About managermickey

Maggie Estep is a writer.

Bamboo Booby Trap

I don’t care for bamboo.  I don’t like the plant and I really don’t like flooring made from it.

So I moved to an apartment with bamboo floors.

Co-habitation wasn’t working for me.  I’m not good at dealing with other people’s STUFF.  So I chose bamboo over cohabitation.  And Mickey and I moved into a cheerful apartment with BAMBOO FLOORS.

Three years ago, I shared an apartment in Bed Stuy with my friend Cody.  It was a huge apartment and Cody was seldom home – so that worked.   But our small garden was infested with bamboo.  Some genius had planted a really invasive strain of herbaceous bamboo and its root system completely took over much of lower Bed Stuy.  I was frantically trying to grow flowers in that little garden and everything got devoured by bamboo.  I spent DAYS trying to dig up the entire root system, even though it probably originated blocks away.  I befriended neighbors so I could go into their yards and pull out their bamboo roots. They probably thought I was being Really White but, it was a friendly block and everyone humored me and pretended to understand.

I never got a handle on the bamboo there and we never had much of a garden and, anyway, I decided to move back upstate, away from the bamboo.

But bamboo is very popular.  It is, as my new landlord says, “rapidly renewable” and thus embraced by builders with a conscience. It is also cheap.  BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE PLASTIC.  See here (and if it looks sort of good to you in this picture it is just that the eye is pleased by the sight of the dog and successfully distracted from the plastic-y sheen of the bamboo. 

Here, in contrast, is a picture of Mickey on the beautiful wood floor at Sadhana Yoga.  No comparison, right? 

Mickey is still adjusting to our new digs.  And looked suicidal the other day when I was heading out to teach yoga, so I took him with me.

This was a class for a group of developmentally disabled adults.  We’ve been working together for over a year and have a nice camaraderie going.  Some of the gang have met Mick before and they’re always asking about him, plus I trust Mick completely.

So off to yoga we went.

The students arrived and their faces lit up at the sight of Mickey, standing there, wagging his tail.  As they put out their yoga mats and got onto the floor, Mickey went over to each person, carefully sniffed each one, licked some hands and cheeks.

I made him a nest of yoga blankets in the back of the room and gave him a treat and he went to curl up while we started the class.

When it was time for rest at the end of class,  Mickey got up from his nest and trotted from one supine person to the next.  Some hugged him, some just lay there beaming as he licked them. He seemed to have excellent instincts about who needed what kind of attention. 

Now perhaps I can buy him an orange therapy dog vest and fly him in the cabin of airplanes with me when I need to go someplace.

In the Vietnam War, where booby traps were popular, bamboo was employed regularly, fashioned into vicious spikes. I was a small child during the Vietnam war so it’s not like I have some sort of direct bamboo booby trap PTSD, but I do hate the stuff.

One sees bamboo plants in the offices of massage therapists and acupuncturists and I’m sure bamboo has many lovely qualities, perhaps even healing qualities, but I don’t want to know what they are because I prefer to coddle my grudge.

I think one has to be a really advanced person to live completely free of resentment and grudges. Most of us need some sort of pet peeve to hold onto and carry around like a pet rock, taking it out of our pocket from time to time to rub it and coddle the grudge.  Maybe, as such things go, bamboo isn’t so bad.




Unless you want to spend a lot of money, it is virtually impossible to find non-padded bras.  Seriously.  H&M, the Gap, Macy’s.  You can get a no-nonsense jogging bra that smashes your breasts like pancakes or you can get padded bras that may also serve as Personal Flotation Devices in the event of a water landing.   No such thing as a simple unlined black lace bra in the world’s cheap stores. 

Should this concern you if you’re a man?  Probably.  Women’s under things should concern everyone.

In more upscale stores, I see unlined bras.  In high-end lingerie stores, there is barely a padded bra in sight.  But the bras cost close to a hundred bucks.

Does this mean something demographically?  Like that poor and working class women want gigundo breasts?  Only women shopping for $100 bras are okay with non-boob-job looking boobs?

What’s that about?

My friend and mentor Andrew Vachss used to say that men’s tastes for curves and flesh on women were directly proportionate to income.  That working class men like some bounce on their women.  The rich, not so much.

In the olden days, only peasants had sun tans.  In more modern times, being bronzed all over no matter how much skin cancer may result is often an ideal.

I guess I have rich woman taste.  From the time I was approximately four years old, my grandfather would tell me: “You have champagne tastes and a beer budget.”  I was trying to get him to take me shopping at Barney’s by age 10.  I don’t know why really, except the clothes were beautiful and well-made.  They were art.  The clothes at the places he’d take me, not so much.  They felt funny against my skin. They looked like potato sacks.   Much later in life, I had a run of a few really good financial years and had some forays into buying myself stuff at Barney’s.  I was always amazed the sales women weren’t rushing into my dressing room to make sure I wasn’t shoplifting.  I actually CONSIDERED shoplifting because the were no security devices on the clothes and things were pretty lax.  But I would have felt guilty and, anyway, at the time, I could afford it. Sort of.

I don’t want gigundo breasts.  I put one of those padded bras on and I look like a third-rate sex worker.  Like my old friend Kat as she was winding her way down the ranks as an aging stripper.  She was still dancing well into her 40’s, but she had to go out to Queens to get work as her skin lost its dewiness and her proud gorgeous tits began to slowly slope downward.

Actually, I don’t look half as good as Kat when I put on a Personal Flotation Device bra.  I just look like a garden gnome with an unfortunate boob job.

Sometime around 2002 or so,  it got so one couldn’t find inexpensive bras that wouldn’t serve as Personal Flotation Devices.  The rare unlined bra that might find its way into the bra section at modest stores was not actually functional as a bra but had a sole use as Sex Garment.

For years, I’ve mostly worn little “bra-lettes” from the Gap.  Utilitarian sporty type unlined cotton shelf bras that don’t totally smash my tits but don’t augment them to fake boob status either.  But, lately,  for Realtor Life,I’ve had to put together some grown up outfits involving elegant button down shirts that button down very low and prominently display my no-nonsense bra-lettes.  So I went bra shopping.

I went to seven different stores, all crammed with rack upon rack of rack-augmenting Personal Flotation Devices. Finally, at Macy’s, I found an unpadded Calvin Klein bra that didn’t cost a gazillion dollars, functioned as a bra, and was actually pretty. Here. 

See? Isn’t that nice?

So what’s the deal?  Women of modest means must have giant fake-looking breasts while the wealthy may have delicate tea cup tits?





What Kind Of Jerk Am I?

In the early 1990’s, during my extended college career, I was researching a paper on global warming.  This was old-school-style research: Hours at the library, poring through dusty tomes and microfiche. Stuff you don’t remember if you’re under age thirty-five.

Microfishe reader

I’ve always been fascinated by the way the earth works.  And, writing that paper made me realize it wouldn’t work much longer. There was so much scientific data on how badly we had damaged it and heated the oceans and all the stuff that even Republicans acknowledge these days.  I was stunned.  And scared.

My favorite movie was (and actually remains) Bladerunner and I realized that by the year of Bladerunner,  2019, our world would be very different.  I didn’t really think there would be beautiful blond androids running around, but it would be a stranger world.

And now it’s 2 degrees out in November.   I’m sure it’s been 2 degrees in November before.  But there is something disquieting about this 2 degrees.  Partly knowing it could very well be followed by 70 degrees a few days hence.  Or a debilitating storm.

We all know global warming doesn’t just mean hot summers.  It means extremes. Violent storms. The earth screaming. Stunning weather shifts that seem unnatural because THEY ARE UNNATURAL.

And so,  it’s 2 degrees and I need to get Mickey out for his morning walk before going to take a yoga class so I can feel peaceful in the face of the dying earth and the weirdness of our world.

Not a gratuitous Mickey photo

But actually, I opened the laptop NOT planning a mini discourse on killing the earth, but instead to express wild exuberance over something.

If you’ve never read the books of Lawrence Block, you might want to think about doing so. I have read so many they could fill a bathtub (I talked about this in an  essay I wrote for Akashic Books, in conjunction with the release of their USA Noir anthology which includes me and, yes, Lawrence Block. Essay HERE.)

Lawrence Block

Lawrence Block and I go way back.  I’ve devoured his books in good times and bad times and, especially, in in-between times.  I feel like he’s my funny, cool uncle but I’ve never met him.  So I was quite astonished last week when, out of the blue, on Twitter, LAWRENCE BLOCK suddenly trumpeted my book Alice Fantastic.  The best part?  He said:  Maggie’s novel Alice Fantastic’s a delight. One does suspect the writer’s mad, but that’s not a bad thing.

How cool is THAT?

Also, my friend Dana Kinstler sent a text yesterday telling me I was mentioned in the New York Times. Dana and I both contributed essays to “Goodbye To All That” an anthology about leaving New York City.  Perhaps most noteworthy in the antho is Rebecca Wolff’s “So Long, Suckers” which I wish I had written.  My essay is fine, but hers is better.

I looked through The Times and found the relevant piece in the Style section. And “mention” is accurate.  My name is mentioned.  It does not say anything about my essay or that I am suspected of madness.

What kind of an attention-craving jerk am I to be offended that there aren’t several paragraphs devoted to ME?

At yoga this morning, Sondra, our fearless leader over at Sadhana Yoga, taught a lovely class.  At the end, she told us about a tribe in Africa where folks who are having trouble coping temporarily abandon their responsibilities, dig a hole five feet down into the earth, and burrow in there for a while.  It is tacitly understood that the rest of the tribe will pick up the slack, tending to the burrowing person’s responsibilities while that person restores herself communing inside the earth.

I think I need that.  To burrow into the earth for a while.  Perhaps with a Lawrence Block book and my dog, perhaps completely alone inside the earth, listening to its murmurs and screams and dreaming up ways to fix it.





Buying The Farm

Mickey and I are holed up at a friend’s house over in West Saugerties, escaping Real Life for a couple of days.   Going on long walks, staring at wildlife, typing and, in Mickey’s case, snoring.

Not actually snoring in this picture

I feel the way I used to feel every time I left NYC.  Still going thousands of miles per minute until the stillness of the countryside got in me and started rearranging my cells.

Hudson is hardly a thriving metropolis, but it IS a city and does thrum and buzz and clank.  So, when I got here to this sweet, quiet house, I  was thrumming and buzzing and clanking.  And now I am collapsing.  There’ s a slight white noise out the back side of the house here and at first I thought it was traffic.  But no.  It’s the CREEK.


Yesterday, before packing up for this woodsy escape, I did Realtor Stuff which, in this instance, involved driving around Columbia and Dutchess counties,  Mickey riding shotgun, looking at beautiful swaths of land.  It did not suck.  Okay, it sucked slightly.  Because farms like this one are, as we all know, vanishing.







Farms are being devoured by stubby plastic houses that look like those in the opening credits of the show WEEDS.

I’m sure these houses have their plusses, but I’m not sure what they are and I’d have a hard time selling one because I think they should be blown up.

Houses do not have to look like this

Houses do not have to be ugly to be efficient and affordable.    I actually like plenty of modern houses.  A simple box-looking house plunked down on a  small swath of land can be a beautiful thing. 

So, even though yesterday’s Realtor Business brought me to that beautiful old farm, it was a little sad.

My friend Laura the Hot Farmer, who is an Actual Farmer (I don’t just call her that because it sounds sexy, though of course, it does) does all her farming on TWO ACRES.  Grows vegetables and fruit, raises chickens, pigs, goats, and, yes, actual human children, on TWO ACRES.  Because no one who is Actually Farming can afford an Actual Farm.  The beauty I saw yesterday will probably never again be used as a farm because no one with farming skills can afford to buy it.

So I’m in the woods, decompressing, working on a noir novel about three women taking revenge on a mutual stalker, looking at trees and mourning the loss of land and what it means for our souls.

The Puppy Controversy

Some months back, as documented in a post at the time, my friend Tim Ebneth and I drove together to an opening featuring the work of our friend Richard Boch.

On the way, we came upon a box of toys left at the side of the road with a sign reading FREE TO A GOOD HOME.  Tim stopped the car and we took some toys. A lot of toys.  Here are some of them.

Tim then used most of these toys in an installation for his own art show last month.  It was an excellent show.  He sold lots of work.  Though not the toys.

Meanwhile, the picture of Tim clutching the KITTY CAT was widely circulated on Facebook. 

And  controversy started when Richard began calling the fluffy animal Tim was clutching a PUPPY.  I kept correcting Richard, telling him it is a KITTY, but he’s a stubborn man with species confusion and, to this day, talks about the time Tim stopped and rescued a PUPPY.

Enter Laura the Hot Farmer.

This is a woman who slits the necks of chickens and keeps bees even though she’s allergic to bees and beekeepers get stung.  Laura is so fierce and stubborn she has scared her bee allergy into submission, if not the bees themselves.

Also, she keeps insisting it was a stuffed PUPPY that Tim rescued by the side of the road.

Laura the Hot Farmer at Tim’s show

Earlier today, Tim stopped by to visit with Richard and his real life cat.  Tim brought the stuffed kitty to meet the real kitty.  

Only, of course, Richard is still calling the stuffed kitty a PUPPY. And so is Laura.

Tonight, I’m on my way to Spotty Dogs Books and Ale to do a reading with a few other local writers including my friend Karen Crumley Keats.  In fact, I’m going to read the opening of my noir-novel-in-progress which features a woman killing a man and rescuing a PUPPY.

It was loosely based on this PUPPY, who we found on a beach in Mexico with a suspicious bite wound on his leg.

Did I kill the man who was responsible for this puppy nearly ending up dying on a beach with a severely infected bite wound?

Probably not.

But don’t tell Richard and Laura that.



I Know You Want To Devour Me

My life is devoured by real estate.  It’ll balance out eventually, when I’m not overwhelmed from learning many new things really fast, but, for now, I feel DEVOURED.

I have a friend, Jon, whose kid sister interviewed Miles Davis (many many years ago, obviously, when Miles Davis was alive)  for her high school paper.  She was a bubbly girl with blond ringlets and long legs.  She was to interview Miles Davis backstage somewhere.  She went to the appointed place and waited.  Eventually, Miles Davis slinked in and sat down and eyeballed the girl.  She bumbled a few niceties at him. He narrowed his eyes and said: I know you want to devour me sexually.

This wasn’t exactly what the young journalist had had in mind.  But what do you say to Miles Davis?  No, I’m sorry, sir, I do not wish to devour you sexually?

I don’t actually know how she responded.

This anecdote always stuck in my head and when I feel devoured by something, or wish to devour something, I think of Miles Davis. Then I laugh. And feel less devoured.

Still, even though I’m keeping the FEELING of being devoured at bay, I am actually being devoured.

I’m going to have to become one of those people who WRITES IN PUBLIC.  In noisy cafes, on trains,  at my desk at the real estate office when I’m not hungrily trolling the Multiple Lisiting Service looking for swaths of land for my first-ever real estate customer, who wishes to buy a vast swath of land.

Vast swath of land

I’m having to learn to do what thousands and thousands of people do in this world:  Snatch tiny windows of writing time when I can and where I can. And, also, continue filling myself up with new experiences.

The other night, my friend Karen and I had a date to go to a reading, hosted by the fetching Rebecca Wolff.    Elisa Albert and William Kennedy were reading in an antiques store.  Yes, THAT William Kennedy, who has won every award known to writer-kind.    Elisa Albert read very briefly and was jaunty and smart.  William Kennedy read a much longer piece that was excellent but I have no idea what it was from because my attention was snatched away by the arrival of LYNNE TILLMAN’S HAIR.

Lynne Tillman, extraordinary human and lauded writer of experimental fiction has amazing hair.

Interestingly, another writer with famously amazing hair,  Malcolm Gladwell, also has a house up here near Hudson.

It would have been really gratifying if Malcolm Gladwell had walked into the reading and put his hair next to Lynne Tillman’s hair.  It might have looked something like this:

Lynne Tillman and her hair



Malcolm Gladwell and his hair






It didn’t happen. I did however get distracted by Lynne’s hair.

Lynne  found a spot right near where I was sitting and hunkered down on the floor to listen to the reading.  I had a REALLY HARD TIME NOT PETTING HER HAIR.   Lynne and I are friends, but we are not on Hair Petting Terms.  So I resisted.  And missed the details of what it was William Kennedy was reading.   There were some memorable lines.  One:  “Recreation is fine if you don’t get too much of it .”

It was a superb evening, even though my hair has seemed extremely small and flat ever since. At least it has not devoured me.








Flog Me

For those in Upstate NY, I have two readings on the horizon.  You have to come.  Otherwise, I will probably hunt you down and flog you. Unless that would please you and serve as motivation for staying home waiting to be hunted down.  In which case, no way I’m flogging you.

Saturday November 16th  at Spotty Dog Books and Ale here in Hudson.  I’m reading with dear friend Karen Crumley Keats,  Norman Douglas (who I used to hear read at ABC No Rio open mic a long long  time ago,) Melissa Holbrook Pierson, whose work I haven’t read but have heard about for years and Sara Kendall.  And the whole thing will be hosted by Karen Schoemer -who has great hair.

t’s FREE.  It’s a 7pm.  There is a LOT of other stuff to do in Hudson before and after if, say, you  live in FRANCE and want to fly over to make a day of it.

You can go to Carrie Haddad’s gallery to admire the truly excellent show “Storytellers and Conjurers” which I saw last night.  I wanted to buy half the work in the show. Of course, I’m broke, so I couldn’t buy any of it, but it’s that kind of show and, the work is affordable to those of you who’ve had a good year.

Kahn&Selesnick print

Also, there are many good places to eat and many cool stores, including the totally eccentric Joe Doe Records (no relation to the guy from X) and two incredibly well-curated (and reasonably-priced) clothing stores, De Marchin and Kosa.

So come on.

I’m also reading Saturday Dec 7th with my friend Peter Aaron over in Saugerties, NY, at Inquiring Mind Bookstore.  Peter will be flogging (in a different way than I was threatening to flog, here, let us visit definitions of my two uses of FLOG:

beat (someone) with a whip or stick as punishment or torture.

”the stolen horses will be returned and the thieves flogged”

sell or offer for sale.

”he made a fortune flogging beads to hippies”

Origin late 17th cent. (originally slang): perhaps imitative, or from Latin flagellare ‘to whip,’ from flagellum‘whip.’ )

Naval flogging

Peter will be flogging his new book, “If You Like The Ramones”.  I will not be flogging anything.  Except, as threatened, Y’ALL if you don’t attend.  But I’ll read some things and possibly wear a really short dress.

This reading is also at 7pm and also free.  And there MAY be an Extra Special Musical Guest Appearance by the astonishing August Wells, but I’ll keep you posted on that.

Until then, don’t flog yourself too much.




Lou Reed Died

I hate when a famous person dies and everyone who ever met them once writes stuff about the person.

But I’m shaken about Lou Reed dying.

As I sit here (and, for some reason, my hands are literally shaking) I realize I took Lou Reed for granted.  I assumed he would always be here.  The music and also the person.   He just doesn’t seem like someone who could die.  He was part of our souls.

Also, Lou Reed once swatted me on the ass and I don’t know why.

I’ve forgotten entire years of childhood and adulthood too.  But I remember listening to Lou Reed starting at about age 14.   Over and over and over and over.  I never fell out of love with his music and it imprinted all over me.

When my friend Knox Chandler and I made my second record, Love is a Dog From Hell, we recorded a cover of Lou’s Vicious. It came out pretty well and remains one of my favorite pieces of my own work.

Steve Buscemi liked it and agreed to direct a video.  This alone was a pretty big deal.  But then, somehow, Lou Reed himself heard the song and LIKED IT and WANTED TO BE IN THE VIDEO.

The day of the shoot came and things rolled along nicely.  Steve is a great director, everyone in the cast and crew was pleasant, it all went really well. Then, it was time for Lou Reed to arrive.  I was nervous as hell.  We all were.  Except Michael Portnoy, the performance artist, who plays my love interest in the video.  Nothing makes Michael nervous.

Lou Reed arrived without fanfare.  He was friendly and said nice things.

I only exchanged a few words with him.  I was terrified.   It was almost like meeting Bach somehow.  I mean, not quite.  He hasn’t influenced my soul to THAT degree, but, pretty close.

Here is a weird edit of the video, the only version I could find.  I think Michael Portnoy posted it, so it includes Michael’s opening monologue, which was cut for the version of the video that eventually aired on MTV etc.  And the song is kind of chopped in half in this edit.  But watch through to the end and there is Lou Reed, I promise.  Vicious video here.

A month or so after the Vicious shoot, I was doing a reading. A few minutes before going onstage,  I  saw Lou Reed walk in and sit down in the audience.  He was by himself. I was still terrified of him but I went over and said Hi.  Then, I asked: What are you doing here?

He looked blank for a second then said “I came to hear you read.”

I was incredulous. “You did?” I asked.

He laughed.

We talked for a few minutes.  But he still made me nervous and, as soon as I could, I fled to the backstage area and tried to forget he was there.

I saw him a few more times after that.  We did a Def Poetry Jam taping together sometime in the early 2000’s and, right before I went onstage, LOU REED SWATTED ME ON THE ASS.   I swear. You can ask my cousin, Shahram.  Shahram was at the taping and, because Shahram sees EVERYTHING, he somehow saw this moment where Lou Reed swatted me on the ass and I probably would have long forgotten about it, but Shahram loves telling that story.

I didn’t know how to interpret that ass-swatting.  I mean, it’s not like Lou Reed and I were bosom buddies or had dated or really done more than exchange a few words here and there.  Why did he swat my ass?

The last time I saw Lou Reed, maybe two years ago, I saw him across a room and found he still sort of filled me with nervousness, so I didn’t go say Hi.

Now, he is dead.  And it makes me feel shaky, like a small piece of me is gone.

And I’ll never know why he swatted me on the ass.

Please Lock Me In The Museum

When I got  invited to Christopher Wool’s  opening at the Guggenheim, my first thought was: I GET TO WANDER A MUSEUM AFTER HOURS.

I long to be locked in museums after hours.

The chief problem with museums is PEOPLE.  They cluster, they talk, they bump into one another and frequently ruin any possibility of true communion with art.

Once, in London, I very briefly met the late Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud was very polite but he was in a hurry. He was on his way to the Tate after hours. Being Lucian Freud, he could do whatever he wanted.  Including going to the Tate by himself,  late at night, to hang out with paintings, undisturbed.

This, however, is not what happens when you go to an opening at a museum.   There were people everywhere at Wool’s opening.  And lots of security guards.

I noticed the guards because, since the age of seven, I’ve harbored fantasies about  stealing a painting for a while, just so I could spend time with it, undisturbed.  I’d return it eventually.

I  get a little shiver when I think about the paintings stolen from the  Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. I know. One is supposed to be all outraged about it.  But, since the only thing you can do with such recognizable paintings is keep them in a secret chamber in your house, presumably whoever orchestrated the theft did it so she or he could wake up every morning and go look at her Rembrandts.

There is the ethical problem of depriving hundreds of thousands of other people of  ever seeing those paintings in person. Which is why I’d have returned them by now.  But, still. I  REALLY understand the impulse.

Our experience of art should be visceral, private, yet the only way most of us see any of it is  public.  Extremely public.

Richard Hell (and woman in black dress) standing in front of Wool paintings

The art world is so elitist it makes the literary world look like hillbillies eating deep-fried Twinkies .

Which is one of the things I like about Christopher Wool and his work too.  He’s not much on self-importance or snobbery.

When I ran into Wool at the opening, he was hovering about halfway up the long snail shell of the museum, standing, appropriately, near his word painting TRBL, looking slightly frightened.

Wool at his opening. My iPhone lens was smudged, but I like to think it is fitting.

We hugged hello and then he said: Can you believe this?  He seemed genuinely stunned.  He wasn’t cocky.  He was just standing there, in a suit Dior had given him, surrounded by 30 years worth of beautiful paintings he had made.

As I remember, Wool went to art school for half a minute then went off to the woods somewhere, grew a huge beard, and just started FUCKING SHIT UP, making paintings.

He’s part of the art world – actually a really BIG part of the art world, but he’s the same maniac who grew a huge beard and fucked shit up.

I think a lot of people go to museums and feel  they’re SUPPOSED to be taken with certain works, but maybe  aren’t all that moved.  Partly because there are so many  PEOPLE mucking about, distracting from the view.  But also because people don’t just wander, passing by the obvious,  waiting for their eye to fall on something,  waiting to fall in love. This was how I discovered my love of Hieronymus Bosch.  Wandering. Then going: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? THAT LOOKS LIKE MY SOUL.  HOW DID THAT GUY DO THAT?

It sucks that developing a personal relationship with art isn’t something many people get to do.

I’m lucky I got to fall in love with it and learned ways to spend time with it. Like going to the Met Friday nights in winter, when it’s open late and there are way fewer people and you ALMOST feel alone with all those beautiful things and can feel thousands of years of wisdom and wildness pouring from them.

Or going to semi-obscure museums. Wandering small town galleries, seeing a lot of stuff that does nothing for you but, once in a while, getting that burst of joy when love happens.

I want EVERYONE to feel that.  To long to be locked in the museum overnight.

As for the Wool show, GO SEE IT.  But go at some obscure time.  And just wander and wait for love to happen.  It’s a magnificent show.  It’s lone failing being the glaring omission of the painting Maggie’s Brain:

Yes.  That painting was named for my brain.

So they left it in Chicago.   Just in case I got locked in the museum and tried to steal it.





I’m Just Petting Ratso

I think I am the only person in the world who doesn’t have Attention Deficit Disorder.  It seems like 98% of the people I meet claim they have A.D.D.

Why do people want to have A.D.D?

As a species, we seem to be cultivating A.D.D.  Like it’s some sort of badge of honor.   We ingest information too quickly to process it. This leads to struggling to focus on one task or idea. I get that.

The thing I don’t understand is how a lot of people seem PROUD of this and loudly proclaim self-diagnosed A.D.D.

I  don’t mean to poke fun at people who truly have it or have kids who have it.  It certainly does exist, just that, like almost every other ailment under the sky, it is wildly over-diagnosed (or self-diagnosed) and I feel like sometimes it’s a big fat cop out.

“I can’t call you back,  I have A.D.D.” or “I can’t hold down a job/relationship, I have A.D.D.”

It would be so much more glorious to have an honest world where we just said “I can’t call you back, I don’t feel like it” or   “I can’t hold a job because I daydream too much.”   “I struggle with relationships because I was raised by wolves and people frighten me.”

Wouldn’t that be more interesting/honest?

I don’t have A.D.D.  Like, at ALL.

I can stare at the same page for DAYS. .  I can be very content with stillness, solitude and silence.

Many years ago, I was maybe 19 , I did lots of drugs.  As will happen when you do lots of drugs, I lost my apartment.  I  found a friend who agreed to take in me and my cat, Ratso, on the condition that I wouldn’t do drugs while staying in his house.   Of course I agreed to this. And, of course, as soon as he went off to work, I was in the bathroom shooting heroin into my jugular.  Okay.  That’s a mild exaggeration.

That night, my friend came home from work. I was lounging in the living room with Ratso.  Probably doing nothing at all. I was really good at that.

Not actually Ratso

My friend coming home made me need to do more downers so I went into the bathroom and popped about fifty more.  Then, as he made dinner,  I sunk into the couch.  And nodded out, spilling forward, belly on thighs, head hanging down over my knees.

“Hey, Maggie, you’re STONED!” My friend said.

I jolted to consciousness, looked around as I wiped the drool from my mouth, saw that Ratso was nearby, and said “I’m not stoned, I’m just petting Ratso.”

Ratso and I were out on our asses the next day.

These kinds of violently self-destructive trajectories don’t last long.  Either you die or you clean up.  I cleaned up.

But it is maybe as a result of this that I can focus FOREVER.  I’m not saying my brain is always working at its very best, but it IS focused.

This is fortunate since I now have three jobs.

Yesterday morning,  I wrote for about 90 minutes, then went into the real estate office to start learning the ropes. My “boss” is  a lively, warm woman who is a fellow vegan AND has a dog she adopted from death row at Animal Control in Harlem – where Mickey came from.  We’re a good match.

I spent a few hours learning real estate stuff then changed into yoga togs, went to the yoga studio, and taught yoga.

The transitions, from writer to realtor to yoga teacher all in the space of nine hours, were a little disorienting.  It’s possible that by the time I was done teaching yoga, I felt like I had A.D.D.  So I just sat.  Staring at the peeling nail polish on my toes for a while.  It’s really good to stare at your toes.

There is a passage somewhere in one of William Burroughs’ books about staring at his own shoe for an inordinate amount of time.  As I stared at my toes, trying to reset my brain and mind after a day of startling transitions, I probably had Burroughs in the back of my mind.

I love that Burroughs had such a keen sense of enchantment.  He famously zonked himself on drugs for long periods of time, but then he would un-zonk and pour out some writing, streaming that shit directly from the collective unconscious, the place where dreams dwell.

I love how he blended the mundane and the awful and the magical.  I love that he stared at his shoe for a long long time.

As a result, I had a dream about Burroughs last night.  I only met him two or three times in life. He was polite and he had wolf eyes.  I love people with wolf eyes.

In the dream, he was very much alive, albeit very old.  Somehow, he and I had grown quite close and he was telling me his body was wracked with pain.  So I gave him a neck rub.

Then, I woke up.  And felt like William Burroughs was with me most of the day.

I think, when people run around proclaiming they have A.D.D and can’t focus and can’t sit still or be alone, maybe they are killing off the place where dreams live.

I don’t want to kill my dreams.