People. Stun. Me.

People. Stun. Me.

I know, I’ve said it twice now. One would think I could no longer be surprised by mendacity and dishonesty and self-righteous justification of inexcusable behavior. But, wow. I am still surprised.

Stunned. I really want to HURT someone –

don't fuck with me fellas

One reaches a point where no matter what happens next, what happened before can never be made up for. I. Am. There. Now.

gif ahs tate you son of a bitch

Old(er) Man . . . that would be me . . .

FIRST (through SEVENTH) OF ALLS . . .

lange how much tragedy can one woman endure

I’m feeling a bit . . . GET ME A GUN, BLANCHE!

Honestly, this aging bullshit. Let me say, I am ready to die and wish it would just happen.

First of all, I am soon going to have to move again and I’ve neither the money nor the will to do so. I just can’t face packing and carrying and all that shit again. It’s exhausting and one always does it alone, it seems. (So, if you’ve a situation wherein is required a fellow with no employable skills, but who can clean like a demon, loves pets and old people, and has all the charm and elan of those Walkers of old – AND it has a two bedroom abode which has a roommate floor plan – meaning, the bedrooms don’t share walls, washer and dryer, parking, preferably a den/office, and is near 1000 a month – or can be traded for fellow’s cleaning/sitting.walking skills – let me know. But soon, I’ve ordered my copy of the Peaceful Pill handbook.)

BEING AN OLD MAN SUCKS – and sixteen year olds are taking over the world.

Second of all, I’ve neither the stamina nor fortitude to survive another election cycle. The world is just too damned noisy. I can’t stand the drone of people, TV, endless blather. I need silence and solitude. (Peaceful Pills, again.)

a-single-man-gifThird of all, I don’t know what to make of being approached by tatted, pierced, usually married (well, wearing rings anyway) young men and smooth, even younger, naked men at the gym – I see my sagging ass, third-rate body, not-very-pretty face – and I never know their names and why me? I mean, do I look like the kind of person who does shower/sauna hook-ups? And, see, THIS is the ONLY sort of man I attract – the kind who wishes to remain anonymous. It’s kind of lonely.

Fourth of all, I’m exhausted from being sick for so long (and old) and so my reading is being cut into because I keep nodding off – and why WHY can’t I – if I’ve got to nod – do the BIG NOD and be done with it?

bullying 2Fifth of all, I hate it when one engages with people on Twitter and they ignore you. I’m talking about mutual-follow people, not those I am stalking. Twitter sometimes makes me feel like the unpopular kid in high school – again – which ties in nicely with third of all – because in high school I was also fucking around with guys who didn’t want anyone to know they were fucking around with me. Although, then, my ass wasn’t saggy and I had only one chin.

Sixth of all, being at (some days at, other days near-ish) my goal weight is not changing the entire world in the way I had hoped. You know, like Christmas Morning disappointment?

Seventh of all – well, there is just too much ALL and too many stops along the way – I will spare you any more. (Right now.)

NOW ON TO THE JOURNAL . . .

Yesterday. Morning. Readying to cross town to retrieve my aged Mother for a day of hairdo-ing and mater-genda, I walked down the slightly-sloped drive to get a better view of the street, needing to see if the neighborhood had put out trashcans. Monday was a holiday so there had been no collection and while I have lived here three years, I am, technically, a visitor (and have I mentioned that I need to move – again – and can’t face it?), and though I knew there was a second trash pick-up day, I didn’t know what it was. I stepped off the drive, into the yard, to get a better angle and somehow landed in a slight hole, the slightness of which did not stop me from twisting my ankle, falling to the ground, twisting my left knee, scraping both knees and right hip as I rolled down the very slight hill, backpack firmly in place.

Should anyone be interested: a backpack does seem to break a fall, but when filled with the four books one is carrying to fill the downtime while Mother shops and has her hair teased and tortured, it is not a soft, loving fall-breakage. Once again, I am bruised by my hardbacks.

fallenI am an old man. It hurts. The ankle, knees, scrapes, hip, bruises, and embarrassment. But, mostly, the fear. I didn’t see the hole. It wasn’t much of a hole, probably didn’t even qualify as “hole” but, rather, an indentation or a dip. And I fell. Hard. And rolled. Far. I mean, it is funny now but this is how people break hips. I didn’t see this coming. And, I am pretty much alone in life. When I fall and can’t get up – there isn’t going to be anyone there to lift me.

I spent hours with my Mom, which I do, a lot, I have spent lots of hours with lots of people doing what they wanted, doing what they needed, taking care of, holding up, helping with their dreams and agendas – and, again, when I fall, when I have an agenda, there isn’t going to be anyone to lift me, to serve it. There is never anyone to pack my boxes. I’m always doing the packing and the lifting and the snow clearing and the – where the hell is that Peaceful Pill book?

The fall scared me. And I’m not going to talk about it. Instead, the following things.

A PROPOSAL … and Tyne Daly

I think marriage is ridiculous. The need to codify, the need to name, the need to have church or state validate, it all seems like over-sharing and boasting to me. Plus, I have seen in my long  life maybe three relationships that were even close to unions in which I’d consider participating. Okay, I’m a curmudgeonly, bitter old man. I will give you this. I think romantic love is a myth and the emphasis we place on it a mistake and a patriarchal plot to keep us all too busy to see what the men in charge are getting away with. I also think monogamy is a joke and foolish aim. Even, however, having said all that, this on-stage proposal at “IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU” (is that still open?) had me near tears – but I think that’s because they got to be jumped up and down for and hugged by Tyne Daly. Tyne Freaking Daly!

TATIANA … TATIANA … TATIANA …

But enough of the curmudgeon for a minute or two. Here. I love LOVE LOVE BBC America’s “Orphan Black”. Tatiana Maslany is my spirit animal. If you haven’t seen the show, watch it. Tatiana plays clones. She is an amazing actress. Each character is so specific and different, it is a miraculous feat. She should have multiple Emmys by now. Instead, she’s never even been nominated. My favorite of her characters (at the moment) is Alison. Crazed soccer mom. Look:

Orphan Black Alison 1

Orphan Black Alison 2

Orphan Black Alison 3

Orphan Black Alison 4

You really, REALLY need to watch this show to appreciate this underwear dancing being done by two suburban former-vanilla-ites, now reveling in the money they’ve accumulated by drug dealing. Hilarious.

Tatiana also seems to be a fantastic human being. Listen:

Right? Love her.

GREY GARDENS … with Betty Buckley?!?!?

I am a well-known freak for all things Grey Gardens.

(Aside: No. You are NOT well-known at all. For anything. You can’t even get published. You were never famous. In fact, despite calling yourself a “book blogger” – your BIGGEST hits STILL come from people looking for pictures of Derek Hough and the Jonas Brothers naked. Life. Is. Not. Funny. You are not. Known. So. Shut. Up.)

I saw the Broadway production six times, including closing day. I was (am) obsessed. It reminded me of the home in which my aunt and grandparents lived, the family home, Libertytown, subject of my great (whatever – fuck you) unpublished novel, and, Little Edie with her outfits of torn pantyhose reminded me of my dearest aunt, Sissie, who was a little eccentric and on whom I have modeled myself. Although, I cannot carry off pantyhose.

(Aside: NOT TRUE. You looked fabulous in pantyhose both times you played Sylvia St. Croix in RUTHLESS. Many MANY people complimented you on your legs.)

And, I am also a HUGE Betty Buckley fan. I have seen her in “Sunset Boulevard” and in concert, more than once. SO, to read that Ms. Buckley will be doing “Grey Gardens” in Sag Harbor. OH. MY. HEAVENS. HERE’S THE ARTICLE – CLICK IT!

There then. I got my mind off moving. Whoops. Back again.

Bye kids. Happy weekending.

Dowager Weekend

Song of the Day: Tragedy, Bette Midler

Bette Midler, because . . . when I was young and weeping daily, this. And I am feeling a bit of the same kind of blue, now, here. There is no one to tell, there are stories I can’t seem to release, things of which I can’t let go, and, too, things of which I will never get hold.

“Even though you’ve gone from me . . . oh, woe, why? Tragedy.”

Reading: April and May Reads

{I know, though it has been a month since I posted, this is my second post TODAY. All about reading. Otherwise, life is a bit complicated at the moment and so I am trying to mind my peace, as in, shut up, Charlie, say nothing until the urge to whine has passed. Much love, dears. Much love.}

Bad Charlie, waiting a month between posts. Eleven books since last I summarized, but one of those, Rafe Posey’s The Book of Broken Hymns, I have written about at length. Great length. Two thousand words length. Let me sum that one up for you: Read It Now. (Or, read about it here.)

Onward.

Fishbowl

Click on cover for link

I have been lucky enough to align myself with a few people who funnel me Advance Reader Copies. The latest was a very buzzy August release, Fishbowl, by Bradley Somer. Ian, the goldfish, plummets from the 27th-floor balcony of a highrise and on his way down, the stories of some of the building’s residents are woven into the descent. Don’t be put off by the word “quirky” being used in the reviews of this novel, it’s not a cute gimmick but rather a clever abstracting of the detached society in which we live, with our glimpses and our graspings and our gaping need to connect. Its denouement relies on a reality-stretching amount of coincidence, but that didn’t bother me. I think there is a place for books – for stories – where fortunate synchronicity plays a role; realism is overrated. Give it a read. It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s kind.

Speaking of fun, this past month has suffered rather a dearth. After having gone more than a decade with nary a doctor visit, one more visit to the local clinic and I’ll be considered a resident. Although, I’ve been chastised and semi-banned. You see, I’ve been performing a Camille-esque hacking since mid-April, along with an oft-morphing menu of other symptoms I shall spare you, except for the latest addition of having had to sleep sitting up for the past week, and having now visited the clinic three times without benefit of following up with my “primary care physician”, I’ve been told by the clinic that I MUST see my regular doctor. If only. I have tried to see my regular doctor but appointments are doled out with a stinginess the Grinch might envy. Should one manage to maneuver through the gauntlet and be “seen” it has always been the case that one is being seen by an assistant or a nurse practitioner or some other someone NOT  my primary care physician, a person about whose gender, age, appearance, I am completely clueless.

Where was I? Oh, right, additionally, this chronic near-fever and fatigue has affected my brain. I’ve been doing a lot of light reading rather than diving into literature requiring thought. I’ve not a lot of energy for metaphor, or reality, and a junkie-like need for predictability. So, I’ve done a lot of Harlan Coben  (Just One Look, and Deal Breaker) and John Sandford (Hidden Prey and Gathering Prey) both of whom always give me exactly the continuing characters or twisty-plot suspense that ends with the triumph of good over evil – mostly – I expect. It’s comforting.

Also, I returned to my very favorite series, M.C.Beaton’s Agatha Raisin. This month I managed to limit myself to one adventure with Agatha, number 12, Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came. Great fun, as always, to visit with the sassy, sophisticated, flawed, needy, wishful, aging not completely gracefully, determined, angry, loving, lonely Ms. Raisin. (She reminds me of me in many ways. Except, she has an English cottage and I’m a few months away from living in an appliance carton under a bridge.)

Continuing in the series series, I sampled a new cozy, reading Number 1 in the Lighthouse Mystery Series by Eva Gates (pen name of Vicki Delany) , titled By Book or By Crook. Heroine Lucy Richardson leaves her job as librarian at Harvard to return full-time to the beach community where she spent the best summers of her youth. She gets a job (and an efficiency apartment – everybody has an income, a primary care physician, and a delightful home of their own but me!) at the local library, a converted lighthouse and murder happens. I liked it well enough, but, must everyone have a helpful cat? I’ve known a lot of cats in my days and none of them managed so much as to warn me off the perfectly horrid men with whom I’ve a habit of up-hooking, let alone saving me from being murdered. So, really? Enough with the feline super-powers.

My friends (look how I can still use the plural of that – well, give me time) have asked, “Did you figure out who the killer is?” No. I didn’t. I don’t even try. I can’t even figure out a man is married. I don’t “figure” – I just live. And read. Cat-free. I don’t read cozies for the challenge; I read cozies for the cozy.

This month’s Young Adult choice was Tommy Wallach’s We All Looked Up. An asteroid is hurtling toward the earth, we are all going to die. I feel as if I keep reading this story. It was nicely done. It has its own soundtrack. I’m in a mood, though (in case you hadn’t noticed) and I say enough with the threats of disaster, blow the mother up. I’m ready. I can’t seem to stop coughing so, what the heck. I keep reading Young Adult literature, waiting to get that obsessive-reading-jones I used to get as a child (Harriet, the Spy, and anything by Roald Dahl) where I couldn’t stop and at the end, started again. It isn’t happening for me. Not yet. Not with Young Adult books. Of course, it’s a fact that I am not young, and it’s probably true that I am not adult, so, perhaps I should give this genre up?

Because I did find real joy this month (in addition to Rafe Posey) in two non-fiction offerings, both far beyond my skill-set to describe. I’ll do my best.

LoiteringI begin with Loitering: New and Collected Essays by Charles D’Ambrosio [CLICK HERE].  I have not felt this way about a book since first I read Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. (You really ought to read Phillip Lopate’s New York Times review, CLICK HERE) First of all, Mr. D’Ambrosio used words I had to look up. Although I spend hours (days, even) researching words and their origins in dictionaries when I write (it is my very favorite procrastination, this obsession I have with getting to the roots of words to use those that are layered in meaning in my fiction, even though I KNOW maybe one person will EVER consider how long I spent choosing each word) I rarely need to consult a dictionary when reading. Nothing makes me happier as a reader than to be immersed in an arrangement of thoughts which shape is making me think and see in new ways; add to that the introduction of a new word, a word that like a perfect-jigsaw piece is exactly right for the circumstance being limned, and I’m giddy with its unwrapping like Christmas Morning. There is so much greatness in this book, so much insight and honesty, so much literate shaping of experience into the question I ask every day, “What is this shit I’m doing and why the fuck am I doing it?” I get the feeling from D’Ambrosio that we are kindreds in this way, that he and I live on the outside of everything and everyone and every place, looking in, trying to make sense, knowing we will never belong, loitering on the edges and wishing we could – knowing we can’t – connect. The second I finished – I put aside the next in my “TO BE READ – ESSAYS” pile and started this one over. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Please, if you never listen to anything else I say, get this book now.

Life Among the SavagesFinally, my Twitter-inspired read of the month, another non-fiction, although of a very different ilk. In 1953, Shirley Jackson – who I always thought of as author of dark, terrifying fictions – published a memoir called Life Among the Savages [CLICK HERE].

Confession, other than The Lottery, which I read for a short-story class, I have never read Shirley Jackson.

My interest was the result of Benjamin Dreyer’s expression on Twitter of his admiration for Ms. Jackson’s work. Mr. Dreyer (here he is on Twitter) is the sort of erudite, witty, delightful, well-read, bon mot-tossing sophisticate I have always wanted to be. And if I couldn’t be him, I would stalk him. And I do. So, when he said “Shirley Jackson, Shirley Jackson, Shirley Jackson!” I asked my dealer, Marlene at The Curious Iguana [CLICK HERE], to get me some.

WHY DID I WAIT ALL THESE YEARS? Ms. Jackson’s adventures relocating to the country from Manhattan, raising children and husband, learning to drive, re-starting a stubborn furnace, having babies and, oh, how I long for those days – talking about smoking as casually as one talks now about sipping a glass of water – well, I was taken back in time to a kinder, gentler, funnier, and, I think, much simpler place where life’s adventures were ever so much better. Or, so it seems now from here, on the downside and always in despair about what I’ve missed.

It is fascinating to me that a writer whose fiction focused on the lurking dangers in life, the hidden terrors, those things below the surface waiting to grab at one as one walked by in the dark, would manage in memoir to illuminate the light and love and good and humor in the traumas of daily getting-by.

And the voice. Her technique, her sentences, her rhythms, her syntax, her lovely, lithe prose is unparalleled. Maybe I am just terribly dense,  stupid, and out of things and maybe the rest of the literate world has long been reading and re-reading Shirley Jackson and talking about her but WHY WHY WHY WHY have I only just now, here at the end of me, found her?

Well, let’s look on the bright side (if Shirley Jackson could do it, so can I) – I’ve the rest of her oeuvre to which to look forward. And don’t you know, Marlene has been asked to order it for me already!

Oh, Mr. Dreyer, I owe you a debt. Thank you.

And that, my friends, sums up my reading this past month. Sort of. And explains my absence. I am not feeling well. On many levels. And, too, I am trying to figure out what to do with the next part of my life – I need to figure out income and living arrangement – unless, of course, whatever it is this is that is keeping me down is going to put me down for good – with which I am okay.

Shit, I forgot to call the doctor and it’s three o’clock. At this rate, they won’t see me until 2017.

Love and Light, friends.

READING: Rafe Posey’s “The Book of Broken Hymns”: Treasure Found

Posey, Book of Broken HymnsFULL DISCLOSURE: I follow Rafe Posey on Twitter and we met, once, for too few moments, at a book conference in Washington, D.C. – it was but a brief encounter, yet long enough for a hug from which I am still feeling warm. Rafe sent me (I begged) a signed copy of “The Book of Broken Hymns”. Now, you know. 

FULL DISCLOSURE PART II: My reading is about echoes; my favorite books inspire memories of feelings I have had, the a-ha moments of life, and so, my writing about books I have loved – such as “The Book of Broken Hymns” – is about the colors and echoes wakened in me while reading. Meaning: this is as much about me as it is about the book. If you would like to skip “about me” (and you would not be the first, nor would it upset me, dear) then scroll right on down to the bolded headline “I’M TALKING ABOUT BOOK OF BROKEN HYMNS NOW”.

I have always been a treasure hunter.

As far as literature is concerned, it began with Joan Didion.

I spent most of the summer between fourth and fifth grade in my aunt’s house; Libertytown. It was a sprawling, deteriorating place. We lived in only a very few of its rooms, the others held the detritus of generations of my family’s genetic predisposition toward hoarding which supplied fantastic fodder for me, a child who wanted most to escape reality.

Some magical days that summer, Shirley Lyles, the Liberty Elementary School librarian, would pick me up in her diesel Mercedes – my first ride in diesel, my first Mercedes, my first adult not a relative who chose me for company – and we’d spend the day doing the things librarians did in the summer with no one to bother them.

Mrs. Lyles had taken me under her wing when I’d arrived a fourth grade refugee from the recently closed St. Peter’s Catholic School. I was completely unprepared for the rough and tumble of public school, having lived in the protected atmosphere created by the School Sisters of Notre Dame who’d cosseted fatherless me in a near utopian atmosphere where the rare rule infraction or cruelty earned a sentence of sitting under the Peace Tree to contemplate your sin against God. In public school there was no Peace Tree and such was my naiveté this surprised me. I was targeted immediately for my mien, my walk, my voice, all of which exacerbated my sin of having mastered as third grader at St. Peter’s everything a sixth grader at Liberty Elementary would have learned and more. Mrs. Lyles – the single black-skinned person in Liberty Elementary – recognized me as fellow outsider. Since there was nothing for me to do in the classes I was in, I was often “excused” to help Mrs. Lyles in the library. She saved me. I decided, then and there, I would not only be a Broadway star, I’d be a librarian.

That summer, on days when I wasn’t at the school with Mrs. Lyles, I began my autodidactic librarian training by designating one of the rooms of Libertytown as “The Library”. I gathered all the many books and magazines spread throughout the house and determined to organize and catalogue them. I started with the periodicals which included Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Life, Look, National Geographic, Harper’s, and most important, The Saturday Evening Post, in which I found the essays of Joan Didion.

I was changed. Here were collections of words, many of which I had to look up, which read like incantations to me. These weren’t essays, these were magic spells. Honestly, in retrospect, I am sure I had no clue what most of them were about, but there was something in the syntax, the rhythm, the way they radiated Didion’s soul that spoke to me, grabbed me – yes, ensorcelled me. And, even more miraculous to me, they’d been there all along, waiting for me to discover them.

Which is a six-hundred word blathering explanation of what I love about reading and words; these Holy Grail-ish, King Tut tomb discoveries of arrangements of words and communications of incantations of emotion and life-experience waiting to be found, these unearthed ensorcellments.

It was on Twitter I discovered Rafe Posey. He followed people I followed. Duchess Goldblatt clearly loved him. And he said funny, loving, insightful things that made me want to know him. To meet him. And I followed him. I hoped. I waited. I wanted. And then, he followed me. And then, I met him. And then, I hugged him (which was a near assault on my part, I confess). And then, he hugged me (he had little choice in the matter). And then, best of all, he sent me his book. Inscribed.

And, wow. Treasure. Precious marvels and a talent before which I reverently and humbly genuflect. King Tut’s tomb – bah – Rafe Posey’s The Book of Broken Hymns; a glorious find!

I’M TALKING ABOUT THE BOOK OF BROKEN HYMNS NOWPosey, Rafe

The collection opens with Dashaway, an elegy narrated in first person by the ghost who broke the hearts of two of its characters, one of whom is now, herself, dying. It explores betrayal, loyalty, different kinds of love and the lengths to which people will go for all of those things and it is filled with beautifully evocative sentences constructed of breath-taking heart-truths, those being things we have all felt but been unable to put into words about people in our lives; “Oh, Lily … Such virtue, and she wears it like a target.” And, “‘How could she do that to me.’…’I have wondered it for my whole adult life.‘” And, “We all turn and stare at Lily, who deserves better. Malcolm looks as if he has just remembered the lyrics to a song long forgotten, and wishes he had not.” In a few pages we come to love each of these flawed people and then, well, I won’t tell you the then except to say the ending left me feeling gobsmacked, slapped, torn.

The next story is called Nest, and I was struck by its emotional connection to Dashaway, in that, here too we are dealing with a first person narrator who is witnessing the deterioration of another, this time an aging parent. Listen;

I had never met a man who took up so much air, although lately the odd waverings of time and place, the ways he suddenly didn’t know what he had always known, seemed to be eating away at his envelope of space. Lately, I suppose, he had seemed smaller. And I, who had tried so hard to get out of his shadow, was now drawn back in, unable to pull away and let him get old, as if the shadow were shrinking into some kind of cosmic drain and taking me with it. My brothers, happy enough to bring their kids to the pale grey cedar shingles of the house and the boat, were a wary as I of making any kind of plan for our father, but something was going to have to happen.

Anyone who’s experienced the graying and slow depletion of a mother or father will identify with this, and too, its narrator’s discovery and admission of the loss, the fearful repulsion  at first witnessing of the degeneration and then, the slow, incremental, necessary acceptance of the new roles, the careful reversing of the nurturing process that occurs. Heartbreak two.

Third in the collection is The Only Living Boy in New York, another first person voice, a voice that in ten short pages speaks a near-poetic contraction of a life, a transition from female to male, but, more, the truth of how little to do with biology has identity at all. Listen to these lines:

… I’m not good with people. It’s possible that when I came home from the chest surgery, and for the month and a half after that, when I was still moving stiffly and couldn’t lift my arms all the way, they thought I’d had breast cancer. Eventually the shape of my face changed, and I grew a beard, and then I started shaving. I should have told them, but it’s been five years. They’ve probably caught on by now.

That passage works on so many levels, not the least of which is the metaphor of the character’s solitary experience of change – the surgery – and its more implied than described after-effects. Too, our narrator allows those watching from outside to assume causes, lets them watch the transformation without explanation, never quite knowing what they think, never quite engaging with those daily seen, in the world. It speaks of loneliness and courage and regret. It is devastating.

And when describing another character, one once longed for but now lost to the past, this: “He was tall and dark-haired, a suburban cowboy with a swagger and a history of failing at suicide.”  We know this cowboy, this Cal – like our narrator – dates women and, too, barks (as in, like a dog), but with that sentence, the dichotomy of cowboy swagger with suicidalism, and not just suicidalism but the added detail of failed suicidalism, there is more character development than is managed in some full-length novels.

Again, the last few paragraphs of this story go to a totally unexpected place, a Posey-specialty, an “I didn’t see this coming” plot-turn that – while unexpected – never elides into unbelievable. Actions are supported by character development, emotions grounded in the truth of the stories, but truths that were implied, hinted, lived, rather than thrown up in flashing-light “guess what’s coming” obviousness. Posey displays a subtlety of technique and a deep understanding of the dichotomous way in which huge life events happen quietly, often un-noticed until after the fact, the momentous and significantly meaningful milestones invisible except in retrospect.

Snap’s Boys is a war story about two brothers and a dog and a letter home to mother and I cried.

Then there is my favorite piece of the collection, Horse Sale at the Jesus Saves Cafe. The juxtaposition of connection and isolation and the exploration of the sort of detachment that results in talking to ghosts are explored in this tale of longing and lust and the search for home. Listen:

. . . He had thought that once he’d shed as much as he could of the girl he’d been that everything would be solved, that he would finally be happy. But transition was not a fairy tale, just an endless series of plateauing changes, and it turned out that while he was much less miserable, he still had no place he belonged.

Again, Posey constructs a paragraph in which the universal ache, the desire to belong, to know who one is and find home, a place to be, to breathe, to settle into one’s own truth, is described. You will be unsurprised by now to hear, on reaching this final paragraph, I cried.

This Little Size of Dying manages the remarkable feat of finding reasons to continue living, learning, and entertaining the possibility of love in the face of inevitable loss.

And, last, Faun Tells All, with its lighter-hearted, confessional tone ties a bow around the collection, acting almost as an after-the-fact introduction to the strata of this unique society of consciousness, this chorus of voices with whom we’ve walked through these stories of transformation, discovery, love, loss, lust, limitation and the layers of life through which we dig and to which we add – shoveling on our assumptions and fears and foibles and follies – making our way through this emotional archeology of being at which Rafe Posey is master of describing, embodying, gifting to us.

Like I said, two thousand or so words ago, I have always been a treasure hunter, and in the work (and person) of Rafe Posey, I have found another great store of riches to be appreciated and re-visited, time and again, each re-reading revealing new abundances of insight and light.

Read this book.