Sunday, September 30, 2018

My three boys

The NYT on blackouts

I read this with great interest. Hepola writes:

I interviewed a blackout expert for my book, and he told me something I’ve never forgotten: “When men are in a blackout, they do things to the world. When women are in a blackout, things are done to them.”

I was talking to Adam about this and he said: "It's the physical strength that guys have over girls." Yes, that. That, and more.

Friday, September 28, 2018


But what if

How can you be a survivor if you don't know that you survived anything? That you were blackout drunk and your friend turned to you the next morning and said do you remember last night? and you had nothing, nothing whatsoever, and even if you did you wouldn't say anything because after all, you were too ugly to be involved in any of that business, too ugly for anyone to want you in that or any other way?

I told Michael within a half an hour of sitting down with him for the first time. That's the way our conversations went, no bullshit or pretense, just sharing with him what I had shared with so precious few in the past. Nothing happened, I said. But I'll never know for sure.

His eyes said everything.

How can you believe yourself when you have no idea what to believe?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Gift from the bookshelf

Given to me by a friend who said you'd never buy this for yourself. He was right, but the book is amazing. An excerpt: A person who cannot imagine the future is a person who cannot contemplate the results of his actions. Some are thus paralyzed into inaction. 


My college roommate said home is the five feet around you. I nodded. Bullshit, I thought.

No one would ever take my home again. Not after what happened that summer. What I didn't realize is that she was pretty much right.

The meaning of home

When I was 19, in the summer between freshman and sophomore year, my mother kicked me out of the house in favor of a man named Bill. I was never truly allowed home again.

That's been triggered hardcore during this whole moving process. When our landlord married his wife, all I could think was Bill's back. I knew our time was limited. When I met with a friend and former neighbor yesterday, she told me the wife complained about all the neighbors. I knew that had to include us.

She had all kinds of negative things that she would pass on to our landlord, who used to be a father figure to us. I played my car stereo too loudly when I would leave to go to a cafe early in the morning. We threw our diapers in the trash the wrong way. Hell, they got married in the yard next door and we weren't invited.

I always knew she wanted us gone. I don't trust that they're selling the place. I just think they want to kick us out and jack up the rent.

Fuck the Bills of the world.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Turnabout is fair play

If our extremely recent experience in the rental market has shown me anything, it's that shit is going down for landlords right now. Rents are dropping hardcore. Things are staying on the market longer. Things are balancing out, and it's about damn time.

I cry no tears for Bay Area landlords. Y'all have taken advantage far too long, guys. And you're still trying. I mean, check out this listing. Twenty-four hundred big ones a month for an apartment where an estimated six hours a day you hear little brats running around upstairs like *as the ad says* elephants, and all day on weekends. Moreover, you can't work away from home if you have a dog, because they want proof that said dog is not left home alone all day, so guess what? You get to deal with the elephants on your head. Again, for $2400 a month.

No wonder we came so close to leaving the Bay Area. But I think -- hope -- things are improving.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Our new place

Here it is: 1529 Harmon, Berkeley, CA 94703.  The place is gorgeous. The neighborhood isn't exactly what I would like. It isn't awful; it's just not as nice as our current 'hood. But it's a two-bedroom with a yard and some really cute architecture, as you can see from the pictures, and just writing about it is making me happier than I've been all day about the whole matter.

Now we have to pack ...

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The current Bazzy hit list

Uptown Funk ("Julio, get the stretch!")
Yellow Sudnarine (sic)
Don't Let Me Down (also known as "Don't Let Me Go")
The Doors
Anything else by The Beatles
Mahna Mahna. Always.

Monday, September 17, 2018

American Beauty

I saw this twice in the theaters, discussed it to death over beer and cider and hand-rolled cigarettes. I'm watching it in bits and parts right now and this is really calling to me in a new way.

Realization before dawn

I am not living up to my potential.

I don't think I ever have and usually that's been okay because at heart I'm kind of -- lazy? Into life-work balance? Whatever it is, I need to kick things into a higher gear.

That could mean leaving the Bay Area.

That could definitely mean incorporating teaching.

That could certainly mean getting BEARDED LADY into print.

I feel on fire.

On the Cusp at Lit Crawl 2018

We're popping our Lit Crawl cherry! Also, please consider donating to the cause. See you on Oct. 20! #litcrawlsf

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mill House Residency

I'm honored to have been selected for the Mill House Residency in Bend, Oregon. It was curated by Pam Houston, which is especially flattering as I love her work. Nice to have some good news!

Sunday, September 9, 2018


The last year according to the Jewish calendar was rough and amazing all at once. I lost two major friendships and ended my relationship with my literary agent. I also marveled at the beauties in my life, not the least of which is the little boy to whom I gave birth.

This year I want to be a better person -- for myself as well as for others. One major way of doing this is to stop promising more than I can deliver. I've become a bit of an unreliable narrator. I don't love that.

Shanah Tovah, everyone. A sweet New Year.


First: I love this story about Obama getting the boot from Disneyland because he was smoking on the gondolas. Love you, Barack.

Also, a pregnant woman with a kid younger than Baz walked into the cafe. Two of them! How do people do it?

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Today's writing

I don’t know whose idea it was to fuck. Fucking as killing time, yes, that’s an idea. How can you relax enough to have sex when your child is missing? But that’s what leads to amazing sex sometimes – the tension that propels people into one another’s arms, the search, the hunt. The same way you turn over your child’s pillow for clues. The way you call their name in the backyard, hoping. The hard, hot tears you shed right before reaching for the only other person who really understands.

We start right there in the kitchen, his hands on me as we sit in our separate stiff seats. Kissing him is different than the typical. His tongue is more snakelike, a serpent looking to strike. His hands hit their targets, investigate. It’s almost like I’m cheating. I keep running my fingers over his wedding ring, dreaming reflexively of a faceless and forbidden other. But it’s not. It’s him, the one I gave myself to years ago, the one I promised, the vows I’ve wished so often to break.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Written just now

I should have been nervous the day Mike replaced the windows. That just wasn’t something he did. We’d lived with the same shoddy, cracked glass for years. But replace the windows he did, and not only that, but with swanky double-paned ones that made us grin. This winter our typically outrageous heating bill might prove manageable.

Never did we think we might not see another winter at McGee’s Farm.

I should pause and explain the genesis of our home’s name: It was once a co-operative preschool named – one guess – McGee’s Farm. The door still says that, and I’m looking at it as I type those words. After we’re gone, after they’ve replaced the faulty sink and the bedroom glass slider door that always falls off its hinges and the sink that’s looking like something’s chewed it up, after they’ve staged up the place and it feels like they’ve deep-cleaned the oxygen between viewings, they’re going to paint that door over.

Daily OM is psychic

The word "home" has a wide variety of connotations. To some, home is merely a place where basic needs are addressed. To others, home is the foundation from which they draw their strength and tranquility. Still, others view home as a place inexorably linked to family. Yet all these definitions of home imply somewhere we can be ourselves and are totally accepted. There, we feel safe enough to let down our guard, peaceful enough to really relax, and loved enough to want to return day after day. However, these qualities need not be linked to a single space or any space at all. Home is where the heart is and can be the locale you live in, a community you once lived in, or the country where you plan to live someday. Or home can be a feeling you carry inside yourself, wherever you are. 

The process of evolution can require you to undergo transformations that uproot you. Moving from place to place can seem to literally divide you from the foundations you have come to depend on. Since your home is so intimately tied to the memories that define you, you may feel that you are losing a vital part of yourself when you leave behind your previous house, city, state, or country. And as it may take some time before you fashion new memories, you may feel homeless even after settling into your new abode. To carry your home with you, you need only become your own foundation. Doing so is merely a matter of staying grounded and centered, and recognizing that the pleasures you enjoyed in one place will still touch your heart in another if you allow them. 

Your home can be any space or state of being that fulfills you, provided you are at peace with yourself and your surroundings. A person can feel like home to you, as can seasons and activities. If you feel disconnected from what you once thought of as home, your detachment may be a signal that you are ready to move one. Simply put, you will know you have found your home when both your physical environment and energetic surroundings are in harmony with the individual you are within. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

After nearly 12 years

Our landlord is selling the property and we need to be out by Dec. 1. No relocation, no debate. All the lovely rent-control laws that apply to Berkeley do not apply to us as we live on a Golden Duplex property and that's an exception.

We alternate between feeling powerful and desolate. We've talked about leaving the Bay Area, but not because someone else threw us out on the horrid rental market. Yesterday I met some wonderful landlords who were very dog-friendly, and that gave me hope. I need to hang on to that.