Graphic Novels You Oughta Know

24 Oct


In this, the Year of our Lord 2016, I, Jillian Denning, got into graphic novels.

We never thought this day would come. We, the collective we, the people who care so deeply about my reading habits. (Me.)

I don’t know why I hadn’t read a graphic novel before this year. I had just kind of dismissed the genre as superhero comics I didn’t care much about and sexual manga storylines I really didn’t care much about.

And guess what? I read some superhero comics and didn’t care for them after all, just as I suspected!

This was, after all, the year of the graphic novel.

I tried every genre.

I read the classics. Sandman. Watchmen. I tried popular ones and standalone novels and series and super heroines and and and.

And I’m here to tell you that I really love graphic novels.

And I think you will too.

And, and, and.

Here’s where you should start. If you have taste like me.

(Which I assume you do, or that you’re related to me if you read this blog.) (Hi mom!)

1. El Deafo by Cece Bell


The first graphic novel I read, recommended by the lovely Bailey. It’s a graphic novel memoir, which turns out is my peanut butter and jelly. Based on her childhood, Cece Bell talks about growing up hearing impaired and what it was like having a phonic ear. Something about graphic novel memoirs really hits home. Being able to draw your feelings adds a level that I really, really like.

2. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast


The ultimate in the graphic novel memoir. Roz Chast draws for the New Yorker and this book was nominated for the National Book Award. I LOVED it and I have so little in common with Roz, who is caring for her aging parents. I am not a middle-aged cartoonist and my parents aren’t hoarders and yet I was HERE. You will be too.

3. Maus by Art Spiegelman


A classic in the graphic novel genre, it tells the story of Art Spiegleman’s father’s experience during the Holocaust. Maybe you read it in school? I hear people read it in school.

4. Here by Richard McGuire


An interesting one because there are practically no words, just pictures of this one room in this one house throughout time. It jumps to the past, future and present and explores how humans remain constant. How we lose things and gain things, fall in love and have our hearts broken and we are all the same, at the end. We are all human.

5. Smile (and Sisters) by Raina Telgemeier


Raina is a complete master of graphic novels and everything I’ve read of hers is flawless. Read Smile, you, you, anyone of all ages. Yes you. It’s the story of her dental work in middle school and you will relate and yes, it’s another graphic novel memoir.

6. Anything by Lucy Knisley

Someone called Lucy the Lena Dunham of comics. Is that because they are similar ages and write about themselves? Probably. I didn’t particularly find their humor or selves all that similar, but I did and do love Lucy.


She writes little travelogues and bits about her life. She loves Harry Potter (and made this incredible graphic SumHarry which I’m getting printed for my wall.) I also have a crush on her husband and their relationship. I liked her Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride best, I think. I just like her, really.

7. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson


A sweet Newbery Honor book (see, graphic novels are all the buzz) about a girl who takes up Roller Derby right when she’s losing her best friend. I hope it’s a series. I hope it’s a movie. I hope you hope this too.

8. Fun Home by Alison Bechel


From the creator of the Bechdel test herself! Now a Tony-nominated Broadway musical! But really, Fun Home is kind of THE book in the graphic novel memoir genre. She’s cited by my dear Lucy Knisley many times. It wasn’t my favorite I read, but it deserves a place here, because what if it’s your favorite and I deprived you of that?

9. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang


A National Book Award finalist and favorite on YA lists, American Born Chinese tells three interlacing stories about what it’s like to be a Chinese American. There’s this twist that made me go whoa and probably will make you go whoa whoa too.


Also comics!

Let’s talk about comics. No exclamation.

The difference between graphic novels and comics is that comics are serialized and come out regularly. Sometimes they are then combined into graphic novels you can pick up. But Superman? That’s a comic. A graphic novel memoir? That’s a…graphic novel.

Anyway. I am a person now who follows two comics. I read the editions and wonder what will happen and when I can get the next one. I am invested in characters and plotlines and part of me worries. Like what if this goes on forever? How long can I follow? Is this a til-death-do-us-part thing?

The musings of anxious comic reader.

1. Saga by Brian Vaughan


Star Wars meets Romeo and Juliet. A sweeping love story against the backdrop of an intergalactic war with so many twists sometimes I wonder what the brain (Brian Vaughaun) behind this all is like. It’s also one of those banned books that we celebrated a few weeks ago, so get on that.

2. Giant Days by John Allison


The story of three best friends in their first year college in the UK. I’m a sucker for female friendship stories and England so this was bound to get me excited, but it’s also witty and charming and fun. Let us not underestimate fun.

And now, I’ll leave you with a picture from Lucy Knisley’s Relish and the hope that you’ll join me on this graphic novel journey of mine.




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Do Unto Yourself

23 Oct


Anne Lamott, in her yearly essay urging us all to stop dieting, says something I think about often.

One of the ways she talks about food is to encourage people to prepare every meal like their pastor is coming to dinner.

You wouldn’t say, “Here Pastor–let’s eat standing up in the kitchen. This tube of Pringles is ALL for you.” And then stand there gobbling from your own tubular container.

No, you’d get out pretty dishes, and arrange wonderful foods on the plates, and set one plate before your pastor at the table, filled with happiness, love, pride and connection. That’s what we have longed for, our whole lives, and get to create, now. Wow!

Prepare every meal like it’s for someone you love and admire.

The phrase do unto others as you would have done to you is a good one, especially if you’re an out-of-control narcissit who needs help treating others like human beings.  But I think the reverse is equally powerful.

Do unto yourself as you would have others do to you

Or even

Do unto yourself as you would have done unto others

Hilary came to stay last week. It was a week full of chili cheese fries and laughter, nostalgia and moving forward. It was a good week.

Before she came, I cleaned my apartment top to bottom. I organized my pantry. I swept and mopped the floors. I washed every single item that could possibly need to be washed. I filled my life with fresh flowers and fresh cookies.

The night she arrived I made big bowls of steaming pasta topped with arugula. We sat on my barstools and ate on y placemats.

Two days after she left I ate expired mac and cheese and a box of Fruit by the Foot on my bed.

Do unto yourself as you would have done unto others.

Maybe that’s what it’s all about.

Maybe when a friend shows up at my house and does my dishes and feeds my plant and generally looks after my well-being she is doing to me what she would like done to her and I am doing to Hilary what I would like done to me and we teach other. Through our actions and examples we show each other how we should treat ourselves.

Do unto yourself as you would have done unto others

That’s what we’ve longed for our whole lives, and get to create now.



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107 Roommates You’ll Have in Your Twenties–Part 3

30 Sep


I know what you’re thinking–will this list ever end?

My answer is, not if I have anything to do with it.


PARTS 1 and 2, again created with the marvelous Hilary, who unfortunately was never my roommate, but maybe fortunately, actually considering what this list is?


51. The heavily into online dating roommate

52. The always has fried chicken in the fridge roommate

53. The never throw anything out of the fridge roommate

54. The takes up the whole fridge roommate

55. The roommate laughing at YouTube videos at 7:00AM in the morning

56. The PS I just got a pet roommate

57. The PS I smoke weed but will never confirm this to you roommate

57b. The roommate who continually listens to “Wild and Free”

56. The odd noises coming from the room roommate

57. The too healthy roommate

58. The always making baked goods roommate

59. The always making beans roommate

60. The unemployed roommate

61. The roommate that loses her keys while picking sage on the mountain

62. The roommate that will tell you too much about her tampon habits

63. The “you were best friends before you moved in together and now everything will be shattered for life” roommate

64. The roommate/landlord living out of the garage

65. The always watching TV roommate

66. The” told someone where we live and now you have to deal with a drunk person and the cops” roommate

67. The out of town roommate who travels every weekend

68. The roommate always inviting you to her Native American church

69. The roommate who is going through a life revolution (CrossFit) and wants to take you with her (CrossFit)

70. The roommates who become best friends and you’re definitely never going to be that close

71. The roommate always leaving, erm, *hair* in the tub

72. The video game roommate who has to be home at a certain time for her guild

73. The roommate who is bad mouthing you to other roommates

74. The social media roommate who posts things of you without permission

75. The social media roommate who lies to you but then posts things while out when you weren’t invited

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Living Alone

29 Sep


I cooked dinner tonight on a plug-in stovetop.

Cous cous with spinach and tomatoes, grilled zucchini and toasted pine nuts. The type of meal the recipe called “simple” but I had to buy every product for.

I listened to Joni Mitchell Blue while I prepared, my internet and phone service not working. I had spicy cheese and crackers for dessert. Cinnamon tea bfore bed.

I live alone now.

In a glorious, glorious twist of fate I am finally in my own space.

I had a bit of glee today remembering my college days and how I lived in a place where the landlords would regularly inspect the state of our apartment. “Cleaning checks” they were called.

I’ve since learned this was unique to my school.

I always barely passed cleaning checks, usually with a character reference from a housemate. “Her room is usually much worse,” they said, about my tiny box shared with another person.

How I had a life in there I do not know. How two people had lives in there I certainly do not know.

In many ways I think this blog is the story of my growing up. I started it at 25, the year my pre frontal cortex fully developed. I was very sad. I was starting on career number two. I was spending most of my energy on a boy who gave me half-hearted nothing attempts at anything.

Rob was my friend, always listening to me and helping me set up tables from Ikea. It would take me two years for him to work up the courage to ask me out and two years for me to work up the sense to say yes.

In other ways I think this blog is a love story to Rob. It is the story of us, he’s there through the words. Always in the background. Friend. Secret Boyfriend. Open Boyfriend. Year four on the Cape.

It’s a chronicle of our love story, one that is currently evolving and growing and changing and settling into something really nice. I don’t write about it as much, but it’s settling into something nice and comfortable.

I ate my couscous salad with homemade dressing and did my dishes, placing the wet bowls in a tray beneath my Princess Diana portrait.

I crawled into my bed, my mountain of pillows with a mountain of books.

I drank a big glass of water.



I’m settling into something nice and comfortable.

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A Tour Of My New Apartment

28 Sep


I walk into my apartment and am greeted by Princess Diana herself. She sits behind my sink, smiling demurely beneath heavy lashes.

Hello Di, I say.

(Not really.)

There are flowers on my windowsill, a little ledge just big enough for vases. I‘ve filled them with daises and sunflowers and the $4 purple things from the farmers market.

My bedroom boasts a multicolored rug from the Wellfleet flea market. There’s my girly bed I never want to give up, and the tapestry from Santa Barbara I bought with Rob the other day. It hangs behind my headboard and floats with the fan waves, knocking into plastic flower lights.

I use 11 separate pillows and I use them well.

Enid is next to my bed, a saucy little thing who likes to touch you without warning and whom I’ve already forgotten to feed twice.

I’ve had her for two weeks.

Sorry Enid, I say.

(Yes, really.)

I have two gold bookshelves, once the bane of my existence, now my proudest accomplishments. I turned them from boring Ikea bookshelves into sparkly Jillian bookshelves and filled them with Joni Mitchell and Nick Hornby, a rainbow of books and artists I love.

My great grandpa has a place on my wall.

My Sylvia Plath has a place above my sink.

It’s all so me. Everything about it is carefully curated and hung. I drew pictures and made plans and wanted to create something that was out of a whimsical magazine.

Something flawless and minimal, joyful and colorful. Cluttered and white and every contradiction.

I ended up creating something messy and imperfect out of messy, imperfect, contradictory me.



I love it.

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Internet Drama, Through My Personal Journal Notes

23 Sep

I wrote this a few weeks ago, back when the most important part of my life was that I didn’t have internet. I’m glad that is no longer the most important thing.


I’ve had a really off day and I want to write it out. I want my anxiety and stress and sadness to drip off my fingers and into the fake ink of a fake word document on my real computer.

I want to feel right again.

Today I spent the majority of my day waiting for an internet technician who never ended up coming. It was the expectation that got me. I expected to have internet tonight. All day I made a list of things that I would do when I had internet.

I don’t have cell pone service at my new place, and I couldn’t leave to do things like submit homework assignments or respond to emails like a normal person. Instead I had a list. I list that grew.

I waited.
And waited.

At 9:00PM I ended up in Starbucks with a hazelnut hot chocolate and 30 minutes to accomplish everything on that list. My heart was pounding. My fingers tripped over each other.

I did it all. Did I sound ok? Did those emails make sense? Who knows who cares who what?

I wasn’t very kind about the internet fiasco. For the first three hours I was. I was longsuffering and demure. I ate bags of popcorn and read graphic novels telling myself that soon, soon! I would have internet and could be a productive human. Soon, soon! I would turn the day around.

Soonday never comes.

That was a really bad play on Brandi Carlile. Remember her?

The Story?

Oh woman, sometimes I miss that level of angst.

Maybe I found it tonight.

I feel bad about that.

On top of everything I feel bad that I wasn’t kinder to the person who was hours and hours and hours late and didn’t give me internet service or warning and then blamed me for it.

I want to be the kind of person who is a kind kind of person.

I want to talk to people who frustrate me in longer sentences than one word.

Today Anne Lamott posted a prayer that she says every day with her best friend after they hike their praying place. They go there to “lift up those who are struggling, including, sometimes, our tiny princess selves.”

Her prayer says:

We pray, Mother Father Creator Source, we need Your help! And we give you Thanks in advance for your tender mercies. We pray the praise of wow, our minds blown by this Beauty, and the greatest gift of close friends.

Prayers are like deep breaths. The exhale of so many anxieties and fears, the release of something you can’t do anything about.




Remembering moments of grace even on this impossible day—finding a surprise gift card, locating every screw to put my bed back together, a Scholastic podcast on my way to do something I love with books.

Grace and breaths and exhales of wishes and concerns.


Even for me and my tiny princess self.

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There’s Something About Podcasts

19 Sep


Several months ago I jumped into the shallow end of the podcast pool and injured my knees on the ground. All scraped up, I jumped again and again, downloading every podcast on every list of people’s favorite podcasts, feeling stressed and behind and obsessive when I couldn’t keep up with them, or worse, didn’t like them. It became a burden in my life, one I kept adding to.

Soon I was that woman with 50 seashells necklaces around her neck, barely limping around town from the weight of it all.

But they are seashells!

They are supposed to be great!

I don’t know this woman, but it’s a nice visual.

Today I’m pleased to say I am in a healthy relationship with podcasts. I’ve deleted the ones I don’t listen to. I don’t feel I have to listen to the entire archives or nothing. I’m here and I’m ready and let’s talk about the best ones.

1. This American Life

We all already listen to this, yes? It’s the best because it’s the best. And because we all have sexual tension with Ira Glass.

Length: 1 hour. Love the episode Tell Me I’m Fat.


 2. Modern Love

A celebrity reads a New York Times Modern Love column. They are interesting and charming and a quick listen. Thirty minutes or less podcasts are great and there should be so many more of them.

Length: 30 minutes or less (see above). Love the episode Friends Without Benefits.


3. Magic Lessons

A podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert takes on a regular person’s creativity problem, gets advice from another creative, and gives out homework assignments. Always leaves me pumped on c-r-e-a-t-i-v-i-t-y. (Did you see that? I was getting creative with how I even wrote creativity. That’s power.)

Current season has hour-long episodes. The Action is Here inspired this blog post of mine.


4. Scholastic Reads

I get really Zen and at peace with the world every time this one is on. I love hearing about the woman who physically transported the Harry Potter manuscripts on an airplane because they didn’t trust the internet with edits. I genuinely celebrate along with 30 years of Baby-Sitters Club. It’s a blast to hear about the behind the scenes of the Scholastic Reading Club.  Are you ready to hang out with me on a Friday night yet?

Length: 30 minutes. Here’s that Baby-Sitters Club one.


5. The RobCast

I usually listen to this one on Sundays. Rob Bell is a Christian pastor now…podcaster? Inspirational speaker? I’m not sure. He talks about some Christian things and spiritual things but mainly really human things. How to be a better human being in a world where it can be really hard to be a good human being. Excellent, always always always always always.

Length: 30 minutes – 1 hour. Listen to this one on seasons.


6. Strangerville

I went to high school with the guy who writes It Just Gets Stranger and his blog is great and so is his podcast.

Length: 1 hour. Listen to Episode 5 about a man who grew up in the same church as Warren Jeffs and the importance of choice.


 7. Dear Sugar

Cheryl Strayed’s rightfully acclaimed advice podcast where she and Steve Almond tackle really honest, brave questions with really honest, brave answers. I’m always excited to see it in my queue.

Length: 30-45 minute. Listen to I’m falling in love with my ex-husband. What a soapy title!


8. Monocycle with Leandra Medine

Leandra is the girl behind Man Repeller and she’s funny and real and great and these are like 11 minutes of her thoughts on a subject and sometimes I pretend I have her life, because doesn’t that sound like the life? People caring about your 11 minute thought processes?

Length: 10 minutes. Listen to Not Pregnant. I love what Leandra says about it, “It’s important to share what I’m going through while I’m in it as opposed to sharing once I’ve overcome it — after I’ve been able to put the experience in a box and wrap it in fancy words and call it a first person essay, because this is real life, right? And between the inspiring stories of victory and triumph that emerge out of despair and the road blocks that life throws in our tracks in an attempt to derail us, there is the very real question of, “But what do I do NOW? To make myself feel better in the present? While I’m still going through it?”


9. Bachelorette Party with Juliet Litman

On Bill Simmons’s podcast channel (Channel 33) this GEM discusses The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise and the host is hilarious and gives just the right amount of reverence to irreverence ratio to the Bachelor world. It’s a must-listen for people who say must-listen and watch The Bachelor.

Listen to this episode with Nick Viall our new Bachelor*

Length: 45 minutes – 1 hour. Listen to this episode with Nick Viall our new Bachelor.*



10. Keepin’ it 1600

Another Channel 33 Great, this is a podcast about the election run by two former Obama advisers.. They are smart and witty and have great guests, but mainly I feel like I’m listening in on a big secret. These are the people they talk about on Scandal and Veep and House of Cards. The Washington People Who Know Things. I love it and also really hate this election.

Length: 1 hour. Are you ready to hear about Clinton’s pneumonia and Trump’s Foundation?


11. StoryCorps

Another hit NPR podcast, this one is brief and collects little snippets of stories from people around America. It’s an easy on-the-way-to-the-grocery-store listen that sometimes gets it all right.

Length: 15 minutes. Listen to this one on Sissy Goodwin, a man who likes to wear women’s clothing, and his wife Vickie. They live in Wyoming.


12. The Librarian Is In

Maybe my current favorite podcast, this one is run by two librarians from the New York Public Library. Every week the hosts give book recommendations (I just read The One and Only Ivan via their recommendation and now I trust them with my whole heart and library card.) They have guests who talk about if audiobooks count as reading and the gender politics of picture books and the Winnie the Pooh exhibit and it’s really delightful and well done and all of my interests in rolled into one hour a week.

Length: 1 hour. Here’s that Winnie the Pooh one.


13. The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice—New Fiction from The New Yorker

I really needed to specify which podcast this is because apparently The New Yorker has 12 billion podcasts and once I told Rob to listen to a story that reminded me of him and he wound up listening to a podcast about a priest who bought a chair and was like why did you think of me?

This podcast (the right podcast) has short stories from Lauren Groff and Zadie Smith, and The New Yorker still does short stories so we should all celebrate it.

Length: 30 minutes or so. Here’s Zadie’s. (Not the one that reminded me of Rob.)

14. Lady Lovin’

With Lo Bosworth and Jilly Hendrix!! I’ll love The Hills forever and part of me realizes I am probably a Lo on some level, so it’s fun. It’s like gabbing with girlfriends who spotlight important issues and silly things and always celebrate women and are DJs.

Length: 1 hour. Here’s their one year episode.


Other podcasts I listen to on occasion:

Dear Hank and John, with the Green Brothers. It’s fun just to hear their back and forth, these two brothers who love each other and are nerdy and ruling the internet.

Gilmore Guys, mainly for the interviews with the cast members, though I got in a (minor) (not my fault) car wreck while listening to Scott Patterson’s very lengthy podcast so I think I’m subconsciously turned off by this one on some level. Also I think they could use better a) questions and b) editing.

Anna Faris is Unqualified. She had Tavi Gavinsen on and Tavi is just so interesting and thoughtful so maybe I should list all podcasts with Tavi.

Desert Island Discs, the classic British podcast asking famous people their favorite songs of all time. Fun when you care about the celebrity like the impossibly sexy Bill Nighy, not so fun when you don’t.

Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon, a British blogger I follow. She interviews people about their relationship to the internet and social media. She’s had people like Mara Wilson and Melissa Broder on and I’ll tune in for the greats.

Women of the Hour by Lena Dunham. Not currently on, but a nice 12 episodes if you want to dive back in history (2015).



That’s it folks, did you even make it here?

I love Nick Viall.

OK, just checking that you’re still here. I don’t really love Nick.

I do love Wells, though I’m concerned about his social media presence.

Really, if I’m being honest, JP Rosenbaum was my one true Bachelor Love and I’ll never get over him.


And now I’m really done.



PS: What are your favorite podcasts? What did I miss?

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Back In The Arena

12 Sep


Today I had a big writing rejection.

All writing rejections are big, I guess, but this one hurt particularly. I found out as I was walking out of yoga, checking back in with the real world.

I regret that the volume of submissions we receive makes it impractical for me to offer editorial feedback.

Add it to the list.

I stopped at the store for some rice and chicken. Three bright lemons and a drink to warm my insides.

I put my farmers market veggies on a tray topped with olive oil and red pepper flakes.

I finished a book.

A perfect book with not a word to change.

I made a basil sauce.

I watched Tiny House Hunters and realized I’m living in Tiny House Hunters, complete with hot plate and portable oven.

I absently wondered how many square feet my apartment is.

This rejection hurts. It sucks, and all those non-writerly words. I wish it hadn’t happened. I wish it had gone my way.

But I’m not floored.

I’m not crying or losing it all.

Politics aside, one of my favorite things about the exceptionally complicated woman we know as Hillary Clinton is that she is a fighter.

For over 20 years she has been brutally attacked for every single part of her, in the most vicious ways possible. She has faced sexism and glass ceilings, betrayal and the worst of the worst of the internet worst people.

And yet, she always comes back swinging.

In 2008, she gracefully bowed out for Barack Obama. She then served as Secretary of State.

She’s back now, facing the daunting arena again.

She is knocked down. She is wildly imperfect, as we all are. She comes back to the fight.

I wonder why I handled this one better.

Is it a year of therapy? Growing up?

Is it that I didn’t place every expectation on this one piece of work? That I only let my mind half wander down how great it could be?

I think it’s because I know I’m coming back.

Writing and I, we made a vow a few years ago. And as soon as I accepted that vow, as soon as I said no matter how many times I’m knocked down I will come back swinging– things got easier.

I know, in times like this, that I am headed back to the arena.

That makes a difference.


Also, I’m proud of what I wrote.

It’s been less than two hours since the rejection. The sun has set on this mild day and I’m full of good food and good words.

I have work to do all night, like the work I did all day.

My friend texted me “I think that’s what makes people successful. Ability to take failure.”

I thanked her and got back to writing.

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It Won’t Matter In A Year

29 Aug


It started with the nightmares.

I dreamt of violence and pain, of an ex-boyfriend showing up and ruining the good parts of my life.

My mother says it takes time for her dreams to catch up to her reality. When she moved to Kentucky it wasn’t until three years in that she actually dreamt in the Bluegrass State.

By this standard that ex-boyfriend should be long gone.

I’m learning, though, that there are certain hurts that we work through to the best of our abilities. We seek help, we find healthy relationships and keep going, but those wounds are there, under the surface.

I do not know for how long.

Some time in the tumultuous night I turned off my alarm. When I woke up I had five minutes to get ready for an important meeting an hour and a half away.

I threw on my dress from the day before, smeared sunblock on my face, and squashed a banana in my purse.  As I locked the door behind me I had a sinking feeling.

I had left my keys inside.

No, no, no, no.

Fifteen “there are no available Ubers in your area right now” later I gave an apologetic call to my meeting and I walked to the closest bus stop.

Urine.  It smelled like I was sitting on a pile of urine.

I probably was.

I took the bus and then an Uber. I got my extra key from Rob’s work, a nice place in Century City, oh about a lifetime away from me.

I treated myself to an iced tea that really sucked.  I tried to eat a now-black banana and gave up almost immediately.

And then another Uber home, this time with my phone dead in my hands.

I read once that you shouldn’t get caught up in things that won’t matter a year from now. Life is full of little petty annoyances, three hours and a missed meeting out of your day, $48.03 you would have rather put towards chili cheese fries or at least your credit card bill.

I know people who are suffering from life-altering physical pain. I know people who are getting divorced, who are aching and changing and bleeding in the biggest ways.

My stupid three hours for my stupid mistake was stupid.

I got home and put my nightgown back on.  I poured my tiny princess self a glass of cold water and watched Drake’s VMA speech again.

I prayed that Rihanna would accept him, perhaps in a few years when she’s more mature. That she’ll realize that all you really want in life is a man who will put on a tux and embarrass himself in front of the whole world for you.

I got choked up when Drake did.

She’s someone…she’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old. 

Who can blame either of them?

This stupid morning won’t matter in a year from now and I know that. And so I type it out, letting the stupid poison bleed into my stupid keyboard instead of my stupid heart.

I stop calling myself stupid.

I wish I had meditated last night. I wish I hadn’t dated an asshole who treated my heart like a Jell-O trampoline for his steel-toed boots. I wish I had grabbed my keys on the way out the door.

I wish, I wish, I wish.


It won’t matter in a year.

I remind myself it won’t matter in a year.

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Cape Cod Year Four

22 Aug

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The days blurred together on the Cape, one stifling afternoon after another. We walked through soup air, dripping sweat on our coverups. It’s so hot we said, our brains gone dead with the temperature.

The bay was cooler, with a breeze.  We set our chairs out by the water, letting our toes dip into the bathtub before us. The water’s so warm, we said, our brains gone dad with the temperature.

My hair found snarls, knotting and twisting, revealing my insides like I always knew it did.

Clumps and chunks and curls I pulled out to no avail. The next day it was back to the same.

Back to me.

I noticed every picture I took was a copy of the last. Command C. Command P. We went one place and one place only.

We went to the water.

There weren’t long rainy days in town, slow afternoons exploring the bookstore or eating fried fish. There weren’t day trips and gallery walks, plays and movies and vintage teapots like in years past.

The days were the same.

The heat turned everything to mush, including time.

Hank Green said Gilmore Girls taught him that your great ambition in life can be your life.

I wrote it down as soon as he said it, because he had put to words something I never had.

Your great ambition in life can be your life.

Gilmore Girls was about the minutia, but the minutia mattered. Where Rory went to school mattered, what Lorelai’s inn was like mattered.

The minutia can be your life.

Is your life.

We had big breakfasts, potatoes and butter, bacon and cranberry juice.

We piled our coolers full of drinks and treats. The best that the corner store could buy.

We took ladder golf and bocce, high-backed chairs and umbrellas. We spoke to neighbors, and took beach walks. We stayed in the water until it turned slate and the sky finished its last streak of light.

We walked back home in the dark to a kitchen full of food, to a homemade basil sauce and grilled tomatoes, fluffy white rice and marinated chicken.

We listened to themed music and watched the Olympics. Cuddled and talked and had ice cream sometimes and ice cream cake other times.

It was routine and small and boring and mushy and Command P again and again.

And again.


We did it with our greatest ambition.



Cape Cod Year 1 (and Martha’s Vineyard), Year 2, Year 3, and my love affair with it in general

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