Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

The oldest believes in everything big, from Cosmos to Santa Claus, and family-sized hugs.

But it is the youngest spying Christmas trees in his father’s starry eyes.

And so do I.

[Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I am so grateful for the opportunity to know each and every one of you. (Photo of Christmas Tree Nebula courtesy of skyhound)]

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Canal to Spring

Waiting for the subway, the woman with the siren hat hums a little nothing tune. She stops to smile at the boy with the conch ears who looks like the son she always wanted (even the ears), but never had. She closes her eyes, and hums a little louder.

The boy silences his iPod. He doesn’t feel much like listening today. He doesn’t feel much like going to his girlfriend’s to hear how wrong everything (even the ears) is. But still he gambles, with the others, on the doors sliding open to receive him. There is something to numbers, to a number’s bully momentum. In this city, people are molecules, pushed to boil.

The boy grasps the car’s overhead bar, slipping behind the girl with a book for a face.

Madame Bovary.

The train snuffs, and the woman with the siren hat bumps into the boy, inciting the dominos. The girl breaks the boy’s fall. There is a flurry of apologies, but the girl with a book for a face does not turn to acknowledge him. She just raises a hand. It’s all right. Her coat is soft caramel. Her face, a softer mystery.

The train slices the city’s secret harbor, pulled by a stationless twilight, clacking and screaming. The boy focuses on the girl’s neck: the drowsy hairs darkening the neckline, the ballerina bun spooling free of its tether. She has a freckle at the nape, which vibrates slightly. Something loosens inside of him, and the boy collapses to the size of this freckle, blurry around his edges.

He conceals the dizzy smile with a stroke of his hand.

It’s the lover’s perspective he sneaks. The freckle is a pearl beneath her sea foam of hair. He has no right to the freckle. No ownership. Yet here it is. Available to him.

The boy’s ears ring, the hairs on his arms turning stiff, then wavy.

Like sea grass.

The vibrations from her freckle leap to his lips.

He hums this little nothing tune.

The girl’s neck tacks the current of his song, and grows silent, even as the world rocks and screams around her.

The boy smiles, humming louder, while the train crashes into its station.

Abandoning the book, with all its plum, juicy words, to her side, the girl turns toward the music.

She seems okay with the boy’s ears.

He thinks Flaubert is the color of her eyes.

The doors gape, and the other people, including the woman with the siren hat, whistle into vapor. The boy and the girl are alone, two molecules uncertain of whether to disengage, or remain a lovely, lazy liquid.

The girl smiles, tentative.

“Do you think it’s possible to drown in someone’s words?”

The boy breaks the seal of his throat.

“What was that? I have water in my ears.”

The girl’s smile grows, even as her gaze shrinks to his chest.

The people are all exchanged, and they pile closer, pouring the girl and boy together.

Mixing their molecules.

And inside the boy’s chest, where nobody (except Flaubert) can touch, a little nothing tune has gushed into this something song.

This wave, of gathering.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

i carry your heart with me, by e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

[Another cummings poem to compensate for my inadequacy. Art by Matisse.]

Sunday, December 16, 2007


He had pianist hands.

She had night hair,
a woman's ivory back.

Their nocturne spelled the nightingales.

And made the cardinal blush.

[Glenn Gould/Bach video courtesy of kanfoosj]

Friday, December 14, 2007

Of corsets and rhyme


I am missing you tonight.

You are here,
And I am near,
And things should always be so clear.

And yet—

I am missing you tonight.

I am wanting you this night.

Come, my one-only,
Let’s dive under pillows,
And brace all the doors,
Ignore the tumult,
Recover our moors.

Come, my forever,
Let’s surrender our skin,
And slide with the night,
Keep our eyes broken,
Spin the world light.

Come, my polaris,
Let’s undress disguises,
And bid our hands dance,
Tunnel through language,
Tap a new romance.

(And darling? Could you please,
and quick, unburden me of this
pretty whalebone poetry!
It chafes so . . .



My heartbeat is meter.
Your hands are haiku.

Let’s be messy.


[Picture courtesy of corsetsandcrinolines]

Thursday, December 13, 2007

i like my body when it is with your, by e.e. cummings

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like,, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh....And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you quite so new

[I just love this poem, and felt like sharing it.
Photo courtesy of Michael Colicos]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Rain Becoming

“There is rain on your breath,” he tells her, smiling.

“Those are tears,” the girl says, shivering. “We should get back in.”

But kisses spark brightest in spring’s first water. And so they root their heels to the earth, embracing like two waves who have not crashed up against each other for the length of a war. Three desert years.

There are twenty desert yards to the car.

And so they swim.

“I wore your necklace every day. Beneath the dog tags. The guys made fun of me at first. Such a girly thing. But then they saw your picture.”

She touches the tarnished metal in the notch of his neck. Places her mouth on the wet skin beside. The girl absorbs the flurried pulses into her lips, and down, down, into her embedded feet. Her toes curl with each vibration. Thunder crashes, and a whiff of ozone warns the air.

He removes the necklace to lace it around her neck. The storm swells. Silver flashes gold, alchemized by the heat lightning in the lovers’ eyes.

“I knew you’d bring it back! I knew you’d come back to me,” she laughs above the downpour.

“I made a promise.”

Their lips fuse. Electric water.

The soldier, stiff in his uniform, bends his girl back, so that her hair will blow wild, so that she will laugh again. He wants to watch the rain becoming, in that crackling current between a smoky bodice and its snowy skin.


He watches still.

[This is my entry for Bernita Harris's Weirdly flash fiction contest, which is open through midnight (EST), Dec. 14th. There is a 250 word limit, any genre. If Bernita's lovely photo inspires you, then have a go at it!]

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Somewhere Story

Somewhere, in Africa,
a girl scratches out her ABCs with an acacia stick.
Somewhere, in Africa,
a mother wants to share stories poured down to her by another mother.
Somewhere, in Africa,
it is too hard to summon rain with a tongue as parched as the acacia’s bark.

And so the mother choreographs the daughter’s hand in a silent ballet, believing that her daughter’s dust will one day write its own story.

A story to plow abundant soil.
A story to seed a mother’s hope.
A story to sprout a vine so long it swings a daughter’s flight.
A story all green.

A Somewhere Story.

And then,
the mother smiles to this bright-eyed daughter,
the words will flow like the village’s river,
before its tears had all been wept,
before its animals had bleached the stone,
before the sun's teeth had sawed the silt,
before the river was seen
by these Somewhere People
as nowhere
very much
at all.

[I was inspired to write this piece after reading Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, which is transcribed here. Have a look. You won't regret it. Photo courtesy of WFP/Brenda Barton.]

Friday, December 7, 2007

White Noise

She presses down the path, hoping the snow will silence the bees in her head.

The dog pulls, her arm trails, and she thinks that all her life she has been in want of a leash. To be led.

She closes her eyes, and wonders why this should be.

The dog lunges for a rabbit, and she tumbles, planting her face in the snow. She starts to rise, but tucks back down, folding herself over the leash to catch its momentum. The icy needles are emboldening, and she lies there, waiting for the hive in her cheek to grow sluggish, and numb. She waits a long time. The dog is anxious, his paws swarming with bees.

Flipping onto her back, she notes some simple things:

The light looks pulled, like tungsten.
Snowflakes have dusted her lashes.
Snow has a sound.
So do her lashes.
That tree is a pulpy nerve.
Her body is a pulsing nerve.

And the dog has ears like pup tents.

The woman's heart pools warm honey.

She picks up the leash, the dog dances, and a line interprets their joy.

Together, the woman and dog push deeper into the snowy, snowy woods.

Into the white noise.

While somewhere,
sweetening the tonic chord,
a flurry
of birdsong.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

You, too, can be Shameless

It is time to get a little crazy, my friends.

It's time to break out the fuschia font.


Okay, not quite a barbaric yawp, but close enough.

quill was so kind as to honor me (and Wayne Shannon, among others) with this lovely blogging award. Having my writing called "engaging" and "heartfelt" is even more thrilling than inviting a hot-pink lion into my shabby little den. I really appreciate the sentiment and good will behind Seamus Kearny's effort to build a community of writers, and kindred spirits. And I already have a whole heap of new blogs to explore as a result. Thank you, quill!

About the award:

Seamus Kearney of Shameless Words believes in powerful writing, and he believes that it can be, and is, found in many places on the internet. This award was developed by him to put forth that belief and to encourage writers to roar.

The rules are simple and can be found at the original site. Please follow the link and pick up your award. The Shameless Lions Writing Circle

My 3 Writing Requirements:

Confidence: I didn't start writing until four years ago. Simply didn't believe I had it in me. And while I have yet to transform into a pillar of strength, I am light years more secure about myself than I was before. We all need to believe that we are good, but more importantly, that we can be better.

Empathy: As character builders, we need to be able to flip our perspectives, and tunnel into new skins.

Lyricism: Character is not enough. As writers, we must love language. We must stretch its boundaries, and be willing to fight for the words that will elevate our writing above the commonplace. When we succeed, we elevate our readers, too.

And my 5 picks for the award (note: I tried to pick blogs that have not recently been honored, or don't have the big kitty already in their sidebar):

The Clarity of Night
Jason Evans' blog is less a web destination than a nighttime harbor. I can almost feel my pulse slow, and my muscles relax, when I see that twilight background and his beautiful photos. Through his poetry, fiction, and photography, Jason challenges us to explore the world from different perspectives, before taking our hands to guide us, gently, along the way.

Jaye's Blahg
She calls her kid Spawn. She introduced me to "crypt lit." She makes me kinda like Texas. Jaye Wells is super-smart, wickedly clever, and endlessly provocative. Oh, and she's also a powerful, sharp writer. In each of her posts, Jaye clears away the cobwebs, and finds some buried treasure. But watch out for that heel...

The Reluctant Writer
Abhinav is passion personified. Whenever I read his lovely writings, I sense his generosity of spirit, and a conviction that will never fail him. He's young, but (and I know this phrase has become trite) he truly is an old soul. He reminds me of the fact that we are all still students, sharing a common classroom.

Church Lady is our web guardian. She's everywhere, and we all love her. Her blog is reflective of her personality: open-hearted, and wildly curious about everything. Through her writing exercises, contests, and free-flowing trivia, Church Lady's blog is a party that never ends (it better never end!). And none of that love of fun detracts from the fact that she is a profoundly gifted writer.

Hotwire Reality
I have only recently stumbled across Hotwire's blog. His vignettes are wonderfully free of pretension and altogether unique. When reading his stories, I feel like I'm drifting down a river that bends and curves, until arriving at a destination so quietly joyful, or melancholy, that the heart sighs to recognize that intangible thing called truth.

So there you have it! The honorees may feel free to select five more blogs to broaden the circle, or they can just wrap their arms around the kitty, and squeeze.

Now I want to thank my husband, my children, my Apple laptop, my dog, the jackass neighbors with the crazy-loud pickups and the rotting pumpkins, and most importantly, God, for this truly humbling award. I feel God in this blog roll tonight. Now let's all raise our (*exit music playing*)

Hey! Wait a minute!

No fair! More names! I think Al Gore deserves a shout--

aw, crap.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dick and Silent Jack

Dear Neighbor Human,


We see you looking at us when walking by with the curious sack of dog waste in your hand. It's okay! Stare all you like! Really!

We know your kind.

You probably live just to scrape our tender flesh into great orgies of sugary pastry that slide sickeningly down your monstrous gullet. You might have enjoyed smashing our forefathers before us as a mischievous "prank" to give you the "shits and giggles." Oh, yes, my fairweather friend! I detect the sick glow of past pleasures in those non-triangular orbs.


Do you think we asked for this cruel fate? NO! Do you think our kind is born to suffer the ignominy of rot and decay (and putrescence, let's not forget putrescence), for YOUR entertainment? NO! Are we a PLAYTHING to you?! Well, HA HA HA! LOL! ROTFL! ;) :-)

Alas. It is difficult for Jack to laugh. As you might have noted, his face has quite caved in.

November was DICKENSIAN. :(

We are a proud fruit (NOT a vegetable...are you hearing me, friend? those guys are PUSSIES!). Our time is meant to be short, but illuminating. If I may quote from my favorite poet, Edna St. Vin...something or other:

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light!


So this is what you're going to do. You're going to unpack all those years of seed-lust you've stowed away inside of you, and put us out of our misery. There is a hill out back. One heave is all it will take. The Great Pumpkin In The Sky demands it of you. C'mon already!!!

Good Neighbor Human, we've had the cruel trick.

Now throw us a treat.

Cordially Signed,

Silent Jack

p.s. The foolish Rottweiler that always barks at your canine transcribed. Pardon the pee.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Falling Star

Last night, I blew you a kiss
From the dark side of our moon.

It shot from my lips
Like a falling star,
Singing of lost radiance,
Before flaring out in the
Palm of its long, lonely bow.

The other stars just hummed,

There will be other moons.
There will be other kisses.

[Photo courtesy of Giulia Zanchi]

Friday, November 30, 2007

Paper Hearts

I didn’t know I was to fall in love.

We only just met. Him, the night janitor, shunning an emptied mall. Me, a pale meditation, working to be filled.

I admit to playing coy. I eluded those ink-stained fingers, and stumbled down false corridors. He followed with a traveler's curiosity, and the ticklish frustration. I lost myself in the shadows, but he was always there, pinning me against the wall, making me believe in this new architecture. I saw myself reflected in the windows of his eyes, and laughed into the night.

From the darkness, another laugh rebounded.

And so I found this other laughing man, and we laughed together, as shadows in our Writer's puppet theater.

I didn’t know I was to fall in love.

But for His words.

Bridging the paper synapses of our hearts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Child's Play

And now for something completely different.

A month or so ago, I wrote three children's books. Having two young kids, I am saturated with picture books every day, and wanted to take a crack at it. I'm sure nearly every parent reading this will commiserate.

And I was so utterly sick of reading Dora, and her like. Oh, Swiper, enough with the damn swiping already! We get it. You're a sneaky fox.

Give me Frog and Toad any day. Love those guys.

So my agent (who only handles my adult work) put me in contact with an old colleague of his, now working as a senior editor at the children's division of a publishing company. I submitted one of my books, and heard back from her a couple of days ago. She liked it, but still had some problems. Hence, revisions . . . and me pulling out my hair trying to cram everything into a 32-page format.

So in the spirit of my newest project:

What was your favorite children's book growing up?
Which picture books do your kids most enjoy?
Have any of you engaged in a little child's play, too?

And Swiper, no swiping!

(Oh, Mannnn...)

Monday, November 26, 2007

4 days (and 3 nights) in Paris

I've indulged in some foie gras. Had a bottle (or two) of red wine. Strolled the length of the Seine, with the Eiffel Tower as my compass.

Fallen in love again.

Now it's time to come home.

I thank everyone for their enthusiasm and kind words throughout this series. It was a pleasure to write, and I am so gratified by all of your responses. Now I just have a few questions:

Which vignette was your favorite?
Which city, or place, is your own private Paris?
Monet, or Manet?

And does anyone know where I can find a good burger?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chair, Luxembourg Gardens

They want to scatter your ashes into this black and white impression. A bleached Seurat, with all the dots connected.

“Do you need me to write the obituary, Maman? Just say the word.”

You were hopeless at speaking French. I could barely pronounce your prickly name.

“We really need to get on this. If we want to make the Sunday edition.”

I wore a dress meant for Sundays. You spun your hat on a sun-sweetened finger.

“It’s just a matter of getting our facts straight. What year did Dad graduate from Brown?”

I dipped my toes in a nervous fountain. You laughed, and juggled Cezanne’s peaches.

“Do you remember?”

The juice dribbled down my chin.


I touch this paper chin.

What do I remember?

Not enough (a chair in Paris).

Now empty (too much).

He moved deeper than all color.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Place du Tertre, Montmartre

She is not much. Young. Shy. American.

I’ve painted her thousands of times.

Mademoiselle, I must have your portrait.”

She unstrings her bowed lips. Someone has told her about French men.

“I could not accept money. But allow me this: a poor artist’s pleasure in immortalizing such beauty.”

My muse dips her head, but sits. There is a diamond on her finger, but it reflects no husband in her eyes.

I start to do my thing. It is a reflexive thing. A soulless thing. The engine of my hands propels me to do it.

And it will be compensated.

My muse clears her throat.

“Perhaps we could paint each other.”

The engine sputters into stillness.

“You paint?”

“A little.”

Reeling, I offer her a canvas, some brushes. My friend provides an easel.

“We will paint each other painting?” I laugh.

She shrugs. “Just paint what you see. This once.”

And with a new, ungainly instrument, I do.

I paint an accordion player pulling music from the dissonant faces. I paint puddles of mercury convulsing the old, tectonic cobblestone. I paint the wordless conversation between two artists’ brushes. I paint the blue ribbon of a girl’s wrist, pumping red blood into this still-life heart.

I paint Pennsylvania fireflies in this girl’s eyes.

It is only while setting down my brush that I realize she is done.

“You first,” she says.

I show her the canvas.

My girl smiles. “You have painted me as I really am.”

“Your turn.”

She rotates her easel. The canvas is white.

“But you have done nothing!”

My girl finds her feet.

“Look at your painting again,” she instructs, before bowing her lips and turning away.

I look at my canvas, and see. My first masterpiece. At fifty-one.

But I cannot be troubled to care. Not with these sparks and embers igniting my heart, propelling me to my feet.

Her City of Lights has split the eternal night.

And everywhere, fireflies.


(Last Paris vignette here)

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Kiss, Musée Rodin

“How do you feel being ogled all day?”

“I confess to kind of liking it.”


“You’re the one with a hand on my thigh.”

“It is a lovely thigh.”

“Thank you. It would be nothing without your hand.”

Tourists shuffle by, fondling the couple with their eyes. Hands make contact, and squeeze, before floating apart.

“It doesn’t bother you?”

“The people or my impudent thigh?”

“Damn you! You know of what I speak!”

“Oh, unmerciful God, this torment of anticipation! To be embalmed! Pinned like a moth by this blade of desire! To suffer this inch of inferno between our lips and not touch the flame! To bend toward the illusion of a kiss, but not break the wave of your breath on my—”

“Oh. Well. It could be worse.”


“You could be that poor sod over there.”

“Who? The Thinker?”

They laugh.

“Well, that. But no, my sweet. I speak of the voyeurs.”


“The floating people.”

“Ah, them.”

“You see what I mean?”

“I do, my love. You are so sensible.”

“It is so hard with your lovely hand on my thigh.”

A museum guard makes an announcement. The floating people float further away, leaving stillness behind them. The marble listens.

“Where did they go, my angel?”

“You are always in the moment, darling. It’s what I love.”

“What? Did I forget something?”

“Closing time.”


The inch is breached.

The flame is touched.


(Next Paris vignette here)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Clock, Musée d’Orsay

“The Manets are to die for.”


“I really think Renoir is a master of—”

Screw that. He doesn't suffer Pretty.

The Van Goghs. Can’t miss there.

Exactly. Fuck.

Forget the paintings. Surprise him with sculpture. Something esoteric.

Camille Claudel. Rodin’s lover. Beautiful. Bonkers.

“I was overcome by her lugubrious . . . her libidinal . . .”

“I was seduced by her libidinal desperation.”

Bingo. Woman scorned. And all of that.

“Libidinal. Li-bid-i-nal.”

(What is that guard looking at?)

Fourteen minutes late is nothing, right? We once took an hour to eat an orange.

Yesterday, it took us an hour to eat an orange.

Yesterday . . .

He called me his Venus on the Waves.
He did not give his last name.
He did not buy the orange.
He did not buy me dinner.
He came to my hotel for the night.
He fucked me without a condom.
He threw up in my sink.


That goddamn ferris wheel does grind on.

And this morning . . . was it just this morning?

“Five o’clock, mon petit chou. I promise: Our love will stop all time.”

Those Picasso lips.
And rescued eyes.
Sunlight glancing off his watch.
Falling through the door.

But the clock’s hands. They are not stopping.

Fifteen minutes is nothing.



Hot guard. Coming this way.



It’s April . . . in Paris.

(What have you done to my heart?)


(Next Paris vignette here)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Le Café

“The wine will be cheaper than your Coke.”

“Our kisses cheaper still.”

Raincoat licks some blackened brûlée from The Professor’s lip, and lingers.

“With that little bit of ketchup on your dress collar, and the custard on your sleeve, you are a Monet, my love.”

“Oh, not a Monet. I’d dissolve clean away if you got too close.” Raincoat drums her fingers dully against the table. “I’m pretty sure the French don’t approve of ketchup. Our waiter looked quite disgusted with me. Look at him over there, wiping at nothing. And us here waiting.”

“Disgusted? I just thought he was looking at your breasts, and pretending not to speak English.”

“That was you.”

The Professor drops his napkin. Gets down on his hands and knees to retrieve it.

“But I’m serious. We’re like a different species here. An American abomina—”

Raincoat sucks in her breath, as the heat floods her face.

“What are you doing?”

“Painting your legs. Watching you dissolve.”

She grips the bottle’s throat, as a red heel succumbs to the floor.

I touch the bill inside my pocket, and turn toward the kitchen.

Lunch is long in Paris.

And Americans so loud.


(Next Paris vignette here)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Steps to Montmartre

The lights curve up like a dancer’s arm.

“I will follow you to the top,” he says.

“But what’s at the top that cannot be found here?”

“Dali’s moustache . . . Van Gogh’s ear . . . Picasso’s Blue Period. Modernity, my love.”

“But I am already modern.”

“Come anyway! Be inspired.”

“But these heels.”

“I will have to carry you then.”

I laugh into his mouth, and lift my leg to ensnare him. He fumbles for my garter, and the soft skin slipped to him by the Paris moon.

“We’ll never make it,” I sigh.

But those blue hands of his are too busy to care.

“Now tell me about the Sacré Couer . . .” I murmur.

He smiles, his moustache lifting.

“The Sacred Heart.”

I press the space above his heart.

“Come,” I whisper into his ear.

“Be inspired.”


(Next Paris vignette here)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Le Pont Neuf

The lights on our bridge look lonely tonight.

I am lonely tonight.

Lovers pass like fireflies. Incandescent hearts. Collars raised, they are close with their heat.

The quay cobblestone is cold and hard, my knuckles curled between its grooves, palms raised.

In America, it is autumn. The leaves tremble for an anxious fate, while someone strums nostalgia’s dissonant chord.

But spring was our prelude in the celestial city, and summer our pas a deux. This season is the absence of sound. The Seine murmurs, but I cannot hear her silver tongue. The leaves lie, quiet, on the ground. I cannot recollect that which has not happened.

And the Eiffel Tower still shimmers like a shattered diamond across my shoulder.

And the flocking tourists still squawk too loud.

And the musician still plucks his instrument’s nerves.

And the air still smells of your perfume.

And my heart screams your name.

Our bridge still stands.

It has been standing for hundreds of years.

I will wait.

(I am still so young)


(Next Paris vignette here)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Look Me In The Eye...I Won!

Thanks to Church Lady, and John Elder Robison, for holding such a fun contest on this cold, rainy weekend! With my cunning insight into his secret, organic vegetable chowder fantasies, I won a copy of Mr. Robison's bestselling, highly regarded book, Look Me In The Eye: My Life with Asperger's.

I've tracked some of John's success on the writing forum we frequent, and look forward to a compelling, thoughtful read. So thanks, guys.

And now to celebrate . . . cyber-chowder for everyone!

I am a Parasitic Writer

I am a flea...a tapeworm...a leech...that greenish bacteria flourishing in your intestines.

I absorb nutrition from bigger mortals. I am dependent on them for growth. I have a difficult time detaching myself from my hosts, for fear I might shrink away to nothing.

I am a parasitic writer.

It's not like I set out to be a parasite. It just sort of happened that way. I attached myself to Michael Ondaatje for awhile, and the hunger to write silvery, lyrical prose became too overwhelming to resist. Once I had drained him of inspiration, I moved on to Anne Tyler, and suddenly the words became less important than feasting on the rich, authentic characters presented to me. Nearly sated, I dipped into a lean, tender fable of Alessandro Baricco, and dropped all my adjectives and adverbs, like they were fussy, extra calories.

Sadly, I somehow picked them up along the way.

Hey, blame Ian McEwan. Prick.

As you might suppose, I feel a certain amount of guilt for fastening myself to others for so long. And I have a very flea-like desire to rationalize my sorry existence. So here goes...

I'm fat and satisfied. I'm working on different projects that reflect a variety of inspirations. I love all of my disparate influences. And I haven't killed a host yet.

Don't get me wrong. I don't really want to ape other writers' styles or characters. But neither do I have a problem with an author's work serving as an alarm clock that rattles awake new insights and new ideas within me. Those insights and ideas were always there, if slumbering. It's just that sometimes I need a really loud alarm clock to get my butt moving.

But me jump.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Restless Dawn

So Jason Evans is holding another flash fiction contest. If his beautiful photograph pulls 250 words from you, you might want to head on over to his blog, and take part in the fun before 11:00 p.m., November 14th.

And if you're a shameless mercenary, then yes, there are prizes (of course, you now disgust me, and I will refer to you ever more as Blog Prize Whore). Amaz(on)-ing prizes, fine. But better still, you might win a copy of the photo itself.

I really do encourage everyone to check out Jason's blog, The Clarity of Night. It's a lovely, shady spot in an overheated blogosphere.

Here's my entry, titled Homecoming:

I was meant to fall in love that night.

Homecoming Dance was my shabby canvas, a Zuckerman twin my silkier muse. Chloe Z., who claimed to be a reincarnated goddess, rubbing henna onto her hands, her hair, her calico art. I condoned this crazy for lissome legs and musical ankles, which, granted, I’d only peeped through shredded stockings and the eyelets of combat boots. The skin underneath? As wanton as a waning moon, winking across the crowded night.

I gunned the Firebird down the country road, cursing myself for being late on such a night, for such a girl. Her corsage, a weak carnation, quivered on the passenger seat, along with empty bottles and a box of rubbers.

It was autumn. The leaves were a cheap confetti, tumbling through the air.

Rounding a curve, something darted across my path. I slammed on my brakes, tires skidding, until the hood smacked something (white) and shuddered into silence.

I stepped out of the car.

Afterward, I stepped back in.

Rumors followed that Chloe was pissed. I couldn’t care. High school was a fucking fairy tale by then, without the tra-la-la ending. I drove on, down other roads.

But sprawled under this calico sky, I remember another harvest dawn. And how I shivered atop the stiffening grass, dully absorbing that autumn is Nature’s last ejaculate, before the rigor mortis of winter, and spring’s rebirth.

I was meant to fall in love that night.

But for those tumbling, tumbling leaves.

Stained henna, stained with blood.

Ready, set...


This inaugural post is just to offer a tentative hello, as I attempt to overcome my beginner's anxiety about posting...on the internet...where anyone can judge me...(even, or especially, that goofy kid from high school with the ear wax collection--Hi, Eric!)...forever and ever...until I just can't bear the white-hot scrutiny, and delete the whole damn thing.

So hello. And welcome.

This blog will be a repository for my fiction (particularly flash fiction pieces) and, hopefully, the omnipresent kick in the pants I need to write on days when I would just rather look at other people's, well, blogs. I can't really say what this hole-in-the-wall will become, but at least I'm out there now, a stealthy Murmur beneath the roar.

Naked, and shivering.