I remember when you said you would never hurt me
When you said you never could hurt me
When you said your love would keep me safe
And then I saw that you would hurt anyone who was in the way of what you wanted
And I knew that I was next
It’s Thanksgiving, around noon, and I’m cleaning my house and listening to NPR.
And Lynn Rosetto Kasper says, “We have Nick on the line from Baltimore.”
And Nick says, “Hi, Lynn. I’m on the road, on my way home to see Mom and Dad.”
And I think, “Oh, Nick…you have no idea how young you are.”
When you came to me last night
Your hair was long and straight
With side-swept bangs
And you were wearing a tube skirt and a halter top.
You’d lost weight
And you looked nineteen.
And I said
“You look so young.
I could never be as beautiful now as you are.
I am so old.”
And you said nothing.
And we sat on my bed in the room we shared
In the house where we grew up
And we didn’t talk—
I just looked at you.
And you seemed distracted, like you had things to do
That didn’t concern me.
Then Dad called from downstairs
And you got up, and you left me there, on the bed,
Remembering that you both are gone.
Today’s Fresh Air featured the second half of a recent interview in which political satirist Stephen Colbert, also an accomplished singer, discussed “musical moments” he finds particularly meaningful. He loves the Herod song from Jesus Christ Superstar, and a mid-seventies demo by Elvis Costello, but the one that caught my attention was a song by the Ben Folds Five called Best Imitation of Myself. Continue reading
When I was laid off last December, I thought I’d never find a job as great as the one I’d just lost—researching and writing for Wall Street. It was the job that saved me from being a lawyer, and after six years away, I knew I didn’t want to go back to practicing law; I wanted to write for a living.
So I joined every LinkedIn group I could find with the words writer or editor in the name, signed up for hiring alerts about writing and editing jobs, even offered my editing services for no compensation but the credit. And because I’d heard about (though I hadn’t seen or read) The Secret, I began to visualize myself—and even to refer to myself—as a writer. Continue reading
It’s the second day of the third week of my new job, and it’s difficult for me to fathom how completely employed I’ve become. I’m launching my third report with a 7 AM call to China, and over the next two weeks I’ll have eight reports in the field, four of which I’m responsible for researching and writing, six of which I’m editing. I’m working 10-to 11-hour days and since I work at home when I shut down for the day it’s literal: I shut down my laptop, feed the dogs, eat dinner, go to bed.
I have other commitments that are important to me as well, and they’re not being met. The podcasts need to be scheduled, the vampire novel is still in edits, my dogs need to go to the vet. I’m supposed to leave town next Friday for a class reunion but I don’t see how I can possibly take a day off.
I got up this morning at 4, not because I had to but because I couldn’t breathe, the weight of my schedule and the claustrophobia of waking up in my office shoving me into a day I was not ready to begin. This is unsustainable; this constant state of panic is unproductive and will make me sick. I need a time management plan, a support system, yoga, maybe…or maybe just a friend.
“We’re all strangers. Remember that and be kind to one another.”
That’s how Garrison Keillor ended The News from Lake Woebegone on today’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and it reminded me of a line from the late Dixie Carter‘s character Julia Sugarbaker on “Designing Women.” I have no memory of the episode—except that a couple of the title characters were rude to a woman they felt had slighted them, then felt bad when they discovered she was going through a personal tragedy—but I’ve always remembered the line: “We never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. That’s why it’s so important to be careful with each other’s feelings.” Continue reading
When Rachel and I were first hanging out together—trying to reimagine ourselves in our ravaged city—we coined a phrase to describe the crushing depression we both experienced at times on awakening, the dread that sat on our chests proclaiming its dominance over our day before we’d even opened our eyes. We called it “feeling Eli.” Continue reading