Friday, January 31, 2014

running for neurotics

My knee healed and then I had the flu, and finally I'm almost all better, and took of for a run. Well a walk/jog, but it was glorious. The first five minutes of jogging were awful, I had pain in my upper back and arm- which is typical for me, I have some kind of upper back muscular problem ( STRESS ), and my right rib cage was screaming at me- also typical, issue of unknown origins but probably endometriosis- so I walked for a little, and the second jog round was much more comfortable. By the time I got home, after just 2 miles, I felt horribly great. 

I have to move. If I don't move, my hormones spread peanut butter all over themselves and curl up into gelatinous, buttery balls and refuse to be processed through my surely overworked liver, and I start to feel both more emotionally and physically miserable. My anxiety insists on a physical way out, and through the breathe and sweat and pounding heart is the way most preferred. Working the body in this way, a way that recalls for us on a cellular level our ancestors, bending over rivers to fish and do laundry, trudging miles every day, swinging axes, scrubbing floors covered with two inches of farmed dust, the kind of back breaking work that sent all the characters in my novels to bed at 8 too exhausted to have sex or talk. I think that people who have anxiety need, more than the average person, to feel physically connected to the world around them on a regular basis, to remind us that we are not tethered to the brittle, dried thoughts in our  heads that skitter like dead leaves on the concrete, leaving us adrift from the comfort of the thingness of things, the comfort of cold wood floors on bare feet, heat from a fireplace, thick cotton sheets and pillows, the heat of bodies against bodies. When I work out, when I run, I am reminding my brain that it does not exist alone in a dictatorship, that I am connected and am my body, my brain and that elusive 'self'. I can feel the wind come through my brain as I move, a good strong fast moving wind, sending those brittle aged thoughts scattering up and out into the sky, leaving me for that moment, free to experience life as it is in that moment. And I lift my face to the sun and I can feel it, and for that moment, that is more than enough.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

for a child

last night i had a panic attack at about one am that manifested with my usual- thinking about small children in abusive homes with no one to protect them. i lay in bed in the dark trying to sleep and imagined a two year old lying in the dark in their room and they wake up and cry and someone comes in and screams at them and hits them on the face and leaves them in the room crying and locks the door behind them, just to make sure, you know, that the child doesn't follow them. so this is horrible to think about, horrible to write down, horrible to read, and i don't give a shit, because it's a million times harder for the children that have to live like that. and there are so many of them. the worst of it, to me, the worst offenders ( because we like that word these days) are the people who suspect or who KNOW, and do nothing. the abusers were often abused themselves and are also often drug addled- addled is the right word, because what hard drug use does to a person's brain is turn it into something less than human. if you watch a movie about what addiction does to the brain, the brain damage done, it's illuminating. you understand the de-humanizing nature of drug addiction, like severe mental illness. what do you think will happen to those little babies anyway? you think they'll be hit and hurt and abandoned over and over and have their tiny hearts broken in a million pieces and then grow up and be good mommas and daddies and make 'good choices'? well everyone reading would say, no, mostly, but we don't really believe that. we don't really integrate that knowledge, because the cycle of outrage/inaction continues. it's easy to be disgusted, horrified, hateful, revengeful. but to pick up a phone, to bang on a door, to offer help when it's inconvenient- those things are hard. those things are what have to happen. you want to know what will help that little baby? someone brave enough to be uncomfortable, and scared- just one tiny bit the percentage of scared we expect that child to be and still behave properly at school, right? the hypocrisy of adulthood can make children more embittered than whatever hurting thing is happening to them. i know because that's what happened to me. all the sadness i felt, the fear, the pain- the worst, most dulling part of it was the complete lack of loving outreach, compassionate conversation, or courage on the part of the adults in the peripheral of my life. i remember every kind look and word that an adult gave to me as i struggled through those years, and there were not many. certainly no one said 'do you need help?' because maybe i would have said yes, and then what? 

maybe you remember when i went to Target, and that guy was ripping into his little boy, just emotionally abusing the hell out him, screaming in the middle of the toy section on and on and on and on, so that any reasonable person could see this wasn't about some guy having a bad day and he'd feel awful about it in a minute, this was a father who didn't know- if he ever did- how to draw a line between his internal fuckedupedness and his child. and no one in Target felt able to draw themselves up and say 'hey, stop it. stop hurting this child.' i mean, i didn't feel comfortable, and i understood that child so well. i did it, and i'm glad i did. but i'd be a lot happier if every other grown adult had not left the entire toy area, so that this man and his pitiful child and myself and my kids were not the only people left in the entire toy aisle of Target.

so last night i lay in bed and a slow and enormous horror filled me until i had to get out of bed, go downstairs and pace in the kitchen and cry. it will be ok, i said, to myself, to those children, to no one. but it won't. for many children, it will not. i think about the amount of suffering that we could change, if everyone who suspected a child was being hurt made a phone call, reached out to the family, to the child. yes i've done it, and yes, sometimes the results sucked. but not nearly as much as the hollow despairing knowledge of doing nothing at all. and to that child, even a very small child, seeing, even from behind a half closed door, the face of a stranger in their hallway, talking about something they can't quite understand but knowing it's for them that that person fights- the power of that is not trite, or useless, or pointless. it's everything.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read! ( Shakespeare and Co. bookstore)
Avital Nathman edited the book The Good Mother Myth and Femamom did a small interview and write up with her about the book, which is exploding ( find excerpts at Time )

I've been reading Petunia Face for years and years. Susannah's mom died and she wrote this blog post which slayed me. So beautiful and so sad.

The best Reddit AMA EVER: Bill Murray

How I Stopped Procrastinating in NYT

I must read this fascinating collection of essays by Eva Saulitis 'Resurrection: Chronicles of a Whale Scientist'

Engrossing essay on Full Grown People: Picking Up

My friend Angie Muresan wrote this moody, evocative essay Comrade Pauker

On a blog based entirely off of essays debating who is better, Jen Aniston or James Franco, this author makes a case for Franco: the wetter, the better

So beautiful. Magic is real.

And I just read this and had to add it. One of the best things on this subject- of mortality, specifically here in a young doctor- that I have read in a long time. Ending with a powerful nod to the impact of literature.

"I remember the moment when my overwhelming uneasiness yielded. Seven words from Samuel Beckett, a writer I’ve not even read that well, learned long ago as an undergraduate, began to repeat in my head, and the seemingly impassable sea of uncertainty parted: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” I took a step forward, repeating the phrase over and over: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” And then, at some point, I was through."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

sick as a dog

i haven't been stoned since i was 15 or 16. floating on a limpid, tremulous cloud of flu confusion, i bathe in feverish sweats, disjointed thoughts, hot baths that leave me limp and bright eyed, white faced and hectic freckles, adrift in another perception of time and sensation. on impulse i spin in my work chair and my life moves in panels of a comic strip: the messy laundry and toys on the floor, the bookshelf stuffed with books and papers, the open bathroom door with one white towel laying like a tongue, a disheveled bed, the pillows, the computer. a small, hoarse dog barks over and over outside my window as if it were personally offended at the sunset. the house is silent, my husband has taken the kids for dinner. everything that has ever happened to me seems as if it might have been a dream. so i realize the birth of existentialism was from the flu, not a reaction to Christianity or Catholicism in America. simply a reaction to the reality that our entire perception of life can be as easily filtered and altered as dropping down colored screens before a slide show. drop, red. drop, blue.  all connectivity to our surroundings in this life depends on the brain, not the self behind the brain. so the only things that matter are what we decide matters. once a person is unloved, their ability to float through the window of the house of the physical body and become untethered to all morality or connection with other human beings awakens. the two great states that wound are deep hurt and deep disconnect. sometimes when i am out with other people i feel like Sherlock- that i can see in the faces and bodies and movements and dress of the people around me their innermost states, as clearly as if they looked up at me and said ' Today I cried for an hour this morning. My kids hate me and I am an alcoholic and I hate myself too. I never fit in my family and they hated me for it. I have never felt safe. Sometimes I just want to die. ' i smile at this man with my heart in my eyes and he smiles back with such a frank desperation that it is all i can do not to cry there in line. what do we owe each other? nothing. everything. in a time in my 20's i thought i loved ayn rand. i thought nothing mattered the way we understood it to. i had not gone to further college and had not been exposed yet to many of the thought  and spiritual and humanism leaders that would later influence me. i felt such shamed horror when i realized that ayn rand was so wrong, i wrote about it in my diary, my stupidity and the ease in which i assumed someone else was right, simply because of their reputation or import or effect, the way i gave up, so easily, my own beliefs and critical thinking. looking back, i am proud that at least it only took me months to realize this. i see how we fall into gangs and cults. we need packs. we need our pack. we need the breath of our companions and their chests rising and falling to remind us what we are. to keep us human, tethered to each other and to these bodies we are given while we are here, to meaning.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


I cannot believe my luck with my children. Sometimes I think that every other impossibly painful, hard, suffering thing I've been through since day one has been only so that the sheer weight of my luck as a mother does not topple the centrifugal force of my life. Bullshit! Some live with no ballast for suffering. Still I have a superstitious heart. My children bring me so many levels of emotion that lists of adjectives and nouns spring to mind:

The day to day frustrations have never- not once- been even one fifth of the goodness their four selves bring. Not even the years of DWE between ages 15-17 that aged Mr. Curry and I years. Not even the dark days of hospitalization with Ever or the months afterward listening to her breathe, giving treatments, waking every hour, fearing- nothing can alter what has been given. Two boys, and two girls. I was rewarded by the fates for not caring if I had a girl by receiving two. Bullshit! Still I have a superstitious heart. Four human beings completely different from one another, four people that I get to know deeply and intimately for the entirety of my life! Four people, each I watch in fascination to see what they choose and who they become. Four voices we waited to hear, four gaits we watched with hands ready to catch, four eye colors we debated, four laughs that were music to our ears. Four temperaments, four ways of arguing, four ways of pissing me off. Four different kinds of late night talks but so very much the same. Four sets of arms around my neck, four first four letter words, four stockings at Christmas. Four different colors of hair! Brown, bright blonde, dark blonde, dirty blonde. Four first gone teeth, four breastfed babies, four co-sleepers. Four dog lovers. Four kinds of music: metal ( Ian ) pop ( Lola ) rock/rap ( Dakota ) Christmas carols ( Ever ) Four ways of telling me they won't do what I'm asking. Four ways of telling me they love me. Four ways of putting off chores. Four messy beds. Four to bring in a noisy circle to Starbucks in the morning. Four ways of crying and four kinds of sleepers: heavy ( Ian ) sleep walker ( Dakota ) thrasher ( Lola ) never ( Ever )

Knowing them and loving them is the central fact of my life and will be, for me, ever the most meaningful, beautiful thing that I have done in this life. The emotional and yes, intellectual riches that knowing these four people brings only grows every year. Like the best of novels, they are complicated, diverse, interesting, frustrating, at times overwhelming and always rich with character and plot. 

There's a quote Mr. Curry says to me often, that his favorite author, Robert B Parker, wrote in the introduction of his novel: ' You may have been a pain, but you've never been a bore ' and we could say the same for our children. I adore the feeling that these four lives swirling around me brings- the opposite of boredom, the opposite of emptiness. The fullest love.

Four is my favorite number.

Friday, January 17, 2014

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!

These are the most comforting life affirming photos I have seen in a long, long time. Saved.

This is a fascinating and important human interest piece on a man who went from being pro death penalty to anti death penalty.

Quitting sugar saved my thyroid by Sarah Wilson. I've been agonizing about this for a while. I know I need to quit or at least reduce to where the only sugar I'm getting is in my morning coffee. I don't eat a ton of sugar, but  more than is OK, especially for having hypothyroidism and endometriosis.

Give this essay by Jennifer Pastiloff your time. It's so worth it. Disappearing

An article in OZY on my publisher Shebooks: ' Please don't call it chick lit unless you are going to start writing by men dick lit ' GO LAURA!

Engrossing excerpt from her novel, Your Name Is No, by Laura Bogart, in the Nervous Breakdown.

If you need yarn, please get it from the Lancaster Yarn Shop- they deliver and give free delivery for larger orders. LYS is run by my longtime friend Wendy, and she is one of the most honest and kind people I've ever met. You can completely trust the service and quality you will get.

My newest Budget Fashionista piece tells you where to get very cheap versions of celebrity winter wear

This father was sentenced to LIFE in prison for selling marijuana. Anyone who knows me knows I think pot can be dangerous to a person's happiness, but no way in hell do I think anyone should go to prison for any real amount of time for selling it. I don't think people should go to prison at all for selling it. Life? This makes me want to cry. I've signed a few petitions at Amnesty International about these issues, maybe you want to.

Ariel Levy, Thanksgiving in Mongolia. Read it if you love amazing writing with an moving story.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Del Mar, CA

From where you sit it all seems so beautiful
And I finally understand you. For that I can’t express enough thanks
As the subject is the best color for me in the difficulty of this lonely life.
It’s always caught up in my mind, what could be more beautiful.
-Camille Guthrie, from 'Beautiful Poetry'

Friday, January 10, 2014

dark sex heart

he is a darkness and Sunday was electric tape and wires
tapping the underside of your foot,
hardening the submissive nipple.

handle me not gently because i want to break
apart into your mouth,
a fractal orgasm.

the thick of your thighs are made to force
pleasure down the straw,
liquid follows your tongue.

i am here for my own desires 
don't pussyfoot,
place your finger on the ripple.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


she's wearing her sister's American Girl doll glasses
a Minnie Mouse necklace
the same amber teething necklace she's worn since 4 months old
an apple shirt from Grandma Mimi
and holding very ancient and pixelized candy from the Halloween era that was discovered fossilizing in an abandoned cabinet

her nose makes me want to honk it or kiss it, both
i am completely head over heels in love with this tiny but surprisingly muscley ball of unstoppable energy, curiosity, sass, love and at three years old, devoted to me passionately.
i night weaned her. i told her the day she turned three that she could nurse to sleep, but could not nurse again until the light comes up in the morning.
every morning at the crack of dawn when the first tiny slivers of sun make their way through the darkness of night, she sits up possessed by one and only one desire: GIVE ME SOME NURSIES NOW

somehow i won and lost.
motherhood, in a nutshell.

my non-fiction essay is up in the new edition of Literary Orphans. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Deleted But For A Photo

Monday, January 6, 2014

goofy goober

goofy with Everkins

being goofy is a daily occurrence for me. if i were measuring, i'd say i'm easily one half goofy. my entire perspective on life, even in the serious, sobering aspects, is colored by ridiculousness. i like to talk goofily, dance goofily, sing goofily, play with my kids goofily, snuggle goofily, eat goofily, and my penchant for walking goofily once got me a broke ass foot. ouch.

the above picture is me at the end of my workout, dancing with Ever. i wanted to submit a picture of me in some of my new leggings to Women Poets In Sweat Pants but they closed submissions, so here I am instead on Flux, in my skull leggings. They are amazingly comfortable and put me in a good mood.

i am so, so sad. and i am so, so goofy.

what else can you do?*

*rhetorical question. there are many other things you can do. noted.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read
Jennifer Pastiloff bares her soul in The Rumpus: Ghost Lives

Amy King writes a poem, and Poetry publishes it. This is why: Wings of Desire

I'm using this list: The 100 Best Movies Streaming on Netflix

The former Editor-In-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine says ' it is no longer possible to believe much of the research published ' 

Charles Simic writes about what he calls 'the age of ignorance'. This is what I consider the most important part of his essay:

"Even regional history has gotten a short shrift. Students who come from old New England mill towns, as I have discovered, have never been told about the famous strikes in their communities in which workers were shot in cold blood and the perpetrators got away scot-free. I wasn’t surprised that their high schools were wary of bringing up the subject, but it astonished me that their parents and grandparents, and whoever else they came in contact with while they were growing up, never mentioned these examples of gross injustice. Either their families never talked about the past, or their children were not paying attention when they did"

Ashley C. Ford writes an important, powerful article on R. Kelly, but really about the subtitle, which says this: ' Little black girls are taught how and when to be silent before anyone teaches us that we have the right to say no. '

Friday, January 3, 2014

oh boy it's a party

a list of wasps: she has enormous potential
he said with a straight face
painfully straight, if you ask me.
i would rather suck a dick!
than eat a pussy
" hahaha " no one laughs but you.
the big breasted woman has no other words
so i remember her mammarily.
she stares hard and hungry at her person
willing him to convince her life is worth living.
he is a depressed jumble of vices and pain,
the top of his lip trembles tenderly as he drinks.
i watch and listen and everyone thinks 
i am a bitch.
unfriendly women get reputations too.
i can't help it that life had me by the balls
early on, forcing my eyes two feet out my head.
i've always seen clearly the bullshit and not
that i've been able to avoid it-
god i still miss smoking like a fatherfucker.
cringe, Freud. i sit on your face.
the women eye me warily.
the men either want to fuck you or impress you
boring, boring, boring.
the real person unveiled,  as rare as a good poem.


her bath body white and limp
akimbo, turquoise wash rag 
placed between her legs.

the book holds it's tongue
household is strangely silent
things going on, out there.

let the dog drink the toilet water
let the children hide the vitamins
let them eat cake.

the neighbors smoke weed
in the garage,
they keep three cats in a cage.

she turns in the bath
limpid in lukewarm
half asleep and half crazy.

the northern star hums good intentions
cleaning fog and insisting on noise
meow, scream, silence.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


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