Monday, October 29, 2012

A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall

     8:45 a.m. on Monday. Got my dogs out in the yard before the rain started. Just about everything that's usually outside our house has been moved into either the house or the garage.  We have flashlights, water, batteries, a kerosene camping stove, a cooler full of ice and food.  We'll be fine here.  I'm still worried about the hurricane, but mostly I'm worried for people who don't have the resources to prepare for it.
     Which is why I'm so much more worried about the election than about the storm.  There are so many people in this country who don't have the resources to withstand a Romney presidency, and some of them will be voting for Romney, because they believe that they themselves will always be the Us, and never the Them.  But they and their families are only one catastrophic illness or injury away from being the Them.  Listen!  Listen, you Red State Republicans, who think that the rich can keep on getting richer and more insular, and the poor can keep on getting poorer and more marginalized, and that there will never be  devastating consequences for every one of us.  Do not send to know for whom the bell tolls; IT TOLLS FOR THEE.
     For all his weaknesses, Obama understands that none of us is an island unto himself.  For all his veneer of humankindness, Romney does not understand this.  Poverty and suffering for the Them are not simply part of God's plan, any more than pregnancies resulting from rapes are.  This country cannot afford four years of letting Mitt Romney turn the Supreme Court into a corporate Board of Directors.  It cannot afford the repeal of the baby step toward equality represented by the Affordable Care Act.  It cannot afford the births of hundreds of thousands of unwanted children that would result from a repeal of the legalization of abortion.  Rich, poor, or among the vast numbers of the in-between, none of us can afford Mitt Romney.

Monday, October 22, 2012


     Yes, A.S. King Airline's "Ask the Passengers" flight is scheduled to launch tomorrow, and it's time to get on board.  This book has generated a lot of buzz in recent weeks, and it deserves all of it.  A.S. King was gracious enough to answer my interview questions about ATP last month, and here is the link.  But today she blogged about the book so much more eloquently than I ever could, so here is that link too.  Her message is deeply simple: love is love.  And I will quote Janis Joplin, who is the only person I ever heard sing "Get It While You Can," so to my mind, she owns that song, even if someone else wrote it.

     In this world - If you read the papers, darlin' -
     Everybody's fighting - oh! - with each other,
     And there's no one you can count on,
     Not even your own brother.
     So if anybody should come along
     Wants to give you his love and affection,
     I say: get it while you can. Get it while you can.
     Don't you turn your back on love.

     Astrid Jones in "Ask the Passengers," out of all the options available to her, chooses love, and I think you will find it impossible not to love her in return. I know I did.  Do yourself a favor and get to know her too.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Weekend Plans

Friday: Go to bed around 8ish

Saturday: Get up around 4ish. Tiptoe around getting dressed.
                Drive into NY and park car near the pier at W 44th Street.
                Drop gear at gear truck, fill water bottles, eat some breakfast, attend Avon Walk opening
                      ceremony while refusing to woohoo.
                Walk. Stop at rest stops along the way to pee a lot. Stop for lunch. Keep walking. Maybe    
                      talk to some other walkers. Maybe not. Look around. Do a lot of mental writing.
                26.2 miles later, arrive at Wellness Village. Collect gear from gear truck. Set up tent, if Boy/Girl
                    Scouts have not already done so for me. Set up sleeping bag.
                Take shower in shower truck.  AAAAAHHHHH
                Take yoga class if not too crowded.
                Eat dinner.
                Wrap self in about 40 layers of clothes, crawl into tent, fall asleep instantly.

Sunday:    Get up 6ish. Get dressed, disassemble tent, drop it and gear off at trucks.
                Eat breakfast.
                Start walking again, VERY slowly.
                13.1 miles later, return to yesterday's starting point.
                Probably do not wait around for closing ceremony. Get my t-shirt. Collect my gear. Walk
                       to parking lot, retrieve car. Drive home.

     If I sound less than excited, it's because this is my tenth year doing this, the routine doesn't change, and I'm just a teeny, tiny bit bored with it.  I'm fine with the six months of fundraising and training walks, but the Grand Event ...  I mean, when all is said and done, walking is just walking, you know?  I'm proud to have raised about $20,000 for breast cancer research and prevention over the past ten years.  I just think that I might be ready for a year off in 2013.
     Have a great weekend yourself. And if you don't have to, don't get up at 4:00.

Sunday, October 14, 2012



 My mom will be turning 90 on December 3rd.  (In case you're wondering about the photo: she's the one on the left.)  My husband and I have been talking about throwing her a small party to celebrate.  She's become such a mild, pleasant, more-or-less rational woman in her old age.  Growing up with her in her full crazy-woman mode, I would never have recognized her in her current incarnation.  She's been on my mind recently, and so has my dad.
     My father was such a silent man, felled early by bouts of severe depression.  He died a few months before he would have turned 60, but he just gave up a long time before that.  To me, for many years, he had been an absent presence.  I thought I'd share here a poem I wrote about him years ago, one Yom Kippur when I was trying to summon up his elusive memory.

Defiant as always, today I appeared you -
Dishonored your artistry; conjured you back,
Bringing to naught sixty years spent rehearsing
Your ultimate, masterful vanishing act.

But I wasn't prepared for this thunderous silence,
Nor for slow-motion closeup of you, all too real.
Without masking music - theatrical distance -
Without props or costumes, the tape could reveal
The point at which magic outstripped the magician,
Taking flirtation with absence as dare.
For the first time I witnessed your body dissolving,
Instantly pulverized by the violent air.

You were ground into dust, sifting down in the sunlight.
There was time just to capture your look of surprise
As illusion caught up to you - seized you in passing -
Dragged you to places beyond your surmise ...

Daddy, watching you through camera's eye,
I could not rush onstage to say goodbye.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


     It all started so innocently.  Perhaps three months ago, I was lamenting my lack of social media skills to Yvonne Ventresca, and she suggested that I try Twitter. "Come on," I think were her exact words.  "Just take one hit. You'll like it.  Everybody's doing it."  So I did.  I started very slowly, just following a few harmless sites.  NASA.  National Geographic.  It was fun.  Cool pictures.  "Where's the harm in this?," I asked myself.  Nowhere, as far as I could see.
     I don't remember when it was that I realized that I could follow actual people.  Actual writers, agents, editors.  I could learn about their daily lives: their home improvement projects, their children's bedtime rituals, their eating habits, their reading habits.  I could even, if I ever got up the nerve, tweet AT them.  But if I never got up the nerve, I could still pretend to myself that I knew them.  How weird.  How wonderful. Before I knew it, Twitter became my first stop every time I turned on my computer.  But I could still handle it, I told myself.  I could quit any time I wanted.
     But then.  Then I realized that there are Twitter sites that exist for the sole purpose of making snarky comments about politics.  And that, friends, is when I stopped being able to control my Twitter habit, and it began to control me.  I never thought I had an addictive personality.  Drugs, alcohol - meh.  But 24/7 access to snarky comments about politics?  I'll admit it, but only to you.  I'm hooked.  And I've even started tweeting my own s.c.a.p., in order to support my habit.
     I'm still functioning, more or less.  I hold down a responsible job at which I only allow myself to check Twitter once a day.  I pay my bills, buy my groceries, argue with my daughter - the essentials.  But there are times when I'm on Twitter when I know I should be doing other things - like, ahem, writing a BOOK - and I anxiously ask myself: where will it all end?
     Maybe it's too late for me, but it might not be for you.  If you've managed to resist Twitter so far, take my advice.  Don't start.  Think of me, and JUST SAY NO.