This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Harbringer


What can you tell me about the mockingbird? It’s 3am, and I need to know more about this creature. For three nights it has interrupted my dreams with its emphatic singing. What kind of bird is loudest at night? What happened to dawn, my mockingbird?

The first night’s song consisted of city noises: sirens, jackhammers, the sound of a ball peen striking a chisel, car alarms, audible crosswalks for the visually impaired. It was so loud that I gave up on our bed and spent the night in the study, which has double-paned windows to shut out the noise. On the couch I slept poorly, and I spent the next day running from the printer’s to the library and then back home again trying to finish my endless school projects. It was sweltering outside and the ice caps were melting. The cat litter needed changing. Around our kitchen compost, the fruit flies swarmed. I wanted a shower, but I didn’t have time for it. Dinner was a bag of popcorn and a stale piece of cheese. I stayed up late rewriting a paper, then I fell into bed. My eyeballs hurt.

Last night we slept with the windows wide open: at last, a cool fog had settled in to temper the heat. This time, thank God, the mockingbird’s song mimicked seagulls and terns, loons and sandpipers, and something that might be a bird of prey.   

I recently read in a bird book that when the mockingbird finds his mate, he stops singing at night. The semester has almost come to an end. Lately, I’ve been getting into arguments.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What to Expect

The real miscarriage is what the books don’t tell you. And you won’t hear it when you’re on a table staring at your ultrasound, no modesty regarding what-all’s hanging out the front of your paper shirt, which you're wearing backwards anyway.

But then again, maybe it will be different for you. Maybe it’s different for each woman.

What could happen is, your doctor will frown and explain what’s not there. She’ll describe how disappointed you must feel, which you are. She’ll tell you it wasn’t your fault, then she’ll go on to describe things you are not feeling at all. She’ll say, expect cramping and a “big bleed." She’ll know this great social worker & she’ll write down a phone number. She’ll see that you’re taking antidepressants and wonder if you’ve thought about hurting yourself.

Which you wouldn’t. God, no. You’re just sad in your own way. Like anyone with a heart would be sad.

Here’s what to expect: Imagine your uterus squashed like a Hyundai in a trash compactor. You'll realize you’re rocking with pain, you’re panting as though you’re giving birth. You are now being tortured for what they pinned on Eve. Well, fasten your seatbelt, because it's possible that when the pain subsides and you've had some sleep, the compactor will start up again. You'll contort yourself into all kinds of shapes, trying to find a place where you can stay as brave as you know you are. When it hurts this much, why in the hell would you want to hurt yourself?

Here’s my advice, when it starts: take a few days off. Wear dark-colored sweatpants and long shirts. Stock up on maxi pads the size of bricks. Be nice to yourself. Stay inside. Don’t be afraid. This is finite. I promise, this will be over, eventually, though maybe not soon enough.

Do call a friend. Because maybe she’s been through it. One in five of us have. Three in four if you’re older than 40 (or so says my doctor). The world will understand, so don't be ashamed to say it. Be as private as you need to be. If someone offers you pot, it's okay to accept it.

Remember that this child is still your child, and it always will be. Love wakened in you, and now you are blessed.

When it’s over, plant a tree.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Life Less Interesting


This year, I made a huge and perhaps irrevocable decision to study medicine. I did this because for too long I've felt that my identity has been up for grabs, so now, for the first time in my life, I mean to choose something, and to pursue it, and to stop acting as though my identity is so precious and fragile and unique that I can't just decide on some path and then follow it.

It hasn't been easy. Now that I am studying math and anatomy and physiology and chemistry, subjects that interest me mostly to the extent I'm able to master them, I don't have the means to pursue spiritual discovery, make art, travel, or read stories and novels. And while I know that I will never truly lose my desire to follow such pursuits, I worry that such pursuits will atrophy in me.

I am sitting in a cafe right now, where I will study for my math exam. I will review formulas, and the definitions of real numbers, and the rules of factorization - all the stuff that back in high school I remembered for as long as it took me to complete my homework assignments and then promptly forgot, usually right before the exam. I just wasn't interested in math and science.

Which is very shortsighted of me, because I figure that when and if I get the chance to practice medicine, all those numbers and chemical reactions and action potentials will be in the background of my mind as I consider the person who's right there in front of me, trying to express how they are sick, and my job will be to discover why.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blech

Just, blech. And yet, it's a beautiful day. It's time to make some changes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This Week

Kindergarten, grade school, junior high, high school. Beneath desks, between tables, curled up on the bus. Center front in school portraits, center forward in soccer, fastest sprinter in the game but too often mowed down.

This week, though I'm much more substantial, I find that I speak too quietly, and too infrequently. Just this week, I lost four pounds.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Boss

She didn't liked to be bossed, and that was why she was extra-careful not to boss. Which sometimes led to trouble because though she would never say what she wanted, she would try to get it nevertheless through a kind of sign language, through telepathy. And when she did not get it, she grew to be perfectly contented with what she was getting, which, without having been properly articulated, was much less than what she would have wanted, ideally, at least from the perspective of someone practiced at bossing. So she lived on an entirely different plane than those she thought of as "bosses" -- that is, everyone else in the world -- and while she was satisfied within the confines of that plane, she knew, just as they knew, that her world was not their world, but something lesser. Yet not having a means to compare and contrast, she felt she had reached a kind of apex by simply not bossing others. So when someone came along and asked her to be the boss of herself, when he told her that this shift was necessary in order for him to live with her, she couldn't decide whether he was doing her a great big favor, or whether he was just bossing her around.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Slap, by Christopher Tsiolkas

The Slap


Chirstopher Tsiolkas'sThe Slap just gets better and better until the final pages, which are fantastic! So often I quit reading novels when I get to the ending, because so many books with promising openings lose their momentum about halfway through.

The Slap is worth reading for its simple premise (a man slaps a kid who is not his own at a suburban picnic), and it's structure - it's told from the povs of 8 characters, in 8 sections, and each character's life reverberates with the lingering sting of the slap as marriages, friendships, and partnerships are tested and reevaluated. Each character in The Slap manages to be grippingly interesting, perhaps because each has something they've been hiding, and each must decide what to do with that secret. And there are so many sparkling sentences!

The book takes place in Melbourne, Australia, which resembles Zadie Smith's London in that people of many cultural backgrounds and types now coexist, almost comfortably (but not quite), and as a result, existence is dynamic. Which resembles our world, really.

The most interesting theme in this book is that profound change and growth happen when one has the opportunity to go in a brand-new direction and then, after carefully weighing the options, chooses instead to stick with the life that they already have, a life that, for all its seeming predictability and mundanity and flaws, is nevertheless remarkable.

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