The hotel was gabled stone building, fitted with a conical turret and Gothic Revival windows. We found it on a narrow curving highway, just under the south side of a high truss bridge we crossed accidentally several times because the combination of left-side driving and roundabouts are like kryptonite for my father. The weather was bleak, even for the Scottish Highlands. We trundled in, … Read More A Ghost Story
It begins at the end of August 2019, the week before Labor Day. I have returned bedraggled, overstuffed, feeling old and tired after the second of the three music festivals I committed myself to this summer. So grossed out by my own indulgence, I make a spreadsheet labeled ATONEMENT, which I will use to get my life in order, tracking exercise, food, money, all … Read More The State I Am In
Sometime around the beginning of my eighth-grade year, the most popular girl in my class came to school in a tie-dyed Beatles t-shirt and Birkenstocks with her brand name soccer shorts. And suddenly, seemingly overnight, all the girls that had been crushing on George Michael started talking about Jerry Garcia all the time. It was 1989, but at Asheville Junior High School, anyway, the … Read More Greatest Hits
I’m a cis woman and I’m heterosexual-ish. I have moments. I have slightly more than incidental tendencies, according to some one or another Kinsey scale test I took in college. There is Samira Wiley. There was Katherine Hepburn in “Sylvia Scarlett” and a fair number of 21st century women who look a little like Katherine Hepburn in “Sylvia Scarlett.” There is the fantasy version … Read More On Pride
The moth thudded against the window at 11:45. Ringer jumped, even though she knew it was coming. “Never fails to surprise me,” she said. I looked up at the plate glass. The moth glowed milky green, its thorax furred, its eyes fiery orange. The dimensions were preposterous, nearly primeval. One of the Fairview boys slapped his fist against the glass and goggled. “That wing-ed … Read More Midsummer
An elegant American woman walks into a famous biergarten flanked by her two daughters. The eldest, an overweight depressed twenty-four-year-old in a frayed gray wool sweater and a thrift-store jacket steps haltingly and gazes out over the arched vaults and the massive novelty beer steins clanked against the long tables emblazoned with the primitive scrawl of past patrons in time to the Oom-Pah band … Read More Munich 2000
(In honor of Spring Cleaning: Seven Days. Seven Dresses. This is Day Six. Day Five is here) My favorite movie as a kid was “The Wizard of Oz.” I don’t know when it became my favorite movie. I simply came into consciousness so strongly identifying with Dorothy Gale that I insisted on a wardrobe of blue gingham pinafores and settings at the dinner … Read More Hot Pink, 1987-1990
(In honor of Spring Cleaning: Seven Days. Seven Dresses. This is Day Five. Day Four is here) Just after midnight, Istood with my three best friends (and the charming Brooklynite dating one of them) at the edge of the ugly oval fountain, in the center square of my otherwise lovely hometown. It was a starry night, warm and mild. The streets were almost silent, … Read More Lilacs, 1996-?
(In Honor of Spring Cleaning: Seven Days. Seven Dresses. This is Day Four. Day Three is here) In the old days at Belk department store in the Asheville Mall, they had an all-Evening and Wedding gown department. It was oval-shaped the department, blocked off from the rest of the store with artificial, faux marbled columns and draped curtains. In the center, there was a … Read More Big Peach, 1990-1996
(In Honor of Spring Cleaning: Seven Days. Seven Dresses. This is Day Three. Day Two is here) The Salvation Army store on Williamson Road, in Roanoke Virginia, was barely more than a shanty (one whole portion was walled in with corrugated plastic and the red dirt floor puddled when it rained )but it was a mecca for Dior-style party dresses. I imagined there must … Read More The Holy Grail, 1995-?
(In Honor of Spring Cleaning: Seven Days. Seven Dresses. This is Day Two. Day One is here) What a fabulous dress for a dinner party. Mom gushed when I came out of the dressing room. It was both flattering and modest, black eyelet, which felt like a fascinating contradiction. I felt a little like Jackie O in it, and I had never felt like … Read More LBD, 2000-2014
In Honor of Spring Cleaning: Seven Days. Seven Dresses. (Probably) Seven Bad Puns. It was a cotton-blend shirt dress, roughly forty years old, in a brown tartan print with a hint of antifreeze blue woven through the plaid. The bodice was unflatteringly long-waisted and missing two of the five covered buttons that otherwise gaped over my breasts. The skirt fanned out into uneven box … Read More Plaid Romance, 1995-1997