• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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It’s Only Castles Burning

I have the smallest doll, a peanut really, from a matryoshka doll. I have hard plastic see no evil monkey. I have a picture of my dad looking really happy, not worried about keeping us all afloat and seeing his three girls married. I have a row of lions on a window sill in descending order, all given to me by my mother because I am a Leo. I have an artist’s stand that doubles as a dictionary stand. I have a glass paperweight globe that says “Thinque of Me,” given to me by my beloved friend George who took his life three and a half years ago. I have a framed razor given to me by my bestie. An ashtray I stole from an LA restaurant called Citrus. A wooden stand for papers that an old friend made for me. Our letters and conversations of thirty years ago were the kindling of a literary life.

What writing talismans do you keep near?

6 Responses

  1. Too many to list them all. A few on or near my writing desk and computer: A little sprite doll that says “with spirit” from my sister who died 12 years ago; a gold chai charm of my mother’s that fell off the chain; 2 hamsas, 1 from Israel; a tiny malachite pyramid; a blue and white evil eye bracelet; kokopeli charm; rock from a friend that says: “someone out there feels better because of you”; a seashell; a carerra marble egg from Carerra Italy to go with a story/play about I am working on; a shimmering Mookaite rock from a friend for my 70th b’day; a few buddhas; a brass duck with an umbrella given to me by a student who said, “Don’t let anyone rain on your parade”; a small Little Prince and fox doll from Paris; and various photos and mementos from trips.

  2. My list could get really long too.

    A dangling, fancy bookmark of polished stones handmade by the man himself, Chuck Palahniuk, for being one of the first 100 folks to donate $100 bucks to a dog shelter he supports. My little guy’s ashes, his paw print, some of my mother’s angels, little Yorkie statures given to me by a woman I thought of as my aunt. She loved those little dogs, too. Wall art, and other gifts from books clubs and bookstores I’ve visited, a wooden piggy bank made by my grandfather from Maine, tons of books, signed and not. Family photos, a clay paw print of one of my other Yorkies, and a card that says FUCK CANCER. (it’s my favorite, and it’s from a friend who passed away from it. We shared the same type)

  3. A treasure chest made of wood that my mother gave me, home to notes and a pouch of the softest leather that holds a chunk of the Berlin wall and coins from foreign countries I’ve visited. A singing bowl made of blended metals that I bought from a Tibetan shopkeeper in Pokhara, Nepal. He said, “I think this is a very good one” A small branch from Nepal used to bring the bowl to life. A small class picture of my daughter.. A guitar pick with a picture of Jimi Hendrix on it that I keep in my wallet. A silver pipe with a screw on lid. One of the last photos ever taken of my late friend Ed. A sculpture of a Rastafarian carved from lignum vitae. A photo of my wife and I on our wedding day. Three or four pocket knives and a small packet of sawdust mixed with coffee from the funeral service of a dearly departed friend who was a gifted woodworker and virtuoso musician who liked coffee.

  4. A nip of GODIVA (2001) patiently beside the printer—to be shared with the agent who sells my memoir.

  5. “What writing talismans do you keep near?”

    My every object is a writing talisman. Some are more notable than others, and none have meaning to anyone but me. A telephone pole line insulator from a junk pile when I was thirteen. A chunk of turquoise-infused quartz rock from near Georgia O’Keefe’s mountain in New Mexico. A small toy poison dart tree frog bought at a novelty shop. Many more tchotchkes that I will not take your time describing.

    Pro tip: Every object is a story, and any object can be made into an interesting story, if the writer has patience and skill sufficient to the task.

    Did I ever tell you, that telephone insulator? The one that was on the dresser? Lorna tried to take that when I kicked her out. She was packing up her box in the bedroom — she didn’t have very much, but neither did I, we were still teenagers — and she put the insulator in it and I reached in right away and pulled it back out, told her, “You can’t have that. That’s mine.” But she left her cane behind, the one that she said had been given to her by her previous boyfriend, I don’t remember his name. I broke it over my knee a few days after she left, drove over to her mom’s apartment building — she had moved back in with her mom — and she was there in the parking lot. I rolled down my window and tossed the broken cane out onto the lot, said, “Here! You forgot this!” I don’t know what I was so mad about. I was such an asshole.

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