1998: On my own at UMass Amherst for the summer, I make friends with a hippie gentleman in his late 50’s (a jazz violinist) who informs that he has an open marriage. I am 17 at the time, and he tells me that I’m quite a musician, adorable, and wise beyond my years and would have a relationship with me if only I were a year older. » Read more
Having safe sex with women can be pretty tricky. Oh, the condom! Why must you be so inapplicable to my efforts to sex up the ladies? Or one lady in particular. Don’t get me wrong; I am well aware of the dental dam, but still I worry. It seems patently unfair to have been born with both a penchant for oral sex and a germaphobia that borders on neurosis. » Read more
I took a short nap this afternoon during a break from work and had a dream that I was playing the piano, a piece in a minor key with lots of arpeggios and heavy on the pedal. Some of the notes were not sounding. It occurred to me as I played that they were being randomly censored. » Read more
Silence disturbs me. I grew up attached to the hip of a mother who chattered incessantly. Mostly to me, sometimes to herself, often into the phone. Dishing out the gossip while stirring a big pot of spaghetti sauce, thick links of sausage bobbing beneath the surface. When she was silent, she was sullen, moody, brooding – » Read more
When I was in the first grade, my teacher had a poster on the wall of our classroom she had made titled “King of the Mountain.” She wrote our names on little pieces of paper and placed them on this poster to illustrate our position in relationship to each other academically within the class. My thought is that this was supposed to act as some form of motivation for us to strive to reach the peak ourselves and that competition would motivate us to achieve more. » Read more
Just about everyone else in my family is Catholic (except for a few crazy uncles we were never allowed to associate with except for at large family gatherings). Many women in my family love angels. My mother is especially fond of them. She remarked on many occasions that it was a bizarre coincidence that I was born a week after my great grandmother died. » Read more
1988: My grandmother woke us in the middle of the night. I saw her standing there in the hallway in her velvet bathrobe looking quite the grande dame and knew instantly. My brother and I leapt from our beds and jumped up and down like little howler monkeys. Our parents were home!
They’d only been gone for two days on a trip to Portland, » Read more
I’m the hyper, nauseatingly precocious kid in all the snaps, wearing an evening gown at the breakfast table, correcting my mother’s grammar in a Grover t-shirt. A good Catholic girl who still idolizes her father because he works 70 hours a week and never says anything to her.
Those are the years before I understand loneliness as more than an abstraction, » Read more