Monday, October 31, 2022



Regina Brett, God Never Blinks


1.   Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2.   When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3.   Life is too short to spend time hating anyone.

4.   Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5.   You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

6.   Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

7.   Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

8.   It’s okay to let your children see you cry.

9.   Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is about.

10.        Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or busy dying.

11.        You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

12.        A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write. 

13.        It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

14.        When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

15.        Over-prepare, then go with the flow.

16.        Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

17.        The most important sex organ is the brain.

18.        No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

19.        Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

20.        Forgive everyone everything.

21.        What other people think of you is none of your business.

22.        Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

23.        However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

24.        Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

25.        Believe in miracles.

26.        Your children get only one childhood. Make is memorable.

27.        Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

28.         If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back

29.        Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

30.        The best is yet to come.

31.        No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.

32.        Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

33.        If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

34.        Yield.

35.        Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

36.        Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

37.        All that truly matters in the end is that you loved. 

38.        Burn the candles; use the nice sheets; wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

Friday, October 28, 2022





It was the summer one brother came home from prison and one fought in Nam and Mom fought Dad and I fought every demon inside me, hurling rocks at the moon, shrieking at the moon, wanting nothing more than to eat the moon’s still beating heart.

It was the summer I became a werewolf, changing seamlessly from one animal to the next.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022







Unlike us, she was too loud, barking entire nights until Mother had Pepper’s voice box removed, so she’s silent now like us, unable to report the horrors of our childhood. 

Monday, October 24, 2022



 The New Dark


        after Charles Simic



The stars know everything, even that there’s a sluiced tear in your heart, and that you will die before we turn twelve.

But the stars are secret-keepers, the very best kind, which is not always optimum, for I won’t learn any of this until after you’re dead.

Tonight, though, we sit on the roof, a pair of ragtag twins. Even up this high, on rusted trailer tin, we can hear the bull thrashing around below—swooped flings, and crashes, and shattered glasses, ridiculing and annihilating the things he professes to love. 

“Do you ever wonder what would have happened if there had only been one of us?” you ask, in your quavering, almost-grown-up-girl voice.

I have, of course. A million times. “I would have wanted it to be you,” I say.

You kick my lower shin harder than you mean to, all heal, hangnail and callus. “Because you wanted me to live in torment, listening to this,” you say, slapping an open palm downward, “dealing with this shit?”

“Come on.”

You take a drag from one of Mom’s Tareytons, blow a funnel toward the Canis Major Dwarf, and hand the bone-dry butt to me, so I do the same, puff, inhale, exhale. You’re older, brother’s big sis, so I’ve always followed your lead.

“Life is cool, but it’s also bullshit, you know?” you say, facing the aurora borealis, the moon’s half-face shadowed over one cheek. 

I kick a pine cone into the dusk, boot it all the way up to Venus, Jupiter or Pluto, toward every real or excommunicated planet, and because gravity isn’t a thing there, the cone never falls back, but just disappears in the plum, dust-colored air like a last wish that never gets granted.

You haven’t told me, but I know. I have ears, it’s a trailer we live in. Plus, we’re twins, and that is its own unique taxonomy.

“This is going to sound super corny, but I think you’re going to do some really great shit when you’re older,” you say, your chipped fingernails clicking, cigarette butt fading into twilight ash.

Quickly I say, “What? Like, without you? But what about you?”

You chuff, half-laugh, as if caught in a vise, like an axe blade scudding off a boulder. “Be real. Always. You and me, we don’t have anything, but we’ve always been honest.”

That’s what I should have said, what I wanted to say, but you beat me to it, like you beat me being alive by nineteen minutes and thirty-seven seconds. 

The night is leaky black. A roadkill crow.

For some reason, I feel brave enough. I reach out and take your hand, and hope to hell you can’t feel my stampeding pulse, or shaking fingers, though I know you can.

You take it, like a handout, and squeeze softly.

In the distance, a star nods off, looping glow, a yolk smear over your savage-looking blonde shag, and it’s as if you’re an angel sitting next to me, both real and unreal.

“You’re going to be astronomer when you grow up, just like you said,” I say, because I need to say something, and because I actually believe it for once.

You puff, suck, exhale, puff, suck, inhale. And then the moment turns into a charcoal smudge, same as the smoky trailer below

A deer tiptoes out of the brush, and then one more.

“You see that?”

Both lift their snouts toward the tree that grows the bad apples. They each rip one off, then spit them out, trampling away in the new dark.

 “Hey,” I say, straightening stiff, “you know you can tell me anything.”

“God, really?”

Below us, inside our trailer, the bull overturns a table, or sofa, or a life, like it’s something meant to be destroyed and punished, as walls collide.

You hold a finger to your lips, and then to mine. 

“Shhh,” you say. “Look at that star,” you say. “Right there. I mean, really, really look at it. I think it sees us back.” 


Friday, October 21, 2022

Wednesday, October 19, 2022




…How’s your Wednesday starting? 

Something tells me this week is going to be a far better than you think. 

I sure hope so.


…Yesterday it was all chalk outside, the air quality index hitting 174, ashy, smoke thick as a cavalry of ghosts. Hard rain is supposedly coming, but I won’t be around to see it. 


…What an obnoxious tease. Amazon sent me two separate emails with the Subject reading: ”We found something you might like!” One was for my book, “This is Why I Need You,” and the other for my book, “I’m Not Supposed to be Here and Neither are You.” 

Yes, I do like them both, very much.

Too bad more people didn’t.


…My office is looking so good. If you could see it, you’d smile. My photo pushpin board is nearly all black-and-white now. Some incredible pics. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.


…I’m heading to NY on Friday. Yay. I love everything about Manhattan. My one regret (well, I actually have plenty) is not living there for a spell.

I’ll be upstate mostly, but still spending time with one of my very closest friends.


…Hopefully the sky will be devoid of ash today. Yesterday it looked like a chalkboard that desperately needed to be scrubbed.

Be safe where you are.


…Speaking of ash/Ashe, there’s this, with Diane Keaton, of all people:


…And a bit more Ashe?:


…I’ll leave you with this/these…


Wynonna Judd, on life and her mother, Naomi Judd


Death is so final, and yet the waves come like an ocean tide, and so do my fears.


I wrote a song the other day with my husband that said, “I’m somewhere between Hell and Hallelujah.” That says it all, about my current state of mind. 


She (my mom) had two wigs on most of the time. Because one isn’t enough when you’re the queen of everything.


She was always so sparkly.


I asked questions; What was she thinking in her final moments? What drove her to say, “I’m done.” She’s a tough son-of-a-bitch. Yet she was done, and she was in too much pain. I don’t know what to do with that.


Even in our dysfunction, we never gave up on each other. There was a way to meet—and it was always music.


In my disagreements with Ashley and Mom, I never gave up loving them, because I knew, behind all that, there was someplace to meet and connect upon.


I can’t quite wrap my head around it, and I don’t know that I ever will—that she left the way she did. That’s how baffling and cunning mental illness is. You have to make peace with the fact that you don’t know. Sometimes there are no answers.


I feel the Lord. I feel joy and I feel sorrow, all at the same time. I feel incredibly angry she left the way she did. 


I’ve been doing therapy for 42 years. Like music, you can never be too good at therapy.


The very thing I’m teaching is what I want to learn. I want people to know there is hope.

Monday, October 17, 2022



Last Dance


Another lost


noose too tight 

around my neck 

I remember when 

we loved each other

how every star 

sang your name

Now we’re thin 

as orchids 

our stalks a 

failed coup as 

we bleed out 

on an empty dancefloor 

that no one 

uses anymore  

Friday, October 14, 2022




thank you


in another time, it’s a pierced glade, the sun breaking over santa monica, jagged chartreuse on every forsaken pylon, palm trees hyper-protective and nearly anorexic, so maybe i’ll see you some morning night or on a rare rainy day when the skies don’t know the truth and have diarrhea spewing spewing like an epileptic hydrant, maybe i’ll reincarnate or maybe you will and i’ll find you on campus, a load of books pressed against your chest, looking curled and exotic like a lost stevie nicks, maybe i’ll see you at a coffee shop, window winking so much glare I won’t know it’s your ghost, or maybe i’ll curl a sprig of your hair while your face blooms all the way across the sex-soaked bedsheets, maybe we’ll swoon spoon waste the whole fucking afternoon, or maybe i’ll look up from the lid of an open coffin and whisper, thank you, you have no idea, none.   

Wednesday, October 12, 2022






We went through the chipper in the backyard where Mother butchered chickens wearing a Nazi grin.

First, it was my older brother, the Felon, age 14.

Then Sis, my ventriloquist twin who made garish AWK! AWK! AWK! crow fight sounds during each of our leather belt-beatings.

Last was me, finger in hand, smiling like the witch as I left home or Hell, blades already staring on my toes. 

Monday, October 10, 2022



…Happy Monday. Happy new week to you. It’ll be a busy one for me.

On Friday I’m teaching the Bending Genres weekend workshop. It’s open to anyone who likes to write and make art, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or seasoned author.

We’ll be taking a deep dive into the subject of loss, how loss is inevitable, how it affects us and those we love. We’ll also look at the other side of loss, how sometimes losing something—weight, addiction, an abusive partner—can be a really great outcome.

We still have spots open if you’re interested, and I’d love to see you there.

Here’s the link:


…Here are some things I like to start the week when it’s so smoky out that it’s hard to think:


"There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." C.G. Jung


“Writing personal songs is uncomfortable. You’ve got to feel confident in it.” Ellie Rowsell, Wolf Alice


“Yes, yes, I know I overexposed today, but the light felt so good on my face that I cried rivers.” Lori Gomez


“Nothing is more real than nothing.” Samuel Beckett


“Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” Kurt Vonnegut


“There is another world, but it is inside this one.” Paul Eluard


"A good artist must also have a streak of insanity in him, if by insanity is meant an exaggerated inability to adapt. The individual who can adapt to this mad world of to-day is either a nobody or a sage. In the one case he is immune to art and in the other he is beyond it." Henry Miller


“And I mean it. I stayed. I stayed. I stayed. If there’s anything I’ve come to understand it’s that I left my body to tell you these things and did not lock the door behind me.” Buddy Wakefield, “Self-Portrait


“I never could’ve imagined when we wrote it that that song would be resurfacing 10 years later or that I’d be about to play it for you tonight. But a song can defy logic or time. A good song transports you to your truest feelings and translates those feelings for you. A good song stays with you even when people or feelings don’t.” Taylor Swift, about her song “All Too Well”


”Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato 


“'I think we're all getting one day older at a time. We're all not sure whether we're going to be here next year or not,'' the 45-year-old quarterback said Thursday ' ''That's the reality for every player, every coach, every parent. You just never know, so we should all take advantage of the opportunity we have in front of us now.'' Tom Brady


“And I mean it. I stayed. I stayed. I stayed. If there’s anything I’ve come to understand it’s that I left my body to tell you these things and did not lock the door behind me.” 

Buddy Wakefield, “Self-Portrait”


“You make your move. You do. You just make it. You don’t second-guess yourself. If you do, you’ll be living in hell for the rest of your life.” A.K. 

Friday, October 7, 2022



One of my favorite stories of yours. Unforgettable.

Len, I agree with Riham. Unforgettable.

This is great, Len

Such good writing, Len,


So wonderful, Len!

Len, this is amazing!

This went to another level, Len.

Len is a master! You place the reader right inside this kid's experience. Masterful writing, as always, Len

Wednesday, October 5, 2022



…Hey Wednesday, don’t look so sad, this week’s going to be amazing. I guarantee it. (My daughter says I can’t guarantee things like this too readily, but, hey, she’s my daughter, and unused to miracles, so I’m going to override her. Just this once.)


…I love GHOST PARACHUTE for so many reasons. Brett, the Editor-in-Chief, has been so, so good to me over the years. 

Having this piece, “The Resiliency of Epidermis,” published by him, is a real highlight for me as a writer, as it’s one of my favorites ever:


…When it rains, it pours, right? 

(That’s also a clever country western song by Luke Combs’, who I love.)

I had this short/odd interview out on the same day as the GP pub,  from Boston Literary Magazine, another magazine that has been so kind to me over the years:


…So, it’s Wednesday and very smoky out still, but let’s make the rest of the week extraordinary. 

What do you think? 

Monday, October 3, 2022



don’t tell my mom 


about the broken nose 

collar bone chipped blouse buttons 

my plumb scarred-chin 

or shattered eye socket 

it’ll all be okay different better 

by monday I swear it will 

he’s never lied to me yet 

my prince savoir champion 

loves me like no other

if you could see him now 

nudging my chin lobes buttocks 

so gingerly and sincere

you’d believe me for once

so please if you love me

I mean really love me

don’t tell my mom because

she’s the only one I lie to