Calling All Whitman Fans

Tonight I'm participating with a million local poets in a marathon reading of Walt's Leaves of Grass to honor his 190th b-day. The event is happening at the Composition Gallery in Candler Park, starting at 8 pm. You could grab some pizza at Fellini's or paella at LaFonda and then get your culture quota instead of watching that repeat of Law & Order on TNT.


Other Meds in Order

I'm thinking her allergies are the least of her problems.


Riffing on Pam

As I'm sure has happened to you, my Facebook is gaining momentum, and I'm reconnecting with old friends I grew up with. Smack in the middle of my life, I'm being thrown back to my Powder Springs childhood and the realization that it wasn't all bad. I thought it would be fun to profile some of those folks over the next couple of weeks:

Pam today, with her daughter Erica

My best friend in fourth and fifth grade was Pam Crawford. She came from a big family (four kids!!!), and her father worked in Abu Dhabi. I only had the one sister and my father worked at Lockheed. To me, Pam was exotic.

She was fairy-sized, a couple of inches shorter than I was. I wanted to weigh the same as she did, so for a while I only ate popsicles.

Pam and I were jealous of Yvette McWilliams, who wore platform heels and lip gloss, but we reminded each other that our mothers loved us enough to consign us to Keds and ChapStick. We could talk for hours about Yvette's hard road ahead as a cocktail waitress.

As for our own future, we were going to form a band called Lemon & Lime and live in an orange VW bus with gingham curtains. I can't sing, but I didn't know it then, and Pam didn't feel the need to tell me. Not even when our harmonic duet performance of Edelweiss in the Camp Safety Patrol talent show lost to a girl who jump-roped to Hot Butter's Popcorn.

Pam could sing as well as Karen Carpenter. She was also a great actress. To prove it, she once sat down in a bathtub full of scalding hot water--water I could not put my whole hand in--smiling the whole time, never a flinch.

The only thing Pam couldn't do well was write in cursive. So our fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Shallenburger, made me tutor her. That was the year I learned to be condescending.

Ultimately, Pam had penmanship to rival a monastic scribe. That made her officially better at everything.


Killer Shoes

If you love yourself some old school country, I recommend LeeAnn Womack's latest album, Call Me Crazy. This song is better than actually drinking.


All Smiles

The Crushers were crushed during Saturday's tournament, officially ending a humiliating season. These two: none the worse for the wear.


A Story

I promised some students I'd write about the first time I got drunk:

I was down at Coach Moore's gym, which was on the main drag in Powder Springs. He and Coach Kidd had talked me into body building, teaching me how to work out with free weights, filling my head with trophy dreams. I had great muscle memory, they said. I was a natural.

I'd already gained about ten pounds of muscle, most of it in my thighs from doing squats. I could beat my boyfriend at arm wrestling. I'd gone from a B cup to a C, the only part of my body that looked more womanly. I had a Dorothy Hamill haircut, and from behind, I looked like a football player. I knew that, because an older couple jogging behind me on the trails at Cheatham Hill one day asked me if I played for McEachern. I was wearing the team colors.

The coaches loved to fuck with me. I was a man-pleaser. I laughed at their jokes, let them try to make an athlete of me. If I excelled at something, my father would notice. I was an A student and the marching band drum major, but if he could watch me win a race or a match... I'd tried tennis, basketball, softball, settling finally on track. What I lacked in hand-eye coordination and speed I made up with sheer will. I ran the two-mile when no one else could finish it. I racked up points for the team and lettered.

Bodybuilding was another sheer-will sport. Coach Moore knew it, and he liked having me around. So there I was, sixteen on a Friday night, sweating deadlifts and presses, my friend Ann watching me, whining about being bored, waiting for a ride home. Tracy showed up, wearing the fake fur jacket that matched her hair, all that angelic white, standing in the doorway. My parents are out of town, she said. Let's go to my house and get drunk.

Her sister's boyfriend bought the booze. Vodka we mixed with orange juice. Ann was wearing a Muppets sweatshirt.

We drank until it was fun. We danced and considered cutting each other's hair. We drank until my lips felt numb and the things my uncle did to me in the basement seemed far away in a different lifetime. We drank until I felt righteous spite at my father the drunk. Take that, I thought, taking a swig. That's for passing out before my Homecoming dance. That's for being a liar and a cheat. We drank until Ann sat in the middle of the floor, a cooking pot between her legs, brushing her teeth with Tracy's toothbrush, puking and brushing, Oscar the Grouch peeking out of his trash can.

We drank until we passed out and forgot everything we'd ever wanted or wished for or failed at.

I drank for the next 25 years.


Friday Nostalgia

The Twilight Game could never be as good.

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

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