Thursday, May 2, 2013


My favorite flowers are the bulbous ones. The huge and rippling and assuming ones. Dahlias, especially. Dahlias just blossom, relentlessly, taking in none of your concerns about space or size or appropriateness. They are not dainty. They are not pretty. Their colors buzz and their smell is pungent and it fizzes in your nose for a while. Their pointed petals poke the atmosphere and proclaim their presence. I sit and my mind and write sentences. I admire their freedom. To me, the audacity of pride. To them, mere existence.

Friday, April 26, 2013


We are taught to fear aging
As we get older
As dust collects in forgotten corners.

We are taught to fear roundness
Though our digestions slow
Though our mothers' bellies balloon into globes
Though someone taught us, long ago, that the world herself is round
(it's now flat -- didja hear?).

We are taught to fear differences.
But nothing stays the same.
Bombs blast buildings
Break bodies
Bring borders.
And our parents don't recognize what we have
As their own.
Strangers in adjacent bedrooms.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Getting there

Writing is selfish. I've read that in a few places. Lately it's popped up in my mind quite frequently. Writing is taking the time to pen down your thoughts and taking them seriously. Writing is thinking your sentiments are worth something. Writing is cathartic. Writing is power. Writing is making your indelible mark on history. Writing takes you away from the drum of the real world and asks you to isolate and zone in to no, not that, not that over there, but just yourself and how you feel. It's a removal.  

So why am I so self-conscious about writing? If it's for me, and it's just about me and my feelings, and I really down deep truly don't really care what anyone thinks about it, nor if anyone reads it for that matter -- what's stopping me from picking up my pen? Why do I distract myself -- clean the kitchen, pay the bills, fold the laundry, work out -- do ANYTHING but, -- BUT at the same time wake up at night with lines swirling through my head? With parts of poems spilling out?

Why do I keep it plugged up?

Fear. Stupid, selfish fear. It's silly, really. What if what I really have to say isn't all that much? What if it sucks? What if it goes nowhere? I've spent my life building up the idea that I want to write. I talk about it. I read voraciously. I live in the library. I talk to people about writing. I taught English. I went to school for journalism. When people ask what I want to do, I don't skip a beat: "I want to write a novel."

"And how's that novel going for you?"

You know the answer.

In order to ever get there I have to let go of the idea that these words are important. I have to let go of the idea that there is measurement waiting for them. I have to let go of the idea that I'm working on a PRODUCT. I just need to immerse myself in the PROCESS. Sit down. Turn on music. Shut the door. Let it out.

One line, five paragraphs, seven pages. One word. Jibberish. Brilliance. Poem, scribble, song. Doesn't matter. Just let the juices flow. Already I feel my muscles loosening. Already the brain synapses snapping on. Warmed up and jostled a bit and happy.

It's a question, too, of what matters. Deep in my heart I know what I want to do with my life is write something that will mean something to people. That will connect with them and make them feel touched. Maybe less alone. I want to translate everything I feel about people as I pass by them -- all the wonder and inquisitiveness and perplexity --into an ode to the world I live in. I am just fascinated by it and I want other people to be too. And I want them to know I notice them.

And I don't know why I feel this way, but I do. And the world probably wouldn't care, otherwise. But it's the only real pull I've ever felt in my life. I probably should stop ignoring it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Living social

Because you run I don’t have to run.

Because you are a bodybuilder I don’t have to be a bodybuilder.

Because you are thin I don’t have to be thin.

Because you are on TV I don’t have to be on TV.

Because you care I don’t have to care.

Because you travel I don’t have to travel.

Because you are pregnant I don’t have to be pregnant.

Because you have a child I don’t have to have a child.

Because you are carefree I don’t have to be carefree.

Because you follow a path I don’t have to follow a path.

Because you pray I don’t have to pray.

Because you’re clever I don’t have to be clever.

Because you’re an activist I don’t have to be an activist.

Because you’re clear-skinned I don't have to be clear-skinned.

Because you cook I don’t have to cook.

Because you vote I don’t have to vote.

Because you dance I don’t have to dance.

Because you go to grad school I don’t have to go to grad school.

Because you believe I don't have to believe.

Because you drink I don’t have to drink.

Because you get your hair done I don’t have to get my hair done.

Because you marry I don’t have to marry.

Because you win I don’t have to win.

Because you match I don’t have to match.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My new project: Soul Candy magazine

Everyone -- I am so excited to announce my new project, Soul Candy magazine, which celebrates today's woman -- in all her different forms. Please check out, and submit, if you're inspired. I'd love your input!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

what i love..

the quiet in the waiting room before yoga class,
everyone in their workout clothes, mats next to them, all different colors,
some practicing, some reading, some breathing, deliberately, some
checking their phones. mostly silent, always
one couple chattering. then hearing the final
of the class before us.
expectant, excited for
the release. then up,
to find our spots on the floor.

cover letter, part 1

Note: This started out as an actual cover letter I was writing to about the umpteenth job I've applied for lately. It turned into a rant which kinda turned into some sort of startement on where I think I am with my life, at least professionally. I'm putting it in parts because I can. Here's the first part.

Dear Sir or Madam:

There once was a little girl who took learning to write to a new peak of neurosis, erasing and rewriting each letter until each swoop and pole and slant was perfect. She grew into a preadolescent perfectionist who bullied her best friend, who’d have much rather played soccer with the hyperkinetic boys, into writing stories for her magazine, which she bedecked with Lisa Frank™ stickers and cut-out photographs from magazines called Bop! and Tiger Beat. Later, she wrote a story for a class about, well, her addled adult brain can’t remember now, but something, probably about her cat or her family, and her teacher, seeing “potential” (or maybe loneliness) in her hopeful blue eyes, sent her to a writing convention of other children in whom was also seen something like “potential.” While the children bemoaned the contents of their brown-bagged lunches and traded bananas for Cheetos, she decided, tracing her fingers over her first red editing marks from peers and mentors, that maybe it would be “cool” to grow up and be a writer, to make a life of your thoughts, however random or irrelevant.

Several years later. The girl has wandered, like most gen-Yers do, according to The New York Times and the State of our Economy. She majored in journalism and aced her classes then moved to New York, as you do. There she worked her tail off writing for a small magazine about lingerie for a 50-year-old, scruffy editor who barked at models like a chihuahua, in an office in a tiny studio apartment next to DuPont paints, with an office cat named Kinky who was not "fixed" and mewled like a lawnmower for a lover. Well she cast that aside, paint fumes and fake breasts and all, because she was in NEW YORK, writing for a MAGAZINE, and she could see herself MAKING IT after PUTTING IN HER TIME. Then she got an offer to work at a huge news organization as an assistant to an Executive Editor. He was old and everyone said he was mean and he had shock white hair and folds in his face and strong opinions about politics, but she took the job anyway, because, after she PUT IN HER TIME, she envisioned this:  Her name under bold headlines, her stories cited by strangers and intellectuals, her parents clutching their hearts and saying, "That's my girl!," her hometown erecting a loud but still tasteful shrine to the young woman who GOT OUT and MADE something of herself. A professor had told her her writing was "Joycean." An obituary she wrote about a tall college kid getting crumpled up in a car accident had made the father cry. She had a purpose. She could do this.

But it didn't happen like that, of course. The editor, as promised, WAS mean, and after 2.5 years of answering phones, memorizing the CQ Almanac of American Politics, scheduling his hair appointments, finding his misplaced glasses (once, perched tauntingly on his head) and smoothing his combover for TV appearances, she was sent off with well-wishes and a list of nearby news agencies. Like most talented girls with a drop of humility in their bones, she was pushed aside.

She discovered, while seeking solace during this time of shattered dreams, that her Life Path Number was a 9. "You will never be happy," the Internet told her, "if you don't do something that helps others." It was time, her little voice told her, to shun corporate bigotry and fuck The Man and be young and idealistic. She bought a red statue of Buddha. She wrote an emotional narrative about tutoring and the hopeful look in the kid's eyes that made her feel she could “make a difference.” She was told it was tough, but it would look good on her resume. She joined Teach for America.

To be continued...