Friday, August 30, 2013


 …“If you want to see some real miracles, come around the square at 5:00 when all the cripples start walking perfectly normal, until tomorrow morning when the tourists show up.”
That was what our tour guide said as a beggar--whose feet seemed irreparably turned inside-- shook his cup, asking for money.

In a way, the quote sums up a lot of what I didn’t like about Florence.

…I think the beauty of Florence lies on the outskirts, in the country sides, beyond the festering city center where hordes of tourists scrabble over the same set of worn marble tiles, viewing the same cathedrals, dining at the same over-priced Trattorias, jamming generic designer houses—Gucci, Fendi, Armani, Chanel, Ferragamo, Prada, Versace—no different than toddlers waiting for free handouts of cotton candy.  This is not to say that city center-Florence is unappealing.  On the contrary, there is a ton of energy both emitted and absorbed within a ten mile radius.  There are one-of-a-kind dishes, museums, frescos, wonderful architecture.  There is a lot that demands your attention, that pulls on your senses, be they sight or smell.

But the city center is also dirty (almost every church could use a good scrubbing) with graffiti that should be gotten rid of and pungent sewage odors wafting out of curb-side grates.  The streets are just as narrow as those in Rome, yet the drivers here seem bent on creating pedestrian carnage.  Also, a lot of the shopping and dining (which is endless) seems sadly redundant and unoriginal (perhaps those last two descriptions make me redundant), and after some time, selecting a restaurant seems a bit like playing roulette.

But south of the Arno River, detached from the actual “city” city, it’s a different world.  After passing over the water and turning a corner down any street, you get a sense of calm.  It’s cleaner.  It’s more mysterious.  It feels more intimate.  The food and shopping are considerably more varied, and the father you walk, the greater this becomes, unlike north of The Arno.

It’s unquestionably beautiful on the south side of the river, especially when one gets a view from high up where you can then see the city at a glance while also catching (behind you, or side-to-side) the rolling southern hills, replete with olive trees and vineyards braided across hillsides, stucco homes standing like proud mastheads, an occasional castled poking up from the greenery like a giraffe’s neck made of ancient stone.  It’s magnificent, every square foot.
Today, at an altitude higher than the famed Florence city-center dome, I happened upon Fort Belvedere, opposite the dome, across The Arno.  The views from there were spectacular, even for one afraid of heights (like me.)  Later on, chugging up a grueling steep slope, I came upon a church built in the 10th century.  Like most of the most magical cathedrals, this one was ominous, yet it wasn’t so large so as not to also feel intimate.  There were frescoes on the walls and ceilings, gold leaf, marble floors with inscriptions, gardens outside, and off to the side, designated mausoleums for the deceased elders who had served the church.  There was someone inside playing the pipe organ as a paltry crowd of thirty (in downtown Florence the smallest crowd you’d have in a church such as this would be 300) listened while seated on a 1,000 year old pew.

So I guess the larger take-away is: break away from the beaten path; do the unexpected; take a couple risks and don’t worry if it’s going to screw things up; find the “self” that few others get to see. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013


…There are only two kinds of pedestrians in Rome: fast pedestrians and dead pedestrians.
I had heard that before arriving, and now that I’m here, I see firsthand how it’s completely true.  The sidewalks are remarkably narrow, the roadways not much better.  Mopeds, motorcycles, and even vans, scream, full-throttle through every intersection, down every alley, whether or not there’s a viable opening for them to get through/past.  If you’re not alert, you can easily have one of your buttocks ripped off, an elbow unhinged, or your feet thrown out from under you. 

There are plenty of similarities with Europe and America, but, of course, there are differences, some subtle yet huge: In Europe it’s “guilty until proven innocent.”  In Europe, “Hey, you, better watch the hell out or I’m going to run your ass over and not bother looking back.”
I wonder how many accidents there are each day.

But who knew Rome could be so wonderful.  Wow.

It’s like NYC with some of the voltage stripped away, yet effervescent, claustrophobic in the way that big cities are (and have to be), full of diverse people, with scenery (shops; displays; that weird whose face is painted gold) constantly calling for your attention.

The shopping is endless.  Every major designer, and then some, is here.

The people-watching is riveting (if, like me, you enjoy that sort of thing).  You can hear all sorts of different languages in the din.  Most of the crowds, except for the Americans, are dressed pretty stylishly.  There are no homeless people, just every now and then a stray woman in full dress, bend over, lying on the cement, head down to the stone, moaning, with an upraised cup in her palm.  She shows up in crowded areas, at the entrance and exits of churches, at the Coliseum…

Religion--specifically, Catholicism--has left its imprint somewhere on virtually every block of the city and the surrounding areas.  The cathedrals are magnificent, maybe too much so.  In the Vatican you get a clear picture of the power the papacy holds—power and wealth—and to me it was a bit unnerving.   Excess is everywhere, gaudy excess, the opposite of what you‘d expect to find if you visited Jesus’s.

One of my new favorite things is the sound of Italian kids talking.  It has to be the cutest sound in the world.  When I hear them, it makes me want to go up and give them a hug.

Now it’s onto Florence, then Nice and Paris.  I’m here with my wife.  We’re celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary.  Seven days down, nine more to enjoy.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


…Tomorrow I head for Europe.  I’ll be gone for 16 days and likely won’t be posting here until I return.
I hope you’ll miss me, just a little.

…This is a post-9/11 message from comedian George Carlin, shortly after his wife died:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but
shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but
have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller
families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less
sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems,
more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little,
drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too
little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our
possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and
hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to
life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but
have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer
space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom,
but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but
accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more
computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we
communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small
character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of
two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one
night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to
quiet, to kill.  It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and
nothing in the stockroom.

A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can
choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going
to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who
looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and
leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the
only  treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most
of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep
inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment
for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give
time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let
the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening,
whatever. Never let the brain idle. " An idle mind is the devil's workshop."
And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is
with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets,
keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever, your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable,
improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a
foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is. 

Monday, August 19, 2013


…I finally saw “Fruitvale Station” starring Michael Jordan of “Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood,” and “The Wire.”  He was outstanding in every way, as was the film. 
There were only seven people in the theater and the movie played only once, at 9:55 am on Sunday morning.
It breaks my heart to think that great little films such as “Fruitvale” get overrun by mindless Marvel Comic movies.

…On television, “Breaking Bad” continues to astound with each new episode.  Last night’s entrée was a brilliant study in subtlety and the use of facial expression to do all the talking that need be done.  With, sadly, just six more episodes to go, I’m dying to see how Walter and Jesse go out into that dark night.
“Dexter” on the other hand, feels tired.  It’s redeemed itself somewhat this year, but they probably should have closed up shop after the fifth season.

…Here are a few things I like to start the week:

"We have worked at full speed since May.  And that is I'm persuaded the root and source and origin of all health and happiness, provided of course that one rides work as a man rides a great horse, in a spirited and independent way; not a drudge, but a man with spurs to his heels." (Writing in her journal about her life as a publisher and
writer.) Virginia Woolf

"Never love anybody who treats you like you are ordinary." Oscar Wilde

"The way to learn to do things is to do things. The way to learn a trade is to work at it. Success teaches how to succeed. Begin with the determination to succeed, and the work is half done already." J.N. Fadenburg

"I am thankful for small mercies. I compared notes with one of my friends who expects everything of the universe, and is disappointed when anything is less than the best, and I found that I begin at the other extreme, expecting nothing, and am always full of thanks for moderate goods." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"People will stare. Make it worth their while." Harry Winston

Friday, August 16, 2013


…How’s your weekend looking?

…I found this and liked it.  Hope you do, too…

15 Things You Probably Never Knew or Thought About:

1. At least 5 people in this world love you so much they would die
 for you.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want
to be just like you.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like

5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6. You mean the world to someone.

7. If not for you, someone may not be living.

8. You are special and unique.

9. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

10. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

11. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look. You most likely turned your back on the world.

12. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it. But if you believe in yourself, probably, sooner or later, you will get it.

13. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

14. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better
when they know.

15. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


…After  a ten month hiatus, it’s a delight to have “Breaking Bad” back on the air.
We get eight final episodes and then the show shuts down for good, which will be very sad.
The series, which follows a cancer-inflicted Chemistry teacher who ends up cooking meth to pay his hospitable bills, is sure genius in every way.  The writing, acting, direction, cinematography and plotting are sharper than anything I’ve ever seen.  It rivals any of the best feature films.
As Walter White ego grows he falls farther and farther into darkness.  People die, lives are torn asunder, and through it all the viewer keeps wanting more.  It’s a show whose brilliance is littered in every facet of story-telling, though its greatest virtuosity may be in the way it has us rooting for a character who’s not just bad, but has come to personify evil while wearing a cloak of an everyman.
If you don’t watch “Breaking Bad,” please do.  You’ll be glad.

…A year ago I did a reading in NYC for The Sunday Salon, a venue that has readings at “Jimmy’s” in the lower eastside every third Sunday of the month.  It was a lot of fun, and there were other great writers there who read as well.
This week they put out an online collection of stories and one of mine was featured.
Here it is:

                                                  A Car Ride of Second Chances

            It was my therapist’s idea.  Ordinarily, he merely listened, taking a note or two during our sessions, but I could tell my exhibitions of misery were frustrating him, which is why he came up with the suggestion last week.
            When I objected, he said, “Don’t forget, you’ve made mistakes in your marriage, too.”
            That poison dart stung.  I felt a moment of betrayal, but then realized the irony of my thinking—me, who’d been the unfaithful one.
            I call our lawyers before leaving, tell them my wife and I are just trying to get out of town for a couple of days, drive to Portland--where people are less likely to have heard the news.
            The second lawyer, the needling, suspicious one who often seemed to be on the prosecution’s side, said, “Check in.  Call when you get there and give me the hotel’s phone number.”
            He was a squat neckless blob, a human Jabba the Hut.  I imagined shoving a stick of dynamite down his throat and watching him choke on it right before all 300 pounds of him splattered across his mahogany office.  See, that’s what all this had done—turning me violent and resentful, into one batshit, childless husband.
            My wife gets into the SUV while I finish loading up.  I see the Millers across the street watching us through parted drapes.  When I give them my middle finger, they disappear, their curtains sashaying like randy ghosts.
            Ghosts.  I believe in them now.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy to open up your mind.  I see her ghost every day, several times a day.  She glides across the room, floats above my head, always swaddled tight like a cocoon.  I hear her gurgle and coo, feel her hot baby’s breath.  She never cries.  Never.
            Near Tacoma, the vehicle starts to rattle the way it has all month, although now there’s an added rumbling sound beneath my feet.  Just another one of our broken things, I think.  I turn the radio up louder, even though it’s a ridiculous rap song.
            My wife stares out the window, any number of thoughts going through her head, or maybe nothing at all.  Or maybe she’s reliving everything.
            Approaching Chehalis, I turn the radio off.  The car still sounds as if it’s going to collapse.  I say, “Hey.”
            She doesn’t turn and for a second I wonder if she might be sleeping.  When I lean forward to check, it’s too late.  The deer has loped onto the highway. 
            I brake hard, even though as I do it, I realize you’re supposed to hit the accelerator instead.  The animal slams into the fender—fur, hooves and horns--twirling in the air as if in slow motion.  I’m certain that it’s going to land on the windshield, break through the glass and crush us.  But it doesn’t.  Instead the deer drops onto the top of the SUV like a boulder, then rolls off the back end. 
            The car finishes its skid, squealing in a semicircle, spraying gravel from the side of the road.   The air smells like burnt rubber.  Over our heads, in the middle space between us, there’s now an inverted dome of metal from where the deer landed.
            “Are you okay?” I ask.
            My wife is pale, the color of faded lavender, and her chest heaves.
            “Are you all right?  Are you hurt?”
            She shakes her head, eyes the widest I’ve ever seen them.
            Police arrive less than ten minutes later.  They want to call an ambulance, but I won’t let them.  “We’re fine,” I say, “just a little shaken, is all.”
            When he checks my ID, the officer’s face corkscrews and I know he’s realizing who we are.  “Where you headed?” he asks, the inflection in his voice not unlike Jabba the Hut, my attorney.
            “Portland.  For a break, a getaway.  Just a couple of days.”
            “Your people know you’re going?”  I understand what he means.  This is unbelievable.  I feel myself ripen with anger.
            “My people?”
            “Lawyers and such.” 
            I want to tell him to go fuck himself.  I want to ram the door against him, break his hip or a few ribs.  Instead I say, “They do.”
            “Good idea.”
            He stares at me for a few seconds, but it feels longer.  Then he leans down, looks across at my wife.  “Sure you’re not injured?”
            “Just shaken,” I say again, and the officer chuckles.”
            The SUV won’t start, so the police write up some kind of note and stick it under a windshield wiper.  “Be a bitch of a bill, towing that all the way back to Seattle,” one of them says almost merrily.
            “I’ll have it towed to Chehalis, get it fixed there.”
            “Yeah,” he says, and I don’t know if it’s a question or if he’s agreeing with me.
            “Want a lift into town?” he asks.
            “We’ll call a cab.”  There’s no way in hell my wife and I are getting into the back of a squad car.
            “Sure?”  He’s disappointed.  Probably wanted to grill us on the ride in.  “Save you fifty, sixty bucks.”
            “I’m sure.”  If he doesn’t get the fuck away from me, I’m really going to whack him with the car door, get out and mash his face in with my boot.
            Finally he says, “Suit yourself,” then to his partner, “Let’s go, Bob.”
            In the rearview mirror, I watch them walk back to their cruiser.  “Can you believe those assholes?” I ask.  But my wife doesn’t answer because she’s started sobbing.

            At our hotel room, my wife sits in a chair by the window weeping silently.  She won’t stop and she won’t talk to me.  When I tell her I’m going for a walk, she doesn’t even bother to look up.
            There’s not much to see outside, the downtown area filled with feed stores and others that sell fertilizer and farming implements.  The sun is a ripe blister in the sky, its rays scalding my upraised face.  Almost blinded, I nevertheless walk up and down the streets for hours.
            I find a bar called “Last Chance Saloon”.  It feels like something out of frontier times.  I sit at the bar ordering whisky after whisky until the jukebox is drowned out by a jar of angry hornets scouring the inside of my skull.
            Back at the hotel, my wife’s still seated in the same spot, but she’s stopped crying.
            I sit on the edge of the bed next to her.
            “Hell of a day,” I say.  “Hell of a month.”  I sound like an idiot but I don’t know what else to say, and besides, I’m quite drunk.
            “I didn’t do it,” she says.  They’re the first words I’ve heard from her since yesterday. 
            “I told you I believe you.”
            “You don’t act like it.”
            “How am I supposed to act?  She’s dead.”
            “Everyone thinks I did it.”
            “We have lawyers.”
            “Why would I?  She was my baby, too.”
            “We’re going to have to learn to live with this eventually.”
            “What kind of mother would shake her child to death?  What kind of animal?”
            What kind of man would cheat on his pregnant wife? I think.
            It feels hotter in the room than it did outside.  My sweat-soaked shirt clings to my chest making it easy to see the rhythmic thudding of my heart.
            I slide off the mattress and kneel down in front of my wife.  Her hands, her cheek, her earlobes—everything trembles.
            “Look at me,” I say. 
            I reach over and lift her chin up.  Mascara is smeared down her cheeks like black scars.
            I don’t know if she did it on purpose or not.  The experts know.  But I tell myself I can live with it either way.  What I can’t do anymore is hide or lie.
            I take a gulp of air and swallow.  “I have something to tell you,” I say.

            I take my time.  I tell her everything.  Outside a stray siren wails in the distance while I wait for judgment, punishment or forgiveness.  Anything to set us right.

Monday, August 12, 2013


…My puppy is spending so much time in my office with me that it’s beginning to smell a bit like a pet store in here.  Definitely need to get some air freshener.

…Here are three things I learned last week:

#1. After 72 hours, you forget 95% of everything you’ve heard

#2. Cities with the highest percentages of working artists:
1. L.A. - 4.9%
2. San Francisco - 4.3%
3. Seattle 4.1%

#3. Chris Paul of the LA Clippers basketball team signed a six year deal paying him $107 million. (Salaries for athletes always astound me.)

And here are some pithy things my friends on Facebook had to say last week:

-if you think there's anything better than watching pelicans fucking divebombing the ocean for fish, you can go straight to hell.

-Some people are so intent on taking away your gun, if you don't hand it over they'll shoot you.

-PSA: Being a "writer" does not grant you a pass to be a fuckwad.

-Katie caught an errant bat flying around our house tonight with two rods and a sheer curtain. Yep. My bitch is a bad-ass-- a curtain wielding, flying Dracula killing, bad-ass! And she will f*** you up!

-My mission tonight is to collect bunny poop and send it in the overnight mail. You think I'm kidding but I'm not.

Lastly, here are some things Marilyn Monroe once had to say (they’re pretty sharp):
-"Ever notice how ‘What the hell’ is always the right answer?"
-"Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you’re a human being, you feel, you suffer."
-"I don’t want to make money. I just want to be wonderful."
-"A career is wonderful thing, but you can’t snuggle up to it on a cold night."
-"Most importantly, keep smiling. Because life is a beautiful thing, and there’s so much to smile about."
-"It’s not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on."
-"Imperfection is beauty. Madness is genius. It is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
-"Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul."
-"It’s often just enough to be with someone. I don’t need to touch them. Not even talk. A feeling passes between you both. You’re not alone."
-"To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one, its society who’s ugly."
-"The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space."
-"I’ve often stood silent at a party for hours listening to my movie idols turn into dull and little people."
"Suicide is a person’s privilege. I don’t believe it’s a sin or a crime. --"It’s your right if you want to, though it doesn’t get you anywhere."
-"Beneath the make-up and behind the smile, I’m just a girl who wishes for the world."
-"The truth is I’ve never fooled anyone. I’ve let people fool themselves. They didn’t bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn’t argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn’t. When they found this out, they would blame me for disillusioning them and fooling them."
-"Please don’t make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe. I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one… I want to be an artist, an actress with integrity… If fame goes by, so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle. So at least it’s something I experienced, but that’s not where I live."
-"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself. And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."
-"I’m selfish, impatient, and insecure. I make mistakes. I am out of control and at times, hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best."
-"Sex is part of nature. I go along with nature."
-"People respect you because they feel you’ve survived hard times and endured and although you’ve become famous, you haven’t become phony.
-"I restore myself when I’m alone."

-"Men who think that a woman’s past love affairs lessen her love for them are usually stupid and weak. A woman can bring a new love to each man she loves, providing there are not too many."--Marilyn Monroe

Friday, August 9, 2013


…It’s Friday, right?  Ever since I left the corporate world, where being aware of time was imperative, I’m never sure what time it is, let alone what day.

…Yesterday I did some good work on my latest novel. 
The working title is “The Devil You Know.”
Here’s the beginning:


            He wasn’t sure how fast he was going when he hit her, wasn’t even sure at that point if it was a “her.”  But Eddy heard the thump, felt the front fender crumpling, saw shadow-splotched light, then got blasted with the subsequent crash of a body slamming against the windshield, flying and flopping, up and over, like a broken scarecrow swallowed whole by the rain-drenched night.
            It had happened blink-fast, while Eddy reached in his lap for another swig of beer.   The impact was the only thing that slowed him down.  His legs, groin, and car seat were soaking wet.  Eddy thought blood, then thought, I’ve pissed myself, then smelled the sour odor of barley and hops clouding the air.
            It took a moment—moments being all there were—for a fierce realization to break through, and once it had, Eddy’s heart, a heart which had been a dull rag all day long, was lashed with barbwire. 
            He’d hit a person, killed someone perhaps.

            Eddy couldn’t be sure if anyone had seen it and he didn’t wait to find out.  He kept the Mustang’s speed steady, then punched the accelerator hard, as if his foot was a fist.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


…My favorite weather forecast is when it says “Abundant Sunshine.”
On the other hand, I also like “Heavy Snow.”

…When I read about writers who’ve had their manuscript rejected dozens and dozens of times, (sometimes up to a hundred times)--only to have it eventually published, then going on to become a best-seller or classic, well, I’m both inspired and amazed.
And I wonder: is it just about perseverance, or is also about subjectivity, timing, and meeting the right match?  Or maybe it’s all of those things.
The truth is, rejection sucks.  It hurts.  It’s like being told you’re hideous.
Or dumb.
Or anything unflattering.
But each time I feel this way, get a rejection, I remember what Anne Lamott wrote in her fabulous book, “Bird By Bird,” when she advises, “Try not to feel sorry for yourself.  After all, you’re the one who decided you wanted to become a writer.”

…It’s Wednesday and I very much need to be productive.

…Here are some pithy things I like:

“One cries because one is sad. For example, I cry because others are stupid, and that makes me sad.” - Sheldon

"A man is already halfway in love with any woman who listens to him." Brendan Francis

"He who finds diamonds must grapple in mud and mire because diamonds are not found in polished stones.  They are made." Henry B. Wilson

"When you find yourself overpowered, as it were, by melancholy, the best way is to go out and do something kind for somebody." John Keble

"It's amazing how different my day is when I verbally express what I'm thankful for." Michelle Meeks

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"What matters is how quickly you do what your soul wants." Rumi

"My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is within you.  Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success." Helen Hayes

Monday, August 5, 2013


…Hey, how’s your August starting out?  Mine’s been sun-filled.

…Here are some things I like, and after those things is a story I wrote:

"In order to discover new lands, one must be willing to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." Andre Gide

"It doesn't matter how often you get knocked down; what matters is how often you get back up." Vince Lombardi

"It's never too late, in fiction or in life, to revise." Nancy Thayer

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Maya Angelou

"Love is still the greatest thing that ever happens in our lives." Gary Player

"Physical courage, which despises all danger, will make a man brave in one way; and moral courage, which despises all opinion, will make a man brave in another." Charles Colton


            The next one is prettier than the others. 
            She wears a white poodle coat with knotted fringe balls on the sleeves, and smells like Lemon Pledge. 
            Her name is Rosie. 
            Rosie has a wide, cartoon smile.  Each time she pops her gum, it sounds like a muffled firecracker.
            “Wanna piece?”
            When I answer yes, Rosie says, “Ain’t got one,” and titters, head cocked toward the ceiling.
            Dad rearranges the furniture as Rosie points here and there, her bangle bracelets chinking like tin.  Her wrists are pale, thin as a chicken’s, and half the width of Mom’s.  She wears pink stilettoes with lots of straps.
            Dad has gained weight since Mom left.  A wet sweat cloud stains his shirt front and his hair is matted on one side.
            Rosie keeps changing her mind about where the recliner should go.  She’s unsure about the coffee table.  She wants the china hutch in the corner, but it’s too heavy to move, so Dad gets a hand truck. 
            “Just ‘cause you’re a girl,” Rosie says to me, “doesn’t mean you can’t help.”
            Before Rosie showed up, Dad had told me I needed to be more hospitable to his female guests.  He said hospitable meant kind and agreeable. 
            “Give the hutch a little push forward,” Dad says to me, voice strained, his back bent as he crouches behind the hand truck.
            Each time Rosie’s gum snaps, I hear the sound of Mom’s high heels on the linoleum floor.
            I grip the hutch as if it’s a stiff bear.  I push forward, but lean right, the hutch listing, then lumbering into a slow tumble.  As it crashes, glass explodes, spraying the air.  The severed heads of two porcelain figurines stare up from the thick shag.
            Rosie calls me an idiot.
            Dad doesn’t say a thing.
            I give Rosie my best grin.
            “That one’s a shifty little shit,” Rosie says, but Dad stays silent, fetching a whisk broom and plastic shovel to collect the shards.
            After dinner, I’m sent to bed two hours earlier than usual.  I slip out after five minutes, peering over the bannister to watch them on the repositioned sofa below.  Dad fondles Rosie’s hair.  He touches her cheek and neck and blouse.  Rosie says, “I don’t know if this place is big enough.”

            I want to tell her I agree.  I want to tell her our house is filled with ghosts, ghosts of every kind, but mainly female ghosts.  I want to tell her that my mother’s perfume sometimes wafts out of the wall paper, out of my pillow case and favorite mauve cardigan.  I want to tell her that I can be agreeable, but there’s nothing for her here except confusion and misery.

Friday, August 2, 2013


…Here comes the weekend.  What have you got planned?

…A few things I learned this week are these:

…Adults who say these professions contribute to society's well-being:
Military - 78%
Teachers - 72%
Doctors - 66%
Journalists - 28%
Business Execs - 24%
Lawyers - 18%

…After Bellevue, Washington launched a fleet of apartments sized 300 square feet, Seattle is making a fleet of them even smaller at an astonishing 150 square feet.

…36% of all couples use a mobile phone to plan a date.
67% of those check their cellphone while on a date.

…I had this story published at Right Hand Pointing yesterday:


            At the park, Jess watches a young man push his girlfriend on a swing.  The girlfriend chuckles with each shove, the sound more gurgles than laughter.  Sometimes he tickles her before liftoff to make her gurgle harder. 
            “Stop!” she says, but he knows she only want more, so he tickles her more and she gurgles again.
            They have the same heavy-lidded eyes, same broad foreheads, short necks, and fingers that are short, too, extending from their wide hands.
            Jess watches them move to the Merry Go-round.  They’re hardly pros.  The young man has difficultly pushing while maintaining balance.  Each time he tumbles, the girlfriend gurgles and shrieks with delight. 
            “You’re silly!” she says.
            Jess watches the young man belly flop into a pile of maple leaves, flapping his arms and legs as if making a snow angel, the girlfriend snorting and gurgling. 
            “Come on over,” the young man says, patting a flattened patch, “I’ve saved a seat for you.”
            After she does, the young man scans the pile for a particular leaf, one with a long stem, placing it through her hair, telling her she’s beautiful while watching her blush.  Then he kisses her nose.
            At dinner that night, Jess decides not to tell her husband about the couple she saw, the pair with Down Syndrome.  She watches her husband scroll through his phone as he does almost constantly, sometimes grabbing it just moments after they’ve had sex.  When she asks how his day was, he says, “Good,” without looking up, without asking about her day.

            In bed she imagines herself on a swing being pushed by a man who loves her, and soon she’s asleep, dreaming.