April 9, 2015



Many of you have read about my kid, Little Dude.

Hastywords was generous enough to open her blog to him today, so he could share his perspective on bullying.



My heart just might BURST. My kid is the most amazing 11-year-old on the planet. And Hasty is one of my favorite real life friends. So this combination-

Let’s just say, it’s very special to me.


Click here to read what Little Dude has to say about bullying.

And while you’re there, if you haven’t checked out Hasty’s blog, please do. She is the Poetess of WordPress, doncha know?


P.S. Comments are closed, so you can leave them over at Hasty’s place. xoxo

Helena Says

March 26, 2015 — 7 Comments


There is no one quite like Helena Hann-Basquiat.


I feel lucky to count myself among her friends.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to play with her on Facebook, you no doubt have snort-laughed at her brilliant humor.

She knows everything there is to know about music.

She’s an incredible writer.

And…she’s a man.


Earlier this year, in a move that stunned the Internet, Helena revealed herself to be a man.

Guess what? Helena is still Helena. The man behind Helena, Ken, created and to this day, maintains, an enigmatic and unique character that I personally will never stop believing in. When I message Helena, I speak to Helena. THAT’S how brilliant of a storyteller she is. (He is.)

(Now I’m confusing myself. Whatever.)


Do yourself a favor. Read her book. I don’t pimp books often. I do this because I love her writing.

She’s provided us with an excerpt from her upcoming book, Memoirs of a Dilettante, Volume Two.

Give yourself a little gift today, and read it.

Then click the link, and support her campaign via Pubslush.



Helena Says

 With my return to Arcadia interrupted by a speeding ticket that turned into a Kafka-esque fiasco (only, you know, with less metamorphosis)…

You know, Helena, Kafka wrote other stories. In fact, he wrote a novel called The Trial, which is perhaps what you were referring to?

Yes, yes, you’re very clever, darlings, but who’s telling this story? That’s right, I am.

And now you’ve interrupted my train of thought.

Speaking of trains, I remember taking the train to Arcadia to visit my sister and the wee Countess, who would have been about three at the time, and was a right terror. Things were not going well for Cheryl and Ted, not because he was beating her, or because she was sleeping around, but because Arcadia was sucking the life out of them. Ted had been working for a company in Toronto that had been bought up by some giant American company that, despite promises to preserve jobs, decided to shut down the Canadian operation altogether, leaving about 3500 people out of a job. Ted was lucky that his particular skill set was required, and when he got an offer to relocate to upstate New York; an offer that came with a large bonus, well, how could he refuse? The bonus would be enough to move them, and put a down payment on a house in Arcadia, the small community only a thirty-minute drive from the city where he’d be working. Ted and Cheryl thought they were making the smart decision to live in Arcadia rather than the city – they could afford twice as much. A house that went for $200,000 in the city was a mere $95,000 in Arcadia, and there were houses for almost half that for sale in the small, idyllic town that reminded Cheryl of turn of the century post cards.

So they moved down to Arcadia, and I went to England, where I later found out that Cheryl was pregnant, and that my parents had moved down to Arcadia to be close to Cheryl and Ted and the newly born Penelope.

But Cheryl was not made for small town living.

“We’ve made no friends,” she cried to me on the phone one night. “And Mum and Dad are here all the time! It’s like they never moved out!”

Our parents had moved down to Arcadia – I’ve told you that much – but what I didn’t tell you was that they moved down and in with my sister and her husband. It would be nearly eighteen months of hell for Cheryl and Ted. I finally had to go down, find them a place and make them move out. Cheryl was just too… nice to be confrontational.

“I can’t get a job – not anything that would make enough money to be worthwhile – I’d have to take Penny to daycare in the city, and then we’d need another car, and… and Ted’s gone all the time, and when he’s here, we fight all the time, and Penny just… fucking cries all the time.”

I gasped. Cheryl never swore. Not if her hair was on fire.

“Oh Helena,” she sobbed, “I hate it here. I want to come home. I want subways and cafes and pubs and traffic. I want noise and industry and people, no matter how rude. I want to see unfamiliar faces. You have no idea how quickly you run out of faces here! I see the same ten people every fucking day.”

“Hey,” I laughed, “easy, sailor! Don’t hurt yourself. You gotta pace yourself with that kind of language.”

Cheryl laughed back. “I miss you, Helena.”

“Oh, you’re just sayin’ that ‘cause you’re drunk,” I teased. Cheryl wasn’t one to get drunk. “If I were there you’d be sick to death of me. Remember when I came back from England? You couldn’t wait to be rid of me.”

“Come down for a visit, will you? Please?” Cheryl pleaded.

“You don’t have to beg, Cheryl,” I laughed. “Of course I will. You, Brooke and me will go out. We’ll leave Penny with Mum, and the three of us will go into the city, and…”

Cheryl coughed.

“What?” I asked. Cheryl wasn’t the type to interrupt you by talking over you, but if she wanted to stop you, she’d cough.

“Brooke won’t be allowed to go,” Cheryl said awkwardly.

“Allowed?” I asked. “What do you mean allowed?”

“That bastard she’s married to – it’s like he keeps her a prisoner. Ever since the last time you were here and we went out for drinks, I haven’t seen her. I mean, I’ve seen her, but not, you know, socially.

“I remember that night,” I said. “That guy was in there shooting his mouth off about Home Depot and shit, right?”

“That was that girl’s dad, you know,” Cheryl said solemnly. “Amy LeFevre.”

Cheryl had called me the day they found the old man at the bottom of his basement stairs to tell me all about it. At first I hadn’t even remembered Amy at all – I’d only seen her around a few times, riding her bike around town in short cut off shorts and Doc Martens, bruises all up and down her legs like leopard spots.

“I think he hits her,” Cheryl said, breaking the silence that followed Amy LeFevre’s name.

I knew immediately what was going through Cheryl’s head, because it was going through mine as well. People saw Amy LeFevre every day, covered with bruises and angry all the time, and they did nothing about it. If Cheryl thought that Brooke was getting hit by her husband and did nothing about it, she couldn’t live with herself.

“Have you tried talking to her about it?” I asked.

“I tried,” Cheryl sighed. “But she made excuses, or she was busy, and then eventually she got mad at me and told me to mind my own business. I haven’t even talked to her in months. I see her around, but she usually tries to avoid me, or just smiles and nods, you know.”

I did know. I spent most of my high school years avoiding people’s gazes or smiling and nodding. I made my own share of excuses for bruises, and cried all the time. People thought that I was crazy, or that I was upset about some boy. I sat at the back of the bus, crying into my jacket, trying not to draw attention to myself, and even succeeding once in a while. Listening to Lou Reed’s Berlin and crying to the lyrics of Caroline Says II : Caroline says, as she gets up off the floor, ‘You can hit me all that you want to but I don’t love you anymore’. [1] It got to the point that Helena crying was no longer a matter of interest. I kept my secrets, not knowing that I shouldn’t have had to. I was angry all the time, and I scared my teachers with the horrible stories and poems that I wrote. And all the while, what I really wanted was for someone to save me. But no one did.

I should have said more to Amy. I should have done something. Now Cheryl needed me, and Brooke might be in trouble. I had to go. I had to save someone, even if it was only myself.

And so I ended up on a train bound for Arcadia.

[1] I wrote this chapter shortly after Lou Reed died, and it got me thinking about when I’d first fallen in love with his music. Was it Transformer, with its David Bowie glam production, or was it Berlin? I think I flirted with Lou Reed with The Velvet Underground and Transformer, but I really fell in love with him with Berlin.


If you want to read more, BECOME A FAN at PUBSLUSH and pre-order Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two and Penelope, Countess of Arcadia

Available now!  image06

JESSICA image07

The one, the only Helena Hann-Basquiat, everyone's favorite dilettanteThe enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has.

Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

Last year, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, and is about to release Volume Two, along with a Shakespearean style tragi-comedy, entitled Penelope, Countess of Arcadia.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell. VISCERA, a collection of strange tales, will be published by Sirens Call Publications later this year. Find more of her writing at http://www.helenahb.com or and http://www.whoisjessica.com Connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat , and keep up with her ever growing body of work at GOODREADS, or visit her AMAZON PAGE


Our kids are in CRISIS.

I work with teenagers in an affluent suburban area.

They don’t comprehend what they read. They use calculators to multiply 10 x 10. The average high school junior has no clue what the word “diligent” means.

They write essays resembling those of a 5th grader. About how Albert Einstein discovered electricity.

In tests administered in reading, science and math to 15 year-olds globally, we are behind TWENTY NINE countries in math. And our kids’ performance in reading and science is  not much better. And yet, American investment in education is unrivaled, globally.

Are you scared yet?


We lead the world in the consumption of illegal recreational drugs. And one of the chief sales outlets?


Our teenage suicide rate is the highest in the world.

EVERY DAY there are over 5,400 suicide attempts by kids in grades 7 – 12.

NOW are you scared?


The two places teenagers spend most of their time are online, and in school. The internet is cracking our world wide open, and in its relatively nascent state, we haven’t yet found ways to effectively police what goes on in the cyber community. New ways to distract and distort teenage minds are invented online EVERY day.

Yes, I know.


You monitor your kid online. Sure. Because they haven’t figured out how to create a free Gmail account, download Instagram without your knowledge and create a free username with that account.



At a time when our education budgets are unprecedented, why are my kids DYING IN THE CLASSROOM?


There’s a frightening disconnect between our tax dollars and the quality of our kids’ education.

Students are pushed through an uncaring system with no substantial improvement in classroom resources. We’re paying for pensions and health benefits that we just can’t afford. We’re funding exorbitant salaries for superintendents who lease luxury cars on our tax dollars while our kids’ brains are ATROPHYING IN THE GODDAMN CLASSROOM.

And when the money does make its way to the students, where does it go?

Let’s talk high school athletics.

People pro sports argue that school athletics provide exercise, support team spirit and keep students engaged in the classroom. But we are obsessive about high school sports to the detriment of academics.

Statistics vary. Some show that we spend quadruple the amount on sports than we do on academics.

I personally would argue that the money spent on high school sports is TEN TIMES that of the math department. The hidden costs of high school sports is a dirty little secret.

Football is by far the most expensive high-school sport.

There are the obvious costs. Maintaining a grass field for $20,000 a year, stipends for the teachers who coach, professional coaches who are hired at full salaries, the salary of the full-time athletic director, the new bleachers for a cool half million, the reconditioning of the goddamn foot ball helmets, for more than $1,500 a team.

Now let’s suss out the insidious costs. The travel costs –  buses, hotels and meals – for teams, the band, and the cheerleaders for away games. The cost of the substitute teachers when the teacher-coaches travel for game days. For home games, there is the required hired security, the cost of workers to paint the lines on the field and to clean up afterward.

In my lily white, soft suburban area, these kids have about as much chance of playing for the NFL as I do of spontaneously regaining my virginity.

So why is all this money going to FOOTBALL?


And how many millions of dollars have gone to implement the Common Core – or, the Death of Learning, as I affectionately refer to it?

Common Core shoves infuriating math down the throats of overwhelmed students, forcing them to learn the least efficient ways of solving basic problems. The Common Core is indoctrination at its worst, a pedagogical succubus that has effectively obliterated all parental control of what is being taught.

The slogan of the Common Core?  “College and career readiness.” It focuses entirely on the materialistic benefits of education.

Careers. Job training. Workforce skills. Turn our kids into bricks in the corporate wall. Entrench them in the vilest pornography of all – an existence based on conspicuous consumption.




Does it really matter where the money is going, anyway? It’s being dumped into the current educational ideology, which is OBSOLETE.

Our current school system is based on a model developed in 1850, at the height of the Industrial Age. It aimed to create robotic human beings whose behavior could be controlled.  Prime them for a life of complacent factory work.

Take everyone who’s the same age, regardless of interest, or aptitude, and stuff them into an isolated room. Train them to move at the sound of a bell.

Schools don’t teach anything except how to obey orders. They are irrelevant to the great endeavors of the world.

Teachers are not the problem. Well, some teachers are. Many care passionately and work HARD.

Perhaps, if we paid teachers a decent wage for doing what is essentially the MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD we could attract more talent to this profession. Get rid of tenure, and cut out the dead weight of indifferent and burnt out teachers who are there for summers off and Cadillac benefits.

What are our kids “learning?”

To move when a bell rings. To memorize scientific formulas when they want to write poetry. To interact with a frighteningly homogeneous group of people, cut off from the true diversity of the human experience. To lack compassion for those who cannot fit in. To be simultaneously arrogantly entitled and passively dependent while parental helicopter blades ‘whup whup whup‘ hover overhead.


The world is changing at warp speed. Growing. Not changing the way it did when we grew up. 

The Internet facilitates the delivery of information in a way that is unparalleled in the history of the world. As a result, the human experience is global. Cultures are mixing. How are our kids fit to maintain harmony in a diverse cultural world?

And what about the 2 billion people who are predicted to inhabit the earth over the next twenty years? How will they be fed, if we don’t create new food systems?  Where will they live, if we continue to pollute cities and destroy coastlines? How will they stay alive, if we don’t combat the inevitable growth of new medical threats as our collective resistances grow?

We are “educating” our kids for a world that won’t even exist by the time they are adults.

HOW WILL ANYONE SURVIVE, if all that is taught in school is






Forget about cramming testable data into a generation of multiple-choice test-taking zombies. We don’t need our kids to come out of school useless to others and to themselves.

Stop DESTROYING their passion by forcing academic sewage on them. Why must high school students learn geometry? It’s useless, unless you plan on becoming a professional QUILTER.

Our real challenge? Train kids to be creative, passionate, independent and innovative.


-Teach them something USEFUL.

How to balance a checkbook.

How to cook a meal.

How to grow living things.


-Teach them COMPASSION.

Involve them with the real world.

Make community service part of the entire school process. Start kids young, so they internalize the desire to give back to the community, instead of doing so dispassionately so they can put it on their fucking COLLEGE APPLICATIONS.



Trust them with independent study.

Let them choose their own reading curriculum. Kids learn to despise reading because the prosaic rubbish forced on them to read is painful. It’s the literary equivalent of jailhouse anal – no lube.

Let them study outside the confines of the school.

Cut out the vast quantity of homework, and give them back their TIME.
Time to discover their uniqueness and what endeavors make their hearts soar. And let them pursue THOSE.



I live 45 minutes away from one of the greatest cultural meccas in the world, and some of my kids have never gone into New York City.

Incorporate trips to museums. Let them be energized and invigorated by brilliant works of art.

Take them on field trips to concerts. Let them hear a gorgeous symphony.

Expose them to great theater.

Allow them to experience diverse neighborhoods.



Whatever garbage they’re attempting to teach our kids in the classrooms isn’t working. Students don’t like it, care about, or retain it one minute after they’ve been tested on it.

Our education system is a bloated, archaic, bureaucratic, imperial useless RELIC. It can’t be fixed.




I don’t have the answers. I’m not even sure I’m asking the right questions.

But this is an EMERGENCY. Do you GET that?

I’m only one person, and I can only make a tiny difference. I can raise my son to be creative and freethinking. I can go to school board meetings and complain. I can engage people in conversation about this. I can write about this.

I can hit Publish.



Do you feel like schools are useless? How can this be changed?
Does your high school kid know what 7 x 8 is, without looking at a calculator?

Talk to me. I’m listening.


woman-writing-erotica 2


Ever since the appearance of Fifty Shades of Grey, the worst book to have ever sold 100 million copies worldwide, everyone is writing erotica.

I don’t want to discuss this Idiot Book, the fact that Anastasia is a virgin who orgasms 20 times an hour, never worries about getting a urinary tract infection or somehow made it through college without owning a LAPTOP.

Bad erotica is sprouting up everywhere. All of it hackneyed and formulaic.

The characters are always flawless. Or if they have flaws, they are so endearing they make the character even more adorable.

For women,”clumsy” is the most popular endearing flaw. For the record, I am clumsy. It’s a pretty glaring flaw. There’s nothing sexy about. I fall down, smack my head on things, injure myself frequently and am generally shocked to still be alive.

Last week, in a meeting with a group of men, I dropped my pen under the conference table. I reached down to get it, hit my head on the edge of the table, and sustained a near-concussion. No dicks got hard.

I would like to read about a female character with some really detracting flaws.

“Chanel had a grotesque mutant butthole growing out of her face. Her ass stunk like Exit 13 on the New Jersey Turnpike and she cleared a room whenever she broke wind.”


And of course. every male character has a frighteningly enormous cock. Let’s go for some diversity:

“Her eyes widened as he slipped his sweatpants down his short stubby legs. His peeny seemed erect but it was so small, there was no way to tell. She gave it a swift headbutt, because men loved when she did that.”


Another thing that really gets my hackles up is how all these beautiful women smell. They always smell like fresh-baked bread, or lemons.

Can’t we try something a little different?

“She jerked open her vest, radiating the scent of stale cigarettes and 3-day old crab legs.”

“Her pussy smelled like an elderly man he once knew who moved to Florida and did something with pit bulls.”


There are only so many ways to write a traditional sex scene, and they can become repetitive and boring. It’s important to be innovative and unique in your erotica. Here are a few little snippets I’d like to share with you.

You’re welcome.

 Blake and Thalia

Blake unzipped his pants quicker than a hooker in Skechers running from the police. His tube sausage flopped out. She began jerking off his pork sword roughly, like it owed her money.

Thalia released her breasts like one would release the Kraken. They were long and heavy, as if she had loaded a shitload of change into a pair of old tube socks and taped them to her chest. Blake became as lost in them as a hobo at a hydroelectric plant.

He crammed his meat flute into her greasy rat’s mouth awkwardly, like a 6’2″ guy trying to get a laid in a Honda Civic. Thalia breathed as heavily as a child caught in a dry cleaning bag.

“Your bajina feels like I’m jerking off into wet balloons,” Blake said, breathing heavily, like a fat man digging into nachos. Thalia thrashed around like a Jawa getting gummed by a toothless Sarlaac.

Blake moved over Thalia’s body stiffly, like a disabled person trying to have intercourse with a mailbox. Thalia’s pubes were as thick as the meaty part of a pancake. They could star in their own episode of Duck Dynasty. Her hairy ham wallet was trembling as he bit into it, and then peed on her bed, marking his territory like an irate Doberman.

Blake’s eight inches of throbbing pink Jesus rammed into her vintage golf bag. He dove into her nappy lunch meat like Scrooge McDuck into a room full of gold. The unrelenting orgasms from his all-beef thermometer slamming into Thalia’s hot pocket made her come so hard, she began sweating like a gerbil in a gay bar.

They fell asleep entwined together in the afterglow. Thalia woke up the next morning with a meat pie in her hand and her mouth tasting like an ashtray.


 Garth and Savannah

Garth gazed at Savannah like a gluttonous person would gaze at a cheap, all you can eat buffet. All the calories rushed to his penis.

The cameltoes created by her pudgy baby-fat labias made him want to plunge into them like a sex-crazed Mario the plumber, and take a bite into them like they were pudding. Or jello salad or maybe beef stew. Savannah’s bald, fat-lipped special place was so good to look at it made him want to hump her like a blind baby kangaroo trying to body box.

Savannah breathed raggedly, like an asthma patient at indoor casino that allowed smoking.

“Garth, I’m gonna touch your weiner so much, touch it all over that yucky looking part at the top, the entire peeny.”

She ran her tongue, wet as a toilet plunger, over her thick lips. Moans like belches escaped her lips.

Savannah reached down, sliding her hand under Garth’s clammy beer-gut and past the nylon waistband of his pants. She let out a small choke of lust as her acrylic nails scraped the bald, encrusted dent of his urethral opening. He roared mightily as he shoved her off the bed, causing her to smack her head on the nightstand before she hit the floor face first.

Garth did a jiggling frantic nut-swing as if it were a popular dance of some sort. He plowed his pink tractor beam inside her field of dreams. Savannah’s velvet clown hole was as tight as Uncle Fred’s hat band.

Her pink walls shrink-wrapped around his beef jerky with a grape-squashing force. Her slippery walls squeezed harshly around his shaft like a tight fist struggling to get the last morsel of toothpaste from the tube. Savannah grabbed at Garth’s balls like mini feminist ninjas attacking his nut sack.

Garth cupped Savannah’s buttocks like a couple of freshly baked loaves of gluten free bread and gave it a quality-approving squeeze.

“I’m gonna tongue punch you in the fart box!” he bleated at her.

Slowly, he tamed Savannah’s skittish sphincter like it was a nervous filly. When it was as relaxed as a mental patient on Seroquel, he took turns violating Savanna’s brown balloon knot with matching Pilgrim Thanksgiving salt and pepper shakers his Aunt Tillie had given him for a housewarming present.

“I’m gonna blork!” he screamed. “Ahh, I’m blorking all over your back!”


So, release your inner perv and give it a try!

If you’re unsure of what to do, just write about two (or more) bodies playing Jiffy Stiffy.  People did not read 50 Shades of Grey for the plot movement and character development.


Did you read 50 Shades of Grey? Do you have any interest in writing erotica?’
How did I do?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 



At 3 am on a Saturday night I drunkenly crept behind the front desk of a hotel in Nashville so I could steal the key to the swimming pool. The desk clerk, after answering a call about drunken revelry on the 5th floor, had left the front desk to investigate.

This was a distraction created in fact, by my own friends. I was partying with a rock band and their entourage. Despite the 40 degree weather, several people decided that it would be fun to go swimming.

That was after the bicycle riding up and down hallways, running rampant through the hotel, whipped cream fights, clandestine couplings in darkened hallway corners, smashed furniture, hours of impromptu jamming, wickedly incriminating photos posted on Facebook, and all manner of depravity one would have with a crazy-ass rock band in Nashville, Tennessee.



Saturday afternoon we started bar hopping on Printer’s Alley, an area renowned for its excessive alcoholic roguery per capita. Nashville has as many drunken people as New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and not for any particular reason. It’s not Mardi Gras, or foie gras, or any-gras. It’s Tues-gras. So turn up, motherfuckers! I was drunk by 1:00 in the afternoon, and I don’t drink.

That’s the kind of thing that happens when I party with C, my best friend and college roommate. She’s a wild child; a trouble maker.

She has been since freshman year of college, when I tried to match her, drink for drink, one wintry night first semester.  Seventeen cocktails later, I landed in the emergency room getting my stomach pumped.

She loves to tell that story. She told it several times in Nashville, to just about anyone who would listen.

She had her domestic time. That was while I was running around New York city, doing drugs and guitar players. But we’ve switched places, and now she’s a divorced empty nester. For the last few years, the hellraiser has been back to her old shenanigans.

She’s involved with a huge network of people who live and die for music, and travel the country to obscure 3-day festivals. Not like Bonnaroo. They’re musical elitists who prefer critically acclaimed small indie bands.

I’ve seen some great shows with them locally. But I’ve resisted these 3-day, Bacchanalian festivals because I can’t drink like her. I have a young child.

And mostly, I don’t trust hanging out with rock bands. The last time I did that, I got addicted to heroin.

Some folks from her group were planning a trip to Nashville Valentine’s weekend to see Lydia Loveless play. Three days before the trip, I decided to go.

I’m still not sure why.

I’ll have to explore that with my therapist.




Saturday night, already butt-toast blotto, we headed to The Mercy to see Lydia Loveless and her band. Lydia is a 24-year-old towering inferno of smoldering sexuality and “go fuck yourself.” Punk fueled, country rock driven, she’s the love child of Joan Jett and Johnny Cash.

She fucking ROCKED. She has an unbelievable stage presence and a powerful gritty voice that hits the back walls and dances all over your spine.

10806247_1552470641689818_7029741253114270520_n.jpg  resized



Towards the end of the show I was so bombed I went into the cavernous echoing staircase to get some air.

A beautiful long-haired woman with a sexy smile walked up to me, and said, “THERE you are! I’ve been looking for you all night.”

I’d never seen her before in my life. But this was Nashvegas. I was loaded. She had huge breasts.

I answered, “I’ve been here all along.”

She motioned for me to sit next to her. I did.

Her name (allegedly) was Rebecca. She kept assessing my life (my age, my marital status) and everything she said was dead ON. I felt like she had crawled up inside my brain.

She was stroking my hair and face. We may have kissed. (I won’t say; I don’t kiss and tell).

We took selfies in the staircase.

“Look how good we look together,” she whispered in my ear.

The entire thing played out like a surreal dream sequence, like the dancing dwarf scene in Twin Peaks. 

We went back inside a different part of the club to dance. By the time she pulled me in for a slow song, we were discussing me relocating with my son to her house in Nashville.

Until my irate bestie snatched me from my fantasy of playing house with Rebecca on her Sunnybrook Farm and dragged my ass back to the band’s hotel.

There were about 15 of us. We partied until it was Bloody Mary time at 8 am. By 9 am the room looked like a depraved battle field of fallen soldiers, and C and I somehow got back to our own hotel.


We were scheduled to leave Nashville 5 am Monday morning. And then, the unthinkable happened.

It snowed. And it doesn’t snow in Nashville.

They are simply not equipped to handle the amount of snow and ice they received. The city was paralyzed. Airports shut down. HIghways shut down. Power shut down.

Our flights were cancelled. We rebooked them for early next morning, and set off in search of food. Our hotel was depleted of supplies since it had been Valentine’s day weekend and no deliveries were able to get in.

We ended up trudging in the ice and snow to a Holiday Inn two hotels away, where we parked our asses at the bar with all the other snowed in people.  As one of the few functioning establishments, the bar-restaurant got mobbed.

Frustrated with being trapped in Nashville, everyone at the bar proceeded to get schnockered sideways, except me. Three days of drinking, and I’d had enough. I  was also the designated driver of this experience. C was fast becoming ridiculously inebriated as all the men at the bar tried to ply us with alcohol. She was having a grand old time.

I was not.

I missed my kid.

Little Dude lives with me full-time. I was not mentally prepared to be away from him more than a weekend.

It took me completely by surprise to miss him that fiercely, when he generally annoys the fuck out of me.

The next couple of days turned into a nightmare of flights repeatedly booked and cancelled; highways shut down, not enough resources to salt down the local roads and no taxi service locally to get anywhere.

Tuesday afternoon we were hungry enough to trudge a mile and a half on the icy highway in high heeled boots to a Waffle House. We were warned by the hotel clerk that there were no sidewalks, just road.

I imagined the headlines:
Two Women In Search of Waffles Killed by 4×4 in Nashville”

By Wednesday, I was LOSING it. My kid was a little thrown when I didn’t return on Monday morning as promised. Now he had seen on the news about the state of emergency in Tennessee and was EXTREMELY upset.  He never directly told me, but my Ex, who was staying with him at my house, did.

I knew it anyway. I am a constant in his life.

He is also an ADHD kid, with a quirky kind of brilliance that goes askew when his routines are strongly disrupted.

On Wednesday morning the Ex reminded me that testing for the gifted program for middle school began on Thursday. Now my kid was really melting down that I wasn’t around, to cheer him on and maybe quiz him a little and just generally BE THERE.


He would not perform well on the test; not get into a highly coveted program he had talked about excitedly for months – all because I had to go to Nashville to party with a band.

I became part gladiator, part heat-seeking missile. I called my airline and demanded to speak to supervisors. I begged, pleaded, demanded – for HOURS .


It worked.

I got booked on a flight that night scheduled to arrive at midnight.

At 2 am Thursday morning, I crept into my son’s room and just looked at him. I brushed his little sleep-flushed cheek and noticed again how his long, long eyelashes look like tiny butterfly wings.


Through adulthood I’ve held fast onto my identity as a quasi-Patti Smith who “lives outside society,” an identity that I altered but still maintained through motherhood.

But there are consequences to partying like a rock star when you have children involved.

I would love to tell you that I am both devoted mother and wild child rock ‘n roller, and that I have successfully straddled the complex duality of this existence – but that would be a LIE.

I’m a MOM. It seeps out of every pore. It is my defining characteristic.

I’m my son’s only mother, and if I don’t get this right, I’ve accomplished nothing.

It doesn’t mean that my soul isn’t full of restless yearning, that the colorless mundane of suburban family existence leaves me feeling unfulfilled in many ways. I love my child more than life itself, but I’m too young to be buried alive in the suburbs.

I’m in limbo. Not fit for either the life I once lived, or the one I live now.

My son is 11. I have 7 years to give him the life he is entitled to. I will prepare him to be strong and independent, so when he leaves the nest, Mama can go back out into the world.

My story will not end here, in the drab suburban wasteland of New Jersey.

I’m looking forward to being a jacked up, wayward old cougar. And I will be grateful to have raised a responsible, mature son – who can bail me out of jail.

Just in case.