no cows to milk


Sometimes you wake up at four in the morning
with all this energy and no cows to milk.
So you just have to get up and
figure out what it’s there for.
Use it or lose it.
If you’re lucky
some part of you will know what to do,
but it’s not the part that thinks its steering.
Make sure you have your notebook and a pen.

~ Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir

Photo: Anne with Where My Deepest Dreams and Desires Are Hatched

Sunday Afternoon: Dwindles to a wisp


When I was young, and for a long time afterward, Sunday afternoons were melancholy. I used to blame it on memories on my father retiring alone to his study to listen to classical music. I didn’t like classical music. It made me uneasy…I didn’t like the closed door.

But I think something else was going on. The span of a week is a reminder of the finite, even to the young. And powerful Sunday, which starts out fat and lazy, stretching endlessly ahead, dwindles to a wisp, and just like that, it’s over.

~ Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir


My Truth


My editor turned it down. She wanted me to write a novel about that marriage, what went wrong, what went right, then friendship, illness, and death. But life doesn’t arrange itself conveniently into chapters – not mine, anyway. And I didn’t want to write a novel. My life didn’t feel like a novel. It felt like a million moments. I didn’t want to make anything fit together. I didn’t want to make anything up. I didn’t want it to make sense the way I understand a novel to make a kind of sense. I didn’t want anywhere to hide. I didn’t want to be able to duck. I wanted the shock of truth. I wanted moments that felt like body blows. I wanted moments of pure hilarity, connected to nothing that came before or after. I wanted it to feel like the way I’ve lived my life. And I wanted to tell the truth. My truth doesn’t travel in a straight line, it zigzags, detours, doubles back. Most truths I have to learn over and over again.

~ Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir


Driving I-95 S. With The Unbearable Lightness of Being.


4:35 am. Wednesday.
It’s leaden, and anchored behind the eyes. Throbbing.
I squeeze them tight. And exhale.
No. Not today. No. 
I grab the Tylenol.

71° F.
The flirty British Lady on Waze calls out Let’s Go!
39 miles. 42 minutes.
Skies clear.  Roads dry.  Traffic light.
Manhattan bound.

Cockpit is lit with the soft glow of fluorescents.
It’s dark but for the tail lights from hulking semis.
Speed lane is clear.

I adjust my right foot on the accelerator. Flying on cotton.
It’s silent but for the soft hum of the engine and the faint spinning rotation of the Goodyears.
The A/C streams in at maximum comfort level.
Sir, you’re in First Class today. Our cruising altitude will be 39,000 feet and we’ll be flying 500 mph.  
I loosen my tie.
And grab my water bottle. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 N. And Recycling.


Drive home.
A torrid August afternoon.
Waze signals an express track: 22 minutes.
Reality reports something else.
Traffic inches forward.

The car in front is a late edition Mustang hard top.  Driver and passenger wearing baseball caps. A empty Marlboro pack is tossed out of the passenger window, skips once and lands on the simmering asphalt.

That’s bullsh*t.

Traffic snakes ahead.
A butt is flicked out the window, and lay smoldering on the shoulder.


The A/C is blowing, but I’m hot, from the inside-out.  I loosen my tie.  Unbutton the right shirt cuff, and then the left. And roll-up my sleeves. I sit.

Here you go again, with another demonstration of Fuller’s Celtic inclinations: irritability, intolerance and irascibility.  You bathe in it Man. It is your Oxygen. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. With all things Sacred.

traffic, cars,highway,drive

4 am.
The windows mist up and clear.
Wipers, never short of stamina, never lose their rhythm, clear the morning rain.
The soft click of the back and forth, lull me into a gentle place.

Waze signals 10.5 hours in front of us.
I’m the first to carry the baton.
I’m pressing to slingshot over the GW Bridge ahead of rush hour.
Rain, highway warning signs, road construction.
Truckers, tourists, insomiacs – all being squeezed, four lanes into one.
We clear.

We fly out of the shoot and enter the NJ turnpike.
The right hand makes slight course corrections.
The right foot steady, to 82 mph.
Makin’ time in Summer time.

Susan sleeps in the back.
Eric snores to my right.
But for the hum of the engine, the cabin is quiet.
A thin stream of light lines the horizon, dawn stretching to lift Night.
Quiet? Not.
More like Levithan’s Unquiet – words and thoughts crash into each other.

It’s Eric’s Senior Year.
Mom and Dad are dropping off their precious cargo and deadheading back.
The Melancholy Bus rides again. [Read more…]

How else, indeed


It is necessary to write,
if the days are not to slip emptily by.
How else, indeed,
to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?
For the moment passes, it is forgotten;
the mood is gone; life itself is gone.

~ Vita Sackville-West, Selected Writings

Sources: Poem Source:Schonwiener. Painting by Hermann Teuber, Red Butterflies, (1959) (via Journal of a Nobody)

No Words.


She stirred it.
d smith kaich jones, in lower case whispers, in truth and mirrors:

“there are days I don’t write because (very small voice)
sometimes I don’t believe

It begins innocuously.
It builds surreptitiously.
It ends perniciously.

A slow drip from a leaky faucet.
A Drip. Drip. Drip.
The Drops splash on cool stainless steel.
From Drops. To Rain. To Tsunami.
Now Paralyzed by its immensity,
you stare at the blinking cursor,
and find Yves Klein‘s deep deep blue of emptiness.

The Sails lie flat,
the Ship is adrift.
You wait for tailwinds.
You Wait, for Words.

Image: Cloudair (Dead calm, Atlantic Ocean, Canary Islands)

Do the work


She looked about fifteen, and not only out of place in that crowd but also a little young to be asking a question in front of such a big audience. I think she felt it, too, because I could see from the stage that she was shaking. After a moment of nervous silence, she asked, “Mindy, where do you get your confidence? Because I feel like I used to have it when I was younger but now I don’t.”

Context is so important. If this question had been asked by a white man, I might actually have been offended, because the subtext of it would have been completely different. When an adult white man asks me “Where do you get your confidence?” the tacit assumption behind it is: “Because you don’t look like a person who should have any confidence. You’re not white, you’re not a man, and you’re not thin or conventionally attractive. How were you able to overlook these obvious shortcomings to feel confident?” […]

For the record, I, like everyone else, have had moments when I felt unattractive and stupid and unskilled. When I started at The Office, I had zero confidence. Whenever Greg Daniels came into the room to talk to our small group of writers, I was so nervous that I would raise and lower my chair involuntarily, like a tic. Finally, weeks in, writer Mike Schur put his hand on my arm and said, gently, “You have to stop.” Years later I realized that the way I had felt during those first few months was correct. I didn’t deserve to be confident yet. I happen to believe that no one inherently deserves anything, except basic human rights. […]

Confidence is just entitlement. Entitlement has gotten a bad rap because it’s used almost exclusively for the useless children of the rich, reality TV stars, and Conrad Hilton Jr., who gets kicked off an airplane for smoking pot in the lavatory and calling people peasants or whatever. But entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it. So, how did I make sure that I deserved it?

To answer that, I would like to quote from the Twitter bio of one of my favorite people, Kevin Hart. It reads: My name is Kevin Hart and I WORK HARD!!! That pretty much sums me up!!! Everybody Wants To Be Famous But Nobody Wants To Do The Work!

People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster chambermaid on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work.

I work a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I feel like I must have been watching TV as a kid and that cartoon parable about the industrious ants and the lazy grasshopper came on at a vital moment when my soft little brain was hardening, and the moral of it was imprinted on me. The result of which is that I’m usually hyper-prepared for whatever I set my mind to do, which makes me feel deserving of attention and professional success, when that’s what I’m seeking.

~ Mindy Kaling, Mindy Kaling’s Guide to Killer Confidence


Here it is. The Beacon. For us. The Amateurs.


A paragraph from Lucas’ first chapter, “The Value of Style,” will suffice to render his point of view, with its fine sense of perspective and proportion, plain: It is unlikely that many of us will be famous, or even remembered. But not less important than the brilliant few that lead a nation or a literature to fresh achievements, are the unknown many whose patient efforts keep the world from running backward; who guard and maintain the ancient values, even if they do not conquer new; whose inconspicuous triumph it is to pass on what they inherited from their fathers, unimpaired and undiminished, to their sons. Enough, for almost all of us, if we can hand on the torch, and not let it down; content to win the affection, if it may be, of a few who know us and to be forgotten when they in their turn have vanished. The destiny of mankind is not governed wholly by its “stars.”

~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays

Photo: Lachlan von Nubia