEN SICK (sort of)

Yes, though I’ll spare you the details, I have been experiencing some sort of intestinal disorder for eleven days now. Its initial strike the day after Mr. Soon-To-Be-Lawyer and I over-imbibed is what prompted my decision to – again – quit drinking. So, I have. But, alas, the dysentery-like-mystery-illness has yet to subside.

Good news, I’ve lost six pounds. And while I frequently feel slightly nauseated and have a minor-league headache, I do not have any fever and mostly, have an appetite – although any sort of food ingestion quickly involves a visit to a restroom, INSTANT availability of which is non-negotiable, LOL.

My approach to all things medical: Wait. It will go away. So, I’m hoping.

  • AND AMERICAN HORROR STORY … my weekly Jessica fix …

And while hoping, I am doing my writing and watching my programs. Last night’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW – as always, loved. I am devoted. It’s fashionable for the hip and the reviewers and the arty types to do all sorts of cavilling and complaining and carping about Mr. Ryan Murphy on blogs and Twitter and such. Fuck ’em. Jealous of his empire. Jealous that he’s living his dream. Why don’t they all shut the hell up and expend their energy on making their own art rather than denigrating his? People are such assholes.

Segue there. Last night’s episode featured a near-naked Thor as trick for Dennis O’Hare’s character. I’ve never been a fan of superhero genre types, so, Thor was pretty and all (and count on Ryan to give us hot-man-ass — BUT WHEN DO WE SEE EVAN NAKED THIS YEAR? HMMM?) but I have had a thing for Denis O’Hare since I saw him on Broadway in Take Me Out, where he was virtually the only cast member who didn’t get naked. If he’s typecast in AHS, I seem to have missed something special.

AHS Freak O'Hare & Thor

And, in addition, we got another Jessica cabaret number:

And Frances Conroy -which is enough in itself – and Patti LaBelle doing a turn as Woody Woodpecker. Yes. That. And Finn Wittrock.

AHS Freak Finn

He may well be my new imaginary lover. I didn’t like the way Evan Peters looked at Emma Roberts last night. If he can’t understand that she is no good for him, well, I won’t wait forever. Except, maybe I will — I mean, look:

ahs evan crazyEvan Peters Coven 4Evan Peters Coven 3Evan Peters Coven 2

I forgive you, Evan. Until I see Wittrock’s ass. And I trust Ryan Murphy. I think we have the same taste in men. Which never ends well … or, never has so far. But . . .


I have no idea. And, you know what, this illness – which is sort of dehydrating and a bit tiring – is nicely metaphorical for my recent feelings about life; Doesn’t much matter what I put into it, same ridiculous, endless shit is the result.

Things to do. Must run.


ZeitBites Friday: Can’t Write Now, I’m Writing!

I’d love to write more but I’m trying to write more. Point being, my usual blogging rumination, meditation, consideration, speculation, contemplation, theorization, and excogitation – all done in the service of my pathological procrastination – must be put on hold today that I can complete what I have come to call my two Halloween projects, neither of which is, I can assure you, a costume. So, links and tiny, little thinks today.


Ebola Nurse MovedYesterday, my favorite bank teller said in response to my, “How are you?”, the following; “Well, could be worse. At least I don’t have Ebola yet.” I suggested Ebola was nowhere near us, and her chances of getting Ebola were quite slim, and it seemed silly to worry about that with so much else going on in the world and, too, since we lived in Frederick, Maryland, home to Fort Detrick, rumored birthplace of the AIDS virus and storage location of all sorts of things so powerfully toxic and germ-warfare-deadly as to make Ebola seem like a head cold. I was feeling all clever about that when last night on the fictional  Scandal it was revealed that the President’s son had been murdered with a strain of deadly virus stolen from Fort Detrick, right here in Frederick, Maryland. I felt a little less clever when during the fictional How To Get Away With Murder, a Breaking News run appeared across the bottom of the screen announcing that Nurse Pham, Ebola patient from Dallas, had just landed at the Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland – less than five miles from my house and across the street (and a rather large-ish field or two) from my Mother’s Senior Living Complex – for ambulance transfer to N.I.H. in Bethesda. And after I’d promised my favorite bank teller everything would be fine. I still believe that. I am flabbergasted by the combined over-reaction and under-reaction to this. We couldn’t be bothered to do virtually anything about it before it happened here, and now, BAM, mass panic and ridiculous amounts of finger-pointing and “WHAT ABOUT ME?”-ism.

Let me say THIS; Every minute, EVERY MINUTE, four children die of hunger. We have the resources and the ability to SOLVE world hunger, and we don’t. We buy new I-Phones and try to stop people from marrying and PANIC and ACCUSE about, “OOOH, what if Ebola happens to us?” Come on people, aren’t we better than this? But, I guess not, just a brief look at and listen to yesterday’s idiots on the congressional panel questioning the response to Ebola prove how selfish, stupid, and self-involved we all are. Sucks to be us.

Now, if I HAD to panic and be all quarantined and such, could it possibly be with two male strippers – slash – models – slash – authors? From the New York Daily News, HERE. LOL.


Last night’s How To Get Away With Murder did it again. WOW. Gay sex scenes on this show are just wonderfully hot. Really. There was some Twitter-patter-mini-uproar about the villain of the piece being gay and his self-defenestration, but, you know what? Internalized homophobia is a thing, and having villains of all stripes is what happens in the real world. This show manages to represent a slice of real world BETTER THAN most other shows and I was not at all offended. I was, however, uhm … watch:

The Pax character later said – prior, of course, to tossing himself out the window: “He did this thing to my ass that made my eyes water.” I am telling you, this is QUALITY TELEVISION. This actor, Niko Pepaj, obviously going places.

Pepaj Niko

  • LOSING, LOSS, meditations on letting go . . .

My blog entry yesterday: Fallterations: Edit, Expand. Lose, Learn. [CLICK HERE] , was my first in nearly a week. Long week. Hard week. I was sick for a few days and I quit drinking. And the Baltimore Orioles were swept to defeat in the American League Championship [CLICK HERE], thus dashing my Mom’s hopes that after a three-decades-plus wait, she would see her beloved Orioles win another World Series. Looks like she’ll have to live at least another year.


Dear Ryan Murphy, I love you. This season is killing it. Literally and figuratively. LOVE. Sarah Paulson. Amazing. So many lines this week were amazing. WATCH IT.

And Finn Wittrock as Dandy along with Frances Conroy as his Mother. Holy sideshow. Amazing.


I leave for a house/pet gig tomorrow for a few days. Lap top. Writing. Reading. I have way too many books in my stack of musts, and more were added yesterday. Three from my friends at The Curious Iguana [CLICK HERE], and one through the mail, discarded from a library.

October books

Add them to the list. Argh. Guess, like my Mom, I’ll have to live another year too. So, I’ll start with this weekend … and my books … alas, I will be reading alone.

reading oct 17 7 Reading Oct 17 2 reading oct 17 6 Reading Oct 17 3 Reading Oct 17 4 reading oct 17 8

Later, friends.



Fallterations: Edit, Expand. Lose, Learn.

Fall Colors

The tree in front of the house where my books are, having begun its fall-terations.

I have always been a lover of the fall.

This makes little sense, or, rather, has never made much sense to me. Or, more true: has confused and troubled me. In my life, September and October have always been the cruelest of months. And, yet, too, somehow: my favorites.

It was of a September fifty-two years ago, leaving an abyss of myth and unresolved absence, that my father died. It was ten years ago September that Allen, leaving with me parts of himself that only I knew and loved, died. Steve sat me down to tell me, and then, a ridiculously cruel few days later, came the phone call in the middle of the night: somehow, Steve had died, taking parts of me only he knew (and, loved; I miss being loved for those things as opposed to in spite of them) with him. And, it was this Sunday, last October, when Peggy, my sister, opening new chasms into which poured Tennessee Williams-esque levels of unresolved, family dysfunctions, died.

Too, before this existence of mine now, with its nearly-mad-making absence of aim or order, each September would begin a finally (for me) defeating, exhaustive round of the same pattern of events; a calendar shaped by commerce and tradition and the tedious, delusional need to impose earth-shattering import on the mundane and meaningless in order to sustain the illusion of “a life”. I could no longer keep up with the others there (anywhere, everywhere) running, running, twirling, leaping, running, jumping, dancing, and ever more running, all that racing done just to avoid the risk of stopping long enough to realize all the frenzied Dervish whirl meant nothing, left one not just exhausted, but depleted and, worse, unseen.

And so I left. I was as absent from my life as my father, Allen, and Steve. It had stopped being me, whoever I was, and instead, had become me trying to be the shape others expected – demanded of me. And I was never enough. Never wholly right. Always on trial and judged inadequate. Had I not gone, the weight of all the measuring of me being done in that world where I was less and less allowed, more and more terrified of the consequences of being myself – would have crushed me until there would have been nothing of me left except the continued loss of who I was, wanted to be, might have been.

I am awful with time and cannot tell you how many years ago this happened. I am also awful with fiction and truth, and, like Proust – not, I hasten to add, that I am comparing myself to him as a writer – with memory: I know memories cannot be trusted, change colors with time, lose the leaves of details each season and grow new ones the next. I, like those fall trees, deciduous, have been, for some time, shedding.

Deciduous and decide both come from related roots, having to do with falling off, cutting off. Knowing what to let go, and when to let go of it, never skills at which I have excelled. I am struggling now with cutting away at my novel. I am struggling now with cutting away at my life – still. Again. I am struggling now with letting go of things and people and emotions and angers and fears that no longer serve, that are no longer active. I am struggling now with this, the Fall of my life, and my fears about the future and regrets about the past. I am struggling to accomplish all these things, to handle all of these things with grace and dignity.

Fall has always been my favorite season. I would like to find it within myself to believe this, the fall of my life – despite what seems to have been a long march of loss and cutting off and falling away to a barren, cold dormancy – could be a beautiful thing. I am trying to find the beauty in the letting go.  By cutting away I hope to expand the space of possibility for new growth, and, from the losses, the terrible, traumatic losses, I am hoping to learn something. Anything.

AND TOO . . .

Thunderstruck and other stories Elizabeth McCrackenAnd on that note, here is a link to an essay by one of the world’s greatest short-story writers and most gifted, insightful novelists, Elizabeth McCracken, about editing and lessons learned. Click here for Elizabeth McCracken’s Incendiary. And if you’ve not read her latest, Thunderstruck, oh please, do yourself a favor and read it today. I own multiple copies, should you be unable to purchase one or borrow from a library or friend.

Wuthering Heights FolioSpeaking of multiple copies, I have many versions of Wuthering Heights. But I need this new one from The Folio Society [click here] with an introduction by Patti Smith. YES, PATTI SMITH. I’ve been obsessed with Wuthering Heights since I first read it as an eight year old. It was my follow-up to Diary of a Mad Housewife. My childhood reading list is a chicken/egg sort of question: Did the things to which I was exposed make me the kind of crazy I am or is the kind of crazy I am what drew me to the things I loved even as a child? Who knows? I do remember (or, think I remember) that I wanted to grow up to be avant-garde-to-marginally-insane, promiscuously and madly-sexualized, specializing in liaisons with inappropriate, beautiful, dangerous strangers, devoted to horrifying men who could never love me in return, and be the secret in every attic (to borrow from another Bronte). I suppose you could say, despite the fact I am something of a failure in most every area of my life, I did succeed in that list of childhood ambitions. Now, I want this book, but it is $70.00. Wow. That crazy (or rich) I am not.


Another alteration for the Fall – (aside: so proud of the portmanteau of Fallteration – as I spent HOURS the other day trying to come up with one for EMOTION and NEGOTIATION to no avail) – I have stopped drinking. It was getting out of hand. It seemed time for a break. Alas, some of my best Tweets were wine-soaked. Oh well . . .