Saturday, April 30, 2011


…I have a new story, "Inside the Heart of the City," up at 52/250 A Year of Flash, as well as another, "Orion Headless," up at Orion Headless for their anniversary issue.
Both are also here under words in print.
The "Orion" piece is pretty gritty, but it's actually based on a real situation that happened with a friend of mine, post-college.
Truly, sometimes real life is so odd or tragic, or so happenstance as if to seem unbelievable. I could give you a lot of examples. You could likely give me more.

…I just re-read "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," by Raymond Carver. You should, too.
If I don't read Carver every six months I feel as if my equilibrium is off. I get very dull. My teeth feel numb. My lips too. Especially my lips. I feel as if I'm talking to myself yet Myself is incapable of comprehending what I'm trying so desperately to tell Me.
I've written so many different things about Carver--poems, stories, blog posts, essays.
In a lot of ways, I feel like Ray is me, like he could have been my dad or best friend or brother or some guy at the end of the bar telling me, "Yeah, you should go ahead and be a writer. That way you might find answers to the things that keep you up at night."
I miss Ray.

…I fell in love for the first-time when I was 14. I know what you're thinking--14 year olds can't really get to that emotional level because they haven't matured enough, they don't have enough experiences, they're hopped up on hormones, blinded by beauty, just too damn young to really know better.
But I was there. I had reached that that emotional level. Definitely, I had.
Her name was Kristi.
Kristi ________.
She was one of the nicest people I've ever known. Even still. Even now.
She sang beautifully.
She had short hair, which is strange, because I have always been a "long hair guy."
She was pale and lanky, quite smart but giggled a lot nonetheless.
She was not a raving beauty by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, she was probably the plainest girl I've ever dated.
And still that did not matter. Not one bit. It was completely irrelevant.
Because I was crazy-mad in love.
With Kristi.
Kristi _______.
In love with her essence.
…We went through a lot, Kristi and I:
my move to North Dakota.
a shocking return home.
a house fire.
my bad roller-skating skills.
a kitten I named for her ("Christopher")
the split of our two best friends, who we'd double-dated with.
my family.
my mother. (Oh, God, my mother…)
her parents' disappointment that I did not end up marrying their daughter (although, all these years, later, her parents and I still exchange Christmas cards and notes.)
…Yes, that was a long, long time ago.
And, to be sure, this post is not about me pining for Kristi. Not at all.
However, there was something about that time, and that connection, about the Kristi-and-I bond that was very unique and real and special.
It's taken me a long time to gain proper perspective.
I see that now.
That love is a kind of miracle.
Kristi-and-I wasn't about sex or being with a beautiful creature. It was about "Us."
And the "Us" part was really great.
It was the best part, actually.

…Don't get me wrong; sex is important.
Yet, sex gets all the headlines, when love is the better value.
Both of them together are pretty terrific.

…Have you seen "Bottle Shock?" Or "Sideways?" I used to think aficionados were too over-the-top when it came to wine. Sniffing around the rim of a glass. Dunking their nostrils into the bowl. Closing their eyes, half-orgasmic. Pinning the base of the glass between two fingers so as to better swish the wine around the walls until the liquid created a certain, small cyclone, an eddy, a wet rug or racing red...
And then there is always a verbal fawning. "Notes" are giving great scrutiny. The under-tones, that is. The hints of this or that, usually fruits--peach, black berry, cherry, apple, pear. Or tobacco. Even onion. This wine is smoky, that one wonderfully oaky. This selection is quite buttery.
It's like they're trying to describe what love is, how it seeps and delves, how it can be dark and tragic, or bright as hotel room sunshine, surprising, startling, coming out of nowhere when you least expect it.
That's quite a task.
I think we'd all be better off if we drank more wine. I bet people who drink wine are the best lovers. I'm willing to place a very large wager on that one.

On a Friday, here are some things I like from Scott Spencer, one of my favorite authors:
 Where would be without these things, without contact, without caresses, without the knowledge that someone wants to touch you?
 Everything has layers; every little string has a hundred knots.
 It’s important to remember everything matters and it all makes a difference. Our lives are so short, and everything that happens in our life span is really important; there is nothing wasted, there’s nothing that doesn’t count. You can’t say I’m going to do this, but it doesn’t really count. It all counts, and everything is connected to everything else.
 “Willing” – Scott Spencer


  1. Wow, Len, I did not see that ending of "Orion Headless" coming at all. Terrific writing! Love makes the world go 'round, doesn't it?

  2. andrew,
    yes, indeed; love makes the world go around. and then, sometimes, it takes a few jagged detours. that's the interesting part.