Archive | Age Matters

Buggin’ Out in Boston and the BK

It began with bug bites. Actually, it began with an infestation of flies, a nearly literal pox upon my house. My kitchen was clean–I mean, as clean as an un-rehabbed 1940s kitchen ever gets. (See: rent control.) Which is to say things were scrubbed and put away but a film of age and general erosion prevailed. Yes, there was a tiny hole in the window screen but, again, it’s a hole that’s been there for forever and a day. And, yes, temperatures were soaring that day–the kind of grueling heat in which only pests seem to flourish–but it had been nasty hot, slap-you-with-a-dirty-boiling-towel hot for weeks.

So really there was no reason for my kitchen to suddenly be infested with hundreds of flies on that particular day, but that’s what happened. I swear, as I type this, a fly just landed on my computer. And now another one, as if to remind me this story doesn’t already have a moral wrapped in a pretty little bow. Continue Reading →

99 Tears for Aretha Franklin

As I sent light to Aretha Franklin in this morning’s meditation practice, my phone randomly began playing her cover of “My Way”; a second later her death hit the wires. I chalk that synchronicity up to Aretha’s magic, not mine, because she was the most powerful musical conveyer belt of our time and always always sang everything, and I do mean everything, the best. She wrote and performed amazing songs, and she improved on everyone else’s by giving them the most soulful, the most heartfelt, and the most empowering interpretations. Hell, even Otis admitted her take on “Respect” eclipsed his, though he recorded it first. Whether she was producing, performing, or stepping up with sisters like Angela Davis, Aretha always did do everything “her way”– probably even decided when it was her time to go. But I will sit shivah this week anyway. Formal mourning is required when someone in your family passes over, and though I never met her in person, readers of this blog are well aware that Aretha Franklin raised me through her shining example and songs. I’m crying as I type this, and “99 Tears” doesn’t begin to cover how many more I will shed in her honor.

Rise and Toil and Thank Your Lucky Stars

I woke thinking about how, when I was a kid, you’d still encounter elders with numbers tattooed on their arms. If you were a Jewish child in the 1970s, you knew those numbers were not like other tattoos. You knew they were from the Camps. And even if you didn’t entirely understand what the Camps were, you knew they were the worst places imaginable, that they haunted your grownups more than dark closets and spiders could ever haunt you. I woke thinking about all this, and it made me dive immediately into my writing rather than succumb to the hour of lollygaggging and whining that usually precedes my book production. Because I am free to do what I think I’m meant to do, and I cannot take that for granted, especially in Trump’s America. My line did not survive so that I could merely sit on my ass. None of our lines did.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy