Monday, January 19, 2015


The good thing -OK, one of a cornucopia of good things- about your child's nap is that it re-sensitizes you to the value of the pause.

Which is a plus, because we haven't really done well by the pause lately, we humans.  Yes, we have an unprecedented ability to bend life to our timetable- we can hit the pause button on our streaming TV, or whatever it is we've DVRed. But what do we use our "pauses" for?  Usually to check our phones or otherwise busify ourselves.  And we're increasingly intolerant of the enforced pauses- the train delays, the long lines, or, God forbid, the buffering.

The nap is a gift. It, too, can become a race to accomplish ALL THE THINGS- or at least ALL THE THINGS that are better done without a twenty-pound, inept miniature human hanging off of you. 

But it can also be a pause in the truest sense of that word- a brief hitch in forward momentum, when all you can do is stare at the wall and think-


Saturday, January 17, 2015


It's come around again-  that familiar morass of self-loathing and self-betterment I cal January.  I halfway enjoy it, as I halfway enjoy most things that demand I gaze critically at my own navel (taxes!  insurance forms!  to-do lists! oh my!).

The truth is, January is the only month during which we self-flagellators catch a break.  For a brief span of thirty-one days, we're not longer pessimists or self-saboteurs or Debbie downers. We're warriors!

Accordingly, here are my two January resolutions.  I'm on day two!   Did I mention the evils of procrastination?

1) Write (for fun, not for pay) every day, but only after I've finished writing for pay and thus don't have much energy or time or brain space.  And in any case the ability to generate my own topics has atrophied now that someone else is generating my headlines, so my list of future writing topics looks like this:  Why I'm not writing.  Cats.

2) Embark on a hideously ill-advised 30-day fitness challenge bearing the embarrassing moniker of "the hook" (am I a suburban gangster?) and consisting of a series unending (fifteen-minute) video interval workouts led by a dangerously perky 12-year-old (mother/fitness guru) who has somehow succeed in enticing me to use my own money to torture myself.

It will, of course, be impossible to succeed- but then, failure's an old February friend.

Friday, January 16, 2015


So basically I can't anymore.

There's an unpleasant stew of reasons- Facebook's nownownow, the yammering of email,  and oh, yeah, the kid-

who may wake up at any moment, who may cry at any moment, who interrupts thoughts and meals and plans and sleep.  Why commit to an activity if it might be torpedoed?  Why hop aboard a train of thought if it might derail any second?  And when I'm finally -finally! alone- how am I supposed to choose just one solitary activity when I want to stuff every possibility into my mouth at once?

Even my metaphors slink away from themselves, ashamed.

I have trouble writing these days, trouble reading, trouble making myself work.  I skim.  I jump around.  I am called away or lured away and I can't seem to figure out how to come back, sit down, and dig until I stumble out, blinking, on the other side of the world.

For escape, I vaguely remember, is focus's paradoxical gift- for a minute or two or sixty, knuckling down to fly free.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I Was Here

The whole-body enthusiasm of a baby, as if every cell were thrilled to its core. 

File under: Insufficient warning.

Meanwhile: Charlottesville, VA; Staunton, VA; Amherst, VA; North Garden; VA.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Safe Passage

2014 was a year with no space.

Correct that; it's just that the space was so narrow, the line of light beneath a poorly hung door.

I turned 34.  My kid turned one.  I rushed and rushed and rushed into the world as it died and died and died. 

I'm not sure what I'm after here, except to say goodbye. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


It is a bit of a curse, on Thanksgiving, to be both dutiful and perverse. 

Amend that.  It is a bit of a curse every day.

But the friction between duty and perversity reaches fever pitch on Thanksgiving, day of turkey and cranberry sauce and enforced gratitude.  You're racked, on Thanksgiving, by conflicting wants: To bow your head; to stick out your tongue.  To feed your soul; to bite the hand that feeds you.  To eat the bird; to flip the bird.

Mostly, the answer is to drown your sorrows in stuffing.

But also, yes, to give thanks -for two hands, and all the pieces of your heart.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


What does it mean to have a day off?  I keep stumbling on the word "off," which drags behind it darkness and quiet and brokenness -all these things rattling behind my vacation like tin cans on strings.  If I'm off, what part of me is down for the count? 

The easiest answer is my working self, but that answer -even the idea that I have a working self, an obedient inflatable office version that blows up 8AM Monday and folds itself neatly up 5 PM Friday-  has become increasingly problematic the deeper I get into this mess that is twenty-first-century adulthood.  Only one of my jobs has anything remotely akin to an on/off switch.  The rest are ravening maws or greater or lesser hunger.  And then there's motherhood, which is, to put it badly, an endless grind.

This is the paragraph in which I must earnestly slather sugar on what I just wrote in order to sweeten it to the point of social palatability.  And yes, there are enormous rewards to motherhood, rewards I would never want to forego, but I'm perverse enough, and stubborn enough, to want to tell you the truth, so: endless grind.

But I'm off today.  The on-and-off job is in the upright and locked position.   The kid is in daycare, guilt bedamened.  And I've forbidden myself from offering this particular stretch of hours to the hungry hydra of self-employment.

I'm off.  A word that turns out to mean nothing more -or less-  than space to make light.