#NightstandChronicles #Continue #EightSecondsLeftInOvertime

Here, hold my spot.

June’s gonna get away from me and then I’m going to feel the failure more, so here’s a blog post in recap, a replay of a little ditty I like to call “So This is How We Treat Each Other Now.”

The ditty with verses about how during and after the election the catfish walked off wearing a red trucker’s hat, and you miss that catfish, but maybe them dumping you like a school lunch was the final indicator that maybe you shouldn’t have spent so much time getting attached to start with.

Not great timing, though.

So the introvert spends some time alone, finding out more about humanity in fiction than in people.  I hate doing that.  But I’m alone a lot anyway, alone in passions and in person, so might as well disappear into empathy:


I miss compassion.  And if you don’t think it’s possible to learn humanity from a novel, then may I present Exhibit A, which I am reading right now:


This book, like many others, utilizes a wild animal to demonstrate kindness.  One of the characters gets it.  The rest would rather not go there.  While I don’t advocate befriending foxes in order to have companionship, I am encouraged by the fact that foxes or rabbits or squirrels or seagulls don’t use social media.

Yep, it’s a blog…online, nonetheless…and I’ll drop the subject there.

It turns out that my friends can be found in the following pools:

  • People I work with
  • People I worked with
  • People I used to write with (2)
  • People I buy stuff from

Not a great pool.  Some great people in it, but they are busy, and most don’t read. The danger is, the ones who have the most time for me are the first group and the last.

Which means I’m working too much and I’m spending too much and I have no boundaries.  Alone time, then.  With foxes.  Not so much social media.  I don’t want to see who else has walked away because I’m me, and not, instead, loved me because I’m me.

On to what I have been doing lately, as Jamaica would start.  ✨

What I Have Been Reading Lately:  The afore-mentioned fox fable, written by a lovely Brit from the Guardian.  Between this lady, Jeanette Winterson, JoJo Moyes, and JK Rowling, the UK seems to have my ears these days.  I am still working on the Chabon book, though (Moonglow)…more like lingering in it.  Today’s library visit will hopefully include a book on Islamic issues and an old Edward Abbey favorite my brother got me hooked on about six years ago.

What I Have Been Watching Lately:  Still watching Last Week Tonight, still working my way through the entire series of West Wing (again; I usually do this about once a year), still watching a LOT of baseball.  I say “watching” but most of it is the free MLB game of the day playing on my phone and I glance at it if I need a distraction from another work nightmare.  The broadcasts are a boys club of guys trying to crack each other up and sometimes they succeed in getting me to do that.  The free game is rarely the Giants, which is probably a good thing; I still bleed black and orange, but years like this means I get back to the passion of the game in general…and other players in their glory.  Also, I am hooked to the footage of the Flash and the exciting installments of his wins and losses.

I’m also still watching Real Time.  Judge away, America; while you’re at it, I also like other stuff I’m not supposed to, like Hemingway’s fiction and Woody Allen films.  The floor is yours to throw stones.  Yes, Bill Maher does offend me from time to time.  But he wakes me up, too, like Friday’s opening segment with Maajid Nawaz.  Some of my teachers in university angered me beyond measure and got me thinking in the same semester, and I’m used to be offended in otherwise productive discussions.

What I’m Watching On Film:  Last weekend was The Edge of Seventeen–dark, but I love the actors, so that one’s a keeper.  (Pro tip:  I have to dock all movies with puke scenes as 4 instead of 5 stars, so this film had a blemish in case you are also of the nature that you don’t feel you should have to pay any kind of admission price for pieces where someone pukes/pees/poops/etc.). On the rental list is The United Kingdom (David Oyelowo strikes again) and I Am Not Your Negro, which I saw at an indie theatre here in San Diego but which I loved enough to watch again.  Also, I have been rewatching, over and over, the movie Paterson with Adam Driver and Moonlight.  They soothe me.  When movies about verse-writing bus drivers and violence soothe you something’s probably not right in Denmark, but that’s my inclination these days.

What I’m Listening To:  for starters, today with the current social situation, this.  That song is a recurring theme in my life, and I take full responsibility.  Also, a band called First Aid Kit has a lovely song called “I Found A Way” that paints me over so that I can sit in a shadow and nod my head to the beat and agreement.  Also, the remastered Sgt Pepper’s, and the solo album by Dan Auerbach (don’t strain yourself; if you are trying to place that name then here’s a hint–Black Keys).  I have got a dosage of country from the latest season of The Ranch on Netflix, a wonderfully senseless show that I can also play while working to keep from getting spooked (like cattle might), and danced a little in my living room with Garth Brooks’s “Friends in Low Places.”

I do get out, too…dancing on Friday night to a jazz band by the harbor…walks down the jacaranda lane of Kettner…fireworks…cattle drives to promote the local county fair.

Still looking for humanity, after all.  ♥️

#NewNightstandAddress


Looks like a dorm room, doesn’t it? But instead it’s an artist’s studio, and it’s in a metro location, so I am no longer roaming the countryside like a nomad, my life in a knapsack heavy with pens, books, and blank paper.  April was just moving, so, yes, I have been conspicuously absent (or not…depends on your dependence, I suppose), but this is a three-day weekend and I have some time and I have missed spending whole days reading and writing, so the NightStand returns, in the form of two wicker baskets at the head of a futon.

San Diego proper is still as sprawly as all get-out, but in the event of a natural disaster or extreme illness I could make my life continue in the span of a city block.  It helps to live next to a grocery store.  It also helps to have my gym across the street from the grocery store, and about four cafes in the area, and two ATMs, and you get the picture.  For less needs and more wants I have to walk farther: library at 8 blocks, ballpark at 6 blocks, harbor lights at 6 blocks.

This is my first foray into living among skyscrapers; even in San Francisco I lived by the park and among buildings that topped out at 3 or 4 stories.  Here I wake up in the morning and there are more than six buildings out my window that exceed 20 stories.  Their placement is such that I feel I live in a city but they don’t block the sunset or the occasional fireworks from Sea World.  The tallest of them, a condo building, has an art installation at the top; think of a lighthouse where the light runs a cycle of the complete spectrum of ROYGBIV.  The colors fade into each other, and cycle and cycle until about 3:30 am.  I know this cut-off firsthand; someone pulled the fire alarm in the building in error at that ungodly hour a week or so ago, and I got to meet a lot of neighbors.  My neighbors are animal lovers and a lot of them have medical issues, so finding the silver lining in such a strange evacuation was a challenge that night, but still…community.  Writers need community.

My day job is a bit of an attention hog these days due to the fact that I am often forced into the practice of metaphorically paddling a battleship with a toothbrush, but I’m working on that, too, now that I have personal independence.  In terms of the arts and crafts, though, here are the latest indulgences:

  • What I have been reading lately:  on the Kindle I’m still trying (unsuccessfully) to get through The New Yorker as it comes in and reading a novel called Carrie Pilby.  From that now close library I’ve been on a Toni Morrison kick (Beloved, which I have never managed to read, and God Help the Child, which is getting richer but isn’t my favorite work of hers), and from my personal paper library Moonglow by Michael Chabon.  Chabon has flipped the “fake news” garbage on its head; he calls the novel a memoir that may or may not be reliably true, therefore removing all doubt by adding it. 
  • What I have been listening to lately:  I’m apparently on a James Bay kick this weekend, but I also have the latest from Sia (her theme from the movie Lion) and the music of Chopin bouncing around in the earbuds, too.
  • What I have been watching lately: continuing with baseball (my Giants suck, yes, I’ll say it), and West Wing (there are seven seasons, after all), as well as Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Real Time with Bill Maher.  In movies, I started The Secret Life of Pets, but that is going to be a long watch…not a great film.  I binged on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt last Sunday; Titus is still in fine form with his Lemonade tribute.  I haven’t seen many movies lately (it’s summer, not Oscar season, after all), but those that I have seen are a little French film on Netflix recommended by a friend called Blind Date (hence, my listening to Chopin) and I have the Oscar-nom film for Annette Benning on my iTunes rental.

For the time being, c’est moi.  More, hopefully, barring any drama, in June.  ✨

#IntelligentCompassion or, #WhyISkippedFebruary


I’m rewatching the television series “The West Wing.”  That statement in today’s political climate is relatively on par with “I’m treating my depression with alcohol,” but it gave me a fair bit of insight in the first episode alone, so it did help, of a sense.  First, though, a background story so that you get an idea of its affect on my thought processes.

When my mother was in her last stages of cancer a whole collection of hospice nurses were in and out of the house to help (some were a help, like the lady I’m about to mention, but most were uncomfortable and I had to work for them to help them feel better; all part of that acute politeness and nothing bad should be acknowledged attitude the Upper Midwest is so good at), and one of them came in every other day to take vitals and answer questions.  My mother was pretty much unconscious at this stage, and the nurse new my parents; it was a small town, and everyone knew everyone, particularly in specific generations.

I liked this nurse, enjoyed her visits, but she had an odd assessment of my parents.  She told my brother and I that we were lucky; we had the perfect balance of intellect (supposedly my dad) and compassion (supposedly from my mom).

Something about that never sat right with me, because it seemed to add up to the following sum:  my mother, in being compassionate, must be missing some IQ points, and my father, smarter of the two, must be lacking in compassion.

Ever since then I have looked for smart and compassionate people to look up to.  Sadly, the nurse was mostly right…especially in today’s news cycle, it seems we have to “win” by being smarter than the other side, and “how are the Dems going to get the upper hand back when they are so nice all the time,” and “empathize with the struggle of the Right and you’ll win them back, ” (there’s that word “win” again), etc.

I’m seeing a lot of intellect right now, and no wonder…compassion is portrayed as, and is perceived as, a weakness.

My questions are these:

  • What if compassion could convince of intellect?
  • What if intellect could be used to find the compassionate way to lead us all?
  • What if one or the other weren’t celebrated and instead one could only happen with the other?

Enter “The West Wing.”

The scene pictured above is in the pilot.  I won’t explain the whole thing; you can find it and watch it if you are so inclined.  In the pilot episode, the communication staff and Deputy Chief of Staff meet with Christian leadership to smooth over a snafu that occurred on a talk show between their representatives.  One side is secular government, the other side is impassioned Christianity.  The White House staff are accused of being smart and not compassionate to the needs of the Christian Right, but the Christian Right wants the apology cemented with commitments from the administration to things such as school prayer, cracking down on the accessibility of porn among kids, and discontinuing distribution of condoms in middle and high schools.

Now, I’m all for school prayer, if you could be compassionate enough to do it and not make those kids of different faiths (or atheist) uncomfortable.  I’m all for cracking down on porn accessibility for kids, but…isn’t that a smart decision we should be compassionate enough to allow parents to make?  And no condoms in schools…the smart and compassionate answer for me seems to me to make them readily available.

But there are different definitions of compassion and intellect, aren’t there?

For me, finding someone who is equal parts compassionate and intellectual has become so exceedingly rare that I only seem to find it in art…and not the kind of art you would find in the movie Snakes On The Plane.  George Saunders, on tour for his first novel Lincoln in the Bardo, mentions the importance of kindness in every interview, and he learned that lesson from a critic’s review of his short fiction that expressed Saunders was a better writer when he wrote from a point of view of “love instead of hate.”  That review was before Saunders went on special assignment for The New Yorker to do an in-depth piece on Trump supporters.  In a recent Vanity Fair interview he conveyed that he still didn’t understand why Trump supporters wanted Trump, but he understood their working class frustration.

Working class frustration isn’t always thought of as cerebral.  Maybe, though, we should use our noggins to understand that frustration, and then find a compassionate way to alleviate it.

The challenge though, is finding the smarter, kinder way to do it.

*****

February got skipped in this blog for a few different reasons: the unreliable nature of my current employment, my changing living situation, the month is short enough to sneak past me, and my mother’s memory kind of takes over the first couple weeks.  But here’s the leap back into something stable, a run-down of the art I’ve been trying to stay sane with lately:

  • Books – I finally finished Barbarian Days…sadly; what a great memoir.  I’m currently reading a book that I picked up at the San Diego Library Shop for “A Blind Date with a Book” for Valentine’s Day (the book was wrapped in plain brown paper–no, not porn again, heh–and a brief and enticing summary was applied to the wrapper), The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht.  The novel is set in the former Yugoslavia and reminds me of the magic of She Unbearable Lightness of Being, without so much raw lust.  I am thoroughly enjoying my Valentine’s, still.  I am also enjoying the complete fluffiness of Jojo Moyes’s short story collection Paris For One, borrowed from the Carlsbad library, just because she is so funny and loving and light;
  • Other reading – still The New Yorker, still The New York Times;
  • Listening – a LOT of classical music, a LOT of Cassandra Wilson, a LOT of Melody Gardot…they are soothing, and, with minimal vocals, easy to write to.  I love Lorde’s new single, enjoying Sia’s work on film soundtracks lately (The Eagle Huntress and Lion, for starters), and I keep adding to my podcast stack;
  • Watching – TV – still with PBS’s Victoria (one more episode tonight), The West Wing, the second season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Last Week Tonight, Real Time with Bill Maher, and…it’s back…BASEBALL; ⚾️
  • Movies – Pretty much anything Oscar-related, which is typical for me in February.  Yes, I watched the Oscars, and came unglued at that magical ending with my love for Moonlight.  

Here’s hoping, until April, I gain compassion and smarten up, in equal measure.  ❤🤓

#Post2016


Ah, yes, year in review.  I didn’t have such a bad 2016, although it was disappointing.  I took a chance and tried another job, one that pays better and has cheaper insurance and sits closer to the home base (would we really call it home?) and allows me to work from home occasionally for the first time, but…like the last job it isn’t the job description I was promised.  I was promised analyst, and I’m still Band-Aid girl for the agent statistics, making up numbers to cover up boo-boos, and a different set of leadership is scratching their heads wondering why desired results can’t be obtained.

There were other disappointments, too, but they were more of learning experiences.  I would go into greater detail on these little growth spurts, but they are probably going to carry into 2017 and some days I fall off of them like their surfaces got slippery.  Rome wasn’t built overnight and I’m sure they had to stop occasionally due to rain.

I’m about halfway through my own personal Colesium, you might say, and I had to tear down another parking garage before I could start building this thing, so I’m a bit behind.

But I’m getting more efficient at the brick-laying.

*****

To revert back to the standard updates in the posts…here is what I have been doing lately (the continuous nod to Jamaica Kincaid):

Books:  I’m reading The New Yorker, New York Times, LA Times, and Washington Post, but never fast enough.  I’m also working my way through Barbarian Days:  A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan.  I’m reading this book for the same reason that people see the movie Raging Bull when they don’t like boxing; I am not a fan of surfing and probably never will be and yet this book kind of fills in the gaps like caulk.  Finnegan is one hell of a writer, and I love his stuff in The New Yorker, and occasionally he “diversifies” as he calls it in the text and you get less surfing and more of the rest of it.  It helps that I now know where most of these places are (minus Hawaii, and I’m not sure I want to take that one for a spin).  I think of Finnegan’s passion for surfing as comparable to mine of baseball; we can hold our own at a bar with our respective topics of expertise, but we will mute ourselves after a bit if a blow-hard steps in.

Sometimes humility is better, although it’s more and more seen as weakness.

Music:  For some reason I’m on a Florence + the Machine kick (blame the film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), but other stuff beats on–Miranda Lambert (damn, Jo’s back in country stuff!), Childish Gambino’s latest album, Beyoncé on shuffling repeat.  A week or so back I was on an “Angel of the Morning” kick (covered by various artists).

Film:  I enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children more than I thought I would (kind of wary of Mr. Burton’s films, but this one and Big Eyes were pretty good).  I’ve watched a little Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, naturally, and a movie called A Dangerous Method that seemed a bit on the clinical side for being all about sex and Freud and Jung.  I saw Fences and was fine until Viola Davis got in Denzel’s face and my struggle with 44 years of men helping themselves to me made me cry.  That was nothin’ compared to Moonlight, though, which, for a movie that has very little CGI and no storm troopers was the best piece of cinema I have ever seen in my life.  No “probably,” no “in my humble opinion;” I’m owning this one.  Moonlight was complete genius.  We’ve seen film after film of minority communities, of drug culture, of LGBTQ issues, of feminist struggle, and then a director and a playwright from the same part of Miami get together and get it right.  They just effortlessly execute it and make it look like “Duh, this is what you meant,” and the pure, bald-faced news of the story was like Viola Davis’s speech in Fences for TWO HOURS.  There’s an introvert in Chiron, an unloved in Chiron, an observer in Chiron, and there’s a part of every life in him.  Someone finally got the engine streamlined.

Social media:  I’m present less and less on all of the platforms, and spending more time sitting in coffee shops, bars, and restaurants actually talking to people.  Yesterday was magical (magestical?  I saw Hunt for the Wilder People too) in that I took a Lyft (ridesharing as a microcosm) to a newish restaurant in Carlsbad called Campfire (recommended by friends in the East Village) and sat at the bar.  I have been sitting at the bar for years; bartenders are a wonderous lot to me, and not just for the booze.  As I was munching and imbibing, two little boys climbed on the bar stools next to me and ordered shots of milk.  One boy was 4 and the other was 6; the 4-year-old was from here and quiet, and the 6-year-old was from the UK and could speak the Queen’s English and Japanese.  These are the wonders I moved west for, and some days I find them.  

I find I have more time to read and write as well, being off the snark sites more and more, and at some point it’s probably just going to be my blogs and that’s it.  So…much…judgment on social media.  I’m reminded of high school, and I hated high school.  My happiest days were college, where my best friends were classmates and professors and a former Californian who told me I didn’t know anything from university and that I should feel lucky to have any friends or lovers at all because I wasn’t beautiful and took after my father in looks so I was just going to get worse.  “Not nice, actually,” Natalie from Love Actually would say, but in those days I thought she walked in water because of where she was from, as though California birth is a stamp of worldliness in itself, so I followed her around between semesters and after graduation hoping to meet her expectations.  I started losing myself when I lost college and lost my mother in the same damn 18 months; I loved college because I was working full time teaching and going to school for literature.  

People have suggested that I go back for my Masters, and I’ve thought about it.  It is time to write, though, and I would have to follow more prescriptions in going back to do that.  I feel depleted on the social platforms and remember reading and writing as my community at university; it’s been brought to my attention that I’m being anti-social in this aspect, but…social sites have turned anti-social.  One half hates the other half because both halves want the whole, and listening occurs less and less.  I have to admit that I would be shocked if more than one friend in my circle read this open letter to the world, but I’m the listener in the crowd of them; it’s not so much that I am more and more anti-social, but it’s getting too difficult to have a conversation or connection.  I don’t consider it giving up as much as finding out if there are people out there who think I’m worthy of a conversation instead of just worshipping folks for putting up with me.

It is possible…I have to believe that.  I cannot settle for less…less I don’t want to live for.

Dear reader, may you have a blessed and wonderous 2017; you are deserving of it. 🙏🏻✨🎉

#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 #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.

So…

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. ❤️

It’s A Slow Night, and Here’s An Extra Letter Back To You


There’s an extra post this month because I was feeling a weight on my chest, a play I have to call, a calling I probably should take.

Liz Gilbert had a journey to countries that started with I’s.  Cheryl Strayed had a 1,000 mile walk.  Helen Macdonald tamed a hawk, kinda.  I sit on social media cheerleading the stories of everyone else’s life, when I can catch them.  Thanks to the algorithms and analysts (I can say that; I’m an analyst) it takes a lot of detective work to find your stories, read you all like a puddle of tea leaves, wonder what I can do to help, to connect…

It appears I can’t connect.

Not right now, actually.  

On a repeated collection of not right now’s, actually.

The majority of my days are spent watching everyone else’s life like a stalker or a cat-lady in hair rollers with her “stories” on the tv, or picking up the phone and pressing the power button to see if folks who don’t remember me miss me, or hoping to make my life hip enough one day a week (yeah, Instagram, that day is Saturday and you know it), or finding a way to bond with yet more technology that will be passé tomorrow to everyone but me.  Why?  Is it just a dry spell?  Or is this nature’s/God’s/the muses’ little way of saying, “Quick, while no one is watching, let’s go kill some time until they return.”

There’s something that doesn’t settle well in that, though.

*****

When I was at Missouri State and minoring in history my women’s history professor assigned us some unconventional activities in addition to the stacks of books we had to read.  We had to attend a political event in the city, and at one point we had to write a paper about a female community leader that inspired us.  The leader could be dead or alive, but the assignment required sitting down and interviewing someone who was or knew about that person, so that we didn’t keep our heads stuck in books.

I chose my mother.  She was influential in her community, and she inspired me.  I carefully formulated some questions and new a couple of them would be controversial:  Mom’s family (including me) was never enthusiastic about her having a business out of her home.  We touched on that (that’s for another blog), but there was one answer to another question that blind-sighted me and I didn’t expect it to.  I asked my mother why she started her business; was it because she loved people and/or loved farming so much?

Nope.

She started her business because she didn’t want to be one of those moms that guilts their kids to come home or visit more often, and the business would be where she could put all of that passion.  (My father should have come up with a similar plan, just saying.)  I stopped short when she gave me that answer, and I think of that answer when I feel alienated in my life, wondering if the lonely times are a good time to walk away from what the rest of the world thinks is brilliant so that I can have a place to put my passion, too.  Problem is, that approach only solves half the problem.  What about the next friend or lover that walks into my life?  Do I just wait for them to leave?  Is it the life of a monk or recluse that I have no choice but to have?

Last year a friend of mine pointed out to me that the things I like tend to feed my loneliness.  “You have to admit that writing and reading are group stuff.”  And when they are group stuff, they have disappointed, with some rare but not consistent exceptions.  Here’s the rub:  give up the reading and writing for bars, coffee shops, parties, clubs if you want to avoid being lonely.  Find friends.  Seek out group stuff to do.

I try.  And then I realize that it ain’t me, babe, and I’m lonely in a room full of people.  I’m lonely wanting someone to read with, cozy up with on the phone or on a couch:  “Listen to this” and no one wants to do that.  I’m lonelier at parties.  I’m an introvert:  one person at a time, please.  I’m an introvert that tried to grow and include a bunch of people in my life and now have to heal when none of them want to talk.

I thought social media would cure that.

It’s made it worse.

And going back to writing to kill time until either the previous crowd returns or a new crowd shows up is slowly killing me.  I keep coming up with plans for social media to play nice, but then I realize the playing nice is to make the rest of the world more comfortable and hopefully draw them to me.

The plan shouldn’t be “in the meantime.”  The plan shouldn’t be a “fix.”  The plan should be to remember who I am, to remember the people and passions I love, without apology.  The world is too cool for that.  The world doesn’t stare at its phone waiting for text messages, notifications, Snaps.  The world has a life.  I don’t have one of those.

I have things that I love and people that I love but I don’t have a life.

Pardon me, then, if I put the phone away.  Pardon me for posting less…we, you and I, have hit an impasse where I’m sure a show that’s streaming on Netflix or a term that I don’t understand on a hashtag is better than my re-tweet or share.  I’m fine with that.  You have your passions and I have watched them and had them too for a while and now I have to go back to mine…not until you remember me, but permanently.  I need to read a book without guilt, and I need to write a book and about 50 short stories that I have ideas for just to see if they are viable.  I need to stop pressing the power button on my phone in hopes of seeing something besides the lock wallpaper:


(An example of the current wallpaper.  And he’s getting old fast.)

I’m not curling up in a cave somewhere.  I’m not closing my accounts, or ignoring communication.  But there’ll be less checking.  I’m connecting in the way that I had hoped I would.  I just wanted connection.  I’m going to try reading a while, now, on sites like GoodReads and WordPress and magazines.  If you want to talk, I still have that fancy email feature all the kids rave about, and if you’re lucky enough to have my cell number and it’s an emergency, call me and leave a voice mail.  If it’s not, text.  Comment.  Message.  I’ll still check all of this stuff, but not nearly as often as folks have grown accustomed to or…enjoyed.  I gotta have a break if you’re gonna take one from me.  I love you all, but I gotta find me again, so I stop losing myself to keep people who don’t stay.

Be well, and find your passion.  ❤️ I will see you here again as soon progress is made.