Saturday, August 29, 2009

My email to the National Organization for Marriage

It's simple: You work tirelessly and with assurance toward the goal of oppressing an entire group of people.

I hope when you meet your God, he spits in your fucking face.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Love that Dirty Water

Sox vs. Sox at Fenway. White creamed Red 9-5, but it was a hell of a fun fight.
Hello, Fenway!
Sausage and pepper at the park.
Adam lived in Massachusetts for the first eight years of his life, but this was his (and my) first Fenway experience. Awesome!
Our B&B in Brookline.
Some horse's ass along the Freedom Trail.
Old North Church.
Want a lick?
St. Anthony's Feast in the North End.
Adam arrived this morning!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ayelet Waldman, "Bad Mother"

Maybe I'm not as much of a feminist as I think I am. After all, I stopped working and stayed home with kids for years, and neither Michael nor I even considered for a moment the possibility that he would stop writing. Maybe I enjoy feeling inept with a hammer and a screwdriver because part of me thinks that's how girls are supposed to behave. Maybe that's why I haven't been more aggressive about making my daughters learn the intricacies of the toilet's balky flushing mechanism.

But I don't think so.

I think this has more to do with the nature of marriage. In every union roles are assumed, some traditional, some not. Michael used to pay his own bills; I used to call my own repairman. But as marriages progress, you surrender areas of your own competence, often without even knowing it. You do this in part because it's more efficient for each individual to have his or her own area of expertise, but also as a kind of optimistic gesture. By surrendering certain skills, you are affirming your belief that the other person will remain there to care for you in that way.

This kind of capitulation is not without its pitfalls, of course. Every woman who has given over the financial reins only to find herself divorced and penniless knows its dangers. Still, one of the wonderful things about an intimate partnership is the division of life, the parsing out and sharing of responsibility.

More on Boston

I am so excited to be here. So thrilled that Adam will be joining me come morning. So happy that I found a beautiful B&B in a great neighborhood at a wonderful price. So thrilled to explore this gorgeous city that I've long wanted to visit.

So honored that I have this chance.


Three hours broken sleep. Klonopin taken on the plane to fight claustrophobia. It worked. I love Virgin America and their entertainment setup. I played Mah-Jongg the whole way to Boston while listening to Cyndi Lauper. Don't hate. Waited for the Massport Shuttle for a little too long, but it was free, so I can't bitch.
Pretension alert: The T reminds me of a mix between the New York and Paris subways.
So no one actually gets off at Fenway. They get off at the previous stop, which is good because there were tons of boisterous, if very friendly, Red Sox fans blocking the door.
Our room at the B&B in Brookline. Want an apricot?

Nightstand goodies. Someone left their K-Y.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"In the eyes of the Lord"

Today someone told me that intercourse was meant to be between a man and a woman, and that anything else was a sin when it comes to Catholic teaching.

I took the technological tack: I defriended him on Facebook.

This whole bigotry-under-the-flag-of-religion shit makes me want to projectile vomit. What if his kids came out? I bet that would rock his little world.

Christ. And yes, I use that word deliberately.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm terribly teary all of a sudden. I leave on Wednesday and will be gone for more than a month. That's a long time.

I've been on a ridiculous roller coaster for days. I'm either brushing the sky or nose-first to the floor. I understand what's going on, but sometimes that doesn't make it any easier.

This is a huge thing for me. Huge. Getting into MacDowell is a dream become reality, and it is almost here. I'll be gone for a month. I keep saying that. A month. Not a long time in normal life terms, but a long time when it comes to the rich time at a residency.

I'm overcome by emotion. I accept it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

77,701 words

And other than a few tweaks, in final draft form. Champagne is in order.
I am so close to finishing my final draft. This project has so much meaning to me. I can feel it in my chest, in the core of my being. It is the most important thing I have ever done and if it touches even one person, I will be thrilled.

Cafe Attitude

I'm so glad to see Cafe Gratitude go down for the sham piece of crap that it is. Anyone who knows me knows that my appetizer in this place would be an AK, and I wouldn't be the one eating it.

A few weeks ago before walking the lake with Angela, Adam and I stopped into the swanky Whole Foods for some water and possibly a trip to the very clean bathroom. Now, keep in mind we'd been bickering all afternoon, so neither of us was feeling particularly sunny.

He went off in search of coffee. The only place he could find it was the Cafe Gratitude stand. He came back sort of grinning.

Turned out after he bought his coffee and started to walk away, the worker kept calling the Question of the Day at him. It must've been hilarious to watch Adam keep walking while the cult dude yelled: "What are you grateful for?"

It is also worth pointing out that a friend of mine took a friend who was suffering from cancer there for lunch. He later told me: "We should've ordered the I Am Dying, m'kay?"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

End-of-summer good times

Anthony's in town to perform and he's staying with us! He's got Cupid, the thrift-store cup I gave him as a birthday present right before I left Nebraska City. Cupid gets around.

Cupid meets Oliver.

Warren at writing group, which was held at my place this week.
Sean and Rob at writing group. Do you think they knew what I put in their chili?
Our first ripe tomato of the season.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stephen King could've written this about Klonopin, but he didn't.

No, wait, that wasn't quite fair. She did give something else. She gave him the pills that brought the tide in over the pilings.

The pills were the tide; Annie Wilkes was the lunar presence which pulled them into his mouth like jetsam on a wave.

- Stephen King, Misery

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Today's writing

A guy named Cam buys my car. It’s not short for Cameron. He’s always been Cam. You can just tell.

Cam has a square jaw and a buzz cut, an earring in the left ear. He looks about my age and I’m surprised when he tells me he’s buying the car for his son.

“I had a Celica when I turned 16,” I tell him. We’re finalizing the paperwork, such as it is. I’ve scrawled out a handwritten agreement and he’s signing it, leaning against the car’s hood.


“Nah. A hatchback.”

My father came home from a business trip and asked: “So you want a car?” Two weeks later I had one. Sometimes gifts came from the sky like that, chugging up to me out of that swath of blue.

He hands me a pair of hundred-dollar-bills. I’m selling the car as is: dented, dead, in need of repair. He has it towed away. I wave as it goes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Got to go further

I have a former friend (you do too) and I still look at her blog (as do you). Today she posted a short story about a one-night stand. Since she has much material from which to pull, I expected it to be pretty good.

The writing was impressive, the story itself was not. It never transcended the point that many of these make, which is that one-night stands often bring together two disparate people with their own needs and their own pains and that neither is fulfilled or assuaged by the brief union.

I'm not exactly a one-night stand veteran and so I suppose that may be all there is to say. However, I doubt it.

Mornings are the worst

Mondays in particular. I look at the fog outside, watch Adam tug on his shoes and rifle through the refrigerator for something resembling a lunch. I am not depressed. In some ways I have never been happier. A few days ago I received an email from a surprising source: You're doing good work, you're enjoying your life. You just have this glint in your eye and this happy/evil grin. Enjoy it all and I hope it lasts a long time.

I just have to remember her words long enough to grab my backpack and get out of the house.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

J is here!

My brother Jonathan is working on moving up to San Francisco. Here's the three of us outside San Tung, the best Chinese food in the city (and perhaps the world).
At Sunshine Coast in the Haight. Mirror shot.
Blowing smoke.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chapter 24 critique

One of the lines: The guy seemed never to work.

Rob's comment: Well, I can see you worshipping that.

Another line: "You know how easy it is to get you this drunk?"

Rob's comment:
THAT sounds like Adam.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I just came across the following line in The Project:

I wondered what it was to build a life with another person, to live so closely intertwined that it was no longer my hand-me-down sofa but ours.

Wonder no more.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

RIP, John Hughes

"We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all." - The Breakfast Club

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A big black woman

The guys often write goofy stuff in my critiques. Rob, on a Sheryl Crow reference from my Millay Colony manuscript:

Helluva voice -- Nate (his son) was in the car and this song came on, a duet with Steve Earle -- I told him it was Sheryl Crow and he said: "I thought it was a big black woman."

More than a feeling

I came home from writing group craving an apple fritter. Draw your own conclusions from that.

Now with half the fritter and some reheated meatloaf under my belt, I'm thinking about a feeling I had earlier tonight. I felt reckless -- in a good way.

"When was the last time you felt that way?" Adam asked.

"Before we got into a relationship," I said.

That doesn't at all mean I don't feel spontaneous with him, excited about life, thrilled to be alive. But before I had the grounding of the relationship and the impetus to take more caution in my life -- everything from health to finance to making sure I do justice to my marriage -- life took me places I never predicted. Not until I was there. Seamless and straightforward.

It's how all the major events in my life have gone down: deciding to buy my first car at 20, choosing to move to Nebraska and then to the Bay Area, trips to Europe when I could barely afford to pay rent.

Hell, it's even how I fell in love with Adam. It felt like a curtain was being pulled back day by day until the full fact of my feelings were revealed. Every time we went out together it was an exercise in recklessness, in can-I? Can-we?

I'm not interested in living like that any more -- the life on the edge, the not-knowing. But it sure was fun connecting to it again, and saying hi to that old intimate friend.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I feel lucky

I feel lucky today.

I feel lucky for everything: life and love. I feel lucky to have a husband who supports what I do when so many other people might be dismissive or worse. I feel lucky to have friends and family who are (reasonably) happy and healthy. I feel lucky to live in the time and place I do, and to be sitting right here, right now, in this spot.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tonight a girl I recently met said to me about The Project: "You're brave. No one talks about that."

That's what I want to hear!

Yesterday we ran across the Oakland Municipal Band.

ME: Is that a timpani?
ADAM: No, that's the ice-cream man.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chapter 17

"You're distancing." Heard over and over in the confines of Sean's studio.

Listen up, guys. I'm not anymore.