Archive | Past Matters

A View from the Bridge (Sorry, Mr. Miller)

I keep having a dream that I’m crossing the Massachusetts Avenue bridge connecting Boston to Cambridge. I suppose I could look up the name–doubtless one or two of you know the answer–but what really lingers when I wake is a dreamy possibility. Some part of me doesn’t want any concrete facts to disrupt that feeling.

Growing up I always loved the view from that bridge–an updated Monet painting, with the Charles River a big, dipping blue, sailboats and tiny motorboats bobbing, young and old people clutching hats and drinks. Flanking both sides were rising trees and sleek roadways–toy-cars in the grand scale afforded by that bridge. To the Northeast I could see the Museum of Science, where my father took me on Saturday mornings to study chemistry and cubs. To the Southwest were the parks, fields, all the homes I knew best.

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Stop the Clock (Book Excerpt)


I’m back in book and here’s a tiny tiny snatch of what I’ve been working on this week. Oh such a relief to be back in 1987 Boston, ugly and beautiful just like everything else.

Even as my first romance was happening I was remembering it and wishing for it too. Like all girls without a safe haven, I’ve always been willing to throw over so much for a here-you-are-my-other kiss. For that walk, hand in hand, into a future that doesn’t loom so much as beckon.

For here with Matt was all the magic I’d been looking for. Dark clouds were blown away and I could smell the future as present, sweet as soil, soft as rain. With this boy I could lie all day and look up at trees that glowed. Trust that he had a clock whose hands didn’t just move forward but everywhere at once.

Alone we dipped into the galleries of the Isabella Stewart Gardner, pretending the whole mansion was ours–the paintings, chapel and courtyard, all of it. Down the Fens we moseyed (past my mother twenty years before, lolling in the sun with cigarettes and half-closed eyes), first to the MFA then across Storrow Drive, glittering like the Charles by which it slid. On the Blue Line we rode all the way to Revere Beach, where we stared at steel waves, so different from the Outer Cape’s unfettered glamour. From Portuguese-speaking vendors roaming the trash-strewn beach we bought pineapple sodas and spicy meat pies enhanced by the reefers passed around by the old winos up and down the sand. Continue Reading →

The Spark of Darkness

Dad and I at Ellis Island Museum, c. 1994

My father and I never talk. This is not an exaggeration. I have not heard his speaking voice in almost a decade. Why this is so is not the stuff of blogs– it’s the stuff of the book–but suffice it to say I always feel my father in the very early morning. He is the only person I know who rises as early as I do though we’ve never discussed that pleasure and perhaps never will. Continue Reading →

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