Previously published on

When I was ten, I began to travel by myself. I was independent and rarely got homesick. For some reason, I very much enjoyed taking the Greyhound Bus from New Jersey to Toronto. My parents footed the bill for me to take the bus when it was their idea, but I worked diligently for other travel opportunities. I was very good at saving all of my money from babysitting, doing chores, and selling my baby gerbils back to the pet store.

It was the 70s and there weren’t nearly as many mentally ill people who abducted young girls. Let’s just say I was “safe.” On the bus I would sit with a stranger who looked well-meaning, typically a woman, and she would look out for me on the bus and during the truck stop bathroom breaks. She was probably thinking she would give my parents a talking-to when they picked me up.

My mother is from Toronto and she sent me to my summer camp and to visit my grandparents. They had long since divorced, and I would see my grandmother and her husband in their little house. It smelled like mashed potatoes and pepper, as well like things which old people have such as old sofas and carpeting which likened to mothballs and chicken broth. I would just stay there a night or two. My grandmother had an organ, but I don’t remember that she played it. My grandfather lived in an apartment near the northernmost subway stop on the Yonge Street Line. I already knew how to use the subways and busses because I visited often. I loved the freedom it gave to me travel within a big city safely. He took me mini golfing and to eat at Swiss Chalet, a fantastic chicken chain restaurant. I loved it.

When I was a little older, I attended McGill University in Montreal. I also went back and forth from New Jersey a few times a semester. The train from New York City to Montreal was about a 10-hour trip. I would get a coach class ticket and could sit anywhere I liked because the train was almost empty. Somewhere around Schenectady the train would slow down significantly not just because it was going through a town but because there was state prison and escaped convicts would end their lives by jumping in front of the trains.

In my seat, I would read a magazine or a book and sometimes bring a bag lunch. When I got bored, I would go back to the food car which was selling exactly 3 things: a pre-bagged hot dog in some kind of foil that the train car operator heats up in some weird oven, same foil-wrapped hamburger, and potato chips. I think this was pre-microwave. There were also beer and sodas.

I got a beer and no one carded me. With feigned confidence I sat in a booth and lit up a no-filter Camel cigarette. My girlfriends and I were obsessed with the book Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. Robbins asks in the book, “How do you make love stay?” I desperately wanted to know. Apparently by studying the cigarette pack, one can decipher a message from the red-haired Argonians. I smoked and looked at the cigarette pack and at my book, hoping with earnest effort I would perhaps learn the secret. Despite how wretched no-filter cigarettes are, there I sat and smoked, getting tobacco leaves on my lips and mouth. After I washed it down with my beer, I would go back to my seat and wait for my arrival into the Montreal station.

Please check out my podcast:

The heat, the blessed sun. Let this much be mine. The morning dew, the cobwebs, the yellowing leaves. My breath, my wrinkled skin, my shaky hands, let this much be mine. The wind, sounds of nature, human sounds, the smell of decaying leaves, of ripening fruit, and of honey. Let this much be mine. TheContinue Reading

Between the ages of ten and fourteen, I attended a fundamentalist Christian sleep-away camp where my mother went when she was a girl. It was two hours north of Toronto in in town called Huntsville on Mary Lake. This is the cottage country of the Toronto area — lakes abound and there is beautiful scenery.Continue Reading

For me, the center of my house was the kitchen. At first our kitchen was this dreadful afterthought of a growth hung onto the side of the dining room of our 1802 farm house. After some years, my parents put on “the addition”, a brand-new kitchen with windows to the outside, new appliances, darkly stainedContinue Reading

A book of healing. A book of sensibility. A book that explains how our earth got so crazy. The book I want to read that hasn’t been written yet is how our people come together somehow and fix everything. The book that tells us how human rights abuses and genocides are healed and the hurtsContinue Reading

I wish words would fly by me like butterflies and land softly on my page. I wish words would tap me on the shoulder and whisper to me. I wish words would entice me and tease my hand to remember everything. I wish they would fall out of the sky onto my pages softly andContinue Reading

I am from the asphalt in my knees when I fell off my bike and also from rice krispie treats and Hawaiian punch at Bible school. I am from 2 cent milk and 3 cent cookies in kindergarten, macaroni paper plate and hand print turkey art as well as from tempera paint. I am fromContinue Reading

My mother had a real knack of embarrassing her children on a regular basis. She is and always has been a real piece of work. I remember when I was in elementary school and it was Parents Day, the day that moms and dads could come into the classroom during the school day. The dayContinue Reading

Gentle Readers, I started a podcast with my friend Charla a few weeks ago titled STFU: We are not done talking yet. We discuss current events, popular culture, writing, books, movies, and women’s lives. Please give a listen. Below is our most recent episode which you can find on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker,Continue Reading

It doesn’t matter that I last saw you six months before you died. I wanted to come see you one more time but I was traveling between San Francisco and Shanghai and it was complicated. It doesn’t matter that I found out you died while sitting in an airport in western China and it wasContinue Reading