Friday, March 25, 2011


I quote Don Paterson at length: "Sleeping with your own muse is an unpardonable breach of literary protocol. But to sleep with a friend's, and tell him about it, is to do him the greatest favor as an artist. I would think."
This aphorism is an origami crane made from the revelatory page of a psychological thriller. Everything you need is there. Except the superstructure of realia to convince the reader of the plot actually occurring in a specific time and place. I love that excision. Millions do not.

I am a cultural abstainer. I am outside every culture I visit, even the one I was born in. But I feel at home everywhere.

If men do not like my brain, I do not have sufficiently alluring physical attributes to make them look twice. At twenty, this felt criminally unfair. At my present age, it's finally begun to seem like money in the bank.

Everything I write is both true and unbelievable, has happened and sounds implausible.

Visited my son's high school and relived that niche horror: being saddled at fifteen with the thighs of forty-two.

I chatter on about my introversion. I brood about how no one listens to me. Who came up with this fiction that our character is fixed?

Saturday, March 12, 2011


She could not believe they believed this stuff.

When you feel your way along through life, there's so much you don't see coming.

It's not your job to understand me. It's not my job to understand you. It's your job to understand yourself and explain it to me.

I remember my infant outrage at age four when a man at our church told his little girl, "Wink at the nice girl, Sarah," and she blinked at me. "Good job," he said. I was appalled that he let his own daughter remain in ignorance for even one moment longer about the distinction between those two words.

Does the world need even one more aphorism? he said. I don't need Lydia Davis, she said, but I'm still glad she's there.

Each aphorism pops fully formed into my mind; then it gets tossed surreptitiously into the trench outside myself (which is where all of you are) and then, like a hand grenade, it either explodes immediately, or goes rolling along the duck boards barely noticed. Huh, will you look at that? I never know which it's going to do either.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

May as Well Out With It

She encouraged me to do crossword puzzles. Keeps the mind active and exercised, she said, wards off Alzheimer's. Sorry, I thought, I'm too busy wondering how and why she believed I required that exercise. I was halfway to furious when I remembered that all advice tendered to others is meant for some younger version of the self. Herself.

The writer in me is perfectly aware of how in the interstices between these aphorisms conclusions will be drawn about the writer, her relationship to her husband (she's married? Who'd marry her? Good question.) her mother, her so-called friends you the reader are oh-so-happy not to have to count yourself among. But I have found to my infinite regret that it matters very little what I say. Those conclusions are erroneously drawn anyway. So I may as well out with it.

I was born in a Catholic family. For some people that fact alone explains their whole history. It does not explain mine.

The exploder of truisms does a job most people don't want done and the few who do don't need someone else to do it for them. So applications are never accepted.

Her husband said: Aphorism and euphemism don't mix.

This is my brain on language. Drug of choice: English.