#Gratitude and #GoodTaste

This isn’t a typical nightstand chronicle, although I’ll talk about books first and bury the lead for those who are fine with facing all manner of topics.

What I’m reading lately…Still working on The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro; I do not want this story to end.  This book and Alice’s rabbit hole seem to fit the year to a tee, and I want to make it last.  I have added a daily seasoning of The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times to my readings in The New Yorker.  All of this non-fiction/news is still in my bubble but is written in moderation…which I’ll dive into a little more here in a moment.

What I’m listening to lately…Miranda Lambert’s new album, Leonard Cohen in little slivers (sure, want it darker occasionally), and…the Hamilton Mixtape.  This Hamilton thing has been a blessing compounded on a blessing; first there is the history itself, then the book written on the history (a wry wonder of a thing that brings old to a surface of new), and then a musical written by a rhythm based on the book, and then a mixtape produced by a love based on the musical.  The marketing folks are releasing the album in pieces; every time a new track drops I am back at square one, learning the whole picture, learning more about myself, loving life a little better.

What I’m watching…I started The Crown on Netflix.  The first couple of episodes were rough going (I struggle with the baser side of bodily functions in movies and television), but I’ve powered through and am head over heels for the history.  The current episode I’m on is talking about the record smog that hit London in December of 1952 and…I’m fascinated with the thinly-veiled comparison to the climate change denial of today.

Which brings me to the meat and potatoes of this Thanksgiving post.


This election was hard on the lot of us, wasn’t it?  Some of us got into it, others of us just counted the days until it was over.  And then it was over.

Something in that win immediately created an ending for me.  I was tired of smoothing over wrinkles.  I was tired of making myself available in a world of screens where I worked so hard to be available to everyone and where I was still lonely.  So I backed up a little.  I put Facebook away.  I find I can’t get away from Twitter or Instagram, but it’s easier to find something hopeful there.  And I read and write a lot more.

Alienation.  I was raised on a farm in the Midwest where the overwhelming literature was Reader’s Digest condensed books and Good Housekeeping magazines.  I have a mistrust of intellectual elites and a mistrust of the cultural opposite of intellectual elites.  I love things in moderation, and things created in moderation.  I love food with flavor profiles beyond sugar and salt, but when the McRib comes back in town I have to have at least one.  I rest in the middle of a cultural road where both sides are the dictionary definition of extreme.

I voted for Clinton because she wasn’t Trump when the candidate I really wanted is still in the White House.  I was willing to settle for Bernie, but Clinton was better than Trump.  I fell in love with Obama, and still love him, because he was a writer first.  I fell in love with his writing first; the first black President was just icing on the cake to me.  If voting for him and supporting him means that I’m an elitist, then I’m an elitist.  A writer in the White House was my dream come true, even if they don’t always have the best qualities for leadership (the working alone, the measured approaches sometimes too slow for critics to accept as progress).  I imagine that an entertainer in the White House is a dream come true for others (Reagan, and now Trump).  I had eight years of possibility and hope.  That’s gotta last me.  And that explanation has to last me.  If I’m alienated for the next four to eight years, then that’s a definition of a culture shift I refused to see.  That’s my fault.  That’s what I live with.

Do I find Trump in bad taste?  Yes.  I find him in bad taste because of his wild mood swings, his lack of humility, his shape-shifting opinions.  I am fully tired of his extremes.  He is all sugar, all salt, in a world of diabetics and heart disease.  He serves as a great fix for the moment, an instant gratification, a McRib 24/7.  He serves as a fix once in a great while, but his extremism poisons me, and how he got here poisons us all.  I need my vegetables.  I need ice cream with hints of vanilla and cocoa.  I need pumpkin pie that tastes like pumpkin and spice, not sugar and lard.

On the flip side, I don’t want to be criticized for how I love what I love.  If I’m crossing a T wrong or dotting an I with a heart, I get to have that foundation.  If my contribution isn’t intellectual enough, then maybe we can assume I’m erring on the side of compassion instead.  I’m a safe zone.  If it’s no longer safe to wear a safety pin, I won’t; but don’t be surprised if I question other trends or keep them.  My goal is life in moderation, so not too much in the head, not to much in the gut reaction.  

Good taste isn’t elite.  It’s moderate.  It’s not normalization.  It’s balance.  I’m grateful for any good taste I can find.

Happy Thanksgiving. πŸ¦ƒπŸ™πŸ»


#NightStandChronicle #TwentyThree #NewShortcuts

I was going to knock this out during my visit to San Francisco for Litquake, but time got away from me there, or my passions for all kinds of things NorCal got away from me there, and what I accomplished wasn’t a blog post but getting through a really good novel in three days (“Today Will Be Different” by Maria Semple; heartily recommended by this reader), drinking and eating great food (that I can still taste past the age of 40, so age isn’t always a sentence, folks), watching baseball in bed, hatching all kinds of new plans longhand, and listening to people talk about books without apology or in clandestine tones.  Ok, maybe they don’t talk about books in clandestine tones in San Diego, but I would be hard-pressed to discuss books in San Diego unless I lived in close proximity to Warwicks (which is where I got the Semple book, btw, and at the airport location; San Diego airport knows how to define the city in its airp0rt, delightfully) or the Central branch of the San Diego Library, and I don’t live in close proximity to either of those.  There are so many wonderful second-hand bookstores in San Diego, but only one of them seems to have an optimistic proprietor; the rest of them I love more for ambiance than the dialogue I have with the cashier.  I wish San Diego was less comic and more literary, but I suppose that wish fulfilled would bring about a copy-cat culture more than distinction, and, roaming about today after a month-long banishment to Carlsbad because of rail construction, I found I missed San Diego almost as much as San Francisco.

The San Francisco trip was a little marred, too, by how continually the tech giants up there continue to polish the turd.  Some of us liked our City slightly foul, worn, or bohemian:  as Anthony Bordain would say, the hipsters are great about bringing back the dark meat in chicken salads, but the gentrification of neighborhoods might not be worth the trade-off.  Whether this was an authentic refuge or not, I sought that refuge in museums.  I thought I would find it in the Litquake panels, and, while I have to stress that I love Litquake because there’s a discussion about books, something didn’t sit right in the content.  Then I got back home and read Marlon James’s Piece on why he’s done talking about diversity, and when he got to the explanation of cities with the most issues having “festivals” where panels talk about this stuff but local governments do nothing with the panel content, I knew I had reached across to an understanding in my discomfort.  Is this going to keep me away from Litquake?  No.  Will it keep me away from San Francisco and Oakland?  Hell, no.  But he named what I couldn’t, and I have to seriously consider where my own work goes, and how women’s literature interacts with the mainstream stuff and how it interacts with the literature of other minorities and how we have to make it ALL mainstream, and make these panels, as James says, obsolete.

Enter Steinem.  What I’m reading right now, that is; while in San Francisco I bought other books besides the Semple novel; but to save on space in my urban version of Monster (a lovely Timbuk2 duffle that converts to a backpack; yes, I’m enough hipster to get the irony) from the movie/book “Wild” I packed most of the souvenirs into a UPS box on the last day and sent them home, which included all of the books but Semple’s.  (Side note:  Semple stayed behind in the hotel room on purpose with my monetary tip for housekeeping; seemed appropriate given the reason for the trip.). I figured on two things:  I have the New Yorker as a Kindle subscription on my phone and Compass Books is in SFO (more book shopping!).  So the Compass Books find was Steinem, a choice I only regret in that the guy I had to sit next to on the plane called her a loon.  Vacation’s over, Jo, I thought when he said that, and felt sad.  I took a women’s history class at university as a history minor, and I understood that she was considered a radical, but so far everything I’ve read in the memoir “My Life On the Road” is pretty mainstream these days for more of the population than when she was promoting it.  And…as I pointed out to the guy on the plane, she might be considered a loon, but…she’s a damn fine writer.  At the end of the day that’s what it boils down to for me; this book is less propaganda than lessons in how to listen; learning that she learned most of her approaches to equality from leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. makes me wonder at why she’s still insisted to be a “loon.”

Perhaps this lack of understanding makes me a “loon,” too.πŸ’


Since I’m a baseball freak you have to know that there would be coda on the World Series on this post.  This is probably the best World Series I’ve seen in years, and that’s saying something considering I’m a Giants’ fan.  These teams are so evenly matched that when you do mistakes in play you see humanity; I just watch these three- to four-hour games barely breathing.  Pitchers are my weakness; when the scores are within hairs of each other I find myself strangely wired and exhausted after the game, wanting more.  Pitchers Miller and Chapman are mostly responsible for this reaction, and while it feels like a cross between drunk and high I can’t complain.

Who am I rooting for?  The Cubs, a-course.  That drought is serious.  πŸ»βšΎοΈ And, National League, people.  

#NightstandChronicle #TwentyTwo #AfterYou

It happens more than one would think:  writer stands in shower or sits at table with toast and Twitter and starts the potter’s wheel of a blog post in her head, all detailed and neat and maybe with little strands of sparkle in it…and then someone comes along and bumps the camera, jars the table.  C’s become G’s and hearts flip.

‘Twas me, this morning.

I got up early because I’m in charge of the diabetic cat this weekend, ministered to him, made my bed, padded out to the living room with the Writer’s Almanac and a cup of green tea, threw open the doors and windows to cool the joint before hell visits us around noon.  I curled up in my wide chair with a soft blanket that the cat likes to make love to and turned on CBS Sunday Morning, which was a tribute to Charles Osgood.  I figured on poignancy.  I figured a few tears.  Sunday Morning got me through the transition from Missouri to Cali twelve years ago, homage to Charlie.  Ads were on, pre-trumpet.  I opened my Twitter app.

The first thing that hit me in the death of Jose Fernandez is what hit many:  to question a logic the universe doesn’t possess.  Why?  Well, shit, if we could answer that question, then we could answer why the Syrian photo boy lost his brother in the shelling that he was famous for…we could answer for Orlando, Zika, this ridiculous political season.  Still, it’s hard to dislodge from asking, over and over, why Fernandez?  Why kind of sick joke is that, fates?  The man attempted to defect from Cuba twice before he finally made it in 2008, but getting here involved him saving his mother from drowning in the passage and saying goodbye to his grandmother.  (If your sinuses need clearing, Google his reunion with his grandmother when he was first signed with the Marlins.). He was expecting his first child with his girlfriend.  And, probably how most of us became aware of all of this (because how else would we know stories like this of each other, particularly of the masses of individuals struggling to get to the United States?), he was an impressive starting pitcher, with a good humor that some other starting pitchers could use (Bumgarner, I’m trying not to look at you).  There is a GIF floating around the net this morning of a pitch to Tulowitzki in which Tulowitzki hits the pitch back to Fernandez, and Fernandez fields it so quickly and neatly that Tulo asks, “Did you catch that???”  “Yes,” Fernandez says around that grin of his (only one better was Tony Gwynn’s), “Yes, I did.”  But of course, Tulowitski; why are you asking?

So that bumped the camera lens.  I shut off the TV.  I sat with all the player condolences on Twitter, the news of the cancelled game (was Fernandez supposed to start today? No matter), and then the beginnings of people using this death as a reason to talk about a life in the evils of illegals…and that’s when I turned it off.  The polarization started, I knew what was coming next, and I needed to remember that grin.  The grin, the pitching, the fielding, all of which I wouldn’t have known without the rest of his efforts.


Time to remember that guy by talking about other loves and passions than baseball.  

I finished Fates & Furies last week, and I normally mourn books that are written that well.  I normally don’t read for a while afterward.  But I thought I would try something new this time, read something I knew wouldn’t live up to the amazement I felt for the Groff book, so I picked up the Moyes sequel to Me Before You, a word play of a title in After You, and it’s been the best thing.  I think this “rebound read” has been even more enjoyable than Fates & Furies BECAUSE of Fates & Furies, like a literary pairing of two great tastes that taste great together.  (Huge fan of chocolate and peanut butter.  Huge.). It’s the best thing for several reasons:

  • It’s no Fates & Furies, and if it were I would probably off myself from the intensity;
  • The book is about the experience of being changed/challenged by someone and then of them walking away, leaving you with the judgmental/unhelpful majority of folks in your life.  I’ve experienced this twice since 2011, and it’s nice to have a novel that I can sit with and sort out this stuff with in some way;
  • Moyes has the capacity to make me laugh in some pretty unorthodox ways, like most British authors.

Hence, the “fluff” piece becomes the help piece.  I don’t know what’s after After You, but it may well be Olive Kitteridge, as that’s the story currently dealing me my morning compassion during breakfast on HBO after I finished Sonic Highways.

In writing, I am hashing out a short story of a strange collection of pedestrians called “Afoot”–we’ll see what becomes of that, but I’m losing myself in writing it, which I haven’t done since university days.  Regression ain’t always bad.

Movies lately have been re-runs, comfort viewing of flicks that I know won’t assault me with vomit but will help me believe in some kind of romance again, but for new stuff I’ve rented the original Magnificent Seven and have my sights on the remake.

Music is a hodgepodge of favorites lately…with the new Springsteen memoir I am listening to him a lot, with the recent binge-viewing of HBO’s/Foo Fighters’s series Sonic Highways I found my way back into New Orleans and country music (Nashville and Austin episodes), not to mention a dabbling of Nirvana (Seattle episode).  One of my favorite podcasts, All Songs Considered, has been drifting into a lot of hip-hop lately, so I am hooked on a British dude called L.A. Salami (that’s his real name) and Frank Ocean.  I found a video of the Dixie Chicks covering Beyonce’s “Daddy Lessons” in London, and have been abusing Lemonade and Not Ready To Make Nice because of it.

My next post may very well come from San Francisco’s Litquake literary festival, so I’ll part with this:  I’m cutting my hair today.  I’m also burying the lead on revealing that in case anyone who has met me or knows me in real-time reads this (unlikely, but ya never know), but it’s taking on its own symbolism:  a cross between a Tess of the D’Urbervilles reason and a method of starting over, a promise, a helping hand gesturing through a door held open by a beautiful man with a grin all over his face and a pitching arm of steel.

After you, Jose. ⚾️✨

#NightstandChronicle #TwentyOne #Meditation

I seem to be hooked on British stuff lately judging from the Nightstand, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  They may have Brexit, but we have Trump and a shooting by a cop every other day, so it’s six of one, half a dozen of another in my book.

Ishiguro is virgin territory for me–I’ve never read him before.  Get it out of your system and chide me now for the lacking in my literary exploration; as is my way, I don’t read books anymore unless they have a vitamin or mineral missing in my soul that I’m craving.  As to the Samuelsson memoir:  I’m working my way through Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” on Netflix and I’ve reached Ethiopia.  Bourdain may be a food god, but he’s got his cultural and literary prods as well.  (In other news, Bourdain wrote an intro to an excerpt of “Down and Out in Paris and London” in the latest issue of Lucky Peach, and when I found that out I felt a little more than validated.  Everyone likes Bourdain for the food–I stay with him for the writing and the relating to the world.)


I’ve been playing chicken online for a couple of weeks or so; Jo tends to do this when she isn’t loved unconditionally.  I had been coasting through my morning meditations and that means letting the app play while I closed my eyes.  Sometimes I woke back up when I finished the session.  You don’t sleep through meditation; that’s the deepest form of resistance.

And then this afternoon I watched a baseball game batter by batter instead of “getting through the innings” and I realized the meditation was working.  Meditation, for me, is going to be like my thyroid meds; I am stuck doing it for life, and if I don’t do it then there may not be much life left.  I had coasted through baseball, work, waking hours in general for months now, and suddenly, this afternoon, watching a game that may not mean anything in October, I found the beauty of each pitch.  I stopped holding my breath through the ninth.  

I hesitate writing about this, but the other option is to give up social media until Lent, or through Lent, or in general.  I found I’m lousy at that, and I’m tired of self-censoring.  I also hesitate to write about this because then the adage bursts through in comments:  “If I hear one more person endorse or evangelize meditation I’m going to throw up.”  “Mediation doesn’t work for everyone.”  And other unrelated comments that will be designed to make me into an ogre.

You’re right, dear skeptic:  meditation does not work for everyone.  It does work for me.  It has taken 75 days of doing it daily to admit that, even though every day has not been a gem.  It has saved my life like it will never do for anyone else, because meditation is not designed to “fix” anything.  It’s my form of prayer in reverse.  I can breathe through so much of the judgment and ambivalence laid in my lap with meditation.  And I realized that I have been doing it my entire life, and when I deviate from it, I am not me.  

When I was a kid, I would do a lot of staring into middle distance, and my mother would leave me to it.  I was a bright kid and got good grades and the practice of checking out occasionally throughout the day worked for me, so she left it alone.  Once a friend in Missouri pointed it out as an aggravation, and my mother came to my defense:  “That place where she goes…that’s where her stories are.”  That’s still true, whether my mother is here to defend me or not.

About a week ago a similar point was made; someone confessed to me that they didn’t know “how I did” solitude so well.  The answer for me is simple and lost on most everyone else:  I’ve had to at various periods in the past.  When you are on the farm wanting and wanting of a city, wanting of a certain kind of music, wanting of a certain kind of connection…when you are in an apartment just off campus and wanting of a story, wanting of a belief, wanting of a culture…when you are in exile in a desert wanting of a relationship, wanting of an experience, wanting of a love…you stare into middle distance during these times and make peace with the wanting.  You find a memory to anchor you, and sail around it in that middle distance, and you use that little anchor to write better, be calmer, trust change. 

Baseball is better.  British literature is better, for now.  I needed Vitamin See and Iron Mineral and the same dosage of middle distance every morning, dispensed with water. ✍🏼  

#NightstandChronicle #Twenty #Writers as #HeroReaders

If you follow me in any other venue of social media, then you’ve learned by now, probably pretty extensively, that I am a huge fan of the Broadway sensation “Hamilton,” not to mention its Pulitzer-prize winning writer, Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Last night Miranda played Hamilton for the last time on Broadway, we presume, unless he fouls up his career royally in coming decades and has to create a theme park or something.  But that’s highly unlikely, and this morning Miranda is back where he was when he came up with the first Secretary of the Treasury as hip hop artist, which is the role of reader.

If I were lucky enough to ever speak to Miranda, I wouldn’t ask him to drop some knowledge.  I would ask him what he’s reading lately.  Not for nothing, mind you; I love a writer that can convince his wife to love musicals and produce a book about a libretto (see above) that’s almost better than the libretto.  We know he’s got the chops.  But asking him what he’s reading lately…that question feeds the writer as a reader, and feeds the asker as well as the answerer.


When I first moved to California in 2004 I lived on the border of Sunnyvale and Mountain View, in the heart of Silicon Valley.  Of the two hamlets, I preferred Mountain View for some reason (still do; sorry, Sunnyvale), and I would sit in the coffee shops and walk in the bookstores there, feeling somewhat sane before hopping on Caltrain to head into the crazy City north of us.  One evening I had the opportunity to see one of my writing heroes at a Zen/meditation bookstore in Mountain View.  I had written with her books as inspiration for at least a decade at the time:  a writer named Natalie Goldberg, who is best known for Writing Down the Bones.  I’m not sure what book she was reading for at the time (I’m sure it can be researched by any publication she had right around 2004), but when they opened up the Q and A portion of the program I asked the question:

What have you been reading lately?

She came to a full stop in her breathing and her being for a moment, and then heartily thanked me for that question.  “That’s my favorite question,” she said, and then animatedly gave us some novel and memoir titles and talked about them with such enthusiasm you would think she had written those books herself.  Later, during autographs, she thanked me again.  

In every year since, I’ve asked writers that I’ve met at book-signings or Litquake events that question.  Every single one of them changes when they get that question, from idea-peddler to fellow reader.  Oh, they seem to say with their breath and the light in their eyes, you want to know THAT.  And then they start, tentatively, telling everyone within earshot about this novel or memoir or work of journalism until the tentatively wears off and we are all sucked into the joy of reading what someone else wrote.

I hope Miranda’s reading something wonderful.  I hope you are, too.

#NightStandChronicle #Nineteen #LaMer

So for a while last week I was nibbling around on the Seven Killings of Marlon James and messing around with a freaky horse scribble by Gaitskill and they were innovative and moving and…then I bought another book.  (The other two titles were library loans by the way…I’ll go back to them when I am done with their interruption.)  The book is mainstream and smacks of Tales of the City for Parisians and it’s not cutting edge but sometimes…sometimes you just need a bright and sweet French dessert.  The Little Paris Bookshop is just such a dessert.

It’s got sex and lots of love and lots of literary references and rich descriptions of rich food and magic and I needed this book about six months ago.  Sometimes the soul is stubborn.  I probably could have bought this book six months ago and been healed of all of this hassle.  But books show up when I most need them:  not before, not since.πŸ“š

So I’m spending my independent Independence Day reading it.  Then we’ll go back to Bob Marley and the crazy horse.


I spent nearly the entire day writing today, which is something that I haven’t done since my San Francisco writing group used to hold Saturday and Sunday writing marathons at a cafe in Duboce Park.  Those sessions were surreal; I always had to go home and ice my hand after (I was the only long-hand operator), but I burned through to the point where I would walk out smiling at everyone.  I’d take the N back to my neighborhood and get a repasado margarita at Pacific Catch and watch a Giants game and feel my soul shining like an empty drum.

Today, though, there was no light rail anywhere after, just a diabetic cat that needed his evening insulin and a leftover pesto sausage in the fridge and some sweet cherries for desert.  I still felt empty but for the first time not quite so lonely as I have since leaving the Bay.  That’s not to say I’m endorsing SoCal, but I felt as though I traveling through and not trapped for the first time in months.  I had put the phone away today, and wrote about legends that pass, even if the legends are just in a corner of the world and not global.  I was inspired by a movie that I rented for 99 cents from iTunes, a lovely little indie and romcom called Tumbledown.  I saw it last night and the legends idea hit me and I wrote half the night and all of today.  I didn’t care of the idea was gonna get tossed later, I didn’t care if it had been done before, I just played with fiction all day, not in a sense of working on existing projects but in a sense like I used to in college or in writing group.  Just get some magic on the page.  Just write something that isn’t therapy.

When I first moved to California in 2004 and lived in Silicon Valley, my brother and I would go to the ocean on the weekends:  him to fish from the rocks, me to sit at picnic tables or in the Jeep and write.  I had a collection of gel writer pens in jelly-like colors and I would listen to the soundtrack from Practical Magic on my pink Nano and write about wonder and how to keep it.  Today all I could think about was one of those fishing trips to Sonoma, just north of Point Reyes, where the Jeep was at a dangerous slope and I knew that if I tripped the emergency break I wouldn’t ever be homesick for anything ever again.  I was homesick for Missouri then, for knowing where stuff was, just like I’m still homesick for the Bay now, but felt that I could overcome with a bright green Uniball and Nick Cage.

The only thing in common with both that day and today was no social media.  I checked a Snapchat from a friend a moment ago, but other than that I haven’t touched the phone all day.  Reading, writing.  If I stay off the FOMO trip I feel more connected to that person in Sonoma.  I find more wonder.  The sweet cherries are better, the cat is more loving.  I pick up one of the Stabilos pictured above and the legend continues.  I would hate to give up social media entirely (after all, that’s where this ends up, too), but I don’t know how to do it anymore.  Maybe I do it a whole lot less until I figure out how.

Happy Independence Day, from whatever you are breaking from.πŸŽ†

#NightstandChronicle #Eighteen #Chided

Seems like I’ve used that picture before, but, what the hell, let’s do it again.

What a week for the Internet, which I originally typed in lower case because you’re supposed to now, and that my phone auto-corrected to capitals, because it doesn’t get the memos from time to time.  Heck, I’ll Capitalize The Whole Damn Sentence To Make Up For E.E. Cummings If You Want, Phone.  The lectures abound.  Every day since the tragedy in Orlando (the acerbic person would ask “Which one?”–that town has had a bad time of it) there’s been a lot of heavy-handed shoulds bandied about, but I’ve heard a lot of those without current events lately, too.  I’m not supposed to care what other people think but I am supposed to be a citizen of the world.  I’m supposed to be me but no one can physically stomach the me that I am right now (including me).

What is a girl to do?

Well, for starters, I am not going to advise.  I’m in no position to do that, and…I’m also in no mood to take advice.  I still think the sexiest thing anyone can do is admit vulnerability, or, if they possess complete command of the universe, ask what they can do to help.  I’m alone in that thought, though, I reckon.  So I’ve reached back into the past for a little help to stand alone and like everyone wants everyone to do.

When was I invincible?  When did I not give a flip if I failed because I never thought I could?  High school.  University.  I don’t think it was a youth thing–I was most confident at university because the topic of conversation was Literature with a capital L, and the folks I was talking about it with didn’t put on obscurity like a double-stitched suit of pretension or didn’t return my side of the conversation with a blank stare of “Wait…are you talking about a book?”  I have five stacks of books in this room waiting to be read because I’m trying to understand folks “not like me” and watching all the hip stuff on Netflix and HBO Go and iTunes and I get lost when I do that.  At university the hip thing was reading the novel and being able to gush on it like it was a prehistoric Orange Is The New Black (which started as a book, if I’m not mistaken).  No -isms, just, “I had a girlfriend like Miss Havisham once.  Discuss.”

Walking away from readers ain’t the answer.  I think the chiding of “find someone not like you” needs to stop benefitting anyone if one person is doing all the adapting.


The personals ad/Tinder profile would read like this:

  • Reader/writer looking for another reader/writer;
  • Preferably someone who reads/writes in a different voice than me;
  • (Should be pretty easy, right, since I’m supposed to listen to my own voice);
  • Wish list:  curious, doesn’t mansplain, good listener, has an unabusive sense of humor.

Too much?

What do I care?  That person would be the rainmaker.


What have I been trying to read lately?

  • Still catching up on the fiction issue of The New Yorker;
  • “The Mare” by Mary Gaitskill;
  • “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” the Bob Marley novel by Marlon James.  Damn thing’s like trying to read Junot Diaz, but I love it;
  • “Hamilton” by Ron Cherow (there’s a reason Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspired, I found out quick).

What am I listening to with it?

  • Hozier’s “Better Love” from “The Legend of Tarzan” soundtrack;
  • Paul Simon’s latest album;
  • Muse, just all over the place;
  • Ages and Ages, “They Want More”;
  • A Jamaican remix of Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night” (Marlon James in bleeding into other areas).

And…writing…always writing. ❀️