Sunday, December 31, 2017

Fourteen years ago

New Year's 2004. Adam and I hadn't talked in two weeks. That was typical. I wasn't his girlfriend, after all; I was his best friend and I would understand that he had trouble getting back to people.

I didn't understand. That's why I was cold when he called that day. "So," he said as if we had talked an hour earlier, "what are we doing tonight?"

I took him to the party in Montclair. It was thrown by a few old newspaper colleagues and there were more there, asking questions, questions, questions. I had no answers, just a moribund career and a grad-school dream that was growing moldier by the minute. Not to mention the fact that I was lonely, so goddamned lonely, that I could barely see through my own jaundiced vision.

We drank.

Then we smoked, standing under the stars half hidden by the coming storm.

When Adam put his head in his hands on the back porch, I shrugged and went to go talk to old friends. By the time I returned, there was a pile of --

Oh, shit. Those aren't streamers.

You got to dance with the one that brung you, so I cleaned it up. He spent the night at my apartment that night, passed out on the couch. He left in the morning before I awoke.

So fucking lonely, I thought.

Always will be that way, I knew.

What I didn't realize is that our relationship had come to the uncontainable point where it could no longer be roped in by the bounds of mere friendship. Something had to give.

And something.

And something.

Mom made cookies for breakfast

Friday, December 29, 2017

Reading to Jack

I dreamt this picture long ago, long before Baz. That doesn't mean I wanted it. It means I predicted it.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Alanis Morrisette, "Not the Doctor"

I don't want to be the filler if the void is solely yours
I don't want to be your glass of single malt whiskey
Hidden in the bottom drawer
I don't want to be a bandage if the wound is not mine
Lend me some fresh air
I don't want to be adored for what I merely represent to you
I don't want to be your babysitter
You're a very big boy now
I don't want to be your mother
I didn't carry you in my womb for nine months
Show me the back door
Visiting hours are 9 to 5 and if I show up at 10 past 6
Well I already know that you'd find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it's too much to ask for and I am not the doctor
I don't want to be the sweeper of the egg shells that you walk upon
And I don't want to be your other half, I believe that 1 and 1 make 2
I don't want to be your food or the light from the fridge on your face
At midnight, hey
What are you hungry for
I don't want to be the glue that holds your pieces together
I don't want to be your idol
See this pedestal is high and I'm afraid of heights
I don't want to be lived through
A vicarious occasion
Please open the window
Visiting hours are 9 to 5 and if I show up at 10 past 6
Well I already know that you'd find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it's too much to ask for and I am not the doctor
I don't want to live on someday when my motto is last week
I don't want to be responsible for your fractured heart
And its wounded beat
I don't want to be a substitute for the smoke you've been inhaling
What do you thank me
What do you thank me for
Visiting hours are 9 to 5 and if I show up at 10 past 6
Well I already know that you'd find some way to sneak me in and oh
Mind the empty bottle with the holes along the bottom
You see it's too much to ask for and I am not the doctor

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My li'l bookworm


I went to go look for college photos and came up with pictures from my first trip to Europe. Man, I couldn't take a picture to save my damn life. Venice looked like Amsterdam looked like Madrid and it was all the same dark picture of my feet.

"So now I know what it's like," Adam said. "It's just like being there."


Monday, December 25, 2017

This Jew got her Christmas miracle

Adam took our sporty red car down to LA, so I've been driving Sherman. Sherman as in Sherman tank. Sherman as in the 1995 Chevy Suburban that we bought when we trucked out to Missouri for four months in fall 2011. He is a huge motherfucking beast, but I can usually parallel-park him pretty well.

Today was a bit tricky. I was parking on Piedmont Avenue and it took a little bit of jiggering. Then I got out of the beast and sure enough, there are scratches on the car in front of me. I don't remember hitting it, but ... you know, when you're driving a fucking Mack truck, you're bound to screw up your margin of error.

I walked into Gaylord's and it was packed. Only game in town on Christmas Day. By the time I ordered my drink and asked for a pen (because the writer never carries one), at least 10 minutes had elapsed. I scribbled a note of apology with my contact information and went outside to place it under the windshield wiper.

The car was gone.

No note on my truck.

No sign of whether those scratches had existed previously or not.

So, you know, it looks like I'm off the hook. And the boys are coming home today. And the future holds promise.

Good stuff.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Killers, "Read My Mind"

This is the song that got us to Tokyo.

It was 10 years ago now. Nearly a year we'd lived together. We were making chili in our tiny kitchen after his friend had left.

"What a douche," I said.

"Come on. He's not that bad."

"He keeps his passport on him at all times in case he needs to, I don't know, jet to Malaysia. Meanwhile I've never known him to go any further than Portland."

Somehow this twisted into a conversation about travel. We had plans: Europe, Austin, New York. I was determined to add to that list.

I should tell you that I loved him, so much and so fiercely, that it shook me from time to time. Harsh and jittering yet at the same time familiar and warm, schizo like that.

"Name them," I said, sitting at my ancient laptop. "Just reel off some cities. We'll go from there."

Somehow this happened. And a month later, we were in Takadanobaba.


Fuck, we were young.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Boys on a road trip

And they're off

I'm a bachelorette for the weekend. Walzwerk with Joseph tonight; three different sets of plans tomorrow. Saturday I might be a hermit and just hang by myself, and then Sunday they're home.

I go down maybe once a year. Twice if pressed. I'll just own my side of the dynamics here. I went into the relationship hoping that I would love my in-laws as much I love Adam, that I could have the kind of parental connection I've always wanted.

It didn't happen.

So I did a total 180, decided if I wasn't going to love, then I would hate. I went cold and angry, brutal. I think I confused the hell out of them. From there it just got worse, and colder, and more distant.

From my perspective, they didn't care about us. I felt that it was all about them. Whether or not that is true, I could have responded more skillfully. Instead, here we are.

Fuck it. It's German food tonight.

My goofball two years ago

Adam's funny

He walks in and I'm listening to my latest obsession, Joni Mitchell. He rolls his eyes. "God, I hate her. She grates on me." I love that about Adam. No problem with opinions, that's for damn sure.

I'm going to miss that motherfucker this weekend. It's a good thing.

Thinking about it, I know why he doesn't like Joni Mitchell. He's not like me, ruminating about the past, heavy sighs, the what-ifs. He lives in the present.

What would that be like?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Adam loves his Maizie

Joni Mitchell, "The Last Time I Saw Richard"

"Richard, you haven't really changed," I said
It's just that now you're romanticizing some pain that's in your head
You got tombs in your eyes but the songs you punched are dreaming
Listen, they sing of love so sweet, love so sweet
When you gonna get yourself back on your feet?
Oh and love can be so sweet 

Love so sweet

Our daytime tradition

Every so often -- maybe every month or so -- we hop over to the Gold Club for its $5 chicken buffet and strip show. I always tell Adam he should be stoked to be with a chick who appreciates fried chicken and boobies. He nods and smiles.

"You pick a crappy song .."

"And for the last few weeks it has just been everywhere."

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Things Adam is to me

Best friend
Father of my child
Co-wrangler of my puppies
First reader
Living companion for the past nearly 12 years
Most accepting person I have ever met
Person who's seen me through just about everything imaginable
The one who calls me on just about everything.

Friday, December 15, 2017

We're sitting here baked and watching Chopped

ME: "Hey, baby? Are you at all amused or just disgusted?"

ADAM: "Some from Column A, some from Column B."

I can't get over that fucking Ginsberg poem. He posted it the day it all went down.

When I died, love, when I died
my heart was broken in your care;
I never suffered love so fair
as now I suffer and abide
when I died, love, when I died ...

Loralee to Adam

Loralee: "Did you grow up religious? Because you speak Jewish really well."

Adam: "I can read."

It's love

Loralee meets Baz.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Telling the tale

I've been contacted by Counsyl, a genetic-counseling firm, to tell my story on behalf not just of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia sufferers, but in a more general, relatable sense. I'm so happy to do this. They were drawn by my writing for The Mighty and went on to read my Washington Post and Guardian US articles.

I'm touched and honored. It makes today just a little easier.

From the manuscript

She seems so glad to spend time together. Maybe it's because she doesn't know me. "Your friends think you're one thing," Nails likes to say, "but I know the truth. And the truth is that you're a snake, Meredith, an angry, angry girl. Anger twists you, you know that? It changes you. It ruins you."

Takes one to know one, now doesn't it?


And still. Matt's text sitting, waiting, drumming its pixels with impatience.

My finger, taking on a life of its own. Telling him that he hurt me, betrayed me, all the things a friend doesn't do. I don't want to talk to you again. That's what I tell him. That's what I say. That's what I write, and then I make myself send it before I chicken out and erase the whole damn thing.

Only then can the tears come. But they don't. The cut is too damn deep to bleed.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

On the Cusp: Resolutions Gone Wrong

So the lineup is getting set for this show:

Marcus Banks
Joseph Kim
Colleen McKee
Fourth TBD. Maybe it's you?

I just realized what I'm going to read. It's going to fucking rock the house. If I read, though. If I'm curating, maybe I shouldn't read, though Joseph says it shouldn't be a big deal.

What else did he say today?

"Dude, you do that to guys. You make them crazy, insane, confused."



Saturday, December 9, 2017


Because, you know, in between angsting over the stupidest of shit, the room mom does occasionally post photos of her unearthly-gorgeous child at his school holiday party. Also, that the room mom sends missives such as these:

Hi guys!

I know you want to buy [the New House Day School staff] all a couple of Teslas each. Lord knows I do. But my Tesla taste is outstripped by my Charlie Brown budget. So here's my suggestion: we all go in on something for each of these fantastic people. Maybe something really sweet that they can split up, or ...? I'm open to suggestions, budget, and monetary donations to my personal Patron fund.


Ending of the manuscript

As I was nearing the end of the revise, I went into the city to participate in a storytelling event. I felt miserable sitting on BART, just struggling to make sense of what was going on and trying to manage my reaction to it. Meanwhile I was listening to my music and a song came on that I'd always skipped. This time I listened to it. It gave me the ending. It happens like that sometimes.

Adam is reading this to Baz


From childhood’s hour I have not been 
As others were—I have not seen 
As others saw—I could not bring 
My passions from a common spring— 
From the same source I have not taken 
My sorrow—I could not awaken 
My heart to joy at the same tone— 
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone— 
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn 
Of a most stormy life—was drawn 
From ev’ry depth of good and ill 
The mystery which binds me still— 
From the torrent, or the fountain— 
From the red cliff of the mountain— 
From the sun that ’round me roll’d 
In its autumn tint of gold— 
From the lightning in the sky 
As it pass’d me flying by— 
From the thunder, and the storm— 
And the cloud that took the form 
(When the rest of Heaven was blue) 
Of a demon in my view—

- Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

From the manuscript

If you're anything like me, you pick up the phone, feel its weight in your hand for a minute, tilt it up so the home screen appears. Then you thumb over to your messages and stare at them like an idiot before ducking into the one you're thinking about the most, hoping for those three dots that tell you they're still typing, that they're still with you, that they haven't done the Text-and-Run.

Your thumb hovers over the little on-screen keyboard, debating. You kind of start to hunt and peck, typing out something slow and stupid, something you're going to delete anyway. Something not worth hitting SEND for.

But you hit SEND.

Because you're like that.

This morning

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

You're Beautiful

 Baz was two days old the night I stayed up with him until sunrise, watching out the hospital window and playing him song after song. I sung this to him and I could have sworn he understood what I was saying.

I love being a mother. I love being his mother.

Monday, December 4, 2017

But I do like this snippet from the book

It's not like I've never met a them, not like I haven't read first-person accounts from writers who identify as they in Teen Vogue. "When did they get so fucking woke?" Nails likes to ask, the sarcasm dripping like poison from her tongue. "When I was a kid, they just talked about eyeliner and the best ways to diddle yourself."


Mom-and-kid adventure this afternoon. A welcome opportunity to concentrate on what matters.

I keep hollering "I'M Kelly!"

Adam really appreciates that.

Two years ago

This is lasting. This is solid. This is love.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

From the book

Matt, I want to say, you’re a metaphor. Too real to be a simile and yet not real enough to be mine. Accident and circumstance keep me silent. That and not knowing how long I’ve been passed out.


Meanwhile he’s just looking at me. Looking, looking, in that way I hate most of all. It’s one thing to catch a judgmental or even sympathetic glance. Those I can take.

This is different, like he’s peering under the skin and seeing what no one — not even me — sees. Kind of like being scalped, but with love.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Peanut butter toast

I never thought I'd have a kid. But not only did I have one, I had this one.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Joseph's blog

I met Joseph Kim in the MFA program at St. Mary's College of California. I think I knew straight away that this was my Korean soul brother. He is beyond an inspiration. The guy is by turns humble and brilliant, challenging and sweet as hell. This is someone who cares. How could you not love that? Not to mention that this is the person who taught me how to finish a project. He never let up until I wrote THE END.

Today he has published something that I think is incredibly brave and soulful. Read it and comment. Share it with those you love and hate. Scribble it on the walls and make sure the link is clickable. Just don't ignore it. You can't. 

And if you're in the market for an editor, look no further. Joseph rocks

Monday, November 27, 2017

Peri Park, Fairfax

I took my little boy to Marin today. It was a much-needed mom and son date.

He braved the slide, loved the swings, and played Captain Sandler by pretending to steer the climbing structure. Later we walked over to the Coffee Roastery for a cookie.

Solace in the important things.

On the Cusp is accepting submissions!

My new reading series, On the Cusp, is now accepting submissions for our debut event at The Bindery on Jan. 31! Check it out here for all the details and to buy tickets.

Or if you're link-averse, here's what you need to know:

On the Cusp: Resolutions Gone Wrong
A new nonfiction reading series based around the theme Moments of Change. The smaller and subtler these moments the better  big, seemingly important life events can work (or not work!), but were most interested in unforeseen instants that result in lasting change. For our debut event, we want to hear about your Resolutions Gone Wrong.

Submissionswhich should ideally run between 1000-1500 words, with a maximum of 10 minutes' reading timeare open through January 10, 2018. Submissions should be sent to On the Cusp organizer Allison Landa, at, no later than end of day 1/10/18.

Admission for this event is $5 in advance or $10 at the door.

Now back to your regularly scheduled ...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Santa Cruz

Paris Review

Maybe, as a female writer, you don’t kill yourself, or abandon your children. But you abandon something, some nurturing part of yourself. When you finish a book, what lies littered on the ground are small broken things: broken dates, broken promises, broken engagements. Also other, more important forgettings and failures: children’s homework left unchecked, parents left untelephoned, spousal sex unhad. Those things have to get broken for the book to get written.
Maya sent me this. Amazing.

Addendum: Just posted this on Facebook in response to others:

In talking to Adam just now what I realized is that what I quoted above is bullshit, for me at least. Having just finished a book, I can tell you NOTHING lies on the ground broken. My kid only knows what it is like to have a mother who has passion, ambition, and something beyond him and his needs. 

I'll tell you who has shut me down the most (or tried to, at least) for daring to have a life's ambition outside of simply reproducing: other women. And I'll say it: other women who were other MOTHERS, primarily stay-at-home mothers, and primarily people who had ambitions and goals and dropped them to be mothers full-time. And good on you if you want to do that, but then don't turn around and tell me that what I'm doing is fucking up my kid, because it sure the hell is not.
Think there's some feeling behind this? 

On This Day

 Silver Lake, 2013.
 San Diego, 2011.
Berkeley, 2015.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Today's writing

Matt first turned me onto Peter Gabriel. He popped in a CD while we were on the 56 one day, headed west toward the beach. The first time I heard the guy I couldn’t stand him. He just seemed like this whiney English dude whose music hadn’t held up from 30 years ago.

Then came Track Five.

“This is the one,” Matt said, and turned the dial to the right. It sounded different from the rest of what I’d heard so far, slower, sweeter, more sincere.

“It’s from a movie,” I said, “right?”

“Just listen,” he said, and his hand lingered on my knee for a single second.

It was called “In Your Eyes”. It spoke to me, but even in that moment I knew it wasn’t talking about Matt. It was too real, too deep, too loyal to be talking about him. It was willing to go there. It wanted to see more than the surface.

There’s the difference between how I felt about Matt and how I feel about Paul: with Matt, I had to hang on to some sort of veil for protection. With Paul, protection isn’t an issue.


It was beautiful. We spent it with Rabbi Ruth Adar and many cool people. Grateful.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Day drinking

"You guys are married, right? To each other?"

"Yes. For like 800 years."