Mansplaining and Me

Let’s get this off the table right now: Not all men and not all explanations from men. Some of my best friends are men; men with information, men whose explanations are helpful, entertaining, and wise. But this is a post about mansplaining nonetheless. My twelve-year-old daughter and I had a long talk today in the car about old men explaining things to us. She and I share an extremely low tolerance for mansplaining behavior, yet we love talking about it. It’s like passing a terrible roadkill. It’s awful. But damn. Too awful not to look. A few examples of times I…

To You Who Are Doing Rejection Wrong

I’ve been rejected more than you. I don’t know, maybe I haven’t. But I’d be willing to bet I have and I hate gambling. I’ve been a writer knocking on the door of the publishing game for nineteen years, nine books, dozens of short stories, articles, and poems. My failure to success ratio is about one hundred to one and that’s all I’m going to say about that.  The only reason I’m mentioning my rejection rate now is because my long history of hearing “no thank you, not at this time” gives me authority to say to you this: You are doing…

Write Letters On Paper

My friend Laura and I have been exchanging handwritten letters for twenty-eight years. The first is from the summer of 1988. I still have it. The last was from over a week ago. I read it and reread it. My friend Laura is an excellent artist and writer. She is a storyteller like no one else I know. When email started being a thing I was afraid our letters would stop. She lives in L.A., I live in Northern California. Email was so easy. We can’t write too many emails, I warned her.  I shouldn’t have worried. Now we message…

Just Say I Know

The best answer to a compliment is sometimes, “I know.” Compliments and praise cause a shift in power between two people. “I know” takes it back. My daughter often gets remarks about her eyes from adults she doesn’t know. These compliments force her to have to interact with people she would not naturally even notice. The polite thing is to say “thank you”, which she does. The adult just saw a pretty child, wanted to interact, and did in a way that he or she thought would make my daughter happy. It doesn’t make her happy. It interrupts her. It…

Just Say You’re Welcome

If I go through calisthenics to avoid a straight Thank You, you should see what I’ll do when someone tries to thank me for something. Pish. No, it was no trouble. Please don’t thank me. It was my honor. It was nothing. Okay, so the other day my friend Valerie tried to thank me for taking over some driving duties for the writing workshop. I am a grown woman, but this was my response: “Pish,” I said. “Pish, pish.” Pish isn’t even a word for grown-ups. I know this but I said it anyway. Valerie got a look in her eye that…