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My Mother Went Out for Lemons

What is your earliest memory? Mine is from when I was somewhere between two and three years old. I’ve heard that it’s unusual to remember anything that early. So I’m unusual: when my mother was still alive I asked her if the following thing ever happened and (subject to the Rashomon effect of her recollection being different from mine) I can say that it did. As a small child my family lived in the top two floors (or more properly, the top floor and an attic) of a brownstone on… Read more My Mother Went Out for Lemons

Be Like Joe

Joe and Julie So there I was on Saturday at FogCon, hanging out with people (including BVC’s Kit Kerr, Nancy Jane Moore, and Laura Anne Gilman) and I got a call from my older daughter. A mother knows her child, and even at the age of almost-26, there’s a note Julie gets in her voice when Something Is Wrong. “Hi, Mom.” It’s hard to explain the tone: lower pitched, slower than usual, maybe a smidge of rue. “Whassup?” I ask. I’m in the hallway, people are talking loudly, and, oh,… Read more Be Like Joe

Gallantry

So I got into one of those conversations with an old, slightly older than I am, friend last week. Who has a hard time with the idea that unsolicited compliments from strangers on the street is a bad thing. “It’s nice. It’s… ” he searched for the word. “It’s gallantry.” I think that in his head this phrase called up visions of Camelot, and courtly love and deep bows over the hands of delicately scented ladies wearing satin and lace (I’m pretty certain those are the images… I’ve known him for a… Read more Gallantry

That Which We Call a Rose

I was paging through the Sunday Sweets on Cakewrecks, looking at many cakes which are technically gorgeous but rarely raise my creative pulse. I can’t draw, so hand painting a cake to look like a Wedgwood canister is right out. I get a little twee-d out at too much pink (especially at this time of year). There are creations so enormous and ambitious that I think the initial idea (cake!) has been forgotten. And so many of these cakes employ fondant, which usually tastes like sugary cardboard (home-made fondant is… Read more That Which We Call a Rose

Change is the Only Constant

In times of change it’s always useful to remember that everything is a time of change. Since the advent of print-on-demand, and then of e-books, there have been approximately 47 trillion articles written on The End of the Book As We Know It, the End of Publishing As We Know It, and so on. It’s easy to believe that the old ways were handed down from Mt. Olympus: a trade book shall require 9 months from the moment it is handed to Production, neither 8 months nor 10, but 9, and 9… Read more Change is the Only Constant

The Long and Short of It

Oh, forever ago when I was young and foolish and had just moved back to New York City from Boston, I took a job at an investment bank. I had lived in dorms, or with room-mates, since I left home for college, and I really wanted to have an apartment of my own. And I wanted it within spitting distance of my childhood home in Greenwich Village, which was, on the face of it, ambitious to the point of insanity. So I took a job that paid very well, on… Read more The Long and Short of It