Archive | Snapshot

Life as a Ladies Humor Paperback

Yesterday a 23-year old-woman asked me what I’d tell my younger self if I could go back in time. “Moisturize your neck,” I answered promptly. “My neck is like Dorian Gray’s picture.” After she walked away, clearly disappointed, I realized I’d turned into one of the Erma Bombeck paperbacks I’d scoop up at yard sales as a child. Or am I now a Nora Ephron? Whatever, man. The grass is always greener over the septic tank.

Solidarity Forever

During my trip home last week, I made a point of visiting the Everett Mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Both sides of my clan worked in the factories of the Merrimack Valley until they went south and then abroad for cheaper labor. It’s an American story—the one that helped elected Donald Tr%mp because historically the exploited have blamed each other rather than the kleptocracies that discard them like Matrix workers. I’ve been thinking a lot about this because I’ve been thinking about how proud my people were to work in the mills–proud to make things with their hands, proud to support themselves with honest work, proud to belong to the motherfucking UNION. Continue Reading →

Zoo York Is Not Enough

I had such a lovely break from the city–sunrises by the sea, swanning on tree-laced hammocks, cartwheeling in big fields–and such a bumpy reentry. On the drive back a glass-encased candle–an uncrossing candle, no less–exploded in my car, my phone abruptly went dead and still is not fixed as I type this, and so many serious accidents took place on the highways that the normally 3.5-hour trip took 7 hours. It’s not just that my nerves were shot; it’s that I could feel everyone else’s were shot, too. Finally somewhere in Connecticut I broke down in tears–the messy kind, not the pretty kind– and had to pull to the side of the road. Aloud I said: “Okay, higher spirit. You’ve secured my attention. What do you want me to know?” In response I could not just hear but see the Rilke quote: You must change your life. And here I’d thought I already had, though I guess thus far said change has been inflicted rather than invited.

I know some of what I need to do but if the rest were obvious or easy, I’d have done it long ago. This is, after all, the human experience: We learn by expanding our horizons, by stepping out of our comfort zones, in this case literally. Living so isolated from nature drains me to a degree I only acknowledge on the rare occasions I’m by the ocean or beneath a tree by myself. Yet the craving for unadulterated fields, for the noisiness of birds and wind and crickets, pulses beneath all the decoration of my New York life no matter how I try to drown it out. It grows even stronger in the shadow of dystopia. As I zoomed back to the city I no longer love monogamously I still could the heartsong I breathed in that big air; how to return to All That now looms as my biggest question though others should take precedence. Being middle-aged, it turns out, teaches us to heed older rhythms and wiser notes than what our tiny brains can measure.

Grace is glad I’m back, anyway. My friend takes my absence so seriously that I could hear her weeping as I climbed the stairs to my apartment. Witches and their familiars should never be parted.

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