When my friend Lou sent me a piece about his first cigarette that he wrote for a writing exercise, I thought it would be fun to recall and record mine. The result is “The First Time,” which was published last week by one of my favorite blog/journals, Tell Us a Story. My story – which is true in spite of the “Flash Fiction” tag – is the second of two posted together, so link here and scroll down.

Now there’s a dynamic duo – what writer can resist? Not this one. Once I got started, the memories and the meals came flooding back, and I just had to grab them and get them on paper as they went by. And dig out a few old recipes.

The result is “Catch of the Day,” which you can read here. It was just published in Issue 3 of the print journal, Killing the Angel, “a literary experiment inspired by Virginia Woolf.”

That’s the title of the cover art on The New Yorker issue that arrived in my mail today. It shows a woman with a fabulous tattooed back and arms. She has red hair, a mean expression and is holding a glass of sparkling wine. “What a fantastic image,” I thought; “it’s a sign.”

My essay, “Permanently Cool: A Tattoo of One’s Own,” was published this summer in the gorgeous print journal, Soundings Review. I put off posting it here while I savored its paper presentation, but now, almost exactly a year after the doing of the deed in question, it’s time to share the story of my latest rite of passage.

Read “Permanently Cool” here.

“Observe perpetually,” Virginia Woolf said, by which I’m sure she meant, “keep your ears open too.” When I overheard this one-sided conversation, I was stunned–is this person really saying these things? Then, quickly, I picked up my pencil and started jotting it all down. I guess that makes me a writer! I didn’t add to her remarks, just tidied & organized it as a whole and thought some publisher of vignettes, like Vine Leaves, would like it. They did & published “In Loving Memory” in their July issue, here (on page 26).

I’ve been ruminating about crows–in Shakespeare & the Old Testament, in my back yard & in the liquor cabinet.

“A Contemplation of Crows,” linked here, is my latest publication, appearing in the recently released summer issue of the Mojave River Review. It’s in a pdf file, so please scroll to page 25; while you’re in the journal you may want to take a look at some other southwest-influenced & inspired stories & poetry.

I am one happy camper – the essay that’s nearest and dearest to my heart has just been published. It tells about the origin of my going-on-25-years history with Virginia Woolf. More than just a fascination with an author or adoption of a muse or mentor, it was the start of what has become the most fulfilling time of my life and led to my own writing.

My “Pilgrimage”, linked here, is just released at Bloom, a literary site devoted to authors whose first major work was published when they were age 40 or older. Woolf isn’t one of those authors, but I am! The particular call that I responded to was for essays about a book or author that served as inspiration, so it’s fitting all the way around.

The old Dean Martin song reflects what’s been on my mind lately–memory. How accurate it is or isn’t, and, in the case of memoir, whether or not it matters. An upcoming paper I’m presenting on Virginia Woolf and memoir is the occasion for the research and reflection, but it’s a factor in my personal essays as well.

Which is a way to introduce my recently published piece, “Memento Mori” (“remember you must die,”) which challenged my recall. I’ll echo another Wolff, Tobias, who, in This Boy’s Story said: “… memory has its own story to tell. But I have done my best to make this a truthful story.”

Here’s “Memento Mori” in Jet Fuel Review.

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