There was a max limit to the hoist and it was surpassed and the whole mechanism came crashing down on stage. Actors ran away from the collapsing wooden stage, allowing themselves to feel the thrill of escaping a cracking ground that could have tumbled them right into the hell beneath the stage. It was just like being an extra in a movie, except no one had promised them they would be absolutely fine.

The director came out of his shuttered baseball cap and newspaper shelter and rose from his plush red chair. “Just what exactly is going on here?” he shouted, mildly all things considered, as if two schoolboys were ripping at each others’ shirts and throwing punches.

“There’s been an accident,” a voice called from the heavens. It was a squeaky voice, one that wasn’t used to shouting down, but this was Albert’s first day alone because Thespia (not her given name) had called in sick. He was pretty sure he was going to get sued. He wanted to get out of the theater as quickly as possible and pursue his earlier career goal of being a pet-shop owner.

“Well, someone fix it!” the director called out, even less urgently. He sank back to his seat, lowered his baseball cap, raised his paper, and resumed his nap.

The actors began to creep out of the wings, pecking their way through the debris, tiptoeing around the big hole in the middle of the stage. One, a brave soul, said that they should probably get a carpenter. Or a handyman, another suggested. Or woman, interjected a third. Maybe the set designer, a fourth said logically. The stage was part of the set, in a way, wasn’t it?

Albert sat in the heavens, squirreled into a ball, and waited for someone to decide to do something. His hand still held the rope that had been enough to hoist the thing up but not enough to keep the metal bits from snapping.

He thought of how his mother used to tell him that some days are like this, even in Australia, and still wished he were that many time zones away.

The Premio Dardos Award


Thank you so much for the honor!

Originally posted on Ocean Bream:


It is not easy to write. Sometimes it can be, ideas can flow through the ends of fingers and pens, smoothing themselves out on the page and settling their feathers in contentment, getting along very well indeed. Other times, one feels an urge to scour their very brains. Are these ideas really mine? Am I writing to please certain people? Why aren’t these thoughts merging together, why is this sounding so gaudy and cheap? If I were to read this aloud, I would cringe! How can I write an entire book when my ideas keep changing, developing?

It also appears that nobody seems to be fully satisfied with what they have written. Always room for improvement, always a better way to put things. I know I feel like that. I read so many blogs and am enthralled  by what these voices have to say. I think, well WHY can’t I…

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Quiet Space Spills

The sound of spilling in a quiet space is never a positive one. Either someone has peed their pants, or their drink has poured all over their computer, or else they’ve vomited up the vodka from last night onto the front of their expensive thrift store sweater.

The quiet space makes every nanosecond, every inch, every gram of noise carry across the ceiling and in between the cubicles like the measles virus. It is a bad place to be clumsy. It is a bad place to have a cold. It is a bad place to let rip a heroic fart or a miscalculated burp.

Our coats spill onto one another, hung over the sides of cubicles and backs of chairs. Boots tumble sideways from their tucked in nooks when the door opens and the entire place shakes. It is a bad place to be heavy. It is inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. It is discriminating.

Compassion and jealousy and hatred permeate one another. Who has an agent, who has a book deal, who has a publicist. It’s the loud voices that have the most, or maybe the least. How can we tell when we are all so full of hubris as to think we belong?

It’s a paradox, an anachronism, something like that. It’s impossible. A quiet space full of so much noise.

Not Dying

Miranda wasn’t dying. She was standing in the grocery store, in a long line filled with other people who were being multilingual and filling her head with confusion. But she was most certainly not dying.

She often reminded herself of this fact. It was a necessary day-to-day assertion. “I’m not dying, I’m not dying,” she would tell herself when she rolled over in the morning to turn off the Mickey Mouse alarm clock on her bedside table, stolen from her son’s room when he went off to college because it was so annoying that it actually got her up. “I’m not dying,” she would recite over the coffee maker, dancing from one foot to another on cold toes.

“Put slippers on!” Miranda’s mother used to yell – really yell, with spittle flying out of her mouth and veins coming to the fore of her face.

“I’m not dying,” Miranda reminded herself on the way to work and in the morning meeting and the noon meeting and the late lunch meeting and the dinner meeting. “I’m not dying.”

“You’ll catch cold and then where will you be?” her mother would ask. Miranda yearned to ask where indeed that would be, but it was many years before she worked up the courage. By then, her mother wasn’t a force to be reckoned with anymore, and it felt like a cheap, below the belt blow. There were better ways to get to her mother than this, she knew, but it made her mother smile to hear her daughter ask the question. “Dead,” she’d said in the nursing home. “That’s what I meant when you were a kid. You’d be dead. Kids die of colds all the time.”

Miranda stood in the grocery store line and listened to the Spanish and Greek and Russian streaming around her and knew she would never learn another language. One was hard enough for her to contend with. It wouldn’t help her to understand the chatter around her. The mothers were all probably telling their kids the same thing every mother tells her daughter. The men in big jerseys were probably talking about some game involving a ball.

“I’m not dying,” Miranda told herself every night before she went to sleep. She walked barefoot to her bed and tucked her feet into the coldest part of the mysterious temperatures found in crisp sheets and made beds. “I’m not.”


It’s a hard sell. Mind minus body. The lumbering meaty thing is still there, with all its joints and hemoglobin and heart conditions. It doesn’t leave you just because you decide to value that tangled web of firing neurons and chemical imbalances called a brain.

You do value it. Of course you do. It’s what makes your body tick, it’s what allows you to run on the treadmill and eat falafel from a food truck at 3am with your date,

No, that’s not right. That’s your brain.

Is your brain the same thing as your mind?

It’s that kind of night. The kind where you’re asking stupid philosophical questions and waving a white flag of defeat in front of your responsibilities. You’re done. You’re through. No more tonight. You need a rest.

So how do you convince people to see your mind over your body? It’s hovering there, your mind, above and around and in between all of your bodily functions and orifices and fortunate features. But it doesn’t overlay them. It just sort of shimmers. Sometimes it gets noticed. But not usually.

No, when you walk down the street to the post office to send the birthday present you’ve owed your mother for three months now and the rent check you’ve owed for slightly longer, you are not a mind above a body. You are a theoretical person, with a theoretical mind, but mostly you are simply a collection of limbs and features that are recognized as human.

Are you?

Is anyone?

It really is that kind of night. Shut your mind off. Let your brain wander. Watch some TV. Stop thinking about that girl you saw on the train and wanted to talk to. She’s long gone. She doesn’t exist in your world anymore.

Does she exist at all then?

Does it matter?

Shut up.