I'd been seized by an attack of the hiccups. First on the scene was my husband, brandishing a rubber band, to hold back my hair while I drank a glass of water upside down. (This took several tries, but no matter.) What a guy.



Pulling into the driveway, MJ sideswipes a snowbank. From the back seat:



Rinse. Repeat.

Back to the novel.

I was in it. I was doing it. And, once again, the terror and the silence and the solitude became too much.

Mistakes! Imperfection! Failures of understanding! And technique!

Agh! Run away!

I need to learn to tolerate these things long enough to fix them.

A friend of mine calls her agent when this happens, and he says, "Take a Valium and keep going."


Bye, Ellen

It wasn't so much that she was the life of the party (though she was) but that, when you were with her, life was the party.


RIP, Ellen Tinsman, writer, editor, activist, friend.



Maybe it's the weather. My imagination froze over this week.

After hours of sitting around, considering the problem -- try a new antidepressant? not enough sunshine? too much reading? too little? the wrong sort? -- I laced up my skates and slid onto the pond.

Meaning: I set the kitchen timer for 45 minutes. I sat down before my work. I told myself:

Yes, you suck, but you will write anyway, in and through and with your insufficiency, your failures of will, your dissatisfaction, your wish for cheap succor, for cigarettes and scotch.

Immediately, I was interrupted. I growled and put on my noise-canceling earphones. I pushed on.

And then I was in it. And I was doing it. And the terror and the silence and the solitude became too much and I went over to Facebook and tortured myself in the various ways that one can torture oneself on social networking sites. (Don't ask, okay? Just don't ask.)

I hate and fear this novel.

This is a good sign.

I'm getting more coffee. I'm gonna reset the timer. I'm going back in.


Bye, Clio

My friend and former classmate Clio Chafee is gone.

RIP, Inger Christensen

She was 73.

early fall exists; aftertaste, afterthought;
seclusion and angels exist;
widows and elk exist; every
detail exists; memory, memory's light;
afterglow exists; oaks, elms,
junipers, sameness, loneliness exist;
eider ducks, spiders, and vinegar
exist, and the future, the future

-- from Alphabet