Last Meal Stuffing


Introduction to Stuffing circa a long-time-ago

Introduction to Stuffing circa a long-time-ago

You know that sick game one plays: “If you were on death row, what would be your
last meal?” Mine would be stuffing. Not just any stuffing. This stuffing. Originally
made by my Grandma Millie, and passed to her daughter-in-law (my mother) to
me, to my sister, and now to my children. And you.

There have been many changes over the years. The original recipe had the now-discontinued Uneeda Biscuits, for which we still mourn. My sister Jill adds garlic (what!).

Read full post »

Introduction to Stuffing circa a long-time-ago
Posted in Family | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Year Google (and Goya) Saved Thanksgiving


I don’t care how many people shed tears for the good old days, before we were so connected, before life sped before our tapping fingers: Web, thee did save me.

My sister and I may not have grown up rife with traditions–when when Jill and I hung our socks on Christmas eve, the flat unfilled sight of them the next morning may have reminded us that Santa didn’t stop for little Jewish girls–but darn it, we had the stuffing handed down from Grandma Millie. If we were on death row, our last meal would be the stuffing.

Read full post »

Posted in Family, My Life, Sisters | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Weaving a Safety Net for Strider & Gallagher Wolf: Let’s All Help



“It’s not known what Justin Roy used to punch a hole in Striders stomach in December 2011.”
“The life and times of Strider Wolf” Boston Globe, Sarah Schweitzer

Many calamities conspire to push a family off the edge: abuse, illness, accidents or a confluence of all these events.

Strider Wolf underwent three surgeries in four days to repair the torn intestine suffered at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend. His brother Gallagher, 11 months, also suffered, but couldn’t speak. Their grandparents—already using every resource they had to maintain what they had— took them in, but at great costs and with only the slightest help.

Read full post »

Posted in Domestic Violence, Family, My Opinionated Self | Tagged , , , , | 30 Comments

How Long Does it Take to Get Published?

Recently, a thread in an online writer’s community popped up, beginning with someone (who hadn’t begun querying) asking why folks sent query letters to so many agents.

Did they have that many “dream agents?

Why not send to just one or two top choices?

And, really, how long does it take?

Answers flew in—achingly honest and reminiscent of everyone’s distant and not-at-all-distant (often painful) publishing journeys.  I thought back to how long it took me.

The answer? You got some time?

Read full post »

Posted in My Life, Writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Why Did She Stay? How Come Nobody’s Asking Why He Did It?


(Originally posted September 2014)

And the blame continues.

Twitter & Facebook abound with it. Some claim with surety that they’d leave after the first minute a man touched them. Other wonder (with an air of superiority) why Janay Rice married Ray Rice in the first place (often accompanied with gold-digging, victim-blaming reasons.) Many question her ‘role’ in the situation—wondering why she stayed, sat next to him, tweeted support, etc, etc, etc.

Read full post »

Posted in Domestic Violence, The Murderer's Daughters | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Signs You May Be In An Abusive Relationship



October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

When I worked with batterers, people always asked why the women stayed.  Why didn’t they ask why the offenders were violent? Is it because it’s easier to blame the victim? Is it because these abusive men scare us as much as they scare their victims, so it’s easier to confront them?

Read full post »

Posted in Domestic Violence, My Opinionated Self | 3 Comments

Working With Batterers

71043938For ten years I co-led groups for violent men. I sat in a circle with a male co-leader and anywhere from 8 to 18 men who’d been violent with their wives, girlfriends, dates, sisters, or another woman in their lives.

Their violence ran the gamut from emotional abuse of the most devastating sort, to smacking, to slapping, to punching, pushing, prodding, to breaking bones to murder (thankfully not many.)

This was a Certified Boston Batterer Intervention Program. Most men were ordered into the program by the Massachusetts courts, some by the Department of Social Services, and a few were volunteers—or as we called them, wife and girlfriend-ordered.

Read full post »

Posted in Domestic Violence | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Massachusetts Book Award!

MA Book Award


The Massachusetts Center for the Book has chosen Accidents of Marriage  as a “Must Read” book for 2015! It’s in wonderful company–you can see the full list for the fiction category here.

Along with the other books on the list, Accidents of Marriage is  shortlisted for the Massachusetts Book Award, which recognizes “compelling works of Massachusetts fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature” published within the past year. Winners in each category will be announced in October 2015.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writers on Stage: 10 Tips for Readings in Public

man with feet in water

The first time I read in public (a Grub Street open mike event at Johnny D’s in Somerville, Mass.), I sucked.

Years later (no more experienced) with my debut book launch looming, I had to do better. Pre-publication months were spent attending bookstore events with a notebook (and money*) in hand.

Many of the ‘rules’ below I learned from either the awful readings I attended or the great ones. My first lessons in how-to-not-bore-people-to-death came from listening to and watching Boston (and Grub Street) authors Steve Almond (enormously funny, edgy, and self-deprecating) and Jenna Blum (extraordinarily entertaining, honest, and generous.) Learning by watching was invaluable.

Read full post »

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Discomfort of Death

Yes, death is the last frontier. In my circles, even friends who talk about sex, politics, and that most forbidden of topics, paychecks, rarely talk about the nitty-gritty of death. That’s something we save for our own private hells or heavens.

This is the opening to MacKinnon’s novel, Tethered.:

I plunge my finger between the folds of the incision, then hook my forefinger deep into her neck. Unlike most of the bloodlines, which offer perfunctory resistance, the carotid artery doesn’t surrender itself willingly. Tethered between the heart and the head, the sinewy tube is often weighted with years of plaque, thickening its resolve to stay. More so now that rigor mortis has settled deep within the old woman.

Read full post »

Posted in Books | Leave a comment