Free advice.

February 24, 2011 § 16 Comments



"Mama said, mama said..." The Shirelles


My mama said:

“Never say Damn, or take the lord’s name in vain.  Never say fart or butt or shut up.” 

My mother was both a lady and an ardent believer in the force of words.  It may seem she was forbidding two separate behaviors: being profane and being vulgar, but both edicts were calls to civility.  First, be polite to God.  The lord you worship on Sunday should not become the curse you use the rest of the week.  Second, be polite to those around you.  Vulgarity cheapens the whole enterprise of being alive.  If you don’t think that’s true take a look at the vulgarity piped into your home by the media.  Elevating, right?

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The way I remember it.

February 17, 2011 § 11 Comments

My sister, Claudia, had never heard me do my stand-up-author routine when I got an invitation to speak in the Bronx.  I spent the night with her family in Manhattan and she and I set out.

I hadn’t been given much information about the event, but when we got to the gymnasium where I was to speak I learned my audience was a gathering of Special Ed students, great kids to work with but noisy and exuberant, and this group was huge, the gym an echo chamber.

Standing on the grey linoleum in front of a mike, the cord snaking back between my feet, I started out with the real-life story I’d adapted to create the pivotal moment in my book “Crossing Jordan.”

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Sometimes in the night…

February 10, 2011 § 11 Comments

My ability to go from deep sleep to fully awake without transition is an artifact of waking many times a night when my baby cried, or even stirred.  A new mother, I erred on the side of caution, sure it was my watchfulness that kept her safe.

My daughter is long grown but I still go, from deep sleep to wide awake in the time it takes to open my eyes.

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Walking on the ceiling.

February 4, 2011 § 16 Comments

The non-conformist in a world of all-the-same.

Sometimes I write these posts and wonder, am I the only person who thinks this way?

Like now.

This is a post about metaphors.

You know, the alchemy of turning one thing into another, like that old trick of lead-into-gold that was such a hot human pursuit for a while.

But this post is not about the metaphors I employ as a fiction writer.  This is a post about the metaphors that appear unbidden; metaphors that explain and even shape my life.

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