A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bookstore

For years, I have employed a simple standard in the determination of my life's failure. Lack of publication. This fact, or measure, was demonstrable. It rose like hard laughter from a wooden ventriloquist's dummy. Unpublished. Unworthy. Undeniable.Until, the opposite became undeniable. A book, a publication date, a fact. Dance without Steps. My book. An event that any experienced author will tell you is always a mixed blessing, as drawn out as birth, and extremely inconclusive.What does it mean to Read more [...]


I have this thing about the Menlo Park Chorus, vacillating between feelings of guilt over my infrequent voice practice and feelings of terror each time a concert approaches.  One is approaching now, creeping on little cat's feet, and frightening me, except that I have other terrifying fish to fry, if one wants to drown in aquatic metaphors.  Summertime, and the living is easy...yes, the real Gershwin, figures in this concert...and I actually love this song, but it embarrasses me, my inability Read more [...]

Still Berkeley

The day begins, that is to say, the first caffeinated portion of it, with the conviction that there is something wrong with my tongue. Marlou's brother died of a cancer that had its start on his tongue. And I can just feel where the tea has been inside my mouth. It has stimulated something, made me aware of some presence on my tongue. Which after rushing into the bathroom to have a look in the mirror reveals itself to be a small mark. One that is suspiciously close to where I recently bit my tongue. Read more [...]


In my last days on holiday, Jane tells me that I was increasingly assured, competent and confident in my swimming.  Most things were going swimmingly.  Even if some were not.At first, it felt like a headache.  Which morphed into a neck ache.  Which had me rather frightening for quite a spell.  For my life is more than a pain in the neck...a pain in the neck defines my life.  All of my neuromuscular ills, and they have come in something like a volley per decade, derive Read more [...]

Losing Nerve

My cousin Bob's quality of not being easily daunted might be described as British, although the trait has served him just as well in everywhere from Israel to France, and began serving me well in London, 1969.  By that autumn, Bob has already gotten me in and out of quite a number of cars, pubs, cinemas and so on.  Now it was time to get me even more in the swim.  He was convinced I could swim, that was the thing.  And being 22 years old, grateful for having survived a still fairly Read more [...]


Lorna, prime member of Team Filipina, is uncharacteristically determined when she asks me about my historical shoulder pain. How long did I have it, and how did I get over it? I sing the praises of physiotherapy. Lorna is fishing for information. She tells me that she doesn't like sitting around, doing nothing...being even slightly incapacitated. Which is what she fears, shoulder pain becoming shoulder trouble, becoming incapacity...and she's barely 60 years old. I listen attentively, nod affirmatively Read more [...]