I once attended a lecture by novelist John Irving. He discussed the mechanics of writing The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and his other masterpieces of fiction. He also talked about how he writes. The John Irving Technique is to write the end of a novel first, then make your way back to the beginning. He also prefers to write by hand.
Through the years, my writing tools have morphed from yellow Ticonderoga pencils (elementary school), to ballpoint pen (middle school), to Flairs (college), to Rapidographs (art school), to nib fountain pens (around the time of my…
Students across the country are back on campus.
If your child lives in a dorm, sorority, or fraternity house, the institution has fire codes and drills. But let us now turn the page to discuss: off-campus housing.
During sophomore year, our daughter elected to move outside of town from the main campus of her upstate university. The ‘sisters’ (sorority speak) had initially lived in a stately on-campus BRICK house built in the 1920s. They were now living in an off-campus WOOD house built in the 1940s.
As most of these premises are not under the direct auspices of campus housing…
At a recent luncheon, an interior designer sitting next to me mentioned that she likes working late at night.
I, too, have been admonished by friends and colleagues for staying up too late. The usual retort is: “Were you really up at 2:15 in the morning working?”
Many years ago, I went on a quest to give the illusion of conformance. By doing a “System Restore” in Windows XP on my PC, I could futz with the settings and turn the clock back six hours. The reset brought on a strange malfunction that created a Y2K-like nightmare. …
“You never answer when I ask you to do something,” my husband said. “There must be something wrong with your hearing. Have you thought about having it checked?”
Really?? Should I mention that he mumbles? His sentences tend to run into one another and create a syllabic traffic jam. It happens so often, in fact, that I genuinely don’t know what in sam-hell he is saying.
After telling me one time too many times, I took the bull by the horns. The very next day, I made an appointment for an audiological evaluation.
When I stepped into the sound booth…
“Want to get pedicures?” My sister asked on a recent rainy, summer afternoon. “There’s a new nail salon where the old IHOP used to be.”
“Perfect,” I said. “Let’s bring (our 90-year-old, up-for-anything) Mom.” (PAUSE.) “Will they serve us pancakes, too?”
My sister smirked.
When we stepped into the joint, I thought I smelled pancakes underlaying the scent of nail polish remover. I was only dreaming … dreaming that they’d serve a honkin’ plate of blueberry pancakes as I sat there with my calves wrapped in goop and Saran-Wrap.
After the final coat of polish, we helped Mom and walked…
“Blue Skies,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” and “Hound Dog” were all part of the singer’s repertoire hired to entertain residents of The Maplewood at Strawberry Hill, where my 90-year-old mother lives. (She’s the one on the left.) The garden was a sea of wheelchairs and walkers as he sang to an audience of octo- and nonagenarians.
When he got to “New York, New York,” I lost it. This year, this song has been especially evocative.
“These vagabond shoes
They are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York
I want to…
It was an uneventful Thursday until my best friend called to say her mother had died unexpectedly. My friend and her brothers were in shock … and totally in the dark about what to do. Their mother, who had divorced years ago, left no instructions, no plan, and no direction of her final wishes. What kind of funeral did she want and where did she want to be buried? What do they do with the house and the cars? At this time of great grief, my friend and her brothers were overwhelmed with next steps.
After the funeral and burial…