Showing posts from April, 2016

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That time I wanted to pass myself off as Joyce Carol Oates #TBT

I submitted my first piece of writing when I was seventeen, a story about my first job, working at the employee cafeteria at General Telephone where my mother was a dispatcher. Rolling the 20# white bond backed by a sheet of thin blue carbon paper into my Smith Corona, I typed it out slowly, carefully, on a piece of erasable paper—and mailed it off to Cosmopolitan along with a cover letter. Not just to any editor at Cosmo, by the way, I sent it directly to Helen Gurley Brown. 

The piece itself, meant to be comical, was full of clumsy attempts at self-effacing humor.  I strived for a similar tone in the cover letter I addressed to Brown, completely clueless that the high powered editor in chief wasn’t the one reading unsolicited manuscripts. After I signed off I added the following PS. I could have said I was Joyce Carol Oates. What I thought that would accomplish I can’t imagine. That an unsatisfactory submission would get published because of a lame joke? 

No surprise, in the SASE I’d …

Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 28: Sloane Rangers

I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. Here are the days that came before. This is Day 28 and we're still following the Piccadilly Line.

We left off last week after I had to send  Colin Firth packing,  with me on the way the way to Admiral Codrington’s pub with the intention of drowning my sorrows before finishing my day at the Knightsbridge Station. 

Image via Wikipedia/ Creative Commons

I played around with the possibility of stopping at Harrods for a little retail therapy. Harrods is after all, world famous. Almost more renowned than its fashion on over 5 acres of floor space, is Harrod’s one of a kind Food Hall. Nothing like the Ye Olde Food Court down at the local mall, that’s for sure.

Image via
Ah Harrods. You and your fabulous Food H…

Blue on Blue, Heart Ache on Heart Ache

I sit staring at my toes, aware of the incongruity of the turquoise nail enamel on a woman my age. I’m 62, almost 63. What I really want is turquoise blue hair, Katy Perry style. Sitting there in the examination room, bare legs dangling from the paper covered table, the blue toe nails are my concession to propriety, even if they are in desperate need of a retouch. I'm aging, I can't get away from it. I'm too old for aqua colored toe nails, let alone bright blue hair, and too young not to know it.

My doctor doesn't mention my turquoise toes but I can't help but wonder if the shade colors her impression of me.

"So what are we seeing you for today?"  She gives me a glancing smile before turning her attention to the computer screen.

Annoyed that I have to go through the litany of aches and pains and the "I don't know, it's just kind of a nagging pain, right about there, you know?" thing twice, first with the nurse, and then repeating the whole …

Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 27: A Brief Encounter

I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. Here are the days that came before. We're on the Piccadilly Line. This is Day 27

“Nice, isn’t it?” 

I’m standing in front of Andy Warhol’s Boticelli-inspired Venus, currently on view at the V&A in Chelsea. I can't get over the colors, the freshness and graphic arts pow of it.

“Mmm.” I murmur in that way the British have. I don’t know how they’ve managed to make “mmm” into such a multi-purpose word,  meaning “yes” “could be” “oh, right!” or “no, you bloody wanker*!” but they have.

“Fan of Warhol are you? Know much about his work?” 

What I knew about Andy Warhol could be printed on the back of a Campbell’s soup can. 

“Not really.” 

“No, neither do I.” 

The voice, as were the shoes he’s wearing—a pair of pale sandy colored suede dese…

My Mother’s Voice [memoir]

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert.

Today marks six years since her death in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you. My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today. 

My real mother—Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love—was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place. Sounding like a cros…

# 12 Jailbait [memoir]

Originally published Oct 2014:

We were living on Tenth Street in Santa Monica, California when I turned seventeen in 1970, my friend Trixie was visiting from Canada, and boys were on our minds. It's #12 of the On the Street Where I Live stories. I was a 17 year old high school senior, he was a 23 year old Vietnam Vet.

Delaney & Bonnie (and Friends) via Delaney & Bonnie Tumblr

We were sitting on the sand watching the water when they walked by the first time; three long-haired guys who could just as easily be rockers, roadies or bad ass bikers, smiling up at us from the shoreline. The one in the middle - I'd already decided he was mine -  looked like Cat Stevens or the guy from Delaney and Bonnie or really, any of those musicians who had a beard, mustache and dark wavy hair skimming their shoulders. From behind my sunglasses I followed his faded green baggies as they disappeared in the shadows under the pier. Just before they faded to black completely he turned a…