Friday, February 18, 2011


Last weekend, I received what amounted to be rejection #5 of my short story, but the publisher had put that volume on hold for another project.  It was a "no" but not for the usual reasons.  I'll take it.  I'll imagine they would have published it if they could.  It was accepted, in my mind.

A good character or a good story hasn't sprouted for me lately.  It's been mostly essay-type stuff.  Or poems.  My theory is that, because I've neglected another character, I can't think of any new ones.  The neglected one has already been brought to life, and he's just sitting there, at the side of Highway 101.  Waiting for me to decide his fate.  It's been decided as far as I'm concerned.  The story is finished (I think), but I can't help but imagine him sitting by the highway waiting for more revisions to his life so he can finally get up off the ground.

Patience, buddy.  I have some more procrastinating to do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

3, all in Oakland

Three sights in three days:

1.  A woman driving, holding in her flattened right palm, a small turtle.
2.  A man exiting a BART train, wearing a gorilla costume, minus the head.
3.  A construction worker, walking past, who is a dead ringer for the character Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

I love Oakland.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


(Written at last night's writing workshop)

At the movies, I am a teenager magnet.  I would say unruly teenager, but can't we all agree that would be redundant?  The talking, the kicking, the constant shifting and twisting in their seats.  And thanks to modern technology, the little shits can text through an entire film -- ghostly glows light up their downturned faces like periodic zombies.  Why not just stay at home, short-attention-span nincompoops?

When I arrive, I choose my seat carefully, but don't obsess over it.  I pick a row, mid-theater-ish, grab an aisle seat and settle in.  Sure, I have to tuck my legs in over and over to let people pass, but it's OK.  I'm not generally fussy.  Well, I try not to be.  But you'd better believe that no sooner have the opening titles appeared on the screen do I hear a rabid pack of pubescent fun-killers stumbling into the seat directly behind me, or in front of me. (Those always seem fated to be available.)  And then, well you know what they do, you've seen them.

Maybe it's me; maybe I'm the dinosaur.  I recall as a young child going to the movies and the ushers with flashlights seating patrons, how they patrolled the main aisle during the show to squash any monkey business brewing among the rickety, spring-loaded seats.  I feared those guys, who were, ironically, probably teenagers.  They took no truck with talkers or rambunctiousness of any kind.  Mess up and you were out, mister.

See what they do to me?  Just thinking about all this has got me sounding like a woman who was an adult when sound was first added to film!  I get crazy.  This hyper-vigilance that I can't turn off, even for 100 minutes of entertainment.  I can't ignore them or pretend they're not there.  They bug the shit out of me and I really wish, for one moment, that I were a large man with a shaved head and an army jacket so that I could stand over them and eyeball them into silence.  But I'm not.  I'm just a middle-aged woman who is trying to get out of house more often.  Is it so much to ask for manners and common courtesy?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Among the things I have lost:  an entire set of keys, one amethyst earring, one replacement amethyst earring, body weight, faith that people will do what they say they’re gonna do, a toaster, a tabby cat.

Among the things I have found:  a necklace with a cursive “J” charm (only to lose it again), a roll of stamps, a one-footed porcelain doll on a beach, a cluster of purple flowers on an empty dirt trail, body weight, trust in someone I’d lost faith in.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

particulates are groovy

That was the sunset over my shoulder, walking home Friday night.  Who knew the weekend would turn out to be shorts weather?  I like it, but it kinda messes with my head when it goes back to low 50s and windy.

Wait, am I writing about the weather?  Forgive me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

Most of what I know about the Chinese zodiac is what I've read on the placemats at Chinese restaurants.  Like "regular" astrology, I don't hold much belief in that sort of thing, but do find it interesting. 

Anyway, from what I've been able to glean from quick google searches, it's supposed to be an easy-going year, a respite from last year's Tiger.  I'd say I, and others I know who had a ferocious 2010, will appreciate the Year of the Rabbit. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Not even a one Mississippi

Every morning in carpool, I read.  Most mornings.  When it's quiet.  Just NPR, another rider and the driver.  Today, not even the moody, heart-wrenching story of a Holocaust survivor could penetrate the two motor-mouths in the front seat.  Obviously, these were friends riding into the city together, enjoying a nice chat.  I was stunned by their ability to fill every second with the sound of their voices.  Not even a one Mississippi could squeeze itself between their words.  Chatty Cathy's plastic mandible would be left gaping by their too-early-in-the-morning gab fest.  Topics included:  the benefits of window tinting, cremains and cremains delivery, real estate, marriage and heroin overdose.  Ladies, I am duly impressed.