Month: August 2012

Guest Blog

One of Mrs Fringe’s previous posts was syndicated yesterday over at is the blog of a fabulous mom with a transracial family, addressing attachment parenting, breastfeeding, homeschooling, travel schooling, and adoption.  Check her out, she’s posting from Africa at the moment, and recently met with the “first mother” of her adopted son.

A big thank you to I Am Not The Babysitter and

Apologies, I’m having technical difficulties this morning, I can’t get the hyperlink to work.

Dear Sexies,

Thor amboinensis/Sexy Shrimp

So cute, so delicate, seeing you both dance, wiggling your tails in time with the wave maker. I love to watch you, not so much swimmers as graceful leapers, like watching a dancer sail across the stage. The natural symbiotic relationship between you and the mini carpet anemone always in evidence, as you each grab for a pellet or a juicy piece of cyclopeeze, bringing it back to the your nem to feed host and hostess. I keep you well fed, so you don’t pick at the skirts of my zoas, or annoy the yumas until they expose their guts.

At this moment, I want to plunge my hand in the tank and let my fingers press into your little exoskeletons until you pop, sexy shrimp guts to feed the nem instead of mysis shrimp. Why? Because you keep grabbing for my new kenya tree frags, trying to bring them to the anemone.

Kenya Tree Frag

The internets gods were frowning at me this morning, it took three hours to get a connection to come online. Fine, I figured I could use some time to stare into the tank and center my thoughts. Frags are not food for you, Mr and Mrs Sexy!

Portable Neighborhood

Macbook keys

Macbook keys (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friends have heard me talk about this before, but I like this subject, so I’ll talk about it again.

New Yorkers are kind of, um New Yorkcentric. Not only does the world revolve around us, but we tend to believe we are the most well rounded, evolved folks in the world.  No provincial thinking here. Hah!

It’s easy as morning coffee to be provincial here.  Spend an evening in a local bar and hear 8 languages being spoken at any given time, have a drink with straight people, gay people, every ethnicity, young people, old people, rich or poor. I can go months without leaving my immediate neighborhood, and still eat at any ethnicity restaurant, shop for any type of clothing,  roam the parks and enjoy a variety of live music, see a play, attend a poetry reading, attend services at a church/temple/meeting house for every religion you can think of, or even never leave my apartment and still have any and everything delivered to my door.

It wasn’t until I had reason to join an online forum that I realized how very narrow my world and my focus was. At first it was plain old weird.  I prefaced every sentence to Husband with, “this woman I know online,” etc.  It felt squishy to define someone I’d never met face to face as a friend.  I’ve gotten over it, and have made many online friends over the years. There’s an intimacy created in these forums, safety in getting to know someone through a computer screen.  At this point I’ve been lucky enough to meet several face to face–the good part of living in NY, lots of people have reason to come or just a desire to visit. I meet them after they do their touristy thing.  Really, it’s ok, you can climb the Statue of Liberty without me.

Statue Of Liberty

Statue Of Liberty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll meet you in the park later, by the chick who’s dressed as her, green sheet, face paint, silent, with a bucket for donations at her feet.

Now, I’m a left leaning gal, most of my face to face (trying to think of a better term than “In Real Life”, my online friends are quite real, thank you) friends are also left leaning. Even the ones who vote right lean left to some degree or another. I’ve had plenty of friends who attended church/temple/fill in your house of worship here, but for most, there’s a wide distance btw church and state, friends, and politics.

In the past seven years or so, I’ve moved into a new neighborhood, a whole new world, and truly been exposed to different frames of reference. Some of my online friends are people I “know” I’d become friends with no matter how I met them. But that isn’t true for everyone.  The interesting thing about forums is how they are a window, and the curtains that drape them one subject or area of interest, one commonality. A sneaky thing happens when you’re surrounded by those window treatments, you get to know people as individuals before learning their politics, socio-economic status, religious beliefs, or ethnicity.

I got to know their beverage of choice, their marital status, marital problems, their musical preferences, their medical bills, their children, their humor, their snark, their warmth, their intelligence, their knowledge, their support. Only after all of this, did I learn who went to church 3 times a week, read their devotionals twice daily, doesn’t believe at all, is a lapsed Mormon, pro-life/pro-choice, support gun restriction/own 10 guns, etc.  I. love. this. Every day, I love it.  We don’t always agree, and sometimes discussions can get pretty heated, but there is a respect for each other as human beings, individuals with complete lives, brains and hearts, opinions formed from our individual and varied life experiences. I get upset when my online friends cross from questioning and debating into arguments and blind rhetoric.

Through my online community, built from friends drawn from several different forums with vastly different focal areas, I don’t feel so provincial anymore. I feel better informed and better equipped to form opinions. I “live” in a new neighborhood, all of my neighbors chosen for commonalities but not sameness, mutual love, support, respect, and compassion.  Yanno, all that squishy stuff.

Flickr friends

Flickr friends (Photo credit: Meer)

The Super Secret Society of NY Dogwalking

OK, not so secret.  One thing that seems to surprise tourists is how many of us here in NY have dogs.  I understand the surprise if you’re coming from a place where having a dog equals hunting or long romps through grassy fields. Big Senile Dog is such a city dog he’ll only “go” on concrete or asphalt.  Not fun when visiting friends in the country, and I’m walking my beast down an unlit road at night because he won’t poop on grass.

A special relationship, she likes to walk under him when he’s peeing outside, then we come home and she pees on his bed.

Believe it or not, most NYers are pretty friendly, just not chatty.  The exceptions come out once you’re walking your dog(s). All of a sudden, people you’ve never noticed before, and who’ve never noticed you, are stopping to say hello, how are you, tell you about their day and begin friendships.  An entirely new dimension of bonding and neighborly love becomes clear. Cause nothing says intimacy like a conversation when one or both parties are holding a bag of dog poop.

I think dog owners here are the holders of the neighborhood secrets. We know who’s sick, who’s in love, getting married, divorced, which building is about to shift from rent controlled to co-op, who lost their job. I’ve heard many stories over the years of people finding jobs through connections in the dog run.

Like a bartender recognizes people by what they drink, we recognize people by the dogs attached to them.  Sometimes I can tell you what type of dog, elimination quirks, and all about the owner’s life, but can’t for the life of me give you a physical description of the person attached to the leash.

please curb your dog

please curb your dog (Photo credit: Charley Lhasa)

Yo, Mrs Fringe–Put the Card Away!

So said the bank.


20120708-OSEC-LSC-0447 (Photo credit: USDAgov)

The twin entwined with the anxiety of Man Child and Nerd Child getting ready to leave for school is shopping.  I don’t love to shop, and the calculations involved make my stomach roll, so I try to minimize the amount of time and days spent shopping by getting as much done as I can in just a few days of whirlwind excursions, clutching my list, a pencil, and a highlighter.

Man Child doesn’t need much this year. But Nerd Child, oh-oh-oh. He’s been in dress code for the past three years, so he owned very little in the way of “regular” clothes and shoes.

shop or hang , that is the question

shop or hang , that is the question (Photo credit: gandhiji40)

He’s headed to an environment with snowier, colder winters, so obviously, more significant boots are required. Then there’s all the stuff needed to outfit a dorm room.

Yesterday, he and I shopped.  We did well, got just about everything he needed in terms of clothes–all on sale, whee!!, and came home.  A couple of hours later, we decided to make a family excursion of shopping for winter boots. Borrowed Father-In-Law’s car and headed out. Found boots for him, rain boots for the girl to replace the ones that have been leaking, even got a pair of rain shoes for myself, then another store for a suitcase. Then back to the first store after comparing prices to pick up a duffle bag.

After all this, we were starving, it was late, so we splurged and went out for dinner. We don’t do this often, and it’s fun when we do. The waitress was absolutely one of the nicest ones we’ve ever had, so sweet to Flower Child I wanted to wiggle with joy.  The check came, we gave her the debit card.  She came back and said something I didn’t quite catch to Husband, ending with “not going through.” He smiled and told her it’s a debit card, not credit.  She said she had tried it twice.

Now, I know we spent a lot yesterday. But, we’re pretty careful people. For all the spending, we hadn’t blown the budget, and had checked what was in the account and calculated what we could/should spend. In walks Mama Guilt.  Mama Guilt didn’t just sit next to me, but sat on my lap and drank the last of my iced tea, one eyebrow raised all the while, “What, you couldn’t have had water?” Then she started tapping her foot against the box of shoes I had purchased for myself. “You’ve been perfectly fine with wet toes for the last forty thousand years. You had to buy rain shoes for yourself?”

Ridiculous, my glass of unsweetened iced tea, and my shoes, had nothing to do with the debit card problem.  In fact, Husband called the bank immediately to find out what the problem was. Turns out the bank had noticed we spent a lot more dollars than we ever do, so they put a hold on the account to make sure it was really us.  A good thing, in a rational mind.  My mind, however, is still lecturing–you still have basic school supplies to purchase…

Money money money

Money money money (Photo credit: jainaj)

And the damn card is probably going to spontaneously combust when we get Nerd Child his new glasses.

In the Lint Pile

English: A close-up of dryer lint

English: A close-up of dryer lint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just about all Manhattan neighborhoods are a mix. A mix of ethnicities, political views, religions, and socio-economic status. My neighborhood is particularly mixed when it comes to the latter. We have a high number of SROs. Single Room Occupancy hotels–boutique hotels, if you’re a naive young tourist who believes all the pretty pictures posted on the internets. Many times I’ve come across 120 pound tourists with 150 pound packs strapped to them, looking for the “boutique hotel” they paid for in advance, online, from their clean and comfy homes or universities somewhere in Europe, maybe the Netherlands. Sometimes I run into these same young tourists 2 days later in the drugstore, looking for products to combat bedbugs and lice.

Most frequently, SROs house those who have fallen from the fringe into the lint pile, a few house those have recently arrived in America and are first trying to climb up to the fringe.  Rent controlled, very cheap housing, what you get is one room and a shared bathroom and kitchen. Some are reasonably clean and safe, many are dirty, in desperate need of repairs, and not somewhere you’d like to find yourself–day or night. Many who live in the SROs are basically homeless, mentally ill, drug addicted, and either HIV+ or have full blown AIDS.

I’ll be honest, there are certain blocks I avoid walking on at night, even with Big Senile Dog at my side. As the economy has grown tighter, the problems and crimes that spill out of these buildings has risen. Most of the people who live in even the seediest of the SROs seem fairly harmless, I’ve lived here for years and so have they; I recognize their faces, those who aren’t drug or booze addled recognize mine. OK, so it was more than a little unsettling when Fatigue got a new puppy in his ground floor apartment and was assured a few weeks later by one particular man that he didn’t have to worry about said puppy while he was out at work–the man was watching him through the window, and he was ok. Ummm, thanks?

This summer, violent crime has escalated, there have been a couple of fatal incidents, and the city is planning to place an additional four hundred people in SROs in the immediate neighborhood.  Predictably, there are petitions circulating to stop this placement. Social service agencies place people in this housing, and it is great and necessary to have somewhere for the ill and indigent to go besides the front stoops of churches; but then they don’t provide supports to keep the people well, clean, or even safe. A Catch 22 that affects not only the people living in these buildings, but all living around them.

Some of the people living in the SROs are elderly, some work fringe jobs, some work regular jobs that just don’t pay enough for rent on an apartment, many live off their SSI/SSD checks and supplement by panhandling.  Ah, the panhandling.  “Mama, you got a dollar? How bout a cigarette?” Usually not, and usually, when I just keep walking, they’re asking the next person before I’ve even passed them. Sometimes it’s annoying, if the person in question decides to follow and continue asking for half a block, sometimes it pisses me off, if I say no and the person immediately switches modes from smiling, hand extended, “God Bless,” to snarling and “fucking bitch.” Sometimes it’s frightening. Flower Child doesn’t understand all the cues and clues, which seems to attract the most fractured of the crack addicts, “oh little Mommy, you’re so beautiful, I don’t have my babies anymore, can I touch your hair?”

When Man Child was little, he used to announce what we were having for dinner and invite the homeless he saw on our way home from nursery school to join us.


homeless (Photo credit: digitizedchaos)

A lot of my younger internet friends think of me as an ex-hippie.  Though I’m too young to actually have played on the streets of Haight-Ashbury, the politics and philosophies wouldn’t be far off, and it’s true, my favorite pair of jeans in high school was a pair I had tie-bleached with a friend in the basement. In the eighties and early nineties, I worked in social services where most of my jobs were a direct result of the push to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill. So I feel for all of those living in the SROs, had many opportunities to get to know and understand they aren’t just lint, these are people with histories, many of them histories that would make you lose your breakfast, and some, indistinguishable from the others, with histories that would be uncomfortably similar to yours.

The petitions want them placed “somewhere else.” Where? The people behind the petitions fear for safety, other vulnerable residents, and property values. They want them placed somewhere with enough security and supports to minimize these issues.  I would like that last part too, but where would the money come from to make that happen?

Tie Dye

Tie Dye (Photo credit: deborah.soltesz)

My left leaning, ex-too-young-to-have-been-a-real-hippie, ex-case manager, all too aware of how easy it can be to drop from the fringe to the lint-self wants to see more people placed in local SROs, campaign for donations and fight for the city to help them once they’re in. How can we not care, pretend they don’t exist?  But I’m also a mom who is thinking about an escalation of violent crimes,  Man Child and Nerd Child old enough and independent enough to be walking the streets on their own, and my vulnerable Flower Child.

What do you think?

Tripping Over Boxes

And here we are. Down to the last days of summer, which for me means a turmoil of angst, packing, and insomnia. It’s cool here in NY this morning, and I want to scream, “No! I don’t want it to be cool, a reminder autumn is just around the corner. I want it to be hot and sunny, and lie on the beach pretending I never have to leave!” Last week I was still doing just that, got on the train with Flower Child and spent the day in Brooklyn.

Under the B train

Ever wonder why the sand has that oily film on it?

When my children were young, I practiced attachment parenting, mostly.  I used a midwife, breastfed, made my own baby food, carried them in pouches on my chest and slings on my hip. There are many facets and ideas behind it that might draw someone to attachment parent, and the one I’m thinking about this morning is the idea that children who are raised this way grow to be more independent, more secure. As an older parent now, with older children, do I believe this is Truth?  Maybe; it worked for us, but there are so many factors involved in raising children, so many variables, I don’t believe there is a one size fits all approach.

Man Child is preparing to go back to school.  He’s entering his second year in a small, private liberal arts college, and his head and heart are ready, if his suitcases aren’t. This is our sixth year of helping him pack up and leave for school. He attended a small private, boarding school for high school. Seems like the antithesis of attachment parenting, doesn’t it? Maybe, maybe not. Boarding school was his idea, supported by the staff at his middle school. He earned a full scholarship to attend, and did well there; successful academically, grew as a person, made friends, connected with teachers, and came home frequently for both long breaks and quick weekend visits.  The school wasn’t that far away, so it was an easy drive–if you weren’t trying to get there or back through the hell that is the Lincoln Tunnel on a Friday–or he could and often did take the train.


DSC00562.JPG (Photo credit: Kramchang)

Originally, I was vehemently opposed to the idea of boarding school.  Not my kid, uh-uh-no-way. First of all, I like my kid, why would I support him leaving the house 4 years earlier than I “had” to? Second, boarding school, what the heck is that? Is that the new politically correct term for jeuvie?  He’s a good kid and a good person, spent hours each week serving food to the homeless beginning when he was 12 because it hurt him to see people hungry on the street. We were (and are) a close family, wouldn’t boarding school destroy that bond? Then there was the cousin of not-my-kid, you know, my-kid-would-never. I don’t believe in my-kid-would-never, some kids might be more or less likely, but every kid, given the right/wrong circumstances– can make mistakes, show poor judgement, or be caught up in something before they know they’re caught.

But. He campaigned, and eventually, I promised to keep an open mind.

View of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Ashevill...

View of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Asheville School Campus (View 1) (Photo credit: AdmissionsQuest)

Which meant listening to the teachers and staff at his middle school, when they talked about supporting opportunities, the safety of boarding schools as opposed to riding the subways each day, the endowments available for scholarship monies, the beauty, the support of teachers and staff who actually live with the kids, and on and on. So we went to look, he interviewed and filled out pages of applications, we both wrote upteen essays. Husband and I were bowled over by the opportunities available, the breadth of courses, the safety, the indescribable beauty and history of the campuses, the people who had attended these schools and the kids who were attending. These were not cold, impersonal places to dump your kid while you jet set around Europe (or some such idea I had from Harold Robbins novels). *This picture is not a school he attended, nor one that we visited, but the beauty is representative of many campuses we’ve seen. *

I was excited for him, I was proud of him–it was his efforts, his hard work, his maturity, and his humanity that opened the way for this opportunity, affording him a choice of schools offering full scholarships when the decisions came in.  Leaving him at school that first day was among the most difficult days I have ever faced as a parent. I cried all the way home.  Husband (who had been even more opposed than I when we first heard the term boarding school) held my hand and reminded me of all the reasons we were doing this, the way I had talked about wishing I had had this type of opportunity, and of course, how soon we would go visit him. I thought it would get easier. Experienced parents told me it would get easier. Wrong. I have cried every year, and every year it got harder, because I knew and know exactly how much I would miss him.

And now, it’s Nerd Child’s turn.  He is leaving in a couple of weeks to attend Hogwarts. Not the same boarding school Man Child attended, but the one that is perfect for him. If my heart broke from having to smile and pack up for one child, it’s absolutely melting doing it for two. Any morning now I’m going to wipe my eyes and find my aorta in the Kleenex.  Nerd Child, how can I let him go? This is the toddler who would wail if I went anywhere without him, trying to stick his little fingers in the crack under the front door so he could reach me.  He isn’t wailing now, he isn’t even visibly nervous. He’s psyched and he’s ready to embrace every opportunity that he can earn, learn from every experience he can have. Like Man Child, he earned this opportunity, was blessed with several acceptances and excellent offers, and he’s headed off with a full scholarship and strong values to help him navigate the pitfalls of high school–cause after all, it’s still high school.

During these anxiety ridden days of preparation I ask myself why I’m doing this.  I have friends who wonder why I’m doing this, even as they’ve seen the positives through Man Child. Believe me, life is easier with the two of them home, they make me laugh, they help with Flower Child, they help with the heavy lifting of life in the city. Because I believe it’s my job as a parent.  To help them see what’s out there, what they can strive for, and how to find and make use of opportunities, so their adult lives will (hopefully) be easier than mine and Husband’s. My kids don’t have a lot of stuff, they know all about living on a tight budget, and they don’t arrive in their dorms with fabulous matching everything and the latest in clothing trends. They arrive with strength, faith, and hope.  I expect them to do the “right” thing because it’s the right thing, even though it’s often the more difficult choice. The least I can do is the same.


Hogwarts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*Editing for clarity: Boarding school isn’t right for every kid, nor is it right for every family. For us, it seems to have been the best choice for both boys, I don’t assume the same is true for all.


I’m excited. This Friday night there will be a midnight sale/event at a (somewhat) local fish store. This is a big, annual event that I’ve been trying to get to for several years, but haven’t yet gone.  So far, so good for this year.

I have a little cash put aside for this, hoping to buy a fish (if the one I want is still there when I get there), and a frag or two. For the uninitiated, frags are small branches, heads, or polyps of living coral colonies that can be purchased, traded, or gifted to grow in a new tank. Like, my tank



Bird’s Nest frag, Small Polyp Stony coral

Green Polyps, “softie”

Equally exciting is the prospect of meeting up with a reefing friend (or 2 or 3) who I’ve known online for several years, but because the stars haven’t aligned, we’ve yet to meet in person.

I need to write a wish list of corals/critters, so I don’t get overexcited and spend all my dollars within the first 10 feet of the store.  Cash only, that’s my rule in order to stick to the budget.  I’d love to push the boundaries, blow the budget, and go crazy coral shopping. But I won’t. Yes, yes, I’ve embraced my not-so-inner nerd. It’s also important to keep in mind which corals will live peacefully next to each other, particularly so in a nano tank, otherwise it’s a set up for yet another tank crash.

Before anything else, I’ve got to do a big water change and some general maintenance beforehand, and have fresh, clean saltwater on hand in case of excessive sliming from new corals.  Many corals, particularly SPS, slime after being rehomed, fragged, or just generally pissed off at being in different water with slightly different parameters.

Time to drag myself out of my underwater fantasy. Flower Child is awake and hungry, the dogs are waiting to be walked, and if I don’t start my workout, it isn’t going to happen.

English: A variety of corals form an outcrop o...

English: A variety of corals form an outcrop on Flynn Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns, Queensland, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Hey Artist, Got A Dollar?

Series 1923 U.S. 1$ Silver Certificate, Friedb...

Series 1923 U.S. 1$ Silver Certificate, Friedberg #237, S/N R91110043B (Photo credit: LostBob Photos)

I love Rent. The lyrics, the music, the message, the whole package. Me and eleventy billion other people.  But this line, the title of today’s post, always resonates.

Why are creative types, artists, writers, musicians, etc, expected to be poor but happy? The scene in my head is old and familiar, a talisman and a warning sign spooning together; the gaunt, pale writer pounding away at a dinged up typewriter in a rat infested garret in Paris, overflowing ashtray on either side of her. Mmm, yeah, that was the romanticized image I had at 15.  Not working for me anymore.  Never got to France, more broke than I was at 15, a dinged up laptop, but still, I write. What I don’t do is romanticize an unsuccessful creative life. Great if you lived at the turn of the 20th century with a zillion lovers and a wealthy patron who bought your meals, paid your rent, and you didn’t mind dying of syphilis. Today, as a married mother of three who’s never known anyone to have a patron? Not so much.

Poor but happy is bullshit. Wealthy may not mean happy, but no one is happy when they’re hungry, or worried about paying the rent.

Writing, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, journalism, or blogging, is interactive. I write, you (hopefully) read. More hope, you get on the phone and tell a couple of friends about this fun or moving piece you read, and they read.

PFC Gladys Bellon, Basile, Louisiana, one of t...

PFC Gladys Bellon, Basile, Louisiana, one of the 27 WAC switchboard operators flown from Paris for the Potsdam… – NARA – 199010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so on.  Until…more hope…I make a dollar. Ah, I’ve changed the equation, made it dirty. Because  I’m not supposed to care about how many people want to read what I’ve written, or earning money. Why? My kids get hungry. This may be shocking, but they want to eat multiple times a day. And whether I like all aspects of today’s American society or not, I was raised in it, I live in it. And in our society, money is necessary, and it’s validation. Most published authors don’t earn enough to support themselves through their writing, but it makes a difference in how writers view themselves, and how others view them.

True, there are a few writers, artists, singers, and the like who don’t care about an audience.  But the dirty truth is, most of us do. That’s why, for as many books as you’ll find on the shelf about how to write, there are an equal number on how to catch an agent’s attention, how to craft a query letter, how to get published. Lots of opinions on those who are published, and God forbid, successful.  He’s a hack. She’s a sell out. She’s a tramp. Oh wait.

A real woman will die a virginal death, and a real writer will die with 6 Pulitzer-worthy manuscripts under the bed.  Both, of course, will die at the age of 27 by their own hand, because despair and depression befitting their station in life will have set in.  That or consumption.  But, they were both pure.

On the other hand, go to a party or a PTA meeting and tell people you’re a writer. Then they ask what you write and where they can find your work. Unpublished. Sneer. You’re a wannabe. Then they tell you about their prize winning 5th grade essay. Which is it? Am I pure or a wannabe? Unsuccessful? Plain old delusional? Trade secret, I’m breaking the rules here. If you are really working on, or going to pursue, publication, don’t blog or write about not having been published, the agents and editors will be scared off. Well, I’m forty thousand and I’m cranky, so I’m breaking the rules.

Yes, there are rules and guidelines. Because the publishing world is a business.  A business that likes to make money.  Yes, if you’re good enough, or successful enough, you can break those rules. But good and successful are often synonyms for profitable. Because (reputable) agents don’t earn any money if their writers don’t. And editors don’t keep their jobs if they only get behind books that don’t earn out. Those in the publishing world want writers who have talent, dedication, an ability to absorb and apply critiques and edits, and look respectable at writing conferences.

Cocktail Party At The Imperial Hotel: March 13...

Cocktail Party At The Imperial Hotel: March 13, 1961 (Tokyo, Japan) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back to that party and the elegantly coiffed woman in the classic little black dress. What you write will effect the curl of her lip. Literary fiction? A delicate raise. Romance, sci fi, or other genre fiction? You’ll get the lip, the nostril, and the eyebrow.  Readers, writers, even some who are functionally illiterate, feel free to dis genre fiction. Trash, bodice rippers, pulp fiction.  Not only would this lovely lady not admit to reading any of this, she believes her chihuahua could dance across the keys of her laptop, produce one of these manuscripts and have it be publishable.  No. Writing is an art, writing is work, and marketable, popular fiction is deceptive in its “simplicity.” There’s a reason genre fiction is also called popular fiction. Quality literary fiction; also an art, also work.

Good writing produces work that people want to read. They want to read it because it has a message that hits home, a universal truth wrapped inside a character you’d like to be, saying the words you wish you’d said. It breaks your heart and performs an angioplasty because it tells the story of a pain you’ve lived, and lets you know others have lived it too. It takes you to another world, lets you be a hero, allows you to experience that first love, again.

Not all good writing gets published, but if it isn’t sold or published, it isn’t because it was too good or too pure.

One day, when a homeless woman calls out to me from her blanket nest on a cold sidewalk, “Got a dollar?” I’d like to say yes, and I earned it from my art.

Homeless NYC

Homeless NYC (Photo credit: Delusion Productions)