Write Like You Mean It

  • Phantasm


    I can see everything from up here. You would think that three inches doesn’t make much of a difference, but you’re wrong. It makes all the difference. It starts with corn. Ever been in a cornfield? I always thought the ears were up high, higher than my head, but no. It’s the tassels that are high. The ears grow along the stalk, like cocoons stuck to a pole. Corn always reminded me of teeth. But it’s the tassels I am thinking about now. Being up high like this, I can see them for what they are. They’re sex! Come here, they say. Come and get me! I have no idea…

  • Phantasm


    I really thought this would be different. I remember where she started. Two eyes, a dot for a nose, and a chalky curved line smile. Suddenly I am blinded by bright hotness from above. Glittering bluewhitebright, and I can’t even close my eyes to get away from it. You probably don’t know this, but it’s nearly impossible to draw a perfectly round circle. It took her 27 tries to get this. All that smeared-finger rubbing, spit wiping me away and then gritty chalk bringing me back into being. I would shudder right now, thinking about it, but as I hardly have shoulders I can’t. Everyone says this, and I know…

  • Phantasm


    I should have known my new job was going to get me in trouble, but the pay was really good and I really thought I could make it through the six month probationary period to get health benefits, because we all know that anyone is way more marriageable once they have the bennies, and I already have the PERFECT to-die-for wedding dress picked out even thought I’m not actually, you know, dating anyone. So anyway, every morning I’d get my usual skinny vanilla venti soy latte and sit at the bus stop trying not to pick at my fingernails. I’m trying to grow them out, honest, and even though my…

  • Phantasm


    Really, the only reason I wear four-inch heels? It’s the kitty litter. On the floor. All crunchy. You know what I’m talking about, right? Okay. True story. Once I had this thing on my foot. A mole. It was there for, like, ever. And then something happened to it. Maybe it was all the tanning beds, I don’t know. But the damn thing changed! Grew a face! Okay, I knew you wouldn’t believe me. Look at you. You have your I-don’t-believe-it-face on. I can tell what you’re thinking. But listen. This happened, right? So the mole. The face. Remember? Well, the thing got bigger. And bigger. Pretty soon I couldn’t…

  • Phantasm

    Hand Of God

    I’ve often idly wondered what would happen if a gigantic hand  reached down out of the clouds above Seattle and pulled the Space Needle up from its roots. Sometimes when we’re standing overlooking I-5 and Lake Union below, Queen Anne across the lake spread out like a tawdry wench, I think about giant hands. “There would be mass chaos,” my soulmate says. “Anarchy. Screaming. Martial law.” I can’t really imagine the aftermath of a giant hand reaching down out of the clouds. I think of it as a mystical thing. Magic. Like the boom-boom-boom sound I heard from my front yard when I was 3, convinced there was a giant…

  • Six


    I should have known it was over when I began marking the sheets.  My side and his side.  Sleep never came on a pillowcase impregnated with his odor; I could feel his essence creeping into my pores, into my psyche, turning me into him in some awful alchemy.  Forgetting whose pillowcase was whose after laundering, I’d lay awake all night trying not to breathe him into me, swearing to find a way out, hating myself for my oversensitivity. After the third year you could see how his mothball smell had crystallized into a dark smear on the pillowcase.  When I left, I let him keep the sheets.

  • Phantasm


    Hot sand crunched underfoot. Hotfoot shrieky tiptoes onto cool blankets and beach towels. Warm salty water, buoyant waves. Somewhere there’s a fire, a smoky-warm cloud wafting across the sand. Maybe the lottery wasn’t real, wasn’t going to happen, wasn’t going to take its tithing tenth in just over an hour. The war machine waited, waited with hungry mouth and tail, waited for its food, waited just off shore while the food played at being unconcerned, unnoticing, festive beachgoers playing and sunning at the seaside. Mothers slathered sunscreen onto reddening shoulders. Kids dug sandy trowels deeper into cool wet holes. Fathers dug quarters out of pockets for sweet cold treats.

  • Phantasm

    Blue Balloon

    Some things are fleeting. Her voice was ragged from the lack of oxygen. Her thoughts flew, rising until they too thinned like the wisps of cloud above her. The crowd in the square far below dwindled into dots of color. The moving dots arranged and rearranged, tiny puzzles pixelating. Pointillism, she thought, and arranged the dots again to suit her. Now they were a giraffe. Now a house with comforting smoke rising from its brick chimney. Now a giant mouth reaching towards her. She shuddered and rose higher, looking now over the cathedral’s roof. Below, the dots shifted again and a cry rose from the crowd, a thin piercing wail…

  • Write Like You Mean It


    Humility. It is from the Latin humilitas, which may be translated as “humble,” but also as “low,” “from the earth,” or “humid,” since it derives in turn from humus (earth).  Wikipedia says it is a virtue, since it is connected with notions of transcendent unity with the universe or the divine, and of egolessness. I sang yesterday for a woman who lay dying. I sang with three other women who all sing their heartsongs, and as I sang I looked out at the sparkling blue-gray bay beyond, hearing our voices lift to carry the breath of one whose breaths can be counted now, so slowly. As I sang I thought of humility. Lift…

  • My Brain On Crack,  Write Like You Mean It


    Everywhere I look I see new growth. Buds ripening. Cherry blossoms bursting into soft pinkness. Vivid colors superimposed over the blue-grays of sky and water. New green shoots pushing up from seemingly lifeless brown twigs. Surely there is a metaphor here. I am cold. I miss the warmth. I long to feel it permeate my limbs, my skin, my heart. I’ve used a cliff metaphor perhaps too frequently in the past for it to fully fit now, but I do feel that I have at least dipped a toe into the waters of change. Change happens slowly sometimes, stealthily, without us noticing, like a cat climbing into your lap: one…