Rad Romance: 5 Things That Happen Because I Have The Same Boyfriend at 46 That I Did At 17.

In high school, I was friends with a boy who was handsome, kind, strong, and the most intelligent person I ever knew. Reader, I married him. There are some interesting truths about having the same boyfriend since the eighties. 1. There is a written record of our relationship. On paper. Our romance began in 1987 before cell phones and texting were invented. In fact, though we went to the same high school, Jim lived far enough away that our calls were billed as long distance. There were a few years there when he lived in the mountains and I lived…

Stranger Things and Honor Among Women

If you have not yet seen Stranger Things, stop reading right now. I’m about to spoil everything. I loved Stranger Things so much I watched the whole thing in one enraptured ten hour moment. Then I watched it again last week with my twelve-year-old daughter because I wanted to share it with her. There’s an awesome girl in it, I said. She saves the day, I said. I still love the show. The acting, the winks to the eighties, the music, Winona, those gorgeous children, the idiot Steve Harrington’s hairdo. What’s not to love? Well, there is no honor between…

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…

Call Me Helicopter Parent One More Time

My husband and I make our daughters’ education a high priority, and we have always insisted they do their best. We get to know the parents of our daughters’ friends and drive them to their play dates. (Do you hear the whirring of the blades yet?) When my kids have been right, I’ve taken their sides, even against adults. When one elementary school wasn’t working for my youngest, we found another that was a better fit. I prepare separate meals according to my children’s taste preferences and cut off the crusts of the sandwiches I make for lunches. (I know you want to call me Helicopter…

Change the Story

We tell ourselves limiting stories that contain no truth. What follows is a pictorial example of exactly what I am talking about. Inner story at the time: “I’m fat. I mean, really, really fat. I have to stop eating for a year or no one will ever love me. The reason why I am alone and a loser is because I am fat and ugly.” Dang, this was Halloween 1988 (hence the glorious fake tattoo). I was eighteen years old, and so careful about my diet and exercise. I was a swimmer and a dancer. I was a sophomore at UC Santa…

Read Books

At an interview today, a lovely journalist asked me if I read all the time. Answer: I do. I read every day. But reading isn’t a chore. This isn’t a blog for Puritans, despite the writer’s distaste for fun and compliments. When I was a kid, I loved the library. I spent hours there. I came home with piles of books. I read them with great pleasure. I love the library in the same way now, except that I can order books ahead of time and find them waiting for me there with my name tag attached. That’s like Christmas…

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…

Just Say Thank You

This was me when Sue, the wonderful organizer of Sacramento Stories on Stage, first asked me to send her my work for consideration: “Oh, no.  Are you sure you really want it? I’m not that good.” My friend Valerie grabbed my arm. “When someone asks to see your work, always just say thank you.” Thanks, friend. I needed that. My first reaction to a compliment, a gift, a favor, or an offer, is some kind of waffle-mouthed “Oh no, surely you don’t mean it, I don’t want to be a bother, I couldn’t possibly accept.” Reader, it’s bullshit. I never…

Be Generous

2016 is going great so far. Amazing great. For example, this month a friend gifted me with a two-day writing workshop with the author of the truly excellent short story collection Refund, National Book Award Finalist Karen E. Bender. I am an enthusiastic fan of Ms. Bender’s work and vision, and I was going to have the chance to work with her in a small group format. In the two-day workshop, we listened to Karen Bender’s wisdom about the craft of writing fiction. All of the participants read one another’s work and came prepared with notes on each story. Everyone got a turn for…