Plush Guts Make Life with Chronic Illness Just a Little Less Terrible

I wrote a story for mental_floss this week on a subject very close to my heart (and the rest of my body): coping with chronic illness.

Check it out if you get a chance: Cuddly Guts Bring Comfort to the Chronically Ill

photograph: I Heart Guts


A Truly Great Artist: Sweet and Lowdown (1999)

I grew up loving Woody Allen--not just the movies, but the man. Over the last year, I've renegotiated that relationship. My essay on Sweet and Lowdown is in the June "Dilemmas" issue of Bright Wall/Dark Room magazine.

You can read it here.


Interlude: Other People's Poetry

The Mangroves
by Mary Oliver

As I said before, I am living now
in a warm place, surrounded by
mangroves. Mostly I walk beside
them, they discourage entrance.
The black oaks and the pines
of my northern home are in my heart,
even as I hear them whisper, "Listen,
we are trees too." Okay, I'm trying. They
certainly put on an endless performance
of leaves. Admiring is easy, but affinity,
that does take some time. So many
and so leggy and all of them rising as if
attempting to escape this world which, don't
they know it, can't be done. "Are you
trying to fly or what?" I ask, and they
answer back, "We are what we are, you
are what you are, love us if you can."

photograph by Barbara Fernandez


Interlude: Other People's Poetry

The Art of Disappearing
by Naomi Shihab Nye

When they say Don't I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like 
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It's not that you don't love them anymore.
You're trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven't seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don't start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time. 

art by Danna Ray

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