Sunday, January 31, 2010

Linguists, synapses, take note:

We need a conjugation of "are", "were", and "will be" that applies to the collective and connotes one person is alive and one is dead.

And while I'm making requests, I would appreciate if my subconscious mind stopped prompting me to utter "when we died".

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy birthday, Mom!

Your intelligence, compassion, empathy, tenacity and wit are awe-inspiring and I love you immeasurably!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Toss up:

Unsure which I'd prefer more right now, a haircut or general anesthesia.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apple unveils new device for those in the deep and early stages of grief:

The iDon'tgiveafuckbutfakeiteffectively.

Spit-wads or Saran Wrap on their toilet seats acceptable substitutes:

I thought last night's State of the Union Address was erudite, pragmatic, inspiring, compassionate, self-aware, and I like that the president threw a few elbows. Could have been more satisfied only if he issued an executive order stating shin-kicking and wedgies inflicted upon Senators Lieberman and Nelson and the five Supreme Court Justices who handed down last week's deplorable campaign finance decision would be legal indefinitely.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just read that Huffington Post...

...will provide "instant Twitter reaction" to tonight's State of the Union Address. Whew! Close one! For a second I thought I'd have to contemplate and process the president's speech all on my own like a sentient and informed adult.

I read HuffPo frequently, but if they're hellbent on coddling me, might I suggest folding my laundry or making me homemade lasagna instead.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Just doing my part (except for the elitist thing):

Skipped the NFL playoffs yesterday in favor of the Michelangelo exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, which was surprisingly packed, then headed across the street to Fran's Chocolates, where three women discussed vegan pancake recipes at length.

The city's rep as lefty-elitist-gay-loving-bookworms? Secured for time being.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yin, yang. Whatever:

As I knew would occur after the initial "protective" phase passed, this week I received both the most thoughtless question and most inane email since he died, from two vastly different sources, neither of whom have been through this. (Which is still no excuse: we're not kids. In each instance, the messages were deeply idiotic, almost comically so, and will undoubtedly find their way into my future work.)

On the flip side, today I received some of the kindest and most practical insight from one who has lived through this and then some. And it helped tremendously.

As I've written of here and elsewhere repeatedly, in the aggregate, I've been profoundly fortunate in that I've been surrounded by incredibly loving, ceaselessly thoughtful family, friends, and colleagues. As for the few but vocal members of the moron brigade, to crib the Ben Franklin line, death and taxes. Like it or not, dumbfucks, your turn is coming. Also, I'm fully aware this isn't my last go-round on this particular ride.

As one of my close friends and I keep reiterating, as cheesy as it sounds, what gets us through this is love and, in our cases, our art, too.

So thank you again so much to each individual who has helped tamp down the fires of this particular hell. Re the others, well, I think I've made my point.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Today's NYT follow-up piece with Dr. Nancy Klimas, who serves on the board of the International Association of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

Dr. Nancy Klimas, recognized internationally as one of the leading Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome researchers, answers another round of questions in today's New York Times. (She fielded different readers' questions last month.)

Dr. Klimas again does an outstanding job distilling complicated research findings into laypersons' terms while maintaining both medical objectivity and compassion. No mean feat:

And while many of the NYT commenters are smart and/or have CFIDS themselves, as per usual w/ anything internet (or human) based, there is some startling misinformation in the comments section, including that CFIDS patients' blood work returns normal, that it is merely a question of food allergies (I eliminated the foods I'm allergic to years ago), or that CFIDS is simply indicative of "normal aging". (I was in a wheelchair for four months at age 24 and again at 34; pediatric CFIDS has been extensively researched and documented.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Refreshingly honest and deeply compelling exploration of..., loss, grief, art, belief, and the intersection of all of the above in a new Patti Smith interview with Chris Kornelis of the Seattle Weekly. Via my friend, Caryn Rose:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This would be a spectacularly apt time to thank...

...Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, Pete Townshend's "After the Fire", and Peter Weir and Rafael Yglesias' Fearless for being among the very few things that make any goddamned sense now.

My deepest and lasting gratitude to all involved.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dear Massachusetts:

If you fuck up today's special Senate election and both destroy the supermajority and further endanger health care legislation, you will have to cover the nation's uninsured and everyone else's co-payments. Because I'm in no mood for this shit and neither is anyone else, Litsa

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability...

...but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent."--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Then slaughters a litter of kittens and makes you watch:

I posted this elsewhere last week, but I'm uncertain why conventional parlance refers to grief as coming in "waves" when it is much more akin to being struck on the back of the neck by a crowbar-wielding sociopath who then sets your hair on fire and laughs while eating a Snickers bar.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Smith Magazine's video of Wednesday night's reading at University Bookstore... conjunction with their new book, It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs (HarperCollins), in which I'm included.

As noted yesterday, instead of reading my piece in the collection, I read, "The clitoris: not a Rubik's Cube", that I'd written for Smith Mag's site and also read its accompanying backstory. 

Editor-in-chief, Larry Smith, has been relaying witty tales from each stop on the tour and you can read them, including some delightful and unexpected ones from the Seattle reading, on Smith Mag's site:

And, of course, you can buy the book, packed with stories from Frank McCourt, Gloria Steinem, Andy Richter, and scads of other compelling writers and thinkers, here: 

Or you can find it at most bookstores nationwide. I'd recommend it even if I weren't in it. 

The frosting on the cake: I felt more buoyant during the reading than I have in months. It felt good being funny. As Mel Brooks has said, "Humor is just another defense against the universe."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The new book from the editors of Smith Magazine in which I'm included:

It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs (HarperCollins).

Last night's reading at the University Bookstore was delightfully charged and we had a full house. I didn't read my piece in the book but instead chose, "The clitoris: not a Rubik's Cube" that I wrote for Smith's site and also read the backstory behind it.

Thank you so much to editors Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser for everything and to all those who attended! And buy the book to check out contributions from Frank McCourt, Laura Hillenbrand, Amy Tan, Sarah Silverman, Eugene Mirman and a panoply of equally insightful writers and thinkers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

From the U.S. State Department: How to help re the devastation in Haiti:

From the State Department's front page:

For missing family, call 1-888-407-4747. To help with relief efforts, text "HAITI" to "90999" and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill.

See the State Department's front page for additional information re the Red Cross and Mercy Corps, too:

Thanks to my friend, Caryn Rose, for the tip.

[Postscript an hour later: Haiti's Prime Minister has told CNN "well over 100,000" have died:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Eve Ensler's Ten Radical Acts for Congo in the New Year:

I know all of us are slammed, but it takes roughly five minutes to write the White House and another five to write the U.S. State Department. Reknowned playwright and activist Eve Ensler lists several concrete ways in which each of us can help end the protracted rape and slaughter in Congo:

As Ensler says, think of the horror committed against the Congolese women as happening to your loved ones. At which point, it remains impossible to do nothing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The "surprise" everyone saw coming: Sarah Palin signs with Fox News:

So, Miss Small Town Values will spend her working life in that capitol of godless, abortion-having, gay, lefty elitists, i.e. New York City, where Fox News, of course, is headquartered:

I'm sure she'll be welcomed with open arms.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Might we stipulate...

...that one of the few verities remaining true throughout the ages is that it is unwise to repeatedly and deliberately antagonize a writer of Greek origin?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Fuck off, mornings:

As noted before, I've been a night owl my entire life. (Mom says that when I was little, she tried not to laugh when she caught me reading past bedtime because she did the same at that age.)

And while I've never been an individual who slept easily and have always been prone to nightmares, since he died, my sleep has become more erratic than usual. And again, as noted, I now frequently arise anywhere from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.

And while it is simply one of the many things I've hated about the past 13 and a 1/2 weeks (number one being, of course, that he is dead), this whole morning thing is in the top ten because it is hugely disorienting and perhaps underscores the profound degree to which I no longer feel like myself.

And while I know I will never be that version of myself again and, by all accounts, I am doing as well as one can under the circumstances and I feel myself continuing to progress, still, we'll know a corner has been turned when I resume writing until 5:00 a.m. instead of beginning at 5:00 a.m.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Given the way this night is going... seems as fitting time as any to start re-reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.

As oft-noted, Didion is one of my favorites and I read it upon its release, knowing full well that I, like all of us who hadn't crossed the threshold, would one day understand it in a way I didn't then.

We're here now. And there's something darkly funny that TJ couldn't stand Didion.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Three months later...

...or 13 weeks, to be precise, progress has been made.

Still alternately feels as if he were in the room five minutes ago and as if this has been the longest quarter year in human history, though.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy birthday, Michael Stipe:

[Above: The "So. Central Rain (I'm Sorry)" and "Don't Go Back to Rockville" 12" singles I bought in London, summer of 1985.]

Michael Stipe turned 50 today and I've been thinking of the joy R.E.M.'s work has brought me since my then-boyfriend rhapsodized about Murmur in 1983 and I purchased it and the band's previous E.P., Chronic Town, in quick succession. And I clearly remember pulling stray weeds around the perimeter of my parents' front yard, Walkman headphones firmly in place, swooning to the newly released Reckoning during the summer of 1984 in between junior and senior years at my much-loathed Blanchet High School. I had a trope of close-knit friends, other readers and artists, mostly, some of whom I'm still in contact with today, and R.E.M. became part of our shared language and tapestry. And out of the band's dozen or so shows I have imbibed over the years, each has yielded cherished and spectacular memories.

So, here's to another 50, Mr. Stipe. And thank you.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Yesterday was the first day in the past 12 and a 1/2 weeks that I felt any sort of stillness in my heart or mind.

And the day prior marked the first time I recalled a truly funny ongoing joke he and I shared for years and just laughed, without subsequently crying, too.

We continue.