Checking in.

Hi. How are you?

I was thinking about you the other day. Are you still doing that thing with your mouth/nose/eye/throat/leg? It used to bother me but you’re the only person I know who does it. Ergo, it makes you special.

I like that.

How is your brother/dog/boss/doula/therapist/lower back? Did you have a good time at the game/on the cruise/in the bayou/below the equator? I hope it wasn’t too hot/cold/dry/wet/inconvenient/inconsiderate/inappropriate.

I’m still here. Working on that play/movie/TV show/relationship/habit I told you about. Oh! I built something. A gate. For a friend. I can’t shut the fuck up about it. It’s white and self-closing and has a cute black latch. I made it out of slats of wood I pulled from an unused door that’s been propped against my fence since we moved in. I always hoped I’d find a use for it. It’s a relief, actually. Like I’ve been staring at a crooked picture on the wall for years and years and finally decided to straighten it.

Or maybe the picture was straight and I made it crooked.

Either way. Something is different than it was.

My hands are idle again though. Which means my brain is speeding. I gotta slow it down. Do you have something I could build? What about a bridge made of pencils? I have wood glue. I know how to layer the shafts so they’ll be stable underfoot. I can attach one end to my bedroom window and the other to your mouth. Then I won’t have to ask how you are. I’ll just tumble along in my pajamas one night and land at your lips, right when you’re telling Joey/Shira/Birgit/Morgan/Pete/Kayla/Lei/Omar about that dream you had. The one with the sirens.

Would be weird?

Anyhoo. Let me know.

I miss you.


It’s a gate.

Dance mom.

I used to make a living designing graphics and websites back in the 90s. As a playwright who often needed to create her own promo materials, it was a very handy skill. I totally enjoyed doing it, and I still leap at the chance to dust off the ol’ vector program excuse oh OK I am I need to OK sorry I’m in 20C 20 we’re in 21C OK needs an I’ll aisle seat it’s a who ha situation it’s like Tetris

[i was proofreading this while boarding a plane when a row of folks realized they were in the wrong seats, one of which was mine… I accidentally hit the microphone button and now I can’t bring myself to delete our convo]

Anyway. These days I leap at the chance to design stuff. Even when no one asks me to. The last thing I designed was an ID logo for my son’s Irish dancing gear (I was on deadline and fighting it as usual). I made stickers, labels, iron-ons, vinyl patches…

… and I also designed T-shirts with cheeky phrases only Irish dancers would find funny.

Last Wednesday my 10-year-old reported that after four years of lessons twice a week and multiple competitions per year, he was done. I was crushed. Partially because I spent all that time on his design– which, by the way, is not something any other dancers have and is frankly kind of weird– but also, I loved being a dance mom. I loved traveling to hotels the night before, ordering room service at 6am, suiting my kid up in his sharp purple tie and crunchy precise hair, then heading down to the lobby and getting sucked into a swarm of glittered lip-sticked curly-wigged pre-teens smacking their heavy heels together to the music in their earbuds.

And while the multiple conference rooms stuffed with underslept parents fretting over their tense tanned children can get a little JESUS CHRIST, THIS IS FUN FOR LITERALLY NO ONE, WHAT ARE WE DOING, all that pre-performance thrill/terror/fuss is exactly what got me addicted to theatre years ago. At the time I didn’t understand that even a successful career in theatre involves long stretches where none of this is readily accessible. No performances. No opening nights. No pre-show jitters. Just dogged determination and heavy emotional labor that often has very little payoff. But even if I had known, I believe I woulda gotten myself sucked into the swarm. An addict is an addict.

My son also seemed to enjoy all the lobby chaos, and he loved the performance aspect. But he hated the oppressive grueling nature of competitive dancing– especially in a genre where technique is favored over expression. So he pulled the plug, and I almost did that old-school parent thing where you demand your child stick with something in order to build character. “You can’t keep quitting things just because you don’t like doing them.” Except actually, yeah, that’s exactly when you should quit: when the thing you used to love starts digging holes in you that it will never re-fill.

I don’t feel that way about theatre. Not yet, anyway.

In the meantime, what do I do with all the branded materials?

(answer: take pictures)

Spastic avenues.

I started this one-sided internet conversation thing (for some reason I have trouble calling it a blog—I think it makes me feel retro in a bad way) ’cause I needed to take a break from a certain kind of writing. Also I’d started jotting down notes for a memoir that would address some of the repercussions of toxic masculinity on a traditional family structure. (Mine.) I began to experiment with the use of the long-form personal essay as a lens through which to view/make sense of this awkward um “culturual moment” let’s call it.

But I have a new job now. So this conversation may become a little more spare.

(Or not?)

I’ve always been prolific-ish, but not ambitious in the traditional sense: I’m not running toward a goal. My productivity is characteristically clench-jawed and panic-fueled. Even while medicated, I can’t seem to un-trigger my fight-or-flight response. And unfortunately, the act of running from is often more chaotic than the act of running toward.  When you see the thing you want up ahead, you’re locked in. But if the thing behind you is bigger than the thing ahead of you,  you will run in a million different directions to get away from it.

The upside of the wild scramble down spastic avenues is that it often yields unexpected treasures. Perhaps you’ll discover how to make a cat litter ventilation system. Or begin an amateur woodworking club. Or design an extraordinarily complex and visually arresting Halloween costume. Or embark upon a professional fitness career at your local studio. Or start drawing again. Or draft long-form personal essays for your one-sided Internet whatever to use as a whatever whatever.

And by the time you finally sit down to write something career-related, you may feel raw and burned and beaten and out of breath… but hey, new coffee table!

A coffee table I made while on deadline.

All this is to say. I have a job and I’m trying to run towards it, so one or more of my spastic avenues may have to close for a bit. It might be this convo. It might be the woodworking club. It might be my new sewing machine habit that threatens to send me down a dark crafting rabbit hole.

Either way. You’ll know which when you receive a link to my new Etsy store.

A T-shirt I made Monday night.

(I don’t have an Etsy store.)