Author of Breasts Don't Lie

Archive for the ‘am writing’ Category

Author. Crank …

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I cannot stress enough the importance of editing your work. Let me give you an example.

Excited and terrified in equal parts by the prospect of my first writer’s conference, I created a business card. Finding the image for the front was easy-peasy. The picture of a girl, well I feel like a girl, young, inexperienced-ish, and naive about the ways of the world, looking out of frame, a no-no according to an advertising bigwig, in a whimsical landscape, summed up my feelings and thoughts.


The words on the back did not.

Instead of the words “Author. Coach. Speaker.” I wrote something quite similar and yet oh so very different in meaning.

I wrote, “Author. Crank. Spanker.” No, no, no! Those words made me wonder about my internal world. What was I really trying to say?

“Author.” Okay, I can get behind that. I write a lot. Some would say I write flash fiction, every hour, on the hour, as a therapist.

In the literary world, I have some publishing credits, not all of them first caliber credits but good enough for someone setting out. A few odds and ends of magazines, BEST OFs, and other anthologies, in print and online. Some good reviews. I am very proud of one review. The reviewer said about the piece, “odd but well-written.” For a piece of erotica. Don’t want to think too much about that one …

“Crank.” Well, that applies some days. Like the days I drive on the Tollway or realize that I am not independently wealthy or the cat poops on my bed. Oops—that’s most days! I could describe myself as cranky last Sunday when I kicked the snake or the other day when I walked into a bed of rattlesnakes on my way to the taco joint in the gas station or my response to the ever-changing Dallas weather. That descriptor might apply, especially when presented with snakes.

But “Spanker.” I’ve never spanked anyone in my life. I don’t remember spanking anyone. I don’t believe in spanking. Can someone come forward if they have any knowledge to the contrary?

According to Wikipedia, a spanker is a type of sail on a sailboat. According to Urban Dictionary, a spanker is … someone into discipline or an out-of-control self-pleasurer or a dimwit or a perky woman under 35 years of age. Okay dokey, I was once under 35, and I guess I was perky when I was a teenager.

So not so bad when I look at the words one at a time. Together, it makes me sound like a bad-tempered dominatrix who will record the experience for eternity (words on the internet are timeless). This is not my internal world. And if it’s yours, well then, good for you but maybe not on a business card.

Wait a sec—the girl on the card was blindfolded. Could it be? I see more therapy in my future.

People, edit your work! Or cranky old me will have to spank you…

(Banana image by Designocologist at Pexels. Blindfolded girl by Andrew Giovinazzo. Both used by permission.)

Jamming My World


My forty-year-old Swingline stapler is jammed. I’ve stabbed myself in the thumb with a pair of tweezers, a pen, and now a knife trying to get it working again. I understand the urgency of my righting the stapler has more to do with the state of the world and my fear for the global future than the need to attach pieces of paper. But the world is an ugly place right now. Right now, it is really ugly.

I’ve tried to keep out of social media for the last two months. That world is another chaotic and mean venue. Real mean. One word and everyone descends to feed on your bones. Kind of appropriate for last week’s Halloween but I don’t want any part of it.

I’m not chicken shit, but life is tough, and I feel myself pulling away in response. As I get older, I wanted to get a little sweeter, a little nicer (that might be a stretch), and a little more thoughtful about where I put my fiery energy, but I’m not becoming any of those things.

In massage school and then again in yoga teacher training, come to think of it, even in graduate school, I have always been the fireball. The one who is not afraid to say what I’m thinking and usually a few others too, the one who will stand against what is wrong. This stance is necessary and right (and self-righteous).

I am pitta; I am Aries, I am the consequence of a history of inflicted wrongs, one who wants justice. I pick up my sword to fight but in the darkest hour of the night, when I am honest with myself, the question – do I like the Adrenalin high – pings around inside my head. What if I am addicted to fighting for the sake of fighting, basically self-mutilating to get that feeling of being on the side of justice?

And it is getting in my way of allocating my energy in useful ways – ways that are beneficial to myself and humankind?

My graduate school advisor, the thoughtful and wonderful Dr. Norm Thies-Sprinthall, told me to “Pick my battles.” My therapist, a kindly soul, told me to “Be careful with your judgmental stance.” My friends tell me to “Use your power for good not evil.”

So, I’m trying to use their words as my mantra and good grief, it’s hard work. As a child of a Holocaust survivor, I cannot look away. I could not live with myself if I negated the millions of lives demolished then, now, and into the future. I don’t want to dwell, hyperfocus, obsess because PTSD is an ugly and incapacitating result.

I need to find balance. I’m working on it. Paying attention to the world but placing parameters about the amount of time I watch TV or listen to NPR, spending more time with friends not talking or picking apart the latest terror, and guarding my sleep. Those 3 am panic attacks suck. I am so over them.

In the meantime, I am asking you to pick up the sword, pay attention to the world, while I get my own house in order. My father’s death and the repercussions hit hard. The move to Texas continues to be tiring. Coming back to jobs where I have been replaced while looking after my father and family was hurtful.

I stare at the stapler. Work dammit.

(My image – you can use it.)

Dr. Nitwit’s Car (Coursera #2)


This 200-word piece is the second assignment from Coursera using the ABDCE process. Again, it is fiction. (Little trolls, go away. Actually, you remind me of a grumpy smurf.)


The patient left the doctor’s office after a briefer visit than her previous post-op appointments; without hesitation, she had gathered her purse, shifted her good foot underneath her, and lashed out with the booted foot knocking the podiatrist on his ass.

“Hope that hurt.”

She hobbled past the reception desk, staring down the assistant who took copays. A nurse rushed past her calling out, “Doctor Nitwit, are you okay?”

She smashed the large red exit button to open the heavy building doors. On the hike to the car, she thought about what he suggested. “I’ll lend you my beach house for a vacation.”

“You idiot,” she had said. “You put me on antibiotics so I can’t go in the sun. You created an open wound so I can’t go in the water or walk on the sand.” He had shrugged his shoulders as if to say, I tried my best, what do you want?

Halfway to her Honda, she saw his shiny BMW. She lurched over, used her cane to knock dents in the sides, stepped back, and took a good swing at the driver’s window. The twinkle of falling glass brought a smile to her face.

Dr. Nitwit came running out mouth agape. She lifted the back of her hand to her forehead. “I fell. Maybe I do need that walker after all.”


What do you think?

Coursera: The Coffee Clutch


I signed up for a course on Plot in Fiction through Coursera and can’t figure out how to post my assignments. Running up against many web walls, I decided to post them on my website.

Remember, this is fiction, made-up, not true.

My nasty little trolls (Jennifer G., Richard A., and Susie S.) can make all the comments they like but I will block you.

Here goes: The Coffee Clutch: Rising Action using 12 unrelated words.

All she wanted was a cup of hot coffee, French press, with whole milk and two teaspoons of sugar, sometimes within the first hour of awakening. She padded into the kitchen on bare feet, pushing aside the debris of unpacking, and the assorted filth of teenagers, swearing. Patience wasn’t her strong point, and her hand-eye coordination refused to engage without that first cup. She reached for the water heating appliance, not a teapot or even a pan but something her partner bought her as a consolation prize for dealing with his cranky daughters and plugging it in, knocked over the canister of beans.

”Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she said crouching down to sweep up the beans.

Managing to get the beans into the grinder and then into the press, Sara sighed when a large black bird, a crow or a jackdaw, flew into the window above the sink. Shards of glass and metal lay around her feet from the fallen press. Holding her breath, she looked for a safe place to step feeling more and more like a hungry tiger prowling its cage while outside, freedom taunted.

“What’s going on?” said a muffled voice from their bedroom.

“Nothing,” Sara said, pretend-sweet, reaching across to turn off the water; she flinched when its steam scorched her arm, and a boiling stream exploded onto the remnants of glass, metal, and coffee grinds. Red splotches colored her neck and face as panting she cleaned up the mess.

A memory of their first six months together filled Sara’s mind emphasizing the difference between the two realities. She looked at the tell-tale towel thinking that she was responsible for the messes in her life from the coffee to her relationship. Then her defenses settled back into place; this is the universe’s trick to get me to be nicer and go caffeine-free – not happening.

“Sounds like you need help in there,” her boyfriend said from far away. Nearby teenage grumblings set her nerves on the edge of crazy.

“Naw,” Sara said grabbing her coat and keys. “All aboard the USS Misery.”


You are my peer evaluators. So, what do you think?

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