Like all writers, I read before I was four and found it so pleasurable I assumed it was forbidden. I hid books in every corner of the house, like alcoholics hide booze, sneaking snorts of Beverly Clearly when no one was looking.
Also, like all writers, I was dropped on earth from a passing meteorite and have been incorporating protective camouflage into my daily toilette ever since. Sometimes works. When I had straight jobs, the arty types on staff thought I was a narc and the narco types thought I was a flakey artist. So, sometimes not.
I came of age when womankind was awakening from a long breast feeding and martini drinking stupor, and men were looking for women to promote, applaud, and use as evidence of their elevated consciousness. So, I rose to prominence in jobs I had no business doing. Army. Strategic planning in an insurance company. Two that come to mind.
Miss Pennsylvania Sportsman was another.
Yes, they called it sportsman. Not sportswoman. I wanted the $700 prize to go to Europe, the Shangri-La of college students and hippies in the days when you still had to get on a plane to go somewhere. Not that I ever hunted or fished. Anyway, I was runner-up. The entertainment that night was a stripper who taught me how to twirl boob tassels in opposite directions.
Although I was involved in fishing sort of…I was the “chick” in a fly fisherman casting act called “Three Little Fishes.” Traveled to sports arenas in various cities where I stuck a cigarette in my mouth for one of the fishes to knock out with a lead weight at the end of his line. Later, a log rolling act from Canada lured me away.
They needed a chick too.
Sat on boats so men would buy them.
I lived in Europe for six years. Traveled until I got sick of looking at old cities and using subpar plumbing. I was American for God’s sake. Our birthright, if we have one, is a good strong shower. I claim it.
During my time in Europe, I took the train everywhere. I was stopped at every border because I was a ringer for a female terrorist. Children of rich European industrialists were murdering their parents, becoming terrorists, eventually aligning themselves with Arab terrorists who were just getting their footing. We seem to have forgotten that.
Border guards would take out their ledgers and look up my passport number and make me speak in several languages—English, German, and French—none of which was my native tongue, but I could express niceties in each to their satisfaction, but none well enough to be a native speaker.
The terrorist I was a ringer for had committed suicide in a jail cell years before I got there, but they still checked. Can’t be too careful.
I painted. Some early success, I hit some kind of visual nerve, everyone saying, “Go to New York! You’ll be a star!” My one regret in life is that I didn’t go to New York then.
Fun facts that define me more than the details: If you piss me off, I just stop talking to you. Life is way too short to fuck around with people who don’t “spark joy,” as it were. There are lots of other people to chose from.
Another one: I believe that working in a corporation kills the soul. The air is bad. The people are doing stupid work and they know it and how can you look at yourself in a mirror and waste your life (see above) doing stuff that doesn’t matter?
Last one: Like all Americans, I come from a long line of religious misfits, and so the subject of god—is there one? What does she look like?—comes with familial baggage. I think that we are all energy, same as the trees and the stones and the water, and that we are all connected and that that connection creates god. So, if you are a rotter, you’re basically ruining it for everyone/everything around you. So, shape the hell up.
That’s it. That’s me.
Who are you?