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12 Going on 13: A Poem From My Diary in 1989

I’m a little distracted by The Bold and the Beautiful. READ MORE

In Praise of L.M. Montgomery's Literary Crones

I'm going to go out on a wild cherry limb here and admit I'm not a huge fan of Anne Shirley anymore. I know, she's a child of light by birthright, blah blah blah, but if you bother to make it past the fourth book of L.M. Montgomery's eight-book series you'll notice that late 20s/ early 30s/ middle-aged Anne is nothing more than a boring house angel who only takes joy in match-making, flower beds, and giving birth. READ MORE

A Writer Emails Her Agent

Dear Mr. Greenberg,

So glad to hear you got the manuscript and, again, my apologies for the fact that the draft took longer than expected. Between an extended visit from my mother and an anti-biotic resistant UTI (TMI?! Trust me, I didn't get it the fun way), I'll admit the last month has not exactly been a sunny stay at Yaddo.

Speaking of, do you by chance have any connections there? It seems my last two applications have somehow gone astray, and the administrative assistant with whom I shared a couple weeks' worth of delightful, banter-filled emails has stopped writing me back. Maybe she's on vacation, or perhaps I shouldn't have shared my piss pain number with her? But then again she felt compelled to treat me to an account of her last bout with shingles. You'll be glad to hear that I was generous enough to tell her about my aunt's cure for the condition–an herbal Crisco rub (affectionately known in my household as Sometimes a Great Lotion), followed by a strict regimen of Sleepytime Tea administered upon waking for six months or until symptoms subside. Anyway, if you do have an in with her, let me know?

To return to the subject at handBarbara Burning to the End of the World and Back to the Beginning Where It All Began (A Novel). I wanted to mention here that a few chapters remain unfinished. You'll find these sections marked with asterisks and notes to myself, which are also, in effect, notes to you, and basically deal with a) Gregory's checkered activist past and b) whether or not Barbara should indeed be killed by that falling sycamore limb or instead suffer a more subtle demise. At the hands of Gregory, perhaps? Although a jealous rage murder might, at that stage in the story, read a little over-wrought. What about cancer of the lymph nodes/an aneurysm/the bends? Of course, the bends would require reworking Chapter Two and changing Barbara's profession from that of flower arranger to deep sea diver. What I'm saying is that I would very much welcome your suggestions at this point. In the immortal words of James T. Kirk, bring 'em on. Or was that George W. Bush? Not that it matters. Politics, shmolitics.

Which brings to mind another concern I have about this current draft. Some readers, including my mother, have hinted that Barbara's square-dance-with-Putin sexual fantasy/dream sequence takes things a bit too far. I obviously intended that section to serve as an ironic commentary on our culture's unhealthy obsession with competitive dance programs and hairless Russian leaders, but maybe we should consider taking it out? I could always replace it with that scene with Gregory's wet dream: Helen Mirren, the decorative pepper grinder as condom thingy, etc. That one is currently resting in my “Kill Your Darlings” desktop folder, but say the word and it will be resurrected. Totally up to you. Like I said, I'm open!

Thank you for your time today and for believing in me and the book. You have no idea how hard and long I searched for an agent before I found you, but it's like Whitney Houston says: “Everything happens for a reason.” Or was it, “There's someone for everyone”? Regardless, I'm sure this is the beginning of something really great.

Warm Regards,

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How to Live With Your Mother When You're 37, Childless and Unemployed

1. Try to wake up before your mother goes to her water aerobics class at 9. Even if you're hungover from polishing off that double bottle of Gato Negro, get the fuck up. Make the coffee so she thinks you're a productive member of the household. After she leaves, go back to bed. Masturbate for a while to visions of Clive Owen in a Forever Lazy. Don't bother finishing. You don't finish anything anymore. READ MORE