Monday, March 28, 2011

UNFILTERED Up at The Linnet's Wings

I am honored to have my micro-fiction UNFILTERED featured at The Linnet's Wings, a beautiful quarterly out of Ireland. Some wonderful stories, poetry, photography, and cartoons by Bobbi Lurie, Bill West, Oonah Joslin, and a host of talented others. Tremendous thanks to Ramon Collins, cartoonist, writer and editor extraordinaire, and M. Lynam Fitzpatrick for hosting my words. Peace, Linda

Photograph: Waiting for Spring by Gina Kelly

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Going on a Diet...

They say if you don't eat sugar for 3 days, you won't crave it anymore.

Well, I'm a bit addicted to all things internet, and with a ton of deadlines (work, writing, personal) coming up in this next month, I'm going to have to slim down my blog-hopping, facebooking, twittering, fictionauting, and tumbling. Which makes me sad, because I love you ALL and care about what's going on in your lives.

BUT... I have to write. Synopses, queries, first chapters, chapbooks, short stories. I will post my #fridayflashes, and will be back in full swing April 1 in time for the Great April Fools Day Flash Fiction Swappola.

Happy Spring -- it IS official! Peace...

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Dear kind souls who trafficked their comments on 'after the shock'. Between this blog, facebook, twitter, and links on other blogs, you folks left a total of 91 comments. YAY!!!!! I'll round up to a nice even hundred, and send along a check to CARE. Every little bit helps, so I thank you again, especially those of you who spread the word (Deanna, Cathy, Jon, Lou, Bye Bye Pie, and others) -- thank you!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

We Interrupt this Broadcast--

to remind you -- COMMENT HERE so I can give a dollar HERE. (btw, i have investigated numerous charitable agencies -- CARE receives highest ratings from Charity Navigator and other 'watchdogs' and has presence in Japan. Typically I support Doctors Without Borders, but they are NOT collecting earmarks for this disaster).


By Friday midnight wherever you are.

WRITERS!!!!! POETS!!!!!! ARTISTS!!!!!! Please contribute your words HERE ==>New Sun Rising -- Stories for Japan

If you are looking for my #fridayflash, go HERE -- THE ANT FARM. Inspired by the 52/250 theme: the crowd.

Peace, Linda

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Soup Bean Annie -- Up at PURE SLUSH

My story SOUP BEAN ANNIE, celebrating hoboes and the women who love them, up at the fine litzine PURE SLUSH. Much thanks to Matt Potter, editor extraordinaire, for featuring my work.

And please, drop a comment HERE so I'll donate another dollar to help our friends across the biggest pond.

Peace, Linda


Today Ben, my favorite character, turns 31. So young, though I feel I have known him for a long, long time. A bit of sadness with this birthday -- I sense him leaving me, I sense myself leaving him, thinking of new characters, like Kay, who will leave all that's good for a pipe-dream, and Jesse and Luke, two high school kids trying to fool the neighbors and the social workers into thinking their parents are still alive. Below, an excerpt from Ben's 20th birthday, definitely in the vein of the March of Ides after a humiliating morning in front of his love interest...


Passing headlights make the gnarled branches look like hungry fingers reaching down for me. It’s late, past seven, I’ve been running up and down Mem Drive, over the Longfellow and back for two hours, trying to lose this morning’s demons, but Phoebe’s hurt eyes keep chasing me down the streets. Jesus, one lousy card and it’s over.

My feet make soft, slapping sounds on the brick pathways. At the campus perimeter, I veer left through the Quadrangle, past the chemistry building, and hit black ice. My knee wrenches, it hurts like hell, and I almost cry, this day is such a goddamn disaster and, for a nanosecond, I toy with the idea of heading to Dunster, to score some Vicodin. For the pain, of course. But I banish the idea, I’ve been good, so good these last three years.

I sprint up the landing and into the foyer, dig in my back pocket and find the forgotten mood charts folded in a wad of ones. Three bucks buys me dinner: Hostess Ho-Hos, nacho Doritos, and a can of full-octane Coke.

In the animal facility, it’s warm, humid; the sweetish scent of rodent piss and cedar shavings calms me. My six subjects swarm my hand when I reach into the glass cage. I pick up number 43, a black, brown-eyed male identical to his thousands of siblings populating this lab.

“Hey you.” My thumb strokes his neck. “Hope you had a better day than me.” He snuffs my wrist, wriggles up my sleeve. I pull him back by the tail and drop him into the cage.

I pull down the plastic feed container from the upper cabinet, refill the water, then lean against the wall to observe my subjects eat their dinner. My ‘practice’ mice, the animals I feed, inject with placebo, watch for reactions, then inject with three different anticonvulsants. One day, soon I hope, I’ll remove them, unsuspecting, from their glass house, guillotine them, and make carpaccio-thin brain slices to view under the ‘scope. Then I’ll puree the rest of the grey matter, chromatograph the mess, and write up the experiment. If my technique satisfies Tien and Doctor L, they’ll give me the expensive guys - six identical rodents genetically-modified to lack the glutamate-inhibiting protein – and I’ll repeat the laborious process again, this time for real.

My stomach rumbles, reminding me I haven’t eaten since this morning’s cupcakes. I leave the animal room and ascend the stairs. The burnt-match smell of propane and acid fills the lab. A couple of pre-docs stand humped over their benches, extracting compounds in huge Pyrex beakers. They nod as I pass through and down the hall to the closet of an office I share with four other undergrads.

No one’s here. The single computer whirs and the bald fluorescent tube strobes an irritating ice-blue on the ceiling. The flickering intensifies my lithium headache. God, I hate these headaches, they last all day and nothing touches them. I crumple in the wood chair, tilt back with my feet on the desk, and down the now-warm Coke in three swallows. A thought pricks at me - I’m forgetting something - but it flits away, so I open my neuro text and start to read about antipsychotics. The cake dissolves in my mouth, too sweet, the disgusting faux chocolate waxes my tongue, and as I chew I sing ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ in my head, over and over again.

I hate my goddamn birthday.

I return to the chapter. Thioridazine, prochlorperazine, perphenazine, all these fucking ‘zines. Nasty names. Nasty drugs, numb the fuck out of you. Thank God I’m not schizo. The chemical structures blur, so I try to remember them by pharmacologic class – phenothiazines, thioxanthenes, butyrophenones – but my eyes start twitching from the headache. Jesus, I’ll never get these blasted drugs straight. Wish I could ask Phoebe, she’s a whiz at the drugs.

When I rip the bag of chips, tiny brown balls bounce along the desktop. Mice turds. Disgusted, I sweep them off with the back of my hand and remember seeing similar pellets yesterday on my kitchen counter, near the half-eaten loaf of stale bread. I gotta clean up my place, it’s been a shambles since finals. Like me.

Then, it hits me, a miracle, all these disparate threads on antipsychotics and cleaning and winning back Phoebe converge. Time to purge my house. My self. Time to clean up.

Heartened, I jump up and brush the rodent shit and phosphorescent orange shards from my lap. My cell buzzes. I’m so excited about my new course of action I ignore it, but then I think maybe it’s Mother telling me she deposited the money today, that she paid the tuition. And happy birthday, son. So I grab the phone, glance at caller ID but it’s not New York, it’s local. Althea. And then I remember what I’m forgetting - my birthday party.


And please take a moment to comment HERE. Your words will send a buck of relief to help those suffering in Japan. Peace...

Monday, March 14, 2011

after the shock

water tumbles stones,
shells, metal, glass -- sand glistens
a roar of silence

my heart and prayers to those in Japan -- and to those who love them.

through friday, for every comment i will contribute one dollar to relief efforts; another dollar for every tweet or blog or fb link. peace...

Thursday, March 10, 2011



transfixed i watch your hands
strong quiet efficient
shape this humble offering

of mud into something pure
lyrical a form so flawless
it seems a miracle

later when the body yields
before the glassy burn
i cradle the leathered urn

and peer into eternity
ossified hollow of earth
primordial essence of you

Inspired by the 52-250 Flash a Year theme: to the core.

Cuore is Italian for heart. What is more central, more core, than the heart, our strongest and yet most tender vessel?

Btw, I did not write this poem. No, no, no, I do not write such sappy stuff. Ben wrote it, one of several he collated into a book of handmade papers to celebrate Phoebe's birthday. Who is Ben? Phoebe?

Ah, you'll have to read my novel to find out more. Peace, Linda

Monday, March 07, 2011

Diese Blog ist Sehr Mude

And so am I. Tired, that is. Very. It's the day job. The winter cruds. Sick kiddos. Daily busy-ness.

So I'm sorry this blog's been so lame lately. It's a reflection of moi. I have a bunch of books I want to review, a few interviews, maybe a contest. I just realized I hit my 400th post two posts ago.

Oh well.

But I am reading some fabulous novels. Right now I am in the thick of A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD by Jennifer Egan. Wow. Great characters, great prose (and powerpoint), and a structure that knocks my socks off. Definitely one of the best reads in the last year. A peek into the music business, and locales ranging from jungles to New York to San Fran to Naples.

What are you reading? Does it excite you? Why? or why not?

I'm tired, think I'll read and hit the hay. Peace...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

17 Days

Sometimes, under the gauze and yellow salves, under the allografts patching your body like so many potato and corn fields planting God’s earth, I glimpse you, the real you, my twinned soul from before, the brother who rode me on handle-bars, who beat up the bully on the bus, who read me to sleep when we were kids, the way I read to you now, and that’s when I grip your hand, the good one, glad the explosion incinerated the poison inside even if it burned off your smile, because now you are yourself, pure, saved, clean these 17 days.

Inspired by the 52-250 Flash a Year Challenge theme: under wraps. Plus, I was wondering what happened to MARTY.

And, I'm honored to have garnered an honorable mention for SHUT-EYE in FLASH FICTION CHRONICLE's STRING-OF-TEN CONTEST, run by the superlative Gay Degani and guest-judged by Michelle Reale. Yay!