Month: September, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Serra, wherever you are

Teachers that change a life really do exist. Mr. Serra was my Spanish teacher—Spanish 3 junior year and Contemporary Spanish Literature senior year. I will tell you right up front that I had a big crush on him, despite the fact that I suspected he was gay. I didn’t care. He took my narrow, Catholic, suburban world of 1977 and opened me up to new possibilities. He taught me that the world didn’t stop at the Belt Parkway. He showed me, by his expectations, that I could be whatever I wished to be. No one had ever done that.


Mourning vs. Grief

I think my mourning is over. A switch went back on (“Ah! I’m ALIVE!”) and I’m greeting life with new vigor. Renewed vigor. But, grief is not gone. I still miss him, wish that he were back here with me, where he belongs, where I belong. I miss his smell, his skin.

Is mourning a period of time when you wish that you, too, could die and grief is the feeling that you carry with you, remembering, appreciating, loving still? I know it’s a process and it will change again, but I seek always to understand, to know. I want.

Tough Women

We are tough women. Behind all the pink and tulle, the love of shopping and shoes, we have a resolve not to be defeated. We determine to engage life to its fullest; not to back down or collapse when we are afraid. And, we do become afraid. I’m afraid of trying and of not trying. I’m afraid of loving and not being loved. (The universal fear, I think.) I will not let my fears define me. I want to be known for my joy in life, my kindness, the sweeter side of me, but also my tenacity. We are tough.

Broken Souls

We started as deeply broken, flawed souls. Hurt, each of us. Hurt by those who loved us most. Somehow we came together and made one another better–not whole perhaps–but better, happier, healthier. Along the way it wasn’t easy. I can’t describe it because there was little shouting. There was struggle. And hate. And apathy. Somehow, though, we made it work. All along, at the foundation, there was a love that could not be truly shaken. At then end, the love was deep, and strong, and abiding. I would be someone totally different were it not for this struggle.


I had dinner with old friends last week. During the course of the conversation the subject of young people taking antidepressants came up. My old friend said, “What do they have to be depressed about?”

Today I was reading about the novelist, David Foster Wallace. He wrote for a living, had several well-regarded novels, received a MacArthur Fellowship and was on the short list for a Pulitzer Prize. He was living my dream. Wallace hanged himself in 2008. What did he have to be depressed about? Probably nothing.

When will people understand the disease that is depression? I don’t know.

On Writing

Inspiration hits, and then it wanes. Ideas emerge and then they disappear. There is a sense of sureness (is that a word) followed by a whole lotta doubt. Some days I wake up ready to hit it, take on the world of the word. Other days, I simply wonder, “What made me think I could do that? Silly!”

Discipline. Writers must have discipline. Write every day, no matter the words. The shape, the ideas they will come, but I must put them down on paper to make sense of them, to allow them an evolution to ideas and, hopefully, beauty.

Expectations–Part 2

It makes me cranky. I’m trying to not let it ruin my day. Again, with the expectations—are mine too high?
I made tentative plans with a friend to see a movie today. I was the last one to email, so it’s her turn to say, “okay, here’s the time and place.” Right?
Another friend said, “Let’s do something Sunday!” It’s Sunday and I haven’t heard from her.
I will say that these two women are young—still twenty-somethings. I don’t want to push myself on anyone, but how hard is it to text and say, “Sorry, something came up?”