Monday, October 21, 2019

Beginning of an essay

When I was 17, I walked out into the heat furnace that is a Southern California summer to find my dog dead in the backyard. I knew something was wrong when I approached her doghouse and saw her lying on her side, not reacting at all to my presence. I opened the door of her enclosure and it hit her foot. She was stiff. There were flies.

I ran like I was being followed by every demon imaginable, all the departed ghosts in this hellmouth of a house. Later I would come up with a calculus: once I turned 34, twice the age I was at that pivotal moment, I would have somehow transcended the experience.

Today I am 45. It hasn’t happened.


I'm teaching this class starting Oct. 27! Please consider signing up! Here's the 411:

“Vivid writing takes its power from the author’s inner conflict, particularly when it comes to describing difficult material,” says instructor Allison Landa. “This class will give you the tools you need to share your own hard-to-tell tales.”
Throughout our five weeks together, we’ll explore ways to connect with what lies within and bring it to the surface through the power of the written word. We’ll read Mark Doty, Marion Winik, and George Saunders, generate work through writing prompts, and receive supportive feedback from the instructor and peers. Each week we will address a craft point such as imagery, narrative arc, and voice.
"At the end of this class," says Allison, "we’ll take away the resources and stamina to tap into life’s difficult moments and make sense of them through the art of story. Working together, we’ll create a secure and encouraging environment to find the heat in our stories and mine it for the gold we all carry with us.”

Texting with Marcus

Speaking of bullshit -- how's (the guy)?

I laughed.

Negating that last post ...

McNear Park, Petaluma.

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I feel like I woke up into a cyclone this morning. Baz is home on Mondays and Thursdays and those can be just killer days. I'm having an incredibly hard time with being a mom these days. I feel like a chunk of my soul is gone. I know that sounds dramatic, but right now I just don't care.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

So true

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September 7, 2016

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Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, 9:04 a.m.

Marc Cohn, "Walking in Memphis"

Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
W.C. Handy, won't you look down over me
Yeah, I got a first class ticket
But I'm as blue as a boy can be
Then I'm walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel?
Saw the ghost of Elvis
On Union Avenue
Followed him up to the gates of Graceland
Then I watched him walk right through
Now security they did not see him
They just hovered 'round his tomb
But there's a pretty little thing
Waiting for the King
Down in the Jungle Room
When I was walking in Memphis
I was walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel?
They've got catfish on the table
They've got gospel in the air
And Reverend Green be glad to see you
When you haven't got a prayer
But, boy, you've got a prayer in Memphis
Now Muriel plays piano
Every Friday at the Hollywood
And they brought me down to see her
And they asked me if I would
Do a little number
And I sang with all my might
She said
"Tell me are you a Christian child?"
And I said "Ma'am, I am tonight"
Walking in Memphis
(Walking in Memphis)
Was walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
(Walking in Memphis)
But do I really feel the way I feel?
Walking in Memphis
(Walking in Memphis)
I was walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
(Walking in Memphis)
But do I really feel the way I feel?
Put on my blue suede shoes
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues
In the middle of the pouring rain

Was just thinking

I have such great friends. Amazing friends. I know such great people. I'm also coming out from under the toxic connection that has held a cloud over me for too long. Or, I should say, that I've allowed to hold a cloud over me.

I'm lucky.

Morning meditation

I listen to these on the mornings that I wake up super early. This one was pretty good. It's all about setting yourself up for a good day. Which makes me think of another clip ...

Friday, October 18, 2019


I just had lunch with Maw and it infinitely cheered me up. I don't know what the hell hit me, only that something did and that I'm still not 100 percent better, but I'm getting there.

I sometimes think I could sleep for a million years. Who wouldn't, given the chance?

Feeling sick

Shaky and could swear I was close to passing out a few minutes ago. What the hell?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Join us! From Facebook ...

Tap into life’s difficult moments and make sense of them through the art of story with instructor Allison Landa's class, "Writing from the Edge." In a safe and encouraging environment, you'll address craft points such as imagery, narrative arc, and voice while bringing to surface your hard-to-tell tales.
Class Link:

Mondays and Thursdays

That's when Baz doesn't have school. That's when I watch all three of them -- him and the dogs. That's when I tell myself at least once per day that I can't do this anymore, that I'm going fucking insane.

When does it get easier?

That said, these are the sweet days. Not even bittersweet. Just sweet with some zing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Stay or go?

The idea of leaving the Bay Area keeps coming up. Of course it does. We pay a fortune for a decentish apartment in a shitty part of town, drive by the many, many homeless tents with all the crap spread out on the ground, needles and trash, out there for everyone to see and trip upon. We watch the places we love dry up and die, change before our eyes.

More than anything, we -- I at least -- crave change. I seem to be such a wuss in making it happen. I need to get beyond this block and go for it.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Adam, tonight

"I got my fucking postdoc in Landa. I don't know how someone taking fucking freshman Landa 101 is going to come into it."

Random thought

Look at how someone is treating you today. Judge them on how they're making you feel right now, not how you hope they will make you feel in the future. It makes things so much more cut-and-dried.

Morning wisdom

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Michel Houellebecq, "Submission"

But only literature can put you in touch with another human spirit, as a whole, with all its weaknesses and grandeurs, its limitations, its pettinesses, its beliefs; with whatever it finds moving, interesting, exciting, or repugnant. Only literature can grant you access to a spirit from beyond the grave -- a more direct, more complete, deeper access than you'd have in conversation with a friend. Even in our deepest, most lasting friendships, we never speak so openly as when we face a blank page and address an unknown reader. ... [T]o love a book is, above all, to love its author; we wish to meet him again, we wish to spend our days with him. 

If I had a normal friendship with The Dude, I'd send this to him because he would totally get it. As it is, it's anything but. Like that hasn't already been established.

From medical librarian to science journalism

In this interview filmed when he was here in the the Bay Area last month, Marcus talks about the trajectory of his career. I was so stoked to see him during his short trip!

Spot the Dog

I was part of this Family Dog Rescue effort a few years ago. I think this is a good place to say that I'm planning to reapply for the Fulbright to study stray dogs in Romania. I've never let go of that dream. I won't until I achieve it.

Money, meet mouth

Similar to the Shut Up and Write concept, there also comes a time when one must shut up and act. That time is near.

Friday, October 11, 2019


Over the years I've been drawn to people who made me feel abandoned. The person I married does not. It's worth noting.

Today's writing

She tried to get the bottom of her fury. She thought about what a therapist had once told her – one of the many therapists she’d had and then fired for whatever reason – you have to move through things, not just past them. Past them isn’t going to get you anywhere. Then she went into the kitchen and threw a spoon at the wall.

Why a spoon? It wasn’t going to break. It wouldn’t do that much damage. Besides, it might be kind of fun bending it back into place.

She hadn’t counted on it hitting Gary full in the face instead.

What the fuck?

Shit. I thought I had it locked.

What the hell were you doing? Playing target practice with cutlery?

She was never sure later what brought her to this: she hit him. Not hard and not directly, but enough of a blow that they both realized there was no easy recovery. It was one of those closed-fist jobs, delivered straight to his upper arm in the hopes that it would convey more message than pain. From the look on his face, she’d achieved both.

She expected him to grab her fist, bend her hand back, use those Israeli fighting skills he’d learned as a kid in Krav Maga. Instead he put his hand on her forehead, which turned out to be more strategic. She leaned against his palm, flailed her arms in a failed attempt to swat him. I look like a fucking idiot she thought, but couldn’t stop.

The old days

I've been reminiscing a lot. Something about me was more innocent back then. I miss that person.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Great escape song

I and Love and You
Load the car and write the note
Grab your bag and grab your coat
Tell the ones that need to know
We are headed north
One foot in and one foot back
But it don't pay to live like that
So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks
For never to return
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in
When at first I learned to speak
I used all my words to fight
With him and her and you and me
Ah, but it's just a waste of time
Yeah, it's such a waste of time
That woman she's got eyes that shine
Like a pair of stolen polished dimes
She asked to dance, I said it's fine
I'll see you in the morning time
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in
Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you
What you were then I am today
Look at the things I do
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in
Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in?
Oh, my hands they shake, my head it spins (spins)
Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in
Dumbed down and numbed by time and age
Your dreams that catch the world the cage
The highway sets the traveler's stage
All exits look the same
Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you
I and love and you
I and love and you

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Written to Pennie just now

Dude. I'm ALWAYS tying in shit from my own life. It's just an easy way to make things come alive, or at least to keep my peanut brain engaged. Adam always gives me shit about it, but it's a technique that's worked for years. Sometimes I wonder if it's cheating. Is it? If it is, though, fuck it!

Oslo, December 2003

It was rainy and my nose was runny. This was my theme song.

Sunday, October 6, 2019


It was always at this moment in the morning when she felt so helpless. It was time for action and Ruth was never good at that, the swing into movement. More often she’d rather remain static, stuck in thought. But thought didn’t get Lennon to school. It didn’t save the client she was in danger of losing. It didn’t move you forward, and that was what you were supposed to do in this life, one foot in front of the other, advancing.

She half-expected the front door to squeak closed, for Gary to leave without saying goodbye, though it was completely unusual for him to do that. Instead he came into the bedroom and pecked her on the forehead with such tight lips that it hurt. I love you he said.

Love you too.

Wouldn’t it have been great if that was the moment she realized to whom her loyalty belonged? How poetic. Life doesn’t work that way, though. Instead she wanted him to get out. She didn’t know exactly why, or maybe she didn’t want to acknowledge it. She just wanted his ass to leave.

Then he did, and she struggled her way out of bed.

Somehow she dressed Lennon. That was always a fight itself. Kid liked to be naked, there was no way around it. Never was the word no used more often than when she was trying to pull on his pants, pull down his shirt, adjust his socks. Then came the hair. Jesus was that a tough one. They kept forgetting to use conditioner or detangler or whatever the fuck was supposed to work in these circumstances, so when it came time for brushing, curse words were spilled and spilled again. Fortunately, Lennon rarely repeated them. He just wiggled and screeched and she tried to be gentle, but it worked less often than she cared to admit.

How did one parent? How?

Saturday, October 5, 2019


They’d started out as friends, just like her and Jack. Unlike her and Jack, though, he was the only one who was attached. She was free and available and oh so interested. Gary was adorable: shaggy curls framing a blue-eyed face, dimples playing peek-a-boo behind an incipient beard. They worked together at a forgettable job that she would later describe as jerking off Microsoft Word and occasionally cheating with Excel. PharmaCorp was then what it was years later: sterile, stern, nearly concentration-camp-like in its atmosphere. Smokestacks and steel. Kind of like Auschwitz with hipsters strolling together. They called this a campus.

It was that campus where they fell in love. Such an unlikely pair and yet in their way they were perfect. They liked to climb up to the rooftop and scream to the bay below. They got caught and lectured and they did it again anyway. That was who they were in those days: good-kid rebels, the ones who broke the rules but did it with such sweet smiles that you couldn’t help but give them a pass.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Today's writing

There is a quality of feeling between two people when they just fit. You can either talk or fall into silence, as they were doing in the moment, her short legs swinging against the barstool in a tuneless beat. There is a companionability there that cannot be denied, even – especially – when you want to do exactly that.

It is a building, intractable. Knock it down and something will crop up in its place. It is that monster, that Nosferatu with the Romanian lust for blood.

What the fuck was she doing here? A grown woman with a kid. Shouldn’t she be home taking care of Lennon, washing a dish or two, fucking her husband? Instead she was out with the rest of the amateur alkies talking shit she barely understood.

No rushing

I find that when I try to rush through a scene, it's the one that most needs to be written. I suppose there's a life lesson in there somewhere.

Sunday, September 29, 2019


We saw a dear friend for the first time in years tonight. He's splitting with his wife. Listening to him sent chills everywhere.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Today's writing

It’s been a long time in coming. You didn’t see it. I know you didn’t. If you had, you would have talked to me about it. Right?

Not right. Fact was, Ruth had smelled it on them for some time. If you don’t think an unhappy couple has a smell, try clearing out your nasal passages. It's like rotting hot dogs and lost hope, a poor combination any way you look at it.

Friday, September 27, 2019


Why do we think, with every person we're scared of losing, that there will never be another?

Sign up for my Costa Rica course!

Taking place Jan 30-Feb. 12, 2020. All the details are here!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Conference coverage

I'm in the city covering the IREM Global Summit for When I got up super early this morning to get ready, I was like -- whoa! I only have to get myself ready? Adam will totally handle Baz?

It was like a whole new world.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Profiled Jered's Pottery

Jered and Sarah are good friends, so it was a special pleasure to write this.

Early-morning Daily OM

Opening ourselves to willingness may feel like we are surrendering or abandoning all that we believed. But at the same time it is an act of power and courage because it is a conscious choice we make about how to apply our personal will. Being willing is to be in a state of willing something into creation. It is at once allowing ourselves to be while also choosing to direct our energy in a focused way. It is being and doing from a place of openness, where we can work with the universe rather than resist it. It is an open hand rather than one that is clenched into a fist. When we make a step toward willingness, we open ourselves to truth, possibility, and the movement of the wise universe in and through our lives.

Joy at Bravo Farms

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

As seen on Facebook

The greatest reminder is the voice within you.

Jim Avett on craft

It's easy to write a murder song. All you've got to do is get somebody to tell you what happened and then make their words rhyme. And if you don't got enough words, get somebody else to tell you what happened and use that. And all you gotta do is add in a minor chord. You got it.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Jim Avett house concert in Visalia

Adam and I first saw Jim Avett in Portland. The guy is amazing. No wonder his sons went on to become hitmakers. But this guy is my favorite.

Later we saw him in San Francisco. Today I randomly looked up his tour schedule -- and what do you know, house concerts in the Bay Area and beyond. So Baz and I are going down to 93-degree Visalia on Sunday, seeing the concert, eating unlimited tacos, staying overnight. Why the hell not? Watch this video and tell me this guy ain't worth it.

Just posted on Facebook

Every step you take away from the wrong thing leads you to something better. I fiercely believe that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Random theory

I was never super youthful or stunning. Somehow I think I'm making up for it on the other end. That's not to say I'm a stunner now either, but I'm aging a hell of a lot better than what I'm seeing out there.


I haven't been feeling well for days. Fortunately Baz is back in school after the Great Hand, Foot, and Mouth Debacle of 2019, so maybe I'll go home and take a nap.

The last few days have been rough. I'm trying to figure out why and how to make it better. Maybe a nap is just what I need.

Monday, September 16, 2019

RIP Ric Ocasek

"Drive" - The Cars

Who's gonna tell you when
It's too late,
Who's gonna tell you things,
Aren't so great.
You can't go on, thinkin',
Nothings' wrong, but bye,
Who's gonna drive you home,
Who's gonna pick you up,
When you fall?
Who's gonna hang it up,
When you call?
Who's gonna pay attention,
To your dreams?
And who's gonna plug their ears
When you scream?
You can't go on, thinkin'
Nothings wrong, but bye,
(who's gonna drive you)
(who's gonna drive you)
Who's gonna drive you home, tonight?
(who's gonna drive you home)
Who's gonna hold you down,
When you shake?
Who's gonna come around,
When you break?
You can't go on, thinkin',
Nothin's wrong, but bye,
(Who's gonna drive you)
(who's gonna drive you)
Who's gonna drive you home, tonight?
(who's gonna drive you home)
Oh, you know you can't go on, thinkin',
Nothin's wrong,
(Who's gonna drive you)
(Who's gonna drive you home)
Who's gonna drive you home, tonight?

Best friends

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Sunday, September 15, 2019


You can't wait around for a person to meet your needs. Ultimately you have to decide whether they will or they will not. This particularly extends to friends. When they have hurt you over and over, or ignored the fact that you too have needs or a life, that things go on for you and it's not just about them, that's the time to cut it and look back as little as possible.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Writing at The Pub

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So, Carol Vulture said. How do you think everything is going?

No good conversation started out this way.

I’m happy. Gary jumped right in. I think he’s made great progress this year. He’s starting to do art, he’s loving the music lessons –

And he’s getting into fights.

Talk about a mic drop. Lennon getting into fights? Ruth couldn’t see it. Sure, he threw some fits in front of them, every so often batting at them with his little fists, but they always acted differently at home than at school.

Lennon getting into fights? No, she couldn’t see it.

With who? Her voice reminded her of when she was 12, on the school bus, tentative. Is it okay if I sit here? No one ever said no – she was far from popular, but she was invisible enough to make it all right – but if they had, she would rather ride on the tailpipe than get into a confrontation. Now, more than three decades gone, she had returned to that scared preadolescent, the one who just wanted to hunch her shoulders and blend into the wallpaper.

Everyone. Even Marlow.

Marlow? That was his buddy. They called her his girlfriend. Marlow, the three-year-old beauty queen with a 300-watt smile. Who could fight with Marlow?

Their son, apparently. That’s who.

That’s not possible.

Gary, I’m afraid it is. Now what we’ve got to do is figure out how to change this.

The words themselves weren’t the intimidation. They never are. It was the delivery, glassy and ringing, and for a moment it made Ruth remember the bars she and Gary frequented before the double lines, the doctor’s visits. Cling, Cheers. Chin-chin, for the pretentious. They were that every so often. She could feel those nights, smell them on her clothes. The sting of the tobacco; the sweet of the booze. She missed it. Missed it.

This face

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Once again, Daily OM nails it

This is SO me.

When we choose that which is not best for us, there may be a deep-seated part of us that does not want to heal.
In almost every case, we know what is best for us in our lives, from the relationships we create to the food we eat. Still, somewhat mysteriously, it is often difficult to make the right choices for ourselves. We find ourselves hanging out with someone who leaves us feeling drained or choosing to eat fast food over a salad. We go through phases where we stop doing yoga or taking vitamins, even though we feel so much better when we do. Often we have no idea why we continue to make the less enlightened choice, but it is important that we inquire into ourselves to find out.

When we choose that which is not best for us, the truth can be that there is a deep seated part of us that does not want to heal. We may say it's because we don't have the time or the energy or the resources, but the real truth is that when we don't take care of ourselves we are falling prey to self-sabotage. Self-sabotage happens unconsciously, which is why it's so difficult to see that we are doing it. The important thing to realize is that this very part of us that resists our healing is the part that most needs our attention and love. Even as it appears to be working against us, if we can simply bring it into the light of our consciousness, it can become our greatest ally. It carries the information we need to move to the next level in our healing process.

When we recognize that we are not making healthy choices, we might even say out loud, "I am not taking care of myself." Sometimes this is the jolt we need to wake up to what is actually happening. Next we can sit ourselves down in meditation, with a journal, or with a trusted friend to explore the matter more thoroughly. Just shining the light of our awareness on the source of our resistance is sometimes enough to dispel its power. At other times, further effort is required. Either way, we need not fear these parts that do not want to heal. We only need to take them under our wing and bring them with us into the light.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Some dude who liked to drive my car

Image may contain: Adam Sandler, beard


I always tell Adam we need to evolve together. We were talking about it at lunch together. We've surmounted so much crazy shit, up to and including an unplanned pregnancy that brought us even more closely together.

Not everything has been perfect. I started typing and just erased what I'd written. Some things are between us.

Eighteen years

I was at SFO in Air Canada's check-in line. Clearly I did not fly.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Just texted to a friend

I have a family, a career, friends. I have a full life. High time I gave myself entirely to it.

Daily OM does it again

There is no secret recipe for happiness and contentment. The individuals who move through life joyously have not necessarily been blessed with lives of abundance, love, success, and prosperity. Such people have, however, been blessed with the ability to take the circumstances they've been handed and make them into something great. Our individual realities are colored by perception--delight and despair come from within rather than without. Situations we regard as fortuitous please us while situations we judge inauspicious cause us no end of grief. Yet if we can look at all we have accomplished without dwelling on our perceived misfortune and make each new circumstance our own, the world as a whole becomes a brighter place. A simple shift in attitude can help us recognize and unearth the hidden potential for personal and outer world fulfillment in every event, every relationship, every duty, and every setback. 

The universe is often an unpredictable and chaotic place, and the human tendency is to focus on the negative and assume the positive will care for itself. But life can be no more or no less than what you make of it. If you are working in a job you dislike, you can concentrate on the positive aspects of the position and approach your work with gusto. What can you do with this job that can turn it around so you do love it? When faced with the prospect of undertaking a task you fear, you can view it as an opportunity to discover what you are truly capable of doing. Similarly, unexpected events, when viewed as surprises, can add flavor to your existence. By choosing to love life no matter what crosses your path, you can create an atmosphere of jubilance that is wonderfully infectious. A change in perspective is all it takes to change your world, but you must be willing to adopt an optimistic, hopeful mind-set. 

To make a conscious decision to be happy is not enough. You must learn to observe life's complexities through the eyes of a child seeing everything for the first time. You must furthermore divest yourself of preconceived notions of what is good and what is bad so that you can appreciate the rich insights concealed in each stage of your life's journey. And you must strive to discover the dual joys of wanting what you have. As you gradually shift your perspective, your existence will be imbued with happiness and contentment that will remain with you forever.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Allen Ginsberg, "In Society"

In Society

I walked into the cocktail party
room and found three or four queers
talking together in queertalk.
I tried to be friendly but heard
myself talking to one in hiptalk.
"I'm glad to see you," he said, and
looked away. "Hmn," I mused. The room
was small and had a double-decker
bed in it, and cooking apparatus:
icebox, cabinet, toaster, stove;
the hosts seemed to live with room
enough only for cooking and sleeping.
My remark on this score was understood
but not appreciated. I was
offered refreshments, which I accepted.
I ate a sandwich of pure meat; an 
enormous sandwich of human flesh,
I noticed, while I was chewing on it,
it also included a dirty asshole. 

More company came, including a
fluffy female who looked like 
a princess. She glared at me and
said immediately: "I don't like you," 
turned her head away, and refused
to be introduced. I said, "What!" 
in outrage. "Why you shit-faced fool!"
This got everyone's attention
"Why you narcissistic bitch! How
can you decide when you don't even
know me," I continued in a violent 
and messianic voice, inspired at
last, dominating the whole room

Sunday, September 8, 2019


Some talk. Others are. 

Fourth birthday party

Image may contain: 2 people, including Allison Landa, people smiling, beard and eyeglasses


There was something about being able to talk to another person that way, without filter or fear. It was the thing – one of the things, at any rate – that had drawn her to Gary, this idea that one could just speak to another person without a neat framing of thought. She could just open her mouth and let the thoughts spill, and he would accept them in his Gary-way. Still did.

So why supplement?

There was just something about one on the side. It had always been that way for her, though she had never cheated on Gary, never even kissed another since they first got together. For her, on the side meant someone who could occupy her thoughts obsessively in the fallow times. A fallback, you might say. A temporary substitute. A side dish of sorts, something to complement but not replace the main course. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Today's writing

Love as choice or chance? As default or defeat? You would think the answers would come more easily over time. You would be wrong. For Ruth, the questions grew larger, developed spikes that brushed the edges of who she was, scratching her skin, turning love from comfort into something colder, more cutting. Icicles in the interior, a forest on the verge of burning down. Nature red in tooth and claw. Blood, ready to spill.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The secret is out ...

I'm going to be teaching at Odysseys in Costa Rica this winter! Holy moly and hallelujah, I cannot wait! More details as they become available!

If you don't want to click, here's the text of what's in the link. But click anyway:

This just in from @adlanda and Allison Landa, mother, world traveler, former bearded lady and last but not least, badass writer and teacher of badass writing. Stoked to lead her
15 day/14 night workshop, Writing from the Edge,
February 2020. Hosted by
in San Ramón, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Details to follow.
Inquiries to Royce at

An apple for a cake

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Bazzy is four!

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What can I say about my kid? He's amazing. If you don't know him, you should.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Goodbye, KFOG

Soon I'll be taking 104.5 off my presets. It's a damn shame. I've been listening to this station since I came to the Bay Area in 1997. (Holy shit.) I will miss them, though like most people I really believe they died when they changed format.




Salesforce Transit Center, the Castro, and points in between

The games cart at the transit center.



Damn, this puzzle's hard.

All these buildings!

Dog-Eared Books, Castro.

So happy!

Obligatory downtown San Francisco shot. 

AC Transit Transbay Line F.

R is his favorite letter.

Cafe Reveille, Castro. Toy from Cliff's Variety.


View coming in. 

Ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

I like hearing this

I met my friend Rosa for a writing date earlier today. She said: "I told Nick that I was meeting you and we were saying that you always talk about the real shit with Allison. You never do the small talk."

I'll drink to that.

Today's writing

Something told her to turn her head. There he was. She didn’t know whether to turn tail or fling herself at him full force. There seemed no middle ground.

Instead she just smiled and gave a small wave.

Her first impression was that of fear, which surprised her less than she might have imagined. The fear came from somewhere south of her throat but north of her chest, in that no-man’s land where food still got stuck even years after she’d had bariatric surgery. Gary got so angry when she ran off to throw up – just sit with it he would say, as if he was some sort of Zen master and she just some proto-Buddhist idiot. Sit with it and see if it goes away. But fuck that. Two seconds in the bathroom with her finger down her throat and trouble was vanquished.

Now was different. Trouble lay in that cavity, turbulence on tap. A hurricane, but a wanted one. Category 5? Bring it down, bring it on.

No need to ask the storm’s name.