The Duchess of Coolsville

The Duchess of Coolsville

So there we were at the Rickie Lee Jones concert in San Francisco a few months ago – my pal Ann and I. We thought we were going to be late, but it turned out Rickie Lee was even later. Apparently her band’s bus had broken down 8 hours away and had finally chug-a-lugged it into San Francisco…

Does This Blog Post Make Me Look Fat?

“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”   –      Agnes De Mille     If you’re a woman, you’ll understand when I tell you that writing this blog post has been exactly like changing your clothes 17 times before you leave the house. Not pretty. Not easy. You upend your closet looking for something comfortable that also makes you look good, that hides the parts of you that you’re less in awe of.   No. This hasn’t been one of your throw-down-some-thoughts-and-post-it kind of blogs. It’s been more like, Does this blog post make me look fat? Does this blog post reveal the part of me that waits for the sun to go down so I can watch another episode of Scandal? Does this blog post pull the curtains back on the part of me that feels flat, dull and without inspiration? The part of me that wanders around my house doing laundry, washing dishes and surfing the internet because I’m not inspired to do anything else?  The part of me that wants people to see my “good side” so they’ll want to work with me?     Because if it does, I’m in trouble.       That’s why I find this Agnes De Mille quote so beautiful and so troubling. I mean, it’s one thing to do this marvelous work of not knowing, of leaping into the dark on the...

Hungry For The Sound of My Own Music

A couple of weeks ago, David Bowie put out a new record, which is a big deal in the music industry. The man is 66-years-old, a legend, a huge rock star. I’d heard an interview with a member of his band a few days before the record launched, and the interviewer asked, “What earlier record is this new one like?” I found myself hoping he’d say The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust or Hunky Dory – two of my favorite Bowie records from the 70’s. But this band member only said that it was the best record Bowie had ever made. So when the album came out on iTunes this week, I checked it out, hoping to hear songs that would take me back to 1976 and tanning by the pool in Palm Springs with my friend Marcie. Those were some days. I was 16 years old, had long brown hair, and wore bikinis. Boys liked me and I loved music; a doorway into a rich place full of feelings that I couldn’t yet articulate, but which I knew promised me access to a deeper part of myself. But when I listened to this new album, I didn’t hear anything resembling the Bowie I had loved. Instead I heard the crooning stuff he’s been putting out in the last few years – not my cup of tea. Here’s the thing: I don’t know what Bowie was thinking when he put out the record, but his band mate told the interviewer that Bowie makes the kind of music that’s coming through him. I didn’t get the Bowie album I...
How I Had the Courage to Wear a Bikini this Summer

How I Had the Courage to Wear a Bikini this Summer

Like a lot of people, I got caught up in my share of the summer Olympics. I watched a man with one leg sprint like a gazelle around a soft, clay track. I saw beefy guys in little kayaks slaloming down big water obstacle courses. I saw lithe, teenage swimmers pop out of pools with winning smiles and Russian ballerinas toss balls in the air with the tips of their toes. But the one thing I could not get enough of was volleyball star Misty May- Treanor’s lovely, ample derriere. As a woman who has lived her whole life rejecting her body for one reason or another  –  my thighs were too fat, too muscular, my calves too big, and my tush too plentiful – the sight on network T.V. of a strong, athletic, full bodied woman in a tiny red bikini was absolutely eye-popping. Possibly even a game changer. Suddenly large, muscular thighs and curvy, full behinds were the new beautiful and Misty was leading the way. While other fans might have been blown away by Misty’s digs and dives, I was examining every inch of her body like an ornithologist peering at an exotic, never before seen bird. Cocking my head at the T.V., I took in every inch of her: those smallish breasts, the tan, muscled tummy – paying particular attention when she sat down at a break to see if there was any hint of flab toppling over her bathing suit bottoms. I turned to my husband on the couch and asked, “Do I look like that?” I can tell you what I wish I...
Superheros!

Superheros!

Andrea Scher’s Superhero Interview with Laurie Wagner is right here! So cool! So fun! What I value most in a person is honesty and authenticity, and so I aim for that as best I can. But it’s more than just a set of values, the truth is, I simply can’t tolerate the lie or the half-truth inside of me. If I’ve kept something from you, eventually it will come out. I must purge it or I can’t sleep. And this propensity to tell the truth reveals itself all over my life – in writing classes, at dinner parties, in relationships, good god – sometimes in professional meetings with strangers. That doesn’t always go so well. I can’t help myself. I tell the awkward truth, I point to the elephant in the room, I confess. And when I do this, when I take the first risk and sacrifice myself like that, what often ends up happening is that it changes the air in the room and people start telling the truth and taking risks around me. This going first business seems to have the effect of making it safe for people because it shows them how big the territory of our connection is, and it turns whatever space I’m in – a classroom – a dinner party – into a much more interesting and soulful experience because we all wade into deeper waters. read more…   share this...