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Drinking Like a Writer

In the 1940 classic “The Philadelphia Story,” C.K. Dexter Haven tells Macaulay Connor “I thought all writers drank to excess and beat their wives. You know, at one time I secretly wanted to be a writer.” He tells Macaulay that Tracy Lord never understood his “deep and gorgeous thirst.” I’ve always thought that writing and substance abuse go together. Hunter S. Thompson, Raymond Chandler, John Cheever, O. Henry, Tennessee Williams, Dorothy Parker, Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway – all famous literary alcoholics. Read more...

Equality of Choice

It's official. I've made my choice of grad schools. Of the ten I applied to, I chose Antioch University, Los Angeles. Of the programs to which I applied, Antioch was rated fifth in the country for low-residency programs. Numbers one and two had already turned me down, and I wasn't very interested in number four. I wasn't going to hear from number three for another month, and I had plans to make. I'm a person who likes making plans. I like knowing what I'm going to be doing next week, next month, next year.


Nobody Loves US Anymore!

Look, America, I'm gonna play it straight with you. I know that you and I haven't seen eye to eye about things. I know I'm not the most popular kid in school, but I've got my friends. I hear things. What I hear is that you're not so popular anymore. Seriously - nobody likes you.
I've now been accepted to two grad schools, and I've come to realize that what they say on the websites about "what our school has to offer" and what the admission officer will say to you when they call you to tell you that you've been accepted are two entirely different things.

My Plant Karma Is Changing!

I have told people for decades that I am the Kevorkian of houseplants. No matter what kind of plant it is, from the moment it enters my house, it is doomed to die a slow, sad, lingering death. People have given me ficuses (ficii?), cacti, orchids, azaleas, ferns, spider plants - all with the assurance that "you can't kill this." Oh, but I could.


Grad School: Progress and Process

Most of you know that about six weeks ago, I applied to ten different grad schools with the intent of getting an MFA. I made my choices based on Poets and Writers magazine's list of the 10 top low-residency programs in the country. I chose low-residency programs because, while I don't have a day job anymore, I do have a family that requires looking after, and at my age, I recognize that I would be miserable trying to pursue a degree while separated from my family.


Love Song for Gladys Kravitz

A bit of poetry for a soft summer evening.

Love Song for Gladys Kravitz

Your name is Welsh and means "territorial ruler"
And you rule my heart with your iron voice
    and your plastic glasses
You are everything I ever feared I would become
Your flowery housedress reveals
    so little, but hides nothing
And your sense of yourself
    extends halfway down the block
I would let you clean my teeth
    using only your voice
The vision of you in your yellow rubber
    gloves haunts me when I'm alone
I cannot equal your sense of justice
    or the force of your righteousness
You flame of eternal vigilance
    shines like the burnished copper of your hair
And the territory over which you are
    the benevolent dictator lies peaceful and calm
And the wings of your plastic
    unbreakable gaze fold me in their embrace


This evening, as I was doing the washing up in opera-length rubber gloves after having liberally slathered my hands with thick, greasy hand cream, I was thinking about how I always feel transported back to the 1950s when I do that. (And I'm using "back" in the figurative sense, as I was not yet born in the 1950s, just to be perfectly clear. I'm old, but not that old.)

Read the new blog post.



Remember me? I'd almost forgotten me. But I'm still here.

Here are things that are different:

1. I quit my day job. I hated that job and felt that I never really belonged at that company, so there was no real love lost when I left.

2. I put my kid into a Waldorf school. For those of you who know what Waldorf schools are like, you know what they're like. For those of you who don't: hippies. In the best possible way.

3. The Pirate has come into some money. It's what enabled me to quit work and what will, very soon, enable him to quit work as well. I must admit to being a little nervous about having him at home all the time.

4. To that end, we're buying a slightly larger house. It's one thing to look at your spouse and say "I love you and want to spend all my time with you." It's another thing to mean it. I don't mean it. He can have his own office, and so will I, and mine will have a lock on the door.

5. I'm applying to grad schools.

6. I've been working my cookies off, literally. I've lost ~30 pounds so far, and hope to lose another 40. It's difficult. And sweaty. And I've messed up my hip. But I'm happy about it nonetheless.

I'm thinking that I'm going to be laying on my deathbed and look back to realize that I have had relatively few periods of continuity in my life. My younger sister (the clinical psychologist who insists on being called "Dr." despite the fact that I used to hide her underpants in the mailbox) says that I don't have a single 3-year period in my adult life where I'm living in the same house with the same people and working at the same job. True. True. And with luck, I never will.

Calling a Spade a Spade

I know that I'm going to be skewered, and I'll probably offend a few people whom I otherwise love and respect, but I have to say something that's been brewing in my mind for a while now. To all of those people who are very vocal about the fact that they do not like children, I tell you: You are a bigot.

"They smell." "They don't know how to behave in public." "They shouldn't be allowed among normal people." If you were to say those things about blacks or Jews or gays or any other racial/ethnic/gender group (and variants of them have been said about all those groups at one time or another), people would call you out for it. You would be branded intolerant and shamed. People would point out to you that it's offensive to paint an entire group of people with the faults of a few individuals.I understand that many of you have had unpleasant experiences with individual children at one time or another, but to condemn children as a whole because some are poorly-behaved or (heaven forbid) not as sweet-smelling as yourself is no different than saying all blacks are criminals by nature, that all Russians are mobsters, that all gays are child molesters. It's not just wrong, it's insulting.

I love children. I like spending time with them and think that it's offensive to hear from otherwise open-minded people that they hate children and think that they should never see the light of day. It's rude, hurtful and disrespectful, as ALL bigotry is. So, while I don't want to infringe on your right to say what you think, I do want you to be honest with yourself. Stand up and say "I hate children and think that they should all be kept in closets." But right after that, look yourself in the eye and say "I'm a bigot, and I'm okay with that."