Journal

OG

July 9, 2018
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I’ve been working indoors all afternoon, and find them afterward sitting on the driveway painting. The grandkid has a swatch of orange across her forehead. “You’ve got some orange paint on your forehead, kid,” I tell her. She wipes her hands across her face several times. Now her forehead, bangs, and eyelids are smeared with red paint. “Well, you took care of the orange,” I say. They’ve painted a small coffin pink. “Hey, that’s...

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Boats

June 27, 2018
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I. Sylvia Beach Hotel Fifteen years ago, this was your surprise for his 30th birthday. You’d hoped to book the Edgar Allan Poe room, but had ended up in F. Scott Fitzgerald, decorative gin bottles on desks and shelves. Late May, lonely and ill, you still had no context for your symptoms. You thought being vegan meant giving things up, but you are only beginning. The surgeries half a year away, the months of...

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Plans

June 21, 2018
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The kid and I are leaving for vacation Saturday morning. I have spent the last ten days waking in the middle of the night with some vague anxiety about car tires, and swim trunks, and traffic. About a country on fire, and children in cages. About the way that stories have made me stand in the middle of the world, and feel things, while simultaneously wearing the armor of metaphor. I am predisposed to...

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The Yaak

May 17, 2018
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Rick Bass has come to speak to us about writing. Chunks of emu grill beside several picnic tables of food. Bass is densely muscled and soft voiced. We’re at a cabin in the woods; the river rushing past. Dozens of graduate students on a perfect spring night talking about writing. His small daughters have hair the color of moonlight. They ask if I’m named Soap. “Sure,” I tell them. “Will you push us on...

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Love Bombing

May 3, 2018
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I’d never heard the term “love bombing” before, but I’ve experienced it. The beginning of a relationship when you are so inundated with text messages and phone calls and gifts and invitations and spontaneous pop-over visits that you don’t have time to ferret out whether or not you have concerns about this person who is flooding you with attention. Lloyd Doblering you. In too many stories, that’s romance, right? This persistent battering of affection....

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The golden church

April 30, 2018
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I found it in the rain. My red canvas coat and wool scarf smelled wet, and I was tired. I took myself through the graveyard, headstones with the dates worn away, and entered the Edinburgh church through a side door. A choir in front, all of them impossibly old, white haired and stooped. The church white and gold with a pipe organ. The week before, I’d walked over Shakespeare’s grave in another church. Paid...

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Misreading

April 25, 2018
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We were in the blue station wagon, my head in her lap. We’d come to this park near the basketball courts in Honolulu because the sky filled with shooting stars. One after another, for hours, as though the world were ending in failing light. She had her hand on my belly, and we hadn’t done anything yet. Not really. I’d grown sleepy from stars, and her hand making circles, and then I felt her...

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Word jumble

April 5, 2018
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It’s the middle of the night. And you are turned toward me in the dark, listening. I am describing the path to you. How much I loved a woman two decades ago. How I kept sort of showing up to something deeply confusing. Like discovering that you have blood on your hands and worry it might be your own. You know, romance in your twenties. How you want things with a fierceness you can...

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Yoga

March 5, 2018
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For years, I resisted taking up yoga again. And I couldn’t have told you why, exactly, except that the resistance was unrelenting. And then, a month ago, the tendons of my right arm, from the base of my skull through to my finger tips, stopped working. I couldn’t grip a cup of water, or use the 10-key. I couldn’t pet the dogs without feeling like my palm had a razor blade at its center....

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Empathy

January 20, 2018
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I had my earbuds in and Dermot Mulroney reading me part three of the last Denis Johnson collection as I climbed from the car Friday morning. A man called out to me. I paused my story. “What?” “Do you park here and then walk into town?” “Yeah.” I nodded, and started the story back up. He said, “Parking downtown is a clusterfuck.” I nodded, but the stranger kept talking. I stopped the story again....

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