Archive | Essays

The Coldness of Strangers

I’ve never been the type to pick up strangers and bed them. When I was younger, my approach was to take numbers—flirt copiously, then drift away. The occasional follow-up dinner, the potential plus one. But bedding someone—taking them inside myself in some way—always seemed so invasive that I reserved it for people I’d inspected closely, actually loved a lot. Perhaps it was the former anorexic in me. I used to joke that bulimics went through sexual partners like water, but we “restricters” hardly ever let anything inside. God knows I never swallowed when I gave blow jobs—too many calories.

Only once did I fuck a complete stranger. I picked him up at the coffee shop where I have met so many of my lovers over the years. Usually when I met someone there, we would commence a long, slow courtship that would take months, if not years, to consummate. Sometimes these people would become friends afterward, more often they never became anything but friends. Friendship really is the highest form of human relationship, anyway—the most elective, the most gracious.

Part of why I slept with this man was I’d just ended it with someone who didn’t deserve any mourning. He’d been my boss—was still my boss, in fact, and wielded a great deal of power over me. So my goal was to get over him as soon as possible—to get the taste out of my mouth, so to speak. 2011 was doggedly pre-#metoo. Continue Reading →

Miss Grace and the Mouse: A Very 2020 Parable

So I’ve been laid up for the last three days with my now-annual autumnal bad back. This year I chalk it up to being a middle-aged woman who danced all Saturday night and then ran a victory lap around lower Manhattan on a broken baby toe. That, and the Slow-Moving Coup the Trump administration is attempting to stage in the shadow of Biden’s inarguable victory. People I love and trust tell me it’s all going to be ok but anyone with genocide in their family lines doesn’t rest easily while a fascist is refusing to cede office.

On every level, in every way, Donald J. Trump’s mic should be cut. No social media. No quotes reported by news outlets. Yes, document the policies he’s pushing through, the terrifying appointments he’s making. But don’t grant his ravings a platform. The amount of chaos and hatred he can still sow is dangerous, if not lethal. Let’s not exacerbate this.

All to say that while I’ve been largely immobile a certain furry roommate has been acting peculiar and finally yesterday gallumphed into my bedroom with a living mouse in her mouth. After triumphantly laying the vermin at my feet, she recommenced chasing it in a dance that went on for two hours–Grace’s happy squawks and the mouse’s fainter squeaks punctuated by the duo’s dashes to where I was, gulp, lying on the floor. This permakitten was in permakitten heaven. I could tell in her mind she even had named this new playmate. “Herman,” maybe–“Hermie” for short. Continue Reading →

Nothing Nice to Say but I’m Saying It Anyway

I woke up, fed my beautiful cat, made coffee, and hightailed it to the river. Where I sat at her banks and wept and wept.

And wept.

I suppose this is why I’ve not been posting more personal essays. So much of what I’m feeling is abject grief, and who needs more of that? Except: Are we really allowing ourselves to experience said grief? Or are we ranting then checking out then ranting some more? It’s hard to grieve, really grieve, for a quality of life—a standard of decency—that we took for granted only nine months ago. Because to do so makes this present more real, and who wants that?

It reminds me of the prayer I started uttering as a child when I realized I had no allies.

Dear God please don’t let me stop feeling. Continue Reading →

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