Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Thwarted Romance Writer's Guide To The Best Haircuts for Your Face Shape

Round: A bowl-cut will frame your round face. If you do not like your bowl-cut, the bowl will additionally serve as a device to catch the many tears you will shed over your haircut and onto your creamy heaving porcelain bosom.

Diamond: You must be the only person in the world with a diamond face. I'm sorry I can't help you. I couldn't help Valentina, either, when she and Jerome had that misunderstanding that led to her being in the dark woods, in a red satin cloak that did nothing to hide her generous curves.

Ovoid: Better than a getting a haircut, you should lounge upon a divan, your loose raven tresses cascading over the brocade until it is time to pick up the kids from school.

Square: I am this, apparently, or at least my manuscript was, according to my agent. But I implore you, is the title, "Conquest and Triumph" so done?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly As Interviewed By Esquire Magazine

The jar sits there. In the cupboard. What matters is not the jar but what's inside it. Peanut butter. The ground nut butter is the color of a light wool Italian tailored suit in fawn. The jelly, on the countertop like a starlet, it's blackberryness all backlit and seductive, acts like it doesn't know the peanut butter, as if they don't have some history.

Like Elizabeth Taylor playing Cleopatra and Richard Burton playing Anthony in Anthony and Cleopatra, they have often been slathered together between sheets of white bread with the crusts cut off. Like that. Like slathering. Thick, too. Maybe one of them wore driving shoes. Tod's. Or Tom Ford's jawline. Historic.

Epic. Secrets. What we're talking about is kid's lunchbox food. But more than that. We're talking about culture, the culture of the business class. Enterprise. Gumption. Zing. Ground nut and rich berry. Uptown girl. It's American not American't, it's slather two good things together and say, son, this was the public school lunch of your daddy, but your daddy made it and wears no-pleat gabardine in cerise, golfs St. Andrews with a Gucci caddy, this, was his sandwich. Remember, when you're a man, a man leaves the crusts on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Name Cerise is Way Better Than Cherry

Several years ago I was in the position of picking out colors for the closet in our apartment in Cambridge that we were calling "our nursery." My son, now 5, was about to be born. It was at the Home Depot that I started thinking: with a good color name (Midnight Meadow) you can get away with anything, even a terrible color (Midnight Meadow is a wasting grey blue, it would have been more aptly named Death).

The opposite is also true. For instance, Nacho. Nacho is the color I chose for the closet, "our nursery." It was a heartwarming yellow, but when friends and family asked "What color is that?" and I said, beaming, "why I'm tickled you asked, it's Nacho!" they were like, ewww, who would put their firstborn in a nacho colored closet? Couldn't the geniuses at Behr have named it Sunnyside Of The Street?

Color, like everything, is marketing. Vermillion is superior to plain Jane red, chartreuse to spring green, even a child knows this. When my children are bellydown, crayoning furiously in their coloring books, they try to outdo the Crayola marketing department and each other. "Pass me Poop," my daughter, 3, says, asking for brown. "It's not Poop, it's Diarrhea, get it right," says my son, who has superior knowledge of these bathroom matters. "Or maybe it's Throw Up."

I tell him his first experiences with Nacho. "I like Nachos, good job, Mom," he says, "but a better name is Puked Egg Yolk." If you're five, maybe. I much prefer Sunnyside of The Street.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Names in Suburbia

Nearby there is a place called The Festival at Woodholme. Is there a festival there? No. No May pole. No flutes and drums. There is a Pier One, the cinnamon spice scent of its candles wafting out into the blistering treeless parking lot. There is also a Starbucks, but of course there’s a Starbucks, and a wrap place, and a place to purchase a phone.

These suburban shopping developments are so ill named! Festival at Woodholme. Sweet View of the Mountain Glen. That mountain glen is a Denny’s; who names these places? I’m herewith providing some real names, more honest names, better reflective of the true condition and psychology of these places.

Man-Made Hill
You Never See Anyone Playing On That Grass, Not Even Kids
Ringing A Parking Lot, Lots of Shrubs In Pots
The Gigantic Oversized Muffin at Lost Hope
Sulfurous Ditch
Exacerbates My Pre-Existing Condition

Thursday, September 9, 2010


(For this post the delightful @salamicat aka Molly Campbell http://tiny.cc/mollyc took up the writer's challenge with the prompt words: "Algernon" and "Bejeweled" to write this story of puppy love. Anyone who has ever known a dog knows the joy of listening to Mozart together.)

She saw him out of the corner of her eye, trotting down the street. He ducked behind a building. Over the next few days, she saw him a number of times. He was gray, or maybe just filthy. He seemed to have a slight limp. His ears were floppy. He was very, very thin.

She started carrying dog biscuits in her purse. At first, she had to throw them to him so that he wouldn’t flee. But after awhile, she could hold one in her hand, and he would approach skittishly, and take it from her. By this time, she had named him “Algernon,” and she was in love. It took a few weeks, but she could finally pet him.

In the meantime, she had been saving her money, and bit by bit, she bought some dog food, a little bed, a toy or two, and most importantly, a collar and leash. Algernon seemed to trust her, and each day, as she spoke softly to him, she petted him a bit longer. On a Friday, she put on the collar and leash, and she took him with her.

The vet told her that he was around two years old. He guessed that there was maybe some poodle and perhaps a bit of terrier in Algernon. He gave the dog shots, worming medicine, and a bath. As it turned out, Algernon was as white as snow.

She and Algernon became bosom buddies. They watched the neighborhood children play ball. They took lots of walks. Algernon seemed to enjoy donuts, and so they shared one every Friday, to celebrate the day they met. At home, they liked to read books, listen to Mozart, and look out the window.

Time went by, as it has the habit of doing, and Algernon slowed down a bit. He still liked to chase the occasional ball, but grew a bit stiff in the back end. She sometimes had to assist him up the steps. But he still sashayed with style, and she still thought he was the most beautiful dog in the world.

The day came as it always does. They had told her that Algernon would let her know when it was time to let go, and with one look into her eyes, he did. He went quietly and with his usual dignity, as she held him in her arms. She cried.

On her bureau is a framed picture of the dirty gray dog she befriended in the street. In it, he looks warily at the camera, the dog biscuit she has thrown at him at his feet. But there is a gleam in his eyes. Hanging over the corner of the frame is a blue leather dog collar. Embedded in the collar are the five remaining “jewels” that were on the collar when she bought it for him, that day that she decided she would take him home.