Wednesday, October 31, 2018


…That’s a watercolor thingy a friend of mine did recently from when I read in LA.  She loved how it turned out.  I guess I do, too, since my face is really washed out.

…Tomorrow I’m on an early plane to NYC.  (Actually, Newark, NJ en route to the city.)  I have a reading Friday night at the famed KGB Bar with my favorite people, but mostly it’s play time.  If you’re nearby, Friday at 7pm, please come and say Hi.
Posting the rest of the week might be tricky, might be hit and miss, so I’ll wish you a fab weekend now, and I’ll leave you with some things I like on a waterlogged Wednesday (I’m working on the last two):

 "Every life is a daily series of advances and retreats, intimate victories and private defeats, all measured not by grand events but by an awareness of the obstacles that have been overcome along the way."- Simon Baatz

"Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks."- Stanley Baldwin

"I want to remind you that success in life is based on hard slogging. There will be periods when discouragement is great and upsetting, and the antidote for this is calmness and fortitude and a modest yet firm belief in your competence. Be sure that your priorities are in order so that you can proceed in a logical manner, and be ever mindful that nothing will take the place of persistence."- Walter Annenberg

"Determine that a thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way."- Abraham Lincoln

 "When I read a book, I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me."- W. Somerset Maugham 

"The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart."- R.G. Ingersoll

"The great end of art is to strike the imagination with the power of a soul that refuses to admit defeat even in the midst of a collapsing world."- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Man's greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes - obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes."- Victor Hugo

"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."- Ralph Waldo Emerson
""I can't do it" never yet accomplished anything: "I will try" has accomplished wonders."- George P. Burnham

"There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will."- Epictetus

"Don't allow yourself to be intimidated! There is more than one road to joy."- Author Pascal Bruckner

Monday, October 29, 2018


In the Scheme of Things

-Do you mind if I take notes?
-Great, shall we start then?
-Let’s see, oh yes, uh, is there a history of depression in your family?
-Any mental illness at all?
-Do you struggle with broken sleep?
-How often do you feel joyful?
-How many times a day does the world look lopsided to you?
-What about trust issues?
-Who were you most afraid of growing up?  Are you still afraid of them?
-Would you say you have more regrets than the average person?
-Do people ever claim you’re good at engaging them, but not forthcoming when it comes to yourself?
-How does that make you feel?
-Let’s say you could have anything in the world, anything at all, what would it be?
-What about world events, do they ever leave you unsettled or agitated?  How about politics?
-When it comes to self-reflection, what images come to mind?
-When it comes to diet, what do you think is a reasonable amount of time to go between eating meals?
-If you could change one thing about yourself, what would that be? 
-When is the last time you received a compliment and actually believed what you were told?
-Do you believe in God? 
-How about ghosts?
-What kind of monsters are you referring to?
-When did that happen exactly?
-How did that make you feel?
-Well, let’s say someone close to you came down with a terminal disease, how would you react?
-Have you lost people you loved before?
-What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
-Did to you?
-And how did you feel about that?
-In the scheme of things, how important is laughter to you?
-In a crowded room of strangers, would you most likely gravitate to the men or women?  I don’t think I said there were children in the room, did I?
-Do you find it easier to forgive others than yourself?
-What is your biggest fear?
-Have you ever sabotaged your own success for no apparent reason?
-Are these questions making you uncomfortable?
-Are you telling me the truth?
-Why does it seem like you haven’t heard a word I’ve said?

Friday, October 26, 2018


Unless you have a pet, and one you love to your core, it’s probably impossible to understand how attached a human being can become to an animal.  In fact, that attachment can be so thorough that the animal transcends the pet-owner relationship and in turn becomes more human than most people, more loved and valued and needed.

I know that’s how it is with Lucy, the little six-pound fluffy-scarf-of-a-thing, presently curled up like a question mark just inches from my feet.  I spend more time with her than I do anybody on the planet, and she and I know each other as well as any two people can.

So, I wanted to share the lovely tribute below.  It perfectly captures what I’ve been trying to say thus far.
I didn’t know Flint, but I do know Sara, who has one of the sweetest hearts ever. 
Reading this aloud to my daughter had me nearly weeping.  I know I’m a softy, but this is touching in so many ways:

...I had to inform my son the next day that he'd lost the buddy he'd had since age 7. My good girl Dakota is learning to be the only dog for the first time since our big lovable doofus Flint ambled into our hearts and made a general mess of things for a long while about 10 years ago. She became deaf about a year ago, and things are awful quiet around here. 

Found by my in-laws who live on a dirt road long frequented by dog dumpers, Flint was skinny and missing hair, and came packing a shit ton of hidden anxiety that we were not properly prepared to deal with. He ate my yoga mat. I had a hefty bill to pay to the library because of all the books he destroyed. He scattered bird seed throughout the house, including our bed. I have pictures of the scenes of utter chaos that would ensue when we left him for any length of time. It was always a dadaist collection of destroyed things. Maybe a bottle of sunscreen, a banana, and a computer monitor one day. Crate training didn't work. He busted out like a gorilla on PCP. John secured it with tap cons to the concrete floor. He broke those loose too.

We were forced to build a six-foot-fence around our little property that we could scarcely afford. He proceeded to scale that fence. I bailed him out of doggy jail. He got maced by the cops and has a mug shot on record with the sheriff, under which is the word "Anxious." 

We strongly considered re-homing him, but came to the (I believe correct) conclusion that no one would love him as much as we did. We postulated that he might have been bred to be a fighter (It's a big problem in these parts) - otherwise, why would anyone want to assemble such an awkward creature? 

Ultimately, that 130-pound doughball loved nothing more than to snuggle and wrestle on the floor. He loved every single human being he ever met, and every single person who wasn't freaked out by his huge jaw and stocky features came to love him too. I wish you could have met our Flint. He was mixed up, expensive, misguided, and the sweetest animal I ever put in a playful headlock. He was a terrible swimmer. He was an unbelievable farter. I miss my knucklehead. He was a good, good boy.