Friday, April 06, 2012


things i don't want to forget.

if most of these are about miles, it's because it's things about him that seem so worthwhile, and so fleeting; most of my work feels neither (it's not so bad, it's just not yummy right now), and most of my other good stuff feels blessedly solid. but some things that are going by quickly:

muffins are foofins.

miles asks me to sing ABCs in the bath and plays piano on the tub edge. enthusiastically.

i ask for a kiss at night after stories, and he says no but coyly pulls his pacifier out and offers me his lips for a smooch.

everything ends in -y, a habit i thought was something that saccharine parents forced on their children. nope. huggy. doggy. hard-y (that is, when something is difficult). rolly (roll around on the ground with me). warmy.


"nope." often in groups, as in: "hey, put a shirt on." (calmly:) "nope. nope. nope."

affis, pro. "OFF-eese".

yeowm. yeowm.

yoom yoom! (not to be confused with yooping up the yooper.)

yeowm yeowm.

his kitty named "mouse." he named her!

family hugs. and that he wants them.

i will think of more, and there will be more, every week. at fourteen months, i was a little disappointed that he only had four or five words. and then, blammo! by eighteen we couldn't count them all, and now we have sentences. usually some version of "i like it!" "i want it!" "i have it!" but also: "i cleaning!" (usually a lie.) "daddy sleeping." etc.

i suppose, in a way, posts like these are the uninteresting story of our happy family, undistinguished and only meaningful to us. i'm okay with that. i had no idea how good this was going to feel.

Saturday, December 31, 2011


guess what! still poorly getting it done!

you are shocked. I KNOW.

a chapter due at the end of the month, which is now, which could not be more . . . more specifically now, on new year's eve. i thought this would clear my head.

there were a couple of days in which it was pleasurable, the writing. i'm holding onto those, or at least trying not to forget. and gently reminding that that's what it's like when you work regularly, when the weeks before the chapter deadline aren't quite so fraught with actually creating the chapter. like, from scratch.

sometimes how hard this is makes me wonder if i will even enjoy this life, which by all accounts includes as much of this and of administrative headache as the doofy life of the mind or whatever. then i remember how much i like teaching. god, i really like it.

i also actually like writing. what i hate: having to prove my ideas are good enough. trying to act like i have ideas, when really what i have is love. i love this stuff, i love my subject, i love learning about it. i even still love theater. that's not the same as innovating, or even intervening.

okay. next post: less of this, and more of the amazing human being that miles is becoming. and christmas! oh, christmas. that was a good one.

in the meantime, on with the shitty first draft.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


save it for later.

some other day, when this is a long time ago, i'm going to think of it sometimes, especially if i need to feel good. because right now is so humbling, so overwhelmingly humbling, that i think to look back on it later, at least after a while, will make me smile the never again smile. i never have to do this again.

the scariest is the thought that i am positing an after that won't really exist, that was never guaranteed to happen; the safe, warm, job-having, comfortable place where i think this all ends up may be a unicorn. this is also possible: that now is hard, but what will be enduringly difficult is managing the life that this choice set into motion, the one where our debt mounts and we continue, over educated and under employed, to live lives other than the ones we tried very hard ot make happen.

which, let me be clear, is not a large tragedy. that we didn't get to be what we wanted when we grew up isn't on a par with illness, or with not being able to have kids, or a million other things. that a lot of people in the world desperately wish for the level of security i find insufficient is forward in my mind, at least when i'm consciously complaining.

but if it does happen, if we do get there, there is going to be some fall that precedes a christmas where we can do a large amount of the things i now want to do. shop for gifts. enjoy each other with no overhanging anxiety about jobs unsecured and books unwritten. i know that i can manufacture anxiety out of carbon dioxide, but i've actually felt that way before. i know it's possible even without the incredible illuminating ray my kid is.

i'm worried that i'm giving myself too many breaks. on one hand, it's hard to underemphasize the amount of conditional stress that's present right now. on the other, fucking around isn't going to make it go away sooner. getting it done is what's going to move us along.

so. getting it done. poorly, i think, at least right now. and looking forward to when now is history.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


secret shame. other than dove bars.

i was feeling perfectly fine this morning. tired. whatever. excited to get to the coffee shop and eat a pain au chocolat (new leaf, yes. skipping pastry, no). and in my morning scan of internet offerings, i found a friend of mine interviewed about being a mom.

why am i so convinced that other people are having more fun than i am? when i hear stories about people investing in themselves and getting happy, sometimes they make me despair. because i think i can't do that? because it doesn't work? because for a long time, i think people really were happier than i was most of the time and now i'm that paranoid guy who thinks there must always be a boogie in his nose? (a sadness boogie. the boogie of sadness.)

i have such a terminal grass-is-greener problem. and i think getting happier has more to do with kicking that than with anything else.

also, though, right now is hard. i may have a problem that makes me think i live in a constant state of exception where things are temporarily difficult but will get better when: we make more money, when this show closes, when i have a more fulfilling job, when the kid goes to college. i know better than to spend my life that way, but there's no getting over that this year might suck in a lot of ways.

but for right now, i'm going to go write for five minutes in a pretend voice, one that thinks i'm as happy as my friend. and we'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


it's me. again.

there's a backdated post coming about the very latest hey-wait-now-it's-different. (preview, which will be a post view: fourteen months! is when the baby became a kid. all kid. what a kid.) i'll write it soon, but this one is burning a bigger hole in a more important pocket.

i've been drinking a lot in the evenings. this happens sometimes; it's happened other sometimes, and i've never been too worried. i started to just get the smallest amount worried, and then the thing that always happens happened: it stopped being fun. my sleep has been sucking. i think i have finally gotten enough beer. (it was like there was a very very dry beer sponge in there. the months of pregnancy and nursing--like i abstained while nursing--parched me in a way that could only be slaked by a couple of months of beer hoovering.)

and i got myself a few books, thinking i could do that in the nights instead. it turns out it's fun, just like i remember--like before i had netflix and a dvr and didn't quite know i could buy booze for myself. which is to say, before 25. remember that? remember having that bottle of scotch for, like, a year? and reading books and renting Important Films?

i read a book that made me, on one hand, sad because it was about someone doing her dream job. and also written in a way that made me think i would like this famous person, which somehow also made me sad because we are not going to be friends. more, though, that i am not going to have that thing--at least not my first thing, the ashland thing, the film career thing, the voice-overs-for-adult-cartoons thing. i will not have a career that involves a blooper reel, and to me that is a serious deal. i pick that. that is my first choice.

increasingly, i'm worried that my very valid second choice is nearly as much of a shot in the dark, an ice castle, but whatever.

the POINT IS, it also made me want to write again, really badly. so i might do some of that. i'm not making any promises, because i am too smart for that. (Things I Am Too Smart For: short list.) but i am also thinking about going to bed earlier and eating some green stuff and doing a few sit ups. you know, to see. just to see.

if this is all to shit in a month and i'm back to killing a triad of cheap beer each night, no fair laughing. i'm trying as hard as i can to figure, and there's a lot to figure. i'm finding a place for the six thousand wants that can't be assuaged. if you're wondering what i'm doing with ALL MY FREE TIME, it's that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


almost your birthday, and no self-hatred.

dear buddy,

oh, the self-hatred i have over not having taken better notes on your infancy.

see how i did that, right there? started out something that's meant to be about you and made it about my insecurity?

back to one.

dear buddy,

you have been changing so much recently. they're joyful changes; i feel like you're becoming more vested in yourself, coming into your personhood more each week. you do things this week you didn't do last week--like come running down the hall from your room, already laughing about something. what is making you laugh at the end of the hall? are you making micro trips to narnia through the closet?

last night, when kasia and donovan were over, i let you run naked into the living room and you bounced your little butt against the big purple playground ball. never seen you do that before. it took you one try to learn how to give nose kisses. the milestones are flying so fast and furious. a few weeks ago--a month?--you started turning the board books you love to page through right side up if you happened to pick them up upside down. you sit in your room sometimes, by yourself, contentedly flipping through books and telling yourself stories. in those moments i couldn't be happier to be your mother. i don't mean to pressure you into liking what i like, but a love of books can get you through a lot of things, miles. you are also saying "mama" this month in a way that makes me think you mean it.

you got a haircut yesterday. it's short. short short short. you look a little like sluggo again, like you did when you just didn't have much hair, around four months or so. i'm so glad we have some video of four month old you, by the way, because sometimes i have a hard time remembering him, since now-you is so entirely present. i don't want younger you back, but i wouldn't mind visiting him for a few minutes so i can appreciate how different you are.

i guess that's why i'm sorry i haven't written down more stuff. there is something lovely, though, about just rolling with it and living in these incredible moments and not stressing out about textualizing everything for the archive. i hang out with you before breakfast and just watch, or watch and interact when you bring me things. you are just such a spectacular work of nature right now. i can't believe we did this, that we made you. that you came out of nothing. that's it, it's that i can't believe you came out of thin air. you are such a big thing; how could you just arrive? how could we ever have afforded the raw materials for something like you?

i think this celebration of the first year is more about us than you, frankly. you won't understand this for a long time, and maybe not ever, but having a child is the hardest hard. it's an enormous, exhausting paradigm shift, and that's not even counting the physical labor and lack of sleep. we have now done the hardest thing we've ever done, and we're not done. i'm not going to lie; those first six months, maybe even eight or nine, they weren't . . . . they weren't "fun." that' s along time to go without leisure or sleep, two of the three things that power my life (third: cookies). i have loved spending time with you, but almost everything else has taken such a hit that i feel like i spent a year with a serious illness or something. it's not . . . fun. it's the evacuation of fun, which sucks.

(those first couple months were fun, except for the sleeping. before i had to go to work and there was no real expectation that i'd do anything other than watch you breathe. that was some of the best fun.)

the point is, you are going to do a lot more of these. you are going to get older and older and older, and most of the olderating will be a good thing. things will open for you, you will learn things and do things and be things. you, my love, are just beginning to start starting.

while we are just beginning to start continuing, in the face of enormous life change. and it's getting fun again, these last months. we're functioning as a unit instead of being two people contending with a burden. i still really miss going out at night. and having time for hobbies. but that will come back, too. and it is a joy to be doing okay again. a relief.

you are a mystery bundle, baby. you are a sweet spice. you are an elfin winkle. you inexplicably decline the delicious chicken meatballs i made for you about every third time i serve them.

i hope i can help you achieve the fortitude necessary to get pleasure out of life. it doesn't always arrive on a silver platter, guy. life will undoubtedly throw you some shit. and if i wish anything for you, it's that you develop a kind of resilience your father and i often lack, a confidence that you'll regain your footing and find your way. sometimes i don't know if i've ever found my way, but being your mom and being your dad's emergency contact are two things that help me steer even in adverse conditions. i think this family can do some good things for you. and i love you beyond all telling. if you need a bedrock, i can be that.

happy first birthday, miles. i made some of you, but it's largely in your hands, now. let's see what wonderful mud pies you fashion out of life.


your mom.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


oh, lord.

the crime of not having written, miles. the crime.

mostly because you're a different baby so often, that i'm afraid there's one i'll forget. Teething Biscuit Zombie Baby. Beer Bottle Wanting Baby. Bruise Head Baby. Baby Who Can Clap on Demand And Blow Raspberries.

somehow, you have become a child. somewhere among nine months, it's like you became fully vested. i don't have time to make this sound pretty, but when you were brand new, i used to wonder what would happen if you were suddenly not present. not a tragedy, just . . . not. and how it would be like waking from a dream, and certainly a loss, but also . . . when would we go back to what we were? eventually. we would. we would gently recede into our own shape.

now, not. now we would not. now there is no shape for us that doesn't include you. you're fun to talk to. you really want to honk my nose, a lot of the time. your ear curls are getting out of hand. you're walking like a pro--every week it's like you gain a belt, if there were a belt system for ambulation.

we have been sick for two weeks, you germ ridden whatever. you puked all over me at five a.m. on mother's day (true. my first mother's day). then you got an ear infection. i haven't been so sick in i don't know when. i barfed, a week later i had a sore throat an a fever of 102, a week after that i have post nasal drip that could choke a horse.

but god, i love you. you are my best thing. and also, i quite like you.

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