Monday, January 31, 2011


Walking back from the post office, I see a young woman approaching from the opposite direction. She, like 90% of San Franciscans, is holding a black square object in her hand. She is gazing at it as she walks and smiling sweetly, fondly. She has clearly gotten a text from someone she loves.

She then raises the object to her mouth and takes a large bite out of it.
Oh. Um, so not a phone then.

No, what we have here is a woman who has a tender affection for brownies. Long may she reign.

Family tree

The girl in the hall is telling a long story that involved the phrase "my ex step grandfather." Wow. I don't even know how to punctuate that. I imagine there should be a hyphen or two, but I decided to just let it go.

My parents have been married for 43 years and therefore, while I have two deceased grandfathers, I have no ex grandfathers or step grandfathers. And frankly, I find that reassuring.

Thanks, parents.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I am walking down Valencia Street behind a mother and her two little girls. The older one is walking beside her mother asking, "What is 3 times 4?" while the younger one stomps ahead of them. Is she angry? Does she just like making noise? Is this a nonviolent protest against arithmetic? As I pass her, I see her checking her reflection out in the shop windows. Turns out, she's wearing shoes that are supposed to light up with every step, but she's not heavy enough to activate them if she walks normally.

Thus: Stomp, sparkle; stomp, sparkle; stomp, sparkle...all the way home.

I pass a man who is talking on his cell phone (let's be clear, I pass scores of people talking on their cell phones. It would be more noteworthy to write about passing someone who was not talking on a cell phone. Ahem. Moving on.) he says:

"I would trust you more if I could hear from you while you're with him, is all I'm saying."

Huh. That seems like it will all work out well, no?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Hello all.

It has been, as is not uncommon, a while.

Brief summary:

Made it to the finals of the Literary Death Match, wore impressive shoes, but was bested by a poet in the final round. I would argue that he had several unfair advantages, but we needn't discuss that now. Jane Smiley gave me the thumbs up, so that's pretty cool.

Had heart broken yet again. Several sad months. Blah, blah, blah.

Spent New Year's Eve on sofa with fever instead of drinking champagne in a fancy frock. Was displeased.

But, I'm back, people. I'm back.

I have recently received a request (by which I mean insistent begging) for the address of this blog from a new acquaintance. I felt it would be shameful to not write something new before pointing him this direction, so here I am: writing.

There is something about being identified as a writer by someone who doesn't actually know you. Something about having a veritable stranger say, essentially, "You're clearly a writer. What are you writing? You should be writing." that is helpful in a way that hearing that from, well, everyone else you know (especially your mom) is not. So, thanks, mister.

Also, at a recent concert by the slyly hilarious and excessively talented Miss Katy Stephan (whose new CD you should purchase at once. Buy the real one, not the online one. The real one has how-to guides for charming crafts. It will make you happy), she brought something up that I have been pondering ever since. She said that before her CD release concert she had been fretting--It is so much work. What if no one comes? Is it worth it?--and composer/musician Darren Johnston told her that no matter what happened, making live music for people in one's community is a form of activism.

I have never before identified with the word activism. It evokes for me images of big crowds, petitions, and yelling, all of which are things from which I habitually shy away. However, art as activism is an idea that resonates though me like a gong. Not art that is "activist art" by definition. Not art that is trying to be political. Art that is its own true self and that for that reason brings people together into a two-hour community called an audience. Art that simply affirms the experience of being alive, together, in person, right now. Having recently seen a kick-ass play at Shotgun Players that similarly made me reflect that theatre when it's done well is as powerful and and visceral and profoundly human as it ever has been, the importance of art, particularly performance, has been zinging around my brain for weeks.

So yes. If people can go through the rigorous labor to make and send out into the world something as complicated and beautiful and fleeting as a song or a play, I can, at least, update my silly blog. Writing for me is a practice of starting over. Again. And again. And again.

2011. Ready? Go.