Thursday, November 26, 2009



Jenna:  Jenna is from the novel I’m writing, Spun.  Jenna is a recovering meth addict and poet.  Here she writes about being in love, of course, but also about being straight, and reconnecting with her mother.

       I totally
       think love
       is like a heartful
       of pregnant dreams, a
       waiting room full of worries,
       hungry and hoping for something,
       like the red-faced baby who
       changes the trauma of
       laboring birth into
       a life full of

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Maree first showed up in OGW 10/8/09.  In this entry, we learn that Maree’s alienation from her family stems from her being adopted.  As Maree’s story evolves, perhaps her birth mother will reappear in her life.  Perhaps Maree will find peace with her adopted family.  Who knows?

Maree:  Everyone thinks I’m Godless, but I’m not.  Even I have called myself Godless, have fought with Julia over Jesus (me:  he doesn’t exist!  You’re stupid!), have told Hannah that nobody in any religion believes God lives in McDonald’s so she better just shut up before the men in white coats come to take her away (Hannah:  Boo hoo bawl cry, I’m telling my Mama). 
But here’s the truth.  I do have a God, a secret Goddess.  In my heart, I call her Mom.
I know it’s crazy.  I know my real Mom didn’t want me and that’s how I ended up with this crazy Christian band of do-gooders I call my adopted family.  But here’s what I do:
I lie down or sit up in lotus position.  I put in earplugs and all I can hear is the steady, slowing pulse of my own blood in my ears.  I go deep, down into my heart, and there is a door.  When I knock, it opens. 
Gently, softly, quietly.
Sometimes there is a bed suspended on a porch by the beach (saw that in a magazine), and I lie down on it.  She lies next to me.
Sometimes there is a velvet couch in a small room full of gauzy hanging scarves, windchimes and purple pillows.  She waits for me there, and I crawl onto her lap.
My favorite is the open room, wooden floors.  I take off my shoes, and suddenly I’m dressed in a long, flowing gown of layers and layers of sheer material, and I begin to dance.  She joins me.  She lifts me up, high above her head.  I float, I spin, I fly.  She is with me, and when we’ve finished dancing, she applauds me, even though she did all the work.
She is my Goddess.  I call her Mom. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Rain:  Rain is Kayla’s (OGW 2, Oct.1,2009) best friend.  Rain’s mother recently took off to become a dancer in NYC, Rain’s father is an alcoholic.  This is the morning of the belly button piercing and the party Kayla was so eager to attend.

Rain:  My mother didn’t come home today.  She said she’d be here for the weekend, but she didn’t show up Friday night, and Saturday morning she called to say, “I’m performing at Dancespace tonight!  Remember that piece—“
I didn’t remember.  I didn’t want to.  Tears leaked over my cheeks.
“You can come to the city and see me tonight and stay at my friend Wendy’s apartment, you can sleep on the couch.  Are you happy for me?”
“Yeah, Mom, I’m proud of you.  You’re really making it on your own now.”
“I am.  It’s wonderful to feel the real me peeking out again, you know?  Not a wife or a servant or a – well, I’ll always be your mother, of course.  Can you make a ten o’clock train?”
“No thanks Mom.
“Oh! ...Oh.”

“You said you were going to take Kayla and me to get our belly buttons pierced before the party!  And you said you were going to be here!”
“Well Rain, I’m sorry, but this performance is important to me.  I have to dance, I just have to.  It’s my spirit, it’s my soul, it’s--”
“I gotta go.  Love you Mom.” 
Then I slumped against the wall, slid down to the floor, wrapped my arms around my knees and softly cried.  My father came in, sat next to me, put his arm around me, and held me while I cried harder.  “She never wanted to be my mother!  I ruined her life.”
Dad pat my back.  “You could never ruin anyone’s life.”  He got up.  The last remaining flap of hair on top of his head was standing on end. 
I smiled.  Getting up, I asked, “Juice?”
“The usual,” he said.
I made him a strong screwdriver that was mostly vodka, two ice cubes, and a splash of OJ.  “Can you take Kayla and me to get our belly buttons pierced today?  Mom was gonna do it.”
“I don’t know, noodle.  I’m not feeling so well today.“  He took a long swallow, then stared down at his hand, which was still shaking.  After finishing the drink, he was steadier.  “I’m not so sure I approve of you mutilating your body anyway,” he said.
Dad…”  I poured him another drink, and just orange juice for myself.
“Yeah, okay, I guess.  If I’m feeling better.  I think I’m coming down with something.”
He said that every day, and I paid no attention.  “Oh Daddy, you’re the best!”  I said, and meant it.  If it weren’t for him, what would I do?  Sleep on some stranger’s ratty couch in New York City?  Not me.  I hated dancing, too, hated it!  Dad would never take off to find himself when I needed him.  He would never do that to me.
“I’m gonna shower.  You, eat something!  You’re too thin!” he said, peeling my arms off where I’d thrown them around him, and topping off his drink before heading upstairs.  “And make some coffee!” he yelled down.
“I’m gonna call Kayla and tell her she can come over.”
He didn’t answer.  I knew what he was doing, he was crying.  Crying over my mother.  Crying that we were left out of her new life, and because he had a pounding headache, and he had to deal with me and my friends – make us happy – anyway.
     Sighing and setting my face to “impassive,” I stopped thinking, and busied myself with making a pot of coffee.  I would drink it black today.  Thick and black to grow me up, and I wasn’t going to tell anyone, even Kayla, that I was afraid.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Nancy,originally from Crosses, was my first outsider girl.  Now Nancy is grown-up, with an outsider girl of her own -- daughter, Casey, fifteen.  Fifteen… the age when Nancy met Katie, the age when Nancy began cutting herself in earnest, when she started drugs, dating.  Will Casey follow the same path her mother did, or will she find her own?

Nancy:  With everything I’ve done, I still have no problem at all saying to Casey, “Promise me you will not ever, no matter who gives them to you, no matter what they’re for, you will not ever take a pill.  Not from me, not from a stranger, not from your best friend.  Whatever you do—“
“I know Mom!  I won’t ever take a pill!  I won’t shoot heroin either—“
“I know you think I’m saying this just because I watched that Intervention—“
“I know you’re just saying it because you don’t want me to go out with Kayla this weekend.”  Casey lights a cigarette, and I want to cry, because it's my fault.  She took the smoke from my pack after all.  
I never made her promise not to smoke.  You have to choose your battles -- “If you want to try drinking or pot, we can talk about that—“
“If it’ll make you happy, I’ll talk to you before I take a sh—“
“What’s that on your arm?  Have you been biting yourself?”
“Mom, it’s not like that—“
“I can’t believe after all we’ve been through in this house—“
Mom!  I’m not trying to hurt myself!”
“Don’t you think I would—“
“You don’t know everything, Mom.  It’s just a hickey.”
“Oh Casey, don’t you know it’s not cool to be branded, who’s the guy—“
“There’s no guy—“
“The girl?”
“Mom, I did it to myself!”
“Isn’t that what we were just talking about!  Casey, sometimes you drive me crazy!  Please, let’s talk about this.”
“Mom, no one needs to drive you crazy, you’re already there.”
I rush to the freezer to get two ice cubes, which I grip hard, one in each hand, while I breathe deeply, cooling-down breaths.  Casey sighs, comes closer, and wraps her arms around my waist.  “Kidding, Mom, kidding!  I love you!”
I smile.  I breathe.  “And another thing,” I say, “Never, ever get in a car—“
“With someone who’s been drinking.  I know, Mom, but holy crap, I’m only fifteen!  It’s just a party.  It’s no big deal, Mom.”
OhmiGod.  Fifteen.  “When I was fifteen—“ 
“I know! I know all about you and Katie, you’ve told me a thousand times—“
My face tightens, and ice water streams from my hands as I squeeze the cubes, a trick I learned, a trick Katie and could’ve used.
“Mommy, I’m so sorry!  I shouldn’t have said—“
“It’s okay, Case.  I’m sorry I’m such a basket case. I just love you so much.”
“I know, Mom. I’ll be home by midnight.  Jonas will drive me home.”
And there it is.  And now it begins.