Fragile, she lay in my arms, as my wife placed the medicine dropper to her mouth. Like nursing an injured little bird back to health, I thought. Against my chest, I could feel her compacted warmth against me. She wouldn’t take to my wife’s breast in the beginning, so this is how we fed her those first few weeks of life.
In the rearview, I glance back at my son Henry. He’s wearing a black t-shirt that has on its front drawings of insects, different kinds, beetles and flies—bugs that shout, “I am a boy!” He moves the toy truck into the air as if it has wings and glides on air.
“Do you know what my favorite thing to do with my dad was when I was growing up,” I ask Henry.
An excerpt from Sleeping Birds Do Not Sing, a novel about mental illness and friendship that I wrote a decade ago that only one person has ever read—until now.
In this episode of “This Is Me Being Uncomfortable,” I mumble largely about writing, creativity, and the influence of life (and death) experience on how you see the world.
Anorexia isn’t all about looks or beauty. There’s much more to it than that.
Recently, my wife and I began a couple’s love journal titled Why I Love You—a love story, in our own words.
In this episode of This Is Me Being Uncomfortable, I mumble about seasonal affective disorder, low level depression, my son, and walking away from society’s norms
The ancient Stoics believed that to live one’s life to the fullest, to truly appreciate those you love and your own life, contemplating death was necessary.
With one exception: Mary, Did You Know?
If you opened the junk drawer of your childhood, what memories would you find?
I open the door of the car which swings open freely, and set my feet on the ground, run for the tree line. There is a path in here somewhere, the hayfield, I know it. There isn’t. I will have to create my own path. This is where the adventure starts. Where the snakes hide in wait. Where the flowers form at the root and the weeds do all they can to strangle the beauty. The road is not paved before me. It never was. This is where the children of my past run freely. Where the thorns snag at shirts and acorns fly through the air like bullets piercing into skin.
The portly woman had her own path to be exact, worn white into the grass that led to her car. After this curiosity, I reached into my coat pocket and retrieved a folded copy of “The Last Leaf,” by O. Henry that I had printed prior to my departure from Charlottesville earlier in the day. “Don’t laugh at me,” I said to my then-girlfriend. “I’m going to read you a short story.”
Jeremiah had this cat named Leon Phelps, named, yes, after the character from the movie The Ladies Man of the same name. This is the story of when Leon introduced himself to Cal Adams, Jeremiah’s new roomie (from “When the Lights Go Out at 10:16: A Memoir of Life and Friendship”)
I close my eyes and there you are. I’m listening to the music now. It’s dark now. No one knows I cry myself to sleep at night sometimes.
I was not mauled by a territorial mother bear protecting her cubs and/or my face eaten off by a male bear I inadvertently interrupted while getting his swerve on during mating season. But that’s not to say it won’t happen…
In the mid 1980s, there was a makeshift skate park on the tennis court off Church Street in Phenix, Virginia, where long haired, zit-faced teenage boys would do kick flips and ollies on their skateboards and smoke cigarettes under their perfectly constructed wooden quarter pipe while listening to The Ramones and Motörhead. These kids formed a rough and tumble street gang known as The Aces. See end note.
Last night as I was reading my daughter a bedtime story, I heard an adult voice cry out in haste from the street just outside our home. Minutes later, sirens pierced into the night, closer and closer. There was an ambulance and police cars, a fire truck. First responders were descending a staircase that leads to a small lake at the bottom of the hill.
Every seat has a body in it. There are so many faces here in the soup kitchen. Black, white, young, old. A large Japanese man who requests more meat and bread. A young couple enters pushing a baby stroller, a small child in tow. And old man, an amputee, without his left leg, folded up into a square and safety pinned. A large woman with wall eyes. An eighteen year old with short dreads.
The year was 1997. I sat in the backseat of a tiny Toyota Corolla with my perfumed, slightly purpled hair Granny Hamlett as my neighbor. She was seated directly behind my dad at the wheel whose eyes searched for fellow road warriors and interstate truckers to shake his head at.
A childhood memory of my grandmother and I snapping green beans together.