Old Age Wonders

You smile at the male supermarket clerk and make some pleasant comment then wonder, “Does he think the old broad is coming on to him?”

You wonder if people think you inappropriate with your smile, jeans, high heel boots, jewelry, being a Macklemore fan, anything thought not-old. If they knew you know about BDSM would they think it truly disgusting and nasty, even if you told them you have no liking for it?

You don’t like moving the way you do, problems due to balance difficulties and creeping arthritis. Young people can move the same way due to injury but you just look like another old person.

You don’t want to look in the mirror, with or without makeup. How could anyone want to sit across a table from that and try to eat?

Your foot slips on debris at the side of the road and you fall down. You’ve fallen down a lot over the years and thought nothing much about it. Now you wonder if it will happen more frequently. Will you break something?

You used to love highway driving. Now you avoid it as much as possible and hate yourself for doing so. Roaring down the Parkway at 80, 85 was a high. Now it’s just a pain in the posterior—which fortunately is still working okay.

You wish you’d done some things you didn’t, but wonder if they would work now. You wish you’d appreciated your body more when it was in better working condition.

You should be grateful for your current condition—you take no meds—but there are questions about how life will be as you get older and older.

You, maybe, should take Carolyn Heilbrun’s approach and check yourself out before old age gets completely ridiculous, and truly annoying.

If you, the reader, are young, appreciate it, revel in it. When you get old you too might get to the point of thinking of yourself in the second rather than the first person. It takes the edge off aging a little bit.



Life can feel kind of off. One reason for vague unease is not being able to live in what is your home. I’m a Pacific Northwestern who had to leave due to feeling worthless when I was near my parents, and because I could not deal with drizzle. Whatcom County, Washington just might be the drizzle capital of the world. The sky oft looks like slightly soiled cotton batting, which is pretty depressing in and of itself. Sky, drizzle, and dampness that has seeped into your marrow can make life seem quite grim. But I yearn for that place. It can be achingly beautiful—and life there certainly has benefits. I’d love to drive to a seafood store “on” the water and buy fresh clams, oysters or mussels for dinner. I’d love to drive up to Mt. Baker and enjoy that beauty. “Sea to Ski in Sixty Minutes” used to be a local slogan. I don’t know if that is still true. The message remains valid.

However, I can’t live in or near Bellingham. My parents are gone so their negative effect on me is no long there. But I stay in New Jersey because of … drizzle and the accompanying grimness. Washington and New Jersey do share at least one thing—liberal leaning politics. At least I don’t yearn after a home that can’t be home because I couldn’t stand existence in a hate-filled and dummied-down world, i.e., a Republican state. I think of the current Republican party as a pus filled boil on the ass of America. How very unkind of me, but it’s benign compared to my longer description.

I assume many people have a locale they love and yearn for even though they couldn’t stand living in it. Weather, family, politics, religion, etc. would make it impossible. Unfortunately some are stuck with living in a place they dislike/hate. I feel sorry for those so trapped.

If I had to, I could live in Whatcom County, Washington. But I could not live in a Red state; I’d be in perpetual suicide/murder mode. I made a home by choice not entrapment. I yearn after my home-that-can’t-be-a-home, but I can visit family there, I can look at pictures, I can smell an evergreen forest without being in one. Thank evolution for the power of olfactory memory. I can remember sitting at a kitchen table piled high with fresh caught crab. I can remember juice and butter running down my arms onto the newspaper on the table as I ate my fill of Dungeness. Heaven. I can remember. And New Jersey rarely drizzles for days, weeks, eternities.


Do you have days when you’re just sick of yourself? You try to be a person you’d like to be—all the time—but you keep screwing up. You just get so tired of not measuring up … to what, whom? You’re not sure, but you know you’re not operating at a high level and you feel terrible and you just want to quit and check yourself out. Do you ever have days like that? 

Or are you a person who has a pretty accurate sense of reality so you know you’ll have days when everything goes awry, but that’s just the way things are? You get the ups. You get the downs? If you are that kind of person, I’m happy for you. Kind of. Actually, it’s kind of annoying.

I have a friend who gets Black Dog days, when he considers himself a not worthy person. He is a worthy person. I’d tell you if I thought he really should have black dog days. He’s high functioning in the life he’s chosen. He’s the one who introduced me to the term Black Dog. Actually there’s a mood disorders facility in Australia called Black Dog Institute. My friend has not been there. He deals with his black dogs himself. I wish him well.

Hell, I wish myself well. Writing this has made the current dog turn dark gray. He’ll eventually fade away. I hope this has given those who have sick-of-self days some solace in knowing you’ve got company. Black Dogs are just part of life for some of us. Good thing I like the color black. Hope you do too.

P.S. It doesn’t help that it’s winter and I firmly believe we should all be in hibernation

Something for the Holidays

Tis the Season to be Jolly. Most of my work isn’t in the Holiday spirit so here I am thinking of something to say for the Holidays when everyone knows we are all to be happy, happy, happy. Some people hate Christmas, the entire holiday weeks. I’ve read statements about how they avoid the whole HO HO HO experience. I wonder if Seasonal Affective Disorder has it’s onset with the “Christmas” season. Bah, humbug to everything from the opening of December to the first day of Spring.

My holiday mood is happy flecked with, “Oh, Hell. Another thing I have to do to get ready. And, “Oh goody, watch the money bleed, heavily, into the credit card accounts. No fun. Particularly since some of the gifts will undoubtedly be duds.

So—what are some happy thoughts?

1] I always look forward to my Christmas Eve festivities with friends. I started doing this decades ago for people who had no place to go on Christmas Eve. Those people have left, but new ones have joined in. Some years guests bring an additional guest. After asking permission. I figure I can always set up another table.

2] I always look forward to Christmas Day with friends I’ve known forever, friends I’m closer to than I am to most of my family. Some of their other friends are present and it is a jolly time.

The two days of Christmas are highlights in each year. I might say,”Oh, hell” more than “Ho Ho Ho” as I approach the days—but I’d be very unjolly if I didn’t have those days.

Happy all the relevant Holidays to you and yours.

Nothing for the Dog to Eat

I’ve been off fiction for a few months. I wrote and publicly read a story involving disgusting behavior and murder, which I guess would be shocking to some. Then my fiction muse left town. Is there a connection between silence and that story? I’m not sure. Perhaps. I’m not too apprehensive about my fiction avoidance because I’ve been busy with learning about creating websites and working with social media. I have a novel, “In the Land of Two-Legged Women” [Inanna Publications], coming out next year. I have to gear up to do PR. I’ve also been working on speeches about Place in fiction, so I’m not alienated from writing.

I was somewhat relieved about being a writing wastrel when I read an interview of Louise Glück by William Giraldi in “Poets & Writers.” [September/October 2014] Glück, a major American poet in possession of many awards, has taken absences from creating. “I go through two, three years writing nothing. Zero. Not a sentence. Not bad poems I discard, not notes toward poems. Nothing.” If a major force in the lit. world can go on leave, why not I? Maybe I’m making excuses, blaming the dog for causing absence of work.

But I’m also encouraged by interviewer William Giraldi. His new novel “Hold the Dark” is about as dark as it can get. Beyond noir. I recommend it, but warn you that it can be a rough ride. But he shows me it’s okay to write anything that can be imagined, even though it might offend, upset, scare, horrify some readers. Thank you, Mr. Giraldi.

The fiction urge has been creeping up on me. I’ll attempt to turn my “shocking” story into a novel. I wish my writer self well. I don’t have a dog, but I’ll work as if I did and the beast was looking for something to eat.