Monday, June 29, 2015

baby angel pierced my heart

oh Ever Elizabeth.

four years old.

you write your name, like this: EvEr

you told me, when pulling off your own shirt for the first time, mommy i am taking my own path. i'm going my own way and you have to let me, ok?

i know i have to let you, but not just yet.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dakota is 21 Today

Happy Birthday my boy. We celebrated our hearts out yesterday and today is quiet. I am remembering the day you were born. I can never forget.

This is a poem I wrote for Dakota years ago.

you came to stand on my tailbone,
x-ray white heel on an angry nerve cluster
a fist in the whaling arc of rib. i could feel you
in there - this is when i understood alive

understood i was alive. i lay on the couch at night 
full in belly and face, half open books across your skull
erupting from my left side, a bud
erupting from the soil, already breaking open

everything. every night, i cried, and prayed, and wrote
and every night recognized a little more the essential
draw of parenthood: life goes on, life goes on.
i had sank more than halfway down the tunnel, 

i had touched the bottom with my fingertips.
the very existence of you meant
life was not beyond repair. you are nineteen,
and nothing has been good, or safe

i had sank more than halfway down
when my breasts swelled up like tulips in Spring
the nipples rosy and dripping with early rain,
and Mom said ' Do you think you might be pregnant?'

you are nineteen, 
and you will make the best decision of your life
one of us born for the other, 
which one, i do not know.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The What's Underneath Project: Domino Kirke

I love Jemima Kirke's presence in culture- hence my Jemima Kirke Pinterest page. This is one of her sisters, Domino Kirke, participating in an awesome series called The What's Underneath Project. You can watch them on You-Tube, and they include transgendered, gay and lesbian, various ethnicities of human beings discussing themselves in a very intimate way while removing clothes. At first this conceit annoyed me- I always gravitate against structure and set up- but as I watched these, I saw how it worked. The people being 'interviewed' feel more vulnerable as they remove their clothes, and this works its way inward and allows them to express themselves in a more honest and tender way. It's really beautiful. 

Domino's interview is one of my favorites. Her answers remind me of things I feel and think, as does her seeking. I love her tattoos, too :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I'm So Excited ( & I Just Can't Hide It )

I can't sleep because I'm too excited. I'm excited because I have a poem in Guernica today called Robot Nurse. I'm excited because I have four kids that are all doing really wonderfully in four very different ways. I'm excited because they are alive, and here, and I get to see them and talk to them all the time. I'm excited because I am writing all the time. I'm excited because my novel is one chapter from being first draft done. I'm excited because this is the summer I'll finish the first draft of my novel oh fucking oh! I'm excited because I love my mom and I get to see her all the time. I'm excited because I love my friends and Taymar and her baby Benny are coming to stay with us soon. I'm excited because Dakota turns 21 and next weekend we are having a BBQ for him. I'm excited because the summer in San Diego is so gobsmackingly beautiful. I'm excited because Ever has a trampoline ( thank you, Craigslist ) with netting and a pool and a sandbox and friends that live nearby so she's pretty much 100. I'm excited because I keep finding amazing new music. I'm excited because my ass looks great and I've worked really hard to get it there. I'm excited because I'm reading great books even thought they are often wickedly depressing- right now I'm reading Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee and if I ever, ever wanted to hold onto to any romantic inkling of our beginnings, this book is crushing that out like so many lives and lights were crushed forever in the 1800's. I'm excited because I'm 40 and I love being 40. I'm excited because Ever is so adorable that I often look at her and feel a sense of disbelief that she is real. Her voice is like the kind of voice you imagine the cutest little girl in the world having. I'm excited because Ever is my last baby and she's still SO very little, and I still have so much littleness to soak up with her. I'm excited because Mr. Curry is sexy. I'm excited because when I imagine being alone with him in some romantic location, I still get that butterflies, I could die in your arms and be happy feeling. I really do. I am excited because I'm this close to being in tears. I'm excited because I can feel it in the air tonight. I'm excited because I'm overstimulated, overcaffinated, neurotic and most assuredly going through peri-menopause. I'm excited because the world is so fascinating and beautiful and then I'm desperately horror stricken because it's so awful and wicked and full of suffering. I'm excited because a tiny part of me is still hoping for some kind of magic when we die. I'm excited despite the fact that 98% of me believes that to be false. 

Now I'm anxious again.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read

I could read this all day long, a books' worth. Jenny Diski's End Notes ...

so I kept reading.

Incredible story of one young man's severe brain injury in a car accident and unexpected recovery. It's deeply upsetting to think of people let go who could have made it.

More on the amazing things we do not understand about consciousness- this time in an octopus.

Interview with Jonathan Franzen on his new novel, Purity

A mother writes about her toddler daughter's neurologist and the horrible things that parents of brain injured children too often hear from people who ought to know better.

I had no idea that horses who raced were treated so abominably after they are done racing and breeding. Slaughterhouses.

I read this article Not Be Moved- The Story of the Glass and Other Miracles because I just finished reading Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody. Lordy. (I was born in Mississippi.)

The more I read about Beau Biden and his family- both his family of origin and his wife and children- the more I felt the great and crushing loss they have all experienced at his death.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Verbs and the Being

Sometimes parenting in the active, the verb parenting, is the simple best.

Summer encroaches. The sky is thicker. Stewing in the heat and bright eyes of sun.

The greens are greener. They fold in over us in a way that comforts me like the old growing plants and creepers of Mississippi. Southern California comes into its own and blossoms. The light curls over Ever's face. I work on my copywriting assignments on the wooden desk I inherited from my mother years ago, pushed agains the open window. Ever is feet away on the netted trampoline in her Captain America underpants, flinging her body as high into the air as she can, sturdy legs working furiously- those same legs that kicked against my ribcage /trampoline/ for nine bizarre months ( my gynecologist: i've never in all my years seen a baby continue to turn like this in the ninth month )- and the sky mottled overhead, she spreads her arms and legs in the air and her smile is enormous, the smile of God! and Lola is on the patio bricks with a guitar and her hair in her face like the hair in the face of millions of teenagers before her, and she is singing i'm just a teenage dirtbag baby and then she is singing oh mirror in the sky what is love, and then she is singing Nirvana... and her voice is so, so good. I wonder if she is going to really pursue voice, because she has a gift. 

Mr. Curry folds his arms into his armpits and watches the girls. I watch him. 

My living dog, Wolfgang, is freshly bathed. Hosed down and scrubbed clean. He presses against me and his eyes ask me to tell him he is OK. This is the job I do for the last twenty years for all creatures great and small of my family, and so I do it, I tell him, you are OK, Wolfie, you are more than OK. The corners of his mouth turn up, his tongue comes out and his eyes narrow so dramatically I restrain a laugh, I do not want to hurt his feelings, or end his love-eyes.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sympathetic Muse

there are truths i'm learning about writing that probably reach into all artistic creations. one is that it is hard to discuss what you do and how and why you do it without saying things like artistic creations.
somehow giving a vocabulary to process can be incredibly pretentious and disgusting. revolting even. artists are easy to mock. we are called 'artists'! 

i'm learning that the things i have to do to protect my creativity are necessary or else it does disappear. it dies. it wilts. it loses its hard on and all i have left are sentences and paragraph structures and ideas that make sense but the gushing blood and guts of the thing have dried. 

i've learned that my creativity is not a part of me like my love for my children is a part of me. meaning, it is not infused in everything i do. i do not make washing dishes creative. i do not decorate my house with abandon. i do not mark my body with tribal call outs. i do not do these things because i have children and because children take an enormous amount of energy to raise, including creative energy. and i only have so much. i am not a font of creative energy. Mr. Curry and I watched Montage of Heck and i was reflecting on how much more interesting my rooms were, when i was a teen. how recklessly i imprinted what i liked and loved. and the reason for this lack now is completely a choice of energy. the amount of time i put into guiding my children through life, into loving them, into providing a safe and constant place to land is the number one portal through which everything i am flows. ' she had nothing left to give ' a refrain we all recognize, and like most cliches it has truth at its birth. i cannot give my children what i do, my health and my marriage what i do, and then also, and also, and also.... there is a period at the end of a sentence that tells the story of what i can do in any given amount of time. and i would choose my children and my husband before any other choice. before my writing, books, money, travel, before all. so that is exactly as i want it to be, and i cannot struggle honestly within those parameters that i would die for.

i did not realize what an astounding choice i was making in relation to my writing in having four children. i knew it would be harder to write, to find time to write. i did not understand that it is not really about the time, or writers block. it is about the observant porous mind and heart that has before taken in the entire world- down to a tiny spot on the side of a suburban house where a chalk outline can still be seen, and the carmel belly of a pregnant spider bobs in the late afternoon breeze above an empty, abandoned container of fish emulsion and a bubble wand- now takes in four shining faces day in and day out, faces that shine so brightly... i still write, and sometimes, i still write the way i desire. 

sometimes the muse appears and the words fly like sparks. but more often these days, i must demand the muse. and because she is a woman with children of her own, she shows up, understanding, tired, a little unfocused, but sympathetic and willing to give it a go.

in order for my novel to exist, i have to exist. in order to exist, i have to take in as much as i give out. and when that is impossible, the writing. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

People In Your Neighborhood

My first piece on The Mid: I Became A Runner At 40- And You Can, Too Click my name at my bio to read the other two I've written this week!

Very interested in Melissa Broder's work

A feminist roundtable talk with Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Gina Rodriguez and more

Read these three wonderful poems by Natalie Eibert in Cosmonauts Avenue

Drowning Really Is Silent

The Only Good Man Is A Self-Hating Man by Navneet Alang in Hazlitt

Vitamin Pill Cuts Skin Cancer Risk- NBC News

The story of one photo of one great white shark.

I've been looking at this magical blog for years. The Road is Home 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Grace and Frankie

Grace and Frankie is Netflix’s newest original series, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Frankie and Gracie’s husbands ( Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen ) leave the two women for each other, revealing they’ve had an off/on twenty year love affair.  Frankie and Gracie have never been two peas in a pod, but they co-own a beachfront house, an idea their husbands has suggested years ago ‘ for profit sharing. ‘ They move into the house together, and life happens. The real angle of this series? They are all in their early 70’s.

The whole thing could have gone kaput in a pot of lukewarm jokes about gay men and older women, but the writing is sharp and laugh out loud funny, and the characters are not rushed through plotlines where zany togetherness replaces real change. The women are crushed when their husbands leave, and there are moments of true poignancy. In one episode, the women attend the funeral of an old friend, and Jane Fonda’s character Grace is led through a series of conversations and confrontations. She ends up standing alone in the crowd, bewildered and scared look on her face as she realizes how much has been stripped from her in the wake of her husband’s betrayal.

Jane Fonda plays Grace with a touching vulnerability shimmering below the surface of her tightly constricted rules- she hasn’t had ice cream in nine years. Grace is the straight man to Lily Tomlin’s adorable, loveable Frankie who adopted two boys and named them Coyote and Nwabudike ‘ Bud ‘  and who in her distress immediately after being told of the news of her husband’s abandonment, smokes peyote and takes muscle relaxants on the beach, in order to take a spiritual journey. ‘ Prepare yourself, ‘ she tells Grace, who joins her on the beach and guzzles the peyote drink, believing it to be tea, ‘ for some light vomiting followed by life altering revelations. ‘ When Grace begins complaining, Frankie coos: ‘ Your anger is frightening the sand. ‘

Frankie’s husband Sol ( Sam Watertson ) and Grace’s husband Robert ( Martin Sheen ) are interesting and engaging in their own right. I’m a huge fan of both actors, who do a lovely job of illuminating why these two men were willing to give up so much to be together. As the show moves forward more is revealed about their long affair and it becomes obvious that real romantic love was not in the original marriages for any of these four. Frankie and Sol were best friends, though, and they suffer the worst pain at the overnight severing of the life they knew, all of it’s routines, rituals and comforts ripped away. One episode in particular, ‘ The Spelling Bee’ revolves around Frankie and Sol’s attempts to stay connected while slowly and painfully realizing they cannot.

All of the secondary characters add something bright to the ensemble- Robert and Grace’s daughter Brianna ( played by June Raphael ) is a stand out, sharp as hell, funny and tough, her blue eyes zing as she delivers one liners.  Brooklyn Decker plays Briana’s sister convincingly a little drowned in her life, spacey and yet focused. ‘OK no problem, ‘ she tells her mom as she rushes through a list of must-do’s,  ‘ I’m just going to feed the dog and do my kegels in the car.’

In the end it is Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda who are the successful heart of this show. I can’t think of another show about women in their 70’s that treated them as true invidual women in the thick of life without the constant focus on age- Golden Girls was hilarious and ground breaking, but the entire premise was a one liner ‘ look at the old lady being funny ‘ vibe, whereas Grace and Frankie ask us to see these women as they are- complicated, still seeking, learning, sometimes on the cutting edge of life naturally and easily ( as when Frankie teaches Grace about making homeade, organic lube from ‘the best organic tubers!’ ) sometimes hilariously fumbling their way through the modern world ( Frankie again, buying a computer and setting up a Twitter account, which you can visit now at thanks to the crafty Social Media crew at Netflix ) Frankie’s observations on Twitter are spot on: ‘ Why watch alone when I can share the entire experience with millions of strangers!? ‘

Unlike CBS’s failed remake of ‘ Odd Couple ‘ Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s friendship in Grace and Frankie are an odd couple worth watching.