Saturday, May 31, 2008


After reading the entry below on bio notes, my friend, S, pointed out that I always write about disappearing.

She says I disappear all the time anyway. it's true.

(Like Bilbo or Golem, I, too, am possessed by the ring.)

In The Book of Orgasms, in one poem, S. reminded me, I became a blonde guru who could disappear at precisely 3:30 every day. Why 3:30?

Because it’s the perfect time to vanish. Between 3:30 and 5:00. (And at cocktail parties, graduations, weddings, and wakes.)

I would disappear into the ley lines. S pointed out that I redefined ley lines. But then, she, like me, is one of the few who knows about ley lines. And who enters them and vanishes at will.

She even recognized the people who lived in these ley lines, an ancient tribe of cosmic men whose penises grow one inch each year. And become more enduring. Of course they only exist between 3:00 and 5:00 and can only be accessed through certain portals.

Houdini, of course, is among them. Which is one of the reasons I wrote Sleeping with Houdini.

I still remember the first time I saw invisible men and women. It was a game I played as a girl.

The invisible, I learned, are right between here and there, one breath and the next, one thought and another. (Sometimes here is more here than others, of course, just as there is more there and less there, depending.)

If I could be really quiet, I could see them.

But one word, and they were gone.

Poems are like that. And some stories, too. Just as they start to show up, someone can interrupt them. A phone call, a knock on the door.

And they are gone. If I don’t follow them to the other side, they vanish, never to be seen again.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

When the author is not writing

Do you ever go blank when you have to fill out the bio note part of a page?

And want to say something . . . anything . . . interesting?

When the author is not writing,

she's usually sky diving, dropping slowly out of the sky.
It's the feeling of falling she can never get enough of . . .

When the author is not writing,

she's traveling the globe, searching for the missing link . . .

When the author is not writing,
she's deep sea diving, swimming along the ocean floor . . .

When the author is not writing,

she's learning the art of disappearing.
Many are beginning to suspect she doesn't exist at all.
Even she is beginning to wonder . . .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Things I've noticed lately. I like the word, notice.

One of Jim's students wrote him a week ago:
Dear Professor. I just noticed I received a D.

He just happened to notice.

And in the noticing, no doubt, he wished he could no longer notice.

But still, he is only noticing.
As if he is a mere observer. Even a distant observer.

And the D is like a bird that landed on his windowsill.
Who can say why? Or know how some things land as they land.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Sarah Willis and I will read at the Bertram Woods Library in Shaker Heights tomorrow night, May 22, at 7:00.

Sarah, who is one of my all-time favorite authors, is going to read her short-short fiction. I love listening to her read. Sometimes I feel she is writing my own childhood, only her stories takes place in Ohio or rural New York, instead of Virginia.
I haven’t heard her shorter work, so I am really looking forward to this reading.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Keeping some things in the closet

On one of my recent trips, the woman sitting next to me on the airplane told me she was cleaning her closets. It's a spiritual practice, she said as she refreshed her make-up.

You mean, metaphorically speaking? I asked, hopefully. I'm not the kind of person who gets into the cleaning thing. Unless I can do it with a pitchfork.

But no, she meant it literally. She said it's important to look at what you hold onto. Especially the clothes you'll never wear again, like those teal pantsuits you've had for years. (I've never worn teal or a pantsuit, and I have no intention of starting now.)

Like my wedding dress?

No, she wasn't talking about wedding dresses. Though it's true I never have taken mine out this big box where it's supposedly "preserved." I sometimes wonder if it's actually in there. I have contemplated taking it out and wearing it for Halloween, but I might scare someone.

But the other day I started looking at all the clothes I never wear. Like the Sylvia Plath dress that fits me like a glove. Or the Dorothy dress that has puffy sleeves and a fluffy slip that is designed to show. I just need red shoes and Toto, too. I wore it once upon a time. Or my mother's old double polyester black cocktail dress that makes me look like a penguin. My mother was a firm believer in one-size-fits-all.

No, I think I prefer just to close the closet door.

Literally and metaphorically.

I mean, who knows when a memory might come in handy?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Muffin Tops

I don’t know about you, but I like to shop alone. I don’t want anyone waiting on me, trying to help me out. But the other day I was picking up some underwear in the men’s department, and this woman called Sandy decided I needed help.

Why, she asked me, was I looking at boxer shorts? Normally I would have walked away, but I didn’t feel like being rude. After all, Sandy looked really tired, as if she’d had a hard day selling men’s underwear. And she told me she’d been up since 9 AM for the sales. Yep. The sales. Didn’t I know there was a two for one specials on all men’s lingerie? No, and I didn’t know that men called it lingerie. Yes, she said, before explaining to me all the latest styles of men’s underpants.

Those are called swingers, she told me, pointing to the plaid boxer pants I’d picked up. Swinging is not good for most young men. Especially the athletic types, know what I mean? As far as she was concerned, the only thing boxer shorts are good for is keeping the pubic hairs out of the zipper. I wouldn't let my boys go near them, she said.

Young men today, she added, are as fashion conscious as the ladies. It's only natural. But what it means is that there are all kinds of choices now. She asked me, does “the man in my life” wear low-rise jeans? Or those baggy pants with no belt, so they slide down? Because men and boys now get to select from a variety of styles in low-rise underpants. She showed me a new synthetic brand designed for men who need a little moisture- release. These keep our boys dry, she said, trying to explain away their price.

Before I left without deciding on which type of underwear would be just right for “the man in my life,” she asked if I knew what it’s called when I see a buttocks rising over the backs of pants?

You know what I’m talking about? she added, grinning.

Muffin tops. Yes, Ma’am. That’s what they’re called.

I’m so glad she told me that.

I now do all my shopping on line.