Archive for the ‘Life’ Category


In Life on May 8, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Today’s just one of those days. Sitting under early morning covers, a quiet mess landscaping each corner of my room, remembering. What wonderful memories. How painful and curious and loving and wild.

photo (5)



In Life on March 26, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Well it’s night now. I don’t know if everyone’s carrying beer and bleary-eyed anticipation home on spit-stained streets because it is only Tuesday. Me, I’m in the green room, sniffling. My body has finally succumbed to a bit of ill-ease, and I’m the newest patron of the heretofore ignored tissue boxes of the house. Now we are lovers! Laying in bed, running white sheets to my head.

Ah well. To be sure I want to care for my nose at this time. I want to let her know I will feed her with fresh ginger and cinnamon and the smell of the arms of someone I love just as soon as she is able.

To Be and Not To Be

In Life, Travel on March 13, 2015 at 1:41 pm

I have not been a milkmaid in Denmark. I have not woken before the first rays of sun and skimmed across fields to sleepy, smelly cows, patting their cold noses and leading them to a spot of grass, where in my knee-length cotton dress we commune with a cold metal bucket and dawn.

I have not been an au pair in France, flitting across Parisian streets in rush hour, a Shakespeare and Co. find in one hand and wide-rimmed sunglasses in the other, waving, “A bientôt,” over my shoulder to friends on Vespas.

No, I have not massaged America’s dusty roads by bicycle, a heavy bag and sleeping pack at my back, spandex shorts and a nylon windbreaker my only guard against mountains and valleys and hills and byways, rocky roads by rivers and mom and pop reststops; a three-month time-out to travel the country that continues by birth: my home.

No, home has not been the boy who once carried blankets while I carried pillows, laying them across a broken-into garden teeming with mosquitoes and twilight, holding each other across one night’s hours: thoughts tapped like syrup into words and fitless sleep and nothing more.

I have, however, picked carrots in Cork and watched Irish storms threaten, with hands lashed by nettles in overgrown gooseberry patches, with hot air balloons skimming over an old stone house at dusk.

What’s more, cobbled streets have called me home when I was still young enough to count stone walls as balance beams, kept in the company of moonlight and lonely stars and faded craic, an Atlantic Ocean with but one suggestion for how to spend the rest of my life.

And, I have been a pilgrim on blocked-off Ecuadorian highways, mountains a faint outline at midnight: treetops and overpasses and a moving machine made of thousands of feet.

And, love has looked down at me from the highest branch of an apple tree, love has stroked my hair in a messy room, love caught my eye between a beer-sticky floor and a stage.

And, I have spun air in a six-way marriage, which the rest of the world might call a band, laughing in the face of God or Time or whatever it is we spend our whole lives inside of, but occasionally, at a white walled museum or a dusty bar or a campus auditorium or a cathedral, journey out of and call music.

Over an Old Stone House

When you’re five and you’re sitting in a dark room and you’re holding your mama’s hand across an armrest and there’s a man on a screen that you’ve never seen before and he’s introducing for the first time how not to grow up and you love him

In Life on August 12, 2014 at 1:50 am

Peter Pan just passed away.


On Writing, On Blogs, On Trees, On Life

In Life, Writing on April 11, 2014 at 11:04 am

This is a tree with a bird in it.

Perhaps I never wrote my intentions as a writer, because I needed time to learn what writing meant. How would mine be different? How would it sound? Why would it matter?

I am rather weary of technology. Not the telephone or the tv screen, but anything that came into widespread use after I was ten.

So, I was wary to start a writing blog several years ago, from a computer lab in a rural town in Ecuador, because although I had experiences I wanted to share, in the plethora of travelogues, movie mom reviews, tiny kitchen cook-offs, and celeb hotspots, I couldn’t see how adding one more voice to the din would add anything but din.

And after a few years, I don’t think it has. Maybe my 2.75 readers would argue otherwise, but I can’t say I’ve thrown back my robin’s song to anything but the (illiterate though inviting) light of an early dawn.

Of course I approach philosophical waters here, the deep kind you find at the edge of a beach of white stones. Namely, I’m venturing to ask, as in writing, as in voting, as in thinking, as in living: what does being here, Here, in this room in this building in this world, what does it really matter? If we’ve so many bodies filling another chair, lungs taking another breath, eyes seeing another color that has been seen, is being seen, and will be seen by so so many for so many years gone and going by, why do our selves matter?

Let me tell you:

Let me just pluck one philosophical drop from those waters, one of which we are all already very aware how it wets our skin. But did know what it can do to your tongue?

Open up, I’m going to put a drop on each of you.

“If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear, does it make a sound?”

Does the tree make a sound? The truth is, that doesn’t matter, either. If no one is there to hear it, no one hears it and goes home to tell the tale of the mighty crack. To sit with a baby on their knee and impart to them the reverberating scurry of the mice and rabbits. Books are not written examining the fall from all angles, going back to just as close as the rings will allow, charting graphs and testing minerals to make some meaning of it all. Talk shows don’t run features on local lumberjacks; families don’t gather a little closer around the fire.

If we are not there to tell the story, our absence is the only thing that matters, not the sound. It is the story, not the sound. Because through the story, the sound is heard. It becomes wrapped in many voices making many sounds. That is how it lives.

And since trees are going fall in woods, since winds are going to blow and ants are going to gnaw, fungus is going to grow, and blight is going to strike, since trees are going to fall and everything is going to turn from alright to night, from time to time, we share our voices, when we need to, to understand and to celebrate, because, when we use our voices, even the end is a birthday. Our stories, our writing, our speaking, our sharing, our voices falling on each other when we are there to hear, when we are able, begins new sound, which is new life, is renewed life for us all.


One Degree Day

In Life on February 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm

A one degree day: sky white as baking paper,Image snow drifting from rooftops, muddy mountain ranges on front walks, chimneys reaching, scarves hanging, Imageflannel blankets draping, chicken soup bubbling, mugs of tea cooling. unfinished knitting waiting in old sewn bags on doorknobs.


I am fond

In Life, Milwaukee, Music on February 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm

A little writing composed two summers ago (fittingly wishful-gazing for these February days, although surely the chilly sky outside my window now is as blue as I’ve ever seen it, and the naked tree branches reaching above the rooftops as majestic for their bare bones) – 

I am fond of this little house.

I moved in in December. I brought my guitar, I brought silverware, a bedspread, rugs. I brought books. I brought antique lamps made from brass and marble and fire hydrants. I brought pictures I wasn’t sure how to hang. I brought hopes and fears.

Today is July. I am in a nighttime room with soft green walls that look like mint ice cream, you want to lick them, or new leaves by a pond in England. My tabletop fan swirs as faithfully as a child. There is a painting on the wall above my gaze; I painted it in the 10th grade and called it ‘Hope’. There were a lot of fears moving in, just like the inky blackness surrounding the edges of the painting, but just like the center – a faded patch of light – my fears have also been swirling inward from the eddy of darkest night.

I feel concretely ok that I am not in love. I have a beautiful home that is a nest, that is a nighttime cocoon that wants nothing more from me than to inhabit each room. I want to fill this house with my potential, which is all it ever asked of me, I want to muddy its walls in song, to fling pitch and promise on them like eggs breaking into multicolored yolks. I want to steady its air with words. To match the peace of this room with the promise I carry inside. I want to let this house know that I am ready to be in love with it. I was the darkness on the edge of the painting, and I see now that it is the light.


In Life, Milwaukee, Music on January 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm

ImageThings really rallyingly decent. Playing with my band. Playing solo. Writing songs. Writing for a marketing company. Spending time with a nice boy. Keeping the existential thought junkets at bay by waking up in the morning and eating breakfast and washing dishes. By going swimming and vacuuming the rug and running races with my reading eyes to keep ahead of library fines and generally, in so busily doing, digging enough of a trench in time to keep worry from prying.

First Snow

In Life, Milwaukee on November 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm


And it is the first snow of the year and feels like Josh Ritter’s song, Snow is Gone. A promise now falling from the sky sings: Light mean more! Warmth mean more! Companionship, and Color, the glow from tavern doors! Homes when a key turns, the exodus of birds, words ladled like soup at a hearty table, our seeking now to be not ephemeral but full.


Remaining leaves on trees jitterbug to gusts and gales, extending to my soul a well-practiced hand. The glass has returned half-full, and I am going to need it after this first dance, this glass half full of snow.

What I Did When I Was 25

In Birthday, Life, Travel on February 25, 2013 at 8:21 pm

-Ate Obama-biscuits

Obama Biscuits





-Used the bathroom Mali style

-Helped make a djembe


-Took and enjoyed cold showers

-Shoveled shit

-Wasn’t sick often

-Hugged Ross, Rita, Ryan, Calvin, my family, Kate, Alex, Emily, Olivia, Victoria, Clare, Sil, Denise, Nora, Tom, Eric, Rhys, Liz, Jennifer, Thomas, Rockey, Kendrick, Louisa, Sophie, Cesar, Mary, Chris, Catherine, Garrett, Isaac, Mindy, Pat, Marie, Rebecca, Pauli, Duncan, Rie, Eliza, Michelle, Emily, Sophie, Tyler, Conner, Tara, Darragh, Catriona, Sylvie, Dan, Kari, Yang, Rick

-Visited Mali, Ireland, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Davis, New Orleans, New York, Door County, and Kalamazoo


-Gave up sugar, mostly


-Ate meat


-Listened to my first book on tape


-Climbed a TALL ladder

-Dated a boy I really liked

-Kissed a boy I didn’t really like

-Broke down

-Had my palm read

-Ice skated in Bryant Park at sunset

-Saw David Gray

-Went to two weddings




-Cooked with tomatillos and polenta for the first time

-Baked my first pie


-Was sad in airports

-Had a few amazing days

-Loved my parents

-Kept a daily journal

-Walked down a long pier at sunset with my best friend

-Got drunk

-Hung pictures




-Started a music club


-Played guitar on the porch


-Had abs

-Did laundry

-Was tipped


-Was lovesick

-Listened to records


-Did not really miss Galway

-Faced Anti-Semitism

-Volunteered for a radio station

-Got really hungry for breakfast


-Saudi Arabian boys bought me cake

-Swam in the lake

-Grew mint indoors


-Sang onstage

-Wore makeup

-Felt ugly

-Felt beautiful

-Was unkind

-Was kind

-Sipped my first hot chocolate

-Played with babies


-Lived alone


-Hugged a thug

-Got and gave sandwich kisses