No More Bullets

It’s already another bad summer. If you live in my area and watch the news, you may know the story of two young men shot while driving and riding in a car. You may have seen that the passenger died. You may have seen the dead man’s father, eyes glassy with grief, looking into the camera and saying that no father should have to feel this. No father ever. There was a candlelight vigil the day after the shooting where I stood on the sidewalk in front of the house where the man died. The last thing I said to…

The Day I Died

The person I was at 5:03 p.m. on Tuesday October 17, 1989 was not the same person at 5:05. That 5:03 girl was insecure, self-absorbed, and sad. She looked to others for validation and approval. She hated being alone but found making friends impossible. I guess you could say she died in the Loma Prieta earthquake, and that was in many ways a mercy. (5:03 girl did have magnificent hair, though): The only good thing about the day of  October 17, 1989 was that my long, lonely work hours at the Santa Cruz Ace Hardware downtown were broken up by making keys for…

What I Was Thinking When I Wrote The Ghost Daughter

A few years ago I stood in the check out line at the grocery story, Casey Anthony staring at me from the cover of the People magazine. I don’t follow crime stories usually, but this one followed me. I couldn’t help it. I was fascinated.  A young woman claimed her little kid went missing a full month after anyone had seen her. The authorities found the thoroughly decomposed body of the child months later in a pile of duct tape. The prosecution was inadequate to the task of conviction and the judge let her go. Everyone thinks she did it. But…

Fire the Introject

The introject, as I understand the term, is the critical, disparaging voice we hear inside our heads after being criticized and disparaged over a period of time by others. That is, if there were people in my life who hurt me, I continue their abuse on myself long after the relationships with those people are over or minimized. I’ve done some serious inner work this past year over firing my introject. It hasn’t been easy. This isn’t about going to the sink and getting a glass of water and feeling better. This is about taking an honest look at the…

5 Brief Book Reviews

The Infinite Tides by Christian Kiefer The Infinite Tides is a story about a grieving astronaut that is relentless in its integrity. I always appreciate the rare author who can plumb great emotional depths without a hint of sentimentality or a single false note. I read this novel as instructive in craft, as well as a meditative study of grief and mid-life spiritual growth. Indeed, there is a complex spiritual truth woven throughout this narrative about nothing less than what human beings are essentially for. The Infinite Tides is impeccably and beautifully written. This is painfully honest work about grief, manhood, relationship,…

A Great Yes: Brackish Vol. 2

I sat on a shiny orange bedspread in one of the cheapest motels in Santa Cruz and sent a poetry submission to the publisher and editor whose opinion I cared about most in the world.  This wasn’t a piece sent with the armored professionalism  of most of my literary submissions. This was a flinging of my work at the feet of someone I deeply admired, and who just happened to be sitting on an identical faux-Southwestern style bedspread in the room on the other side of the wall. Evan Hartzell is a Los Angeles-based artist and musician who publishes the art and literary…

Why I Love Mother’s Day

My parents didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day either. Hallmark holidays, they scoffed when I brought home construction paper cards and tissue paper flowers from school. They were good parents with no patience for false sentiment. My husband is the youngest of seven children in a family that did celebrate Mother’s Day. It would make him happy, he said, if we did too. I draw upon my late mother-in-law for inspiration on how to behave on the occasion. We visited her house on the second Sunday in May in the last years of her life, sharing potluck suppers with our enormous family. When I sat…