Dear New York, This Is a Love Letter

"Home to the many, rejecting no-one
Accepting peoples of all places, wherever they're from" -- The Beastie Boys


Really Struggling Today

Really struggling today with the decisions of our new government and what defines "America." Have to find the joy in resistance so as not to be overwhelmed by fear. Exercise gives me a way to empty my brain. Rogue scientists give me hope.


My Mother

My mother, when happy, or especially when she receives a bit of good financial news, will clap her hands together and sing "We're in the Money."



Roll out of bed. Kill the alarm. Scramble up the spiral stairs. Rummage through coat pockets and fish out the headphones. Commence daily untangling. Plug the jack into the phone. Join the conference. Greet the others and mute the speaker. Open notebook, mark the date. As each person speaks, note their name. Indent. One new Roman numeral per person. Calm the cat that does not understand your lack of attention.

Spend two years considering in the recesses of your brain, at night, or on walks, the protagonists of two books. Stew in anger, in doubt at their lack of agency. Think about how “agency” is a word you have never used in that way. Think about the question posed, “When did you first know you were a powerful queer?” Struggle over an answer.

Go see the play. Delight in the blackout, the ghost illumined by flashlight, encounters with the Devil, escapes through rhyme. Go to the movies, remember the Devil; think how the stories that most moved a young you had witches, angels, or gods changing to cattle.

Listen to a recording of a poem in which there are no verbs. Bookmark it.

Send a message to an old friend. “Merry Christmas!” “Merry Christmas!”

Send a card to an old friend. Return to sender.

Send a message to an old friend. Message Send Failure.

Borrow the car. Get milk at Quick Chek. See an old friend. Hug. Trade family updates and compare dental problems.

Watch yoga videos. Fold forward. Focus on the breath.

Visit a church. Join in the songs. Listen to the pastor say we are headed into a tough period. Amen.

Read the news. Avoid the news. Read the news. Do not read the news before bed. Scan the news before bed.

Debate how to best engage. Decipher what she meant by “active constructive resistance.”

Sit at a Mexican restaurant in the East Village. Share guacamole and stories of who you each were in high school.

Withhold congratulations on his engagement, which you only know of through “social” media.

Make a list of the things you like in novels, and the things you dislike. On the list of things you like, include “coming-of-age stories, LGBTQ stories, stories with magical/supernatural/fantasy/sci-fi elements blending with real world, dialogue, memoir, stories about friendship or friend groups, mysteries sometimes.” On the list of things you dislike, write “stories that feel too preachy, violence, malicious unreliable narrators?”

Tell your family in a conversation about books: “I need someone I can root for.”

Wake in the dark. Dress for the cold. Start training for another relay. Regret selecting the indie playlist.

Take down the tree. Wrap the ornaments. Sketch a picture of the bow and the tree underneath an idea for a writing project: Whippany River Anthology? Contemplate how fulfilling it might be to write all those deaths.

Drink too much to start the new year.

Read Just Kids. Highlight “The things I thought would happen didn’t. Things I never anticipated unfolded.” Then listen to Horses.



Last year I embraced more completely the liberal cliche by subscribing to The New Yorker. (Shitting you not, as a gift for my donation to NPR!) I finally finished the election Aftermath edition and link to save it for the future.

  • "The hardest thing about democracy is the boring and irritating process of listening to people you don't agree with, which is tolerable only when each side strives not to hurt the other's feelings." -- Mary Karr
  • "There are many reasons for our troubles. But the deepest reason is inequality: the forms of political, cultural, and economic polarization that have been widening, not narrowing for decades. Inequality, like slavery, is a chain that binds at both ends." -- Jill Lepore
  • You might as well underline Toni Morrison's and Junot Díaz's whole essays


Jade, My Familiar

My familiar. Loud, affectionate, playful, pleading, selfish. Loathes the vacuum and the shriek of an unfolding ironing board. Bleached paw and marked forehead on black tortoiseshell fur. Her eye tears in a way she can’t control. Fearful of human sneezes but can tell when they’re faking. Wary, at first, of strangers, but warms to those who reach out to her. When she jumps she lands gracelessly with a grunt. I said once that her sister looks like the Platonic ideal of a cat, while she looks like what you’d end up with if you tried to draw one. Hunter of insects but less skilled at the kill. Chaser of sweatshirt hood laces, lover of sleep. Sometimes gets into things she cannot escape. Moonlights at daybreak as an alarm clock, shoving her head into my hand to fashion a caress. “Let’s cast some spells, Jade,” I came home and said.


New Year

Last year I avoided ResolutionPalooza (the annual effort to right the ship is welcome but a source of anxiety) by being in the Philippines. This year, I avoided it by feeling like death for the first two days of the year. And here we are!

There's only one big resolution this year: get married.

But what about this blog languishing here, visited by the occasional friend, family member, or spambot? The new year always brings some energy to creative projects. I think a realistic goal is to try to exceed the 57 posts from 2016. That is to say, a bit more than one post per week. Wish me luck.


Good As Hell

Thanks to NPR's Top 100 Songs of 2016, I'm trying to use Lizzo's Good As Hell as a mantra in the new year.