Wednesday, November 23, 2011


…Good morning/afternoon/evening where you are.
I hope you are happy today.
I hope you are feeling inspired.
I hope you are grateful.

It's raining here. Last night/yesterday I spent ten hours in a car driving or stopped or going five miles per hour in snow with flakes the size of paper plates.
When I got home--after passing fallen trees and mounds of leaves on the street--my power was out.
There's something about an outage that forces you to be grateful. It has a way of stripping off the husk of extravagance and the unnecessary.
We played card games with a lantern.

…I went ahead and culled the best bits out of Lidia Yuknavich's memoir, "The Chronology of Water." Even if you're not a writer, even if you don't like to read, I think there will be a least a few things here that will resonate with you. If not, let me know…

"I am a woman who talks to herself and lies.

There are many ways to drown.

So here's the deal. About family, you have to make it up.

I believe in art the way other people believe in God.

In water, like books, you can leave your life.

Maybe forgiveness is just that. The ability to admit someone else's story. To give it to them. To let it be enunciated in your presence. It's your job not to flinch.

It is possible to carry life and death in the same sentence. In the same body.

When the thing you are living for dies right in front of you, why go on?

It's a sadness that enters us all, just differently I suppose.

There are so many stories to tell about what we do to our bodies.

We've always burned witches.

I think my mother was just trying to drown a sadness which wouldn't lift.

I've never met anyone who hasn't fucked up in their life a time or tow. Royally. I'm pretty sure that's what keeps us connected to one another.

The other thing I'd say is that if we didn’t' have drugs and alcohol, we wouldn't have art.

You see it is important to understand how damaged people don't know how to say yes, or to choose the big thing, even when it is right in front of them. It's a shame we carry. The shame of wanting something good. The shame of feeling something good. The same of not believing we deserve to stand in the same room in the same way as all those we admire. Big red A's on our chests.

Let the top of your head lift. See? There are spaces between things. What you thought was nothingness carries the life of it.

Addicts have a problem comprehending gravitas.

The more you describe a memory, the more likely it is that you are making a story that fits your life, resolves the past, creates a fiction you can live with. It's what writers do. Once you open your mouth, you are moving away from the truth of things.

I don't need anyone to explain to me why people join gangs. We do it to replace the frame of family. We do it to erase and remake our origins in their own images. To say, I too was here.

This is something I know: damaged women? We don't think we deserve kindness. In fact, when kindness happens to us, we go a little beserk. It's threatening. Deeply. Becauseif I have to admit how profoundly I need kindness? I have to admit that I hid the me who deserves it down in a sadness well. Serioulsly. Like abandoning a child at the bottom of a well because it's better than the life she is facing. Not quite killing my little girl me, but damn close.

Rehab and relapse and remember all start with the letter R.

Sometimes I think my voice arrived on paper.

My very skin knew the tyranny of speaking.

Big enough to fit the rage of a girl.

I didn't know yet that sexuality is an entire continet. I didn't know yet how many times a person can be born.

Women live their lives secretly wanting their lives to become movies.

People are often asking me if the things in my short stories really happened to me. I always think this is the same question to ask of a life--did this really happen to me? The body doesn't lie. But when we bring language to the body, isn't it always already an act of fiction?

There are many ways to love boys and men. Or to let them love you.

Language! What a thunderous mercy, huh?"


  1. particularly enjoyed this blog post. so true.

    in my earlier years i was much more of a fiction writer, and most of my stories were thinly disguised or re-imagined versions of what happened. they were actually pretty good stories. but i lost the interest in writing them, or i just turned my back on realism, and that's another story.

  2. Len,

    it's Friday of the Thanksgiving weekend and I am ruminating. I am so thankful for so much. One of the really big things connected to the past year is getting to know so many writers I admire so much. You are in the top rank. I love your stories, your blog and am thrilled we are linked together forever through our work in Pure Slush. Thank you.

  3. thanks, nicolette. thanks, andrew. i appreciate you guys.