Riding Metro-North. With Kvetch.

man spreader

Friday, November, 13th.

Morning Paper.

“Confiscated glitter spray at airport security…Mouldy bread…No caffeinated coffee…Cannot find simple persian rugs with cherub imagery…Lack of free time…Horrors of luxury travel…Mediocre meals…Rude customer service…The obnoxious guy at the next table…The Talkative taxi cab driver…A hostile airline ticket clerk…The interminable security line…The malodorous seatmate and crying baby.”  Teddy Wayne, the author, continues in The Microcomplaint: Nothing Too Small to Whine About.  “It was once considered unbecoming, or annoying itself, to moan publicly about trifling personal ordeals. Now, in a seismic shift for the moral culture, abetted by technology, we tolerate and even encourage the “microcomplaint”: the petty, petulant kvetch about the quotidian.”

I finish the article and mumble my POV: Micro b*tches and then tweet or blog the h*ll out of them.  Can you believe these people? Grab a six-pack of perspective people!

Wednesday, November 18th.

5:40 a.m. Metro North to Grand Central.
Train whistle blows as it approaches.
I’m assessing the passenger load as the train cars pass. 5:40 and jammed.

There’s a single aisle seat open in a two seater.
My seat mate doesn’t raise his head from his magazine.
His oversized backpack sits on the floor between his legs.
His legs, spread wide, encroach. A Manspreader! In My Space. [Read more…]

Amateurs. Seeking mastery? Here’s our Truth.


TRUTH. In a second.

He’s the spark for this share.  Greg Cowles, editor of the NY Times Book Review, reviews Mary Karr’s new book The Art of Memoir.  One sentence in his review (also titled The Art of Memoir) summarizes his thoughts on the book:

It is not, alas, a very good book. Repetitive, unorganized, unsure of its audience or tone, it can’t decide whether it wants to be a how-to guide or a work of critical analysis.

Here’s my review of the book review in fewer words: BAH!

Now on to the Truth, our Truth, Truth for anyone seeking mastery of anything – with the most illuminating excerpt from Karr’s new book.

[Read more…]

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)