RIP, Arthur Pais

I remember the time Arthur Pais was caught without his trousers.

India Abroad, the Rediff-owned community paper based in New York, had its office on 24th Street, between Broadway and Sixth. It shared a floor with a travel agency staffed by pretty young girls who, late into the nights, would sneak out into the corridor for a forbidden smoke. The building also housed the New York office of Larry Flynt and Hustler magazine – more girls, of the pin-up class.

Arthur needed periodic insulin shots, which he administered himself. So late this one night, he crossed the corridor to the washroom, gave himself the shot, came back out and realised the office door had slammed shut behind him.

He had his own set of keys – along with his cell phone (which he could otherwise have used to call his long-suffering wife Betty), it was in the pocket of the trousers he had taken off and left behind in the office.

But why would anyone take off his trousers in the office before going to the loo? The best answer to that is: Arthur Pais. He was like that. He did these things.

The story of that night spent cowering in the shadows, dodging random girls while clad in just a shirt and briefs, has regaled the successive generations of young journalists he mentored and bullied in equal measure – and his laugh was always the first to ring out, and invariably the loudest.

Everyone has an Arthur Pais story. And Arthur had a story about everyone – always original, mostly salacious, often borderline libellous. He loved to gossip. He told his stories in a spirit of impish delight and with a total absence of malice. It was his way of relieving the tedium of endless nights writing and producing India in New York, the free weekly paper, and India Abroad, the flagship community paper.

His was the first name on an editor’s speed dial, and not just because his name began with an ‘A’. Two hours to print deadline, a hole the size of a page to fill, you called him and wailed, “Arthur… HELP!” The inevitable response was, how much do you need and how soon do you need it?

You gave him an impossible ask: a 1,600-word feature for the entertainment page in under two hours. He delivered. Unfailingly, uncomplainingly.

Okay, maybe not ‘uncomplainingly’. There was the time my wife came over to the office one morning to pick up a book she wanted to read. Spotting Arthur in his cabin, she wandered by for a chat, then picked up her book and left. Minutes later, Arthur banged into my office, slammed the latest copy of India Abroad down on my table and went “What the %%%@###@…”

I had cut about 120 words from one of his stories. “You asked for 1,000 words and I gave it to you,” he raged, “so why the @##@@@ did you cut my copy you @##$$$..”

He banged on for a long time, the gist of his tirade being that I wasn’t fit to be editor of a roll of toilet paper, even. And then he slammed out of the office, trailing abuse.

Hours later, he strolled into my room with coffee, doughnuts and a huge smile, and tossed an envelope on the table with “For Raji Plus One” inscribed on it. Inside, I found two tickets for Doubt, the award-winning Broadway play then being staged at the Walter Kerr theatre. “I was telling Raji about this play and she said she’d love to see it,” he said.

Turned out that after yelling at me, he had walked a little over 18 blocks to the TKTS booth in Times Square in blazing summer heat, joined the endless line, and snagged prime tickets at a discount.

What could I say? I knew better than to offer to pay – that would have triggered another rant. All I did say was, “Hey, you know I am Raji’s ‘plus-one’, right?” He gave me a look, said “That’s for Raji to decide”, and walked off, for all the world as if the morning fight had never happened.

That, in a nutshell, was Arthur – irascible, incorrigible, impossible, and impossibly generous, sometimes all in the same moment.

We worked together across many publications: the Singhania-owned Indian Post, the Mumbai-based Mid-Day, the Ambani-owned Sunday Observer, Rediff.com and its sister concern India Abroad. Through those long years — now that I think of it, I’ve known Arthur for almost as long as I have been a journalist — there were times when I thought he was my personal albatross, that I’d never be rid of him. But those times were rare. Most times, I was just glad he was around, that he had my back.

“Arthur, what would I do without you?” Every editor who has ever worked with him has had reason to say that. God knows I have thought that many, many times over the years.

Now, as news that he has met his final deadline comes over the wires, that oft-asked question reshapes itself: Arthur, what are we going to do, how are we going to manage, without you?

Arthur, what are we going to do, how are we going to manage, without you?

Be well wherever you are, friend. Be at peace.

And hey, Arthur? Keep your damn trousers on.

(Arthur J Pais, 66, passed away on Friday, January 8. His long-time editor (and mine), Nikhil Lakshman of Rediff.com and India Abroad, summed up the essence of the man here, as did Arthur’s friend and fellow journalist Aseem Chhabra here. My friend and former colleague Vaihayasi Daniel writes movingly of him here.

My valediction to my departed colleague and friend was first published on Scroll.in)

 

 

And then there were none…

Recipe for Mango Pulisherry:

Peel two ripe mangoes (pick the really sweet varieties for best results). Chop them into chunks one inch or bigger. Place the chunks in a saucepan. Add two teaspoons chilli powder (more, if you really like the heat to pop); two teaspoons of salt, and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Pour enough water to cover the pieces and bring to a boil (Did I mention turn on the gas?). Simmer till most of the water has evaporated.

Grind half of a big-sized coconut and two teaspoons of cumin seeds into a smooth paste. Add to the cooked mangoes, stir; add a quarter cup of thick curd (Did I mention, stir again, folding inwards till everything is nicely mixed?). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally, (carefully, you don’t want to break up the mango pieces into unrecognizable pulp) till the sauce thickens.

Heat two spoons of coconut oil, toss in a spoonful of mustard and when it pops, add half a teaspoon of fenugreek, three/four dried red chillies and 8-10 curry leaves. Pour the tadka over the mangoes, stir, serve hot with either rice or chappatis/porottas. Enjoy the whole sweet-sour-hot thing the dish has going on.

I made this dish for myself this weekend.

It tasted weird, somehow. An odd taste I couldn’t quite identify.

Meledath House

I ENTERED this home — Meledath House, it is called — as a newborn. This is where I grew up under the aegis of my grandparents; this is where I learnt to walk and to talk and to play; where I first heard stories from the epics and the puranas.

This is where I learnt to tell my own stories. This is where I learnt to dream.

I wrote a bit, once, about the only real “home” I have ever known. A shell, I called it then.

Looks are deceptive; the home that means the world to me is a ruin waiting to happen, its foundations eaten away by familial squabbling and consequent neglect.

That was five years ago. The sight of this “ruin waiting to happen” had saddened me then. In course of a week-long trip, I spent hours sitting on the porch of that home, remembering.

Back when I was a boy, there was just this house set in the middle of a vast tract of land. There was a mango tree — one of a couple of dozen in the compound — at almost exactly where I was standing when I took this picture. (An uncle has built his home there now; it is where I stay when I visit Calicut.)

Summers were ripe with mangoes (and jackfruit, and cashew, and prickly pineapple shrubs bristling along the hedges. And if you haven’t toasted cashew and jackfruit seeds over a coal fire and eaten them hot enough to burn your tongue, you haven’t lived).

We ate the mangoes raw, spiced with chilli powder and salt. We ate them ripe — some, the firm-fleshed varieties, cut into cubes and piled high on plates; others eaten as is, teeth sinking into the rich sweet flesh, the juice dribbling down your fingers and along your arm. We piled them into huge urulis and boiled them down to their essence over wood fires, then stored them in big bharanis for the off seasonWe used them in fish curry; we made pulisherry

And that is why it tasted weird, last weekend, when I made mango pulisherry after a long while. What I tasted was nostalgia – a bittersweet flavor seasoned with memories of, and yearning for, a lost childhood and a vanished way of life.

Meledath Family

IT WAS a big home, always filled with people. This photograph was taken when my father’s youngest brother got married (back then, the camera was a cumbersome thing with a bellows-like front; the photographer slipped under a sheet of black cloth and from in there, told us kids to keep our eyes fixed on the narrow opening because “you will see a parrot there”). It only shows one branch of the family that used to live there then. There are five adults, and three children, missing from this picture — eight people who lived with us under that roof, one big, chaotic, mostly happy family.

Each one of the adults in this photograph (and those absent) contributed to my growth in one way or other — some told me stories; others bought me books and encouraged me to read and to dream; still others shielded me from the consequences of my serial mischiefs…

Each of them is a part of me and, in a very visceral way, what I am is an amalgam of these people — their ideals, their values, their sensibilities, their collective wisdom.

Six of the twelve adults in this picture are now no more. Two of those not in the picture are also gone.

Meledath now

 

LAST week, I went down to Calicut for the rites and observances connected to the first anniversary of my mom’s passing.

And I stood in the exact same spot as before and took this picture — of the gaping void that once was my home.

Back when I was a boy it was a home, magnificent in its isolation, nestled in its green, verdant space. Back then, I’d clamber up into the branches of the mango tree that stood here, in this same spot, and read through the day.

Today, there are 11 homes where those trees once stood. Homes of uncles and aunts and cousins; even the homes of a couple of strangers who bought some of our land and built there.

And today, there is a hurt-shaped void where my home once stood. An emptiness. An ache that defies description.

Its massive doors are likely in an antique shop someplace, as are whatever else the contractor could salvage of the thick teak beams, the ornately carved windows, the furniture that survived the ravages of time, the giant urulis and bharanis and such.

The big, porous stones that formed its walls have been crushed to powder, and carted away to some landfill someplace. Each of those stones had stories to tell. It is all dust now.

When taking this picture, last week, I couldn’t focus properly for tears. Some of that dust must have gotten into my eyes.

They all go away — people, places, everything. An uncle once removed passed on three weeks ago — among many other things, I remember him for keeping my stock of PG Wodehouse novels constantly replenished.

Memories remain — remembered joys; hurts that refuse to heal. When I can, I write them down, for with each passing day I fear the time will come when those memories will vanish, too, and my mind will blank out.

Just like what happened with mom.

PS: By some quirk, the WordPress editors stumbled on my post from last year on my mom’s passing — and decided to showcase it on Freshly Pressed.

The following days — while I was in Calicut for the first anniversary — so many of you filled the comments section with your wishes, your own stories and experiences, with the occasional tear shed for a lady you never knew, for a pain I hope you never know.

Thank you. All of you. Very much.

Thank you!

In a corner of a bedroom in our Chennai home, cleared of furniture and all other encumbrances, there sits an urn.

It is actually a fairly simple clay pot, about eight inches tall and six inches across at its widest. It is covered by a Kerala-style thorthu (towel), the same one I wore around my waist when I and three others carried my mother’s body on her last journey. And in it rests a couple of handfuls of ashes and a few shards of bone.

This is all that remains of a 77-year-old lady who lived a full life — as professional, as wife, as mother and grandmother, and as the go-to friend to the many dozens who, unbidden, arrived at our home with stories, most of which we were hearing for the first time, of how mom had in her unobtrusive way helped them at times of dire need.

A good friend once pointed out to me that the true test of character was how you behave with, what you do for, those who can do nothing for you in return. By that litmus, mom had ‘character’ to burn — and it is an integral part of who she was that we are finding out how pervasive her influence was only after her passing. When she was alive, she never spoke of any of this — nor, as we are learning, did she permit the beneficiaries of her generosity to speak of it.

That urn is warmed by a lamp that burns bright 24/7, and it will stay lit till the morning of the 26th, when I consign to the elements all that remains of my mom.

Meanwhile, what has warmed me — and the immediate family, with whom I have shared all of this — is the kindness of strangers, the compassion of friends, the empathetic readiness of strangers and friends alike to reach out a supporting hand. You imagine, when something like this happens, that all you want is to be left alone, to be able to crawl into your personal space and nurse your wounds. And that is what I told the friends who called. Some heeded that, others ignored me and kept calling, messaging, writing mails, reaching out in many different ways. And I realized that they were right, I was wrong —  isolation is no cure for grief. To those friends I owe more than I can articulate (to say ‘repay’ would be to insult them beyond measure).

To the many who on this blog and through calls and emails and Twitter DMs shared their personal experiences – with parents, with children, with illness, with life, with death – what can I say that does not come out cliche?

Hearing your stories helped me make sense of my own; reading of your pain helped me cope with my own; knowing I was not alone helped me arrest my emotional free fall and  recover a sense of balance and perspective.

To say ‘thank you’ is to insult your generosity of spirit. Yet ‘thank you’ is all I have, for now. I hope you know there is a wealth of feeling packed into those two words.

PS: There are many mails, and messages in the comments section here, that I haven’t been able to respond to. I will, though. Soon.

R.I.P, Mom

One day, I had a call from mom.

It was one of those routine calls she used to make to my wife and I, more as a means of reaching out than because she had some news of import to convey – the telephone line as umbilical cord.

So she would call and ramble on about my eating habits and smoking and how the neighbor was remodeling his home and the dust was settling in thick layers all over our home as a result and about the other neighbor whose daughter, based in the US, was pregnant, and…

I listened patiently to those stream-of-consciousness chronicles of the mundane ticks of her time because I knew she was, in her own way, trying to make up for lost time. Through a torrent of words, she was trying to make up for the grim silences of the past.

So that day, she rattled off the news from the extended neighborhood and then, just before signing off, asked me, ‘So when is she coming next?’ Who? ‘She… you know…’, there was a pause, and then in a voice driven an octave higher by frustration, she said ‘Never mind! I am getting old! One of these days I am going to forget my own name!!’ And she banged the phone down.

I did not realize at the time that it was the first manifestation of a trauma that would progressively engulf our family, plunging us into a state of helplessness beyond comprehension.

And it happened one painful day at a time.

One day, in the middle of a call, her voice trailed off. I thought the line had gotten cut. Hello? ‘No, wait, I am trying to remember something I want to tell you, I am still here,’ she said.

One day the phone rang. I answered. There was silence. Then, without a word of greeting, she said “I called you because there was something I wanted to tell you. And now I have forgotten what it was.” I heard a sob. And then she slammed the phone down. The sound hurt like a physical blow to the gut.

One day, in the midst of a long ramble punctuated by many pauses and as many repetitions (by then she had begun to forget that she had told me something, and would go back and start all over), she asked me to wait while she got herself some water. “My throat feels so dry,” she said. I waited. She never came back. Long minutes later, I panicked and called my sister on the other line. It turned out that mom had forgotten she was talking to me, and wandered off, and was watering the plants. The time was around nine — at night.

One day my niece called and asked, did grandma speak to you today? No, I said, why? “She asked me to dial a number for her because she has forgotten the number — but she won’t tell me whose number she wants me to dial, and she is getting angry with me for not dialing it,” my niece, a teen bewildered beyond measure by her grandmother’s progressive deterioration, wailed. Never mind, I said, give her the phone. Mom came on the line. And said hello, how are you, it has been a long time, why haven’t you called, are you okay?

And then she called me someone else’s name.

One day my sister called. “We were watching something on TV. Mom got up and walked off towards the bathroom. After a while I realized she was missing, and I went to check, and she was just standing there, staring at the wall,” sis said, in a voice made moist with sadness.

One day, I was visiting mom in Chennai. A call came in that I had to attend. When I was done, I walked back into the room, and found her standing in front of the bank of light switches in her room. She was just standing there, staring at it. Mom? What do you want? She looked at me and then she looked at the switches and then she looked at me and her eyes were blank. You want the lights on? She stood there thinking about that. And then her eyes teared up. I flicked the switch on for her. She looked up like she had never seen a bulb light up before, with a sort of child-like wonder. And she flashed me a blinding smile. It was just around noon, then.

She forgot to shut doors when she opened them, and she forgot how to open a door that was shut and she would stand in front of it, trying to figure out what she was supposed to do next. And if you noticed and opened it for her, she had forgotten what it was she wanted in whatever room it was she was trying to enter, and she wandered away till something else stopped her in her tracks.

She forgot how to put on her clothes. And she got angry when sis helped her put the blouse on the right way. This most private of persons could not tolerate these daily reminders of her own helplessness.

She forgot how to eat, and would hold a spoonful of food poised in the air in front of her, and stare at it till someone actually guided it to her mouth — and then she forgot she had to open her mouth and take in the food.

One day, I got out of the car and turned and saw mom waiting by the door, a beaming smile on her face. “Did you have a good trip?”, she asked. “Have you eaten anything? You are looking so thin!”

And then she called me by the name of her only brother – the man who had disowned her when she got married against her family’s wishes; the man she had never spoken to for over 50 years; the man who was long dead.

One day, my wife went to Chennai by herself. Mom smiled happily at her, reached out with fingers that trembled with the effort to convey affection and stroked her hair, and then asked her “Why didn’t he come?” Who?, my wife asked. She knew; she was just teasing. Mom struggled to get my name, her mounting frustration evident in the furious workings of throat and jaw and the tremble of her lips. And then she broke down and sobbed like a baby.

One day – April 14 – when I went visiting, she stared at me as I walked in the door. She did not say a word, nor did her expression change. I asked her how she was doing. She just stared. As I moved around the room, her eyes followed me — blank eyes, empty of life.

Eyes like glass, reflecting what they focused on, absorbing nothing.

And then, one day, she went to sleep – that is to say, she went back to sleep, because by then she was sleeping all the time, with the briefest periods of wakefulness.

And thus she died, at 4.40 am on May 11, when she finally forgot how to breathe.

THEY used to call this madness, back in the day.

My great grandmother on the paternal side was “mad”. “Possessed”, some of the elders would say, nodding wisely.

There was a room in our ancestral home that was always kept empty, and dark, and closed. That is where the souls of our departed ancestors lived. (That is also where we stored those enormous porcelain jars of freshly pickled mango and jack and peppercorn and papaya. There is a mordant, witty connection to be made there, but I am not in the mood just now).

Great grandma was kept chained in that room till the day she died. The awful clank of those chains on the wooden pallet that was her bed, and on the floor when she moved about, and her screams of rage and of frustration as she repeatedly tested the limits of her freedom, formed the disorienting soundtrack of my days and nights, back when I was a very small boy.

By the time I moved into my teens, it was my grandmother’s turn. They didn’t call it “madness” then, not openly. They simply didn’t refer to it, is all. And so my grandmother would sit, in the chair my grandfather alone had the right to sit in when he was alive. And she would point to someone in her line of sight and ask, “who is that?” Oh, that is Jayaraj. “Who is Jayaraj?” Your son, grandma. “Ohhhh, Jayaraj — when did he come?” This morning, grandma. “This morning? Really?” She would smile and even as the smile blossomed it would change to a puzzled frown. “Who is that?”

After a few rounds of that, I would slip away. It didn’t matter — she sat there and stared into the distance and repeated the questions and answers to herself, until something distracted her and she went off on some other loop, muttering away.

We cousins would invent our own dialogues, in imitation of grandma’s rambles. And with the casual cruelty of the very young, I once built a segment of my mimicry program around her ramblings, and brought the house down at the annual college cultural fest.

Now we have a name for it. Dementia. Even my young nieces know it is dementia – not madness. Not even Alzheimer’s, which was the original diagnosis when mom first showed signs of “losing it”.

In an Alzheimer’s patient the brain will be shorter and more square than normal because that is what the disease does — it shrinks the brain. In the case of dementia, the brain will be of normal size, but will show the presence of lesions — softer, darker areas — throughout.

I learnt all this through an article  in the New York Times. Elsewhere I read of how, and why, cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia are proliferating, and how this has the potential to become a health-care disaster of epic proportions. I learnt that there was a subset of dementia, called “pleasant dementia” — the kind my grandmother suffered from, if I were to make a posthumous diagnosis.

My mom’s disease progressed in incremental stages, and so did my knowledge of the disease — because what else is there to do when confronted with such than to read, and try to understand? So I googled dementia and collected links and read and made notes, all to what purpose I did not stop to ask myself.

Late one night, I was sitting at my mom’s bedside. She was drifting in and out of sleep and each time her eyes opened, she would look around the room till she saw me, and there would be a momentary flash of recognition in those eyes, and then she would go to sleep again.

So I sat there and I googled, and I stumbled on Nora Ephron’s piece on her own encounter with dementia.

Once I went to a store to buy a book about Alzheimer’s and when I got there I found I had forgotten its name. I remembered this as I sat at mom’s bedside that night and I thought it was very funny.  I  laughed out loud. I don’t know when I stopped laughing, and when in the dead of that night the fat, hot, wet tears began to sting my eyes and rake red-hot furrows down my cheeks.

This is what I learnt during that night, during that vigil without end: dementia does more damage to the bystanders, to the family members, than it does to the victim. The latter just fades away, imperceptibly and, one hopes, painlessly – “the long goodbye”, someone called it. But even as the victim forgets, the bystander is forced to remember.

LITTLE memory bubbles, trapped too long in the muck of the mind, keep breaking free and bursting on the surface with liquid plops.

I cannot claim to ‘remember’ that my parents, both with nascent careers to nurture and grow, outsourced my own nurture and growth to my grandparents, leaving me in their care when I was just 20 days old.

What I do remember is that from when I was old enough to talk — and even to this day — my parents have always been ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. ‘Achchan’ and ‘Amma’ — father and mother respectively, in Malayalam — have always been my grandparents. That is how I thought of them and referred to them when they were alive, and that is how I think of them today, when they are long gone. They brought me up, they taught me stories from the epics and the puranas and the meanings underlying rituals; they instilled in me their values and their ideals.  Mom and dad were the people who visited once every summer and brought me toys and clothes and books and then went away again, leaving me in peace to play with those toys and read those books.

Today we talk of the trauma of being “abandoned” in childhood and the resulting scars on the psyche. Those days, it was just how life was.

I remember being taken away to Madras, to ‘my own home’, when I was 14. I remember my parents rushing off to work by eight and coming back home around six and asking me how school was and did I do well and did I have a shower after playing cricket in the dusty field opposite my home, and then leaving me alone while they wandered off to discuss their work and colleagues and all the other things they had to talk about — so many other things, they had no time to talk to me.

I remember that as I grew older, they began to talk AT me. What electives I should take, what marks I needed to get to qualify for a seat in medical school. They talked at me, their words reflective of their own ambitions for me. But they never talked TO me. They never listened to me. And they never knew what, if any, dreams and ambitions I had for myself.

I rebelled. Bunked class. Started smoking, drinking, doing drugs. I majored in psychotropic pharmacology before I’d finished pre-degree.

I don’t remember the day – I was 17 – when mom came home and found me in bed, froth around the edges of my mouth. I don’t remember swallowing an entire strip of Mandrax. Attempted suicide, the doctor said.

I don’t remember wanting to die.

I remember being shipped back to my grandparents’ home to “get better” (the ancestral home appeared to be a kind of left luggage place for inconvenient baggage).

I kicked drugs. I couldn’t kick the rebellious streak, though. I dropped out of college.

I remember grandad dying. I remember grandma losing first her mind and then her life. With their passing I lost my anchor; I lost the only benign influences in my life; I lost the only two humans who believed that there was more to me than “hopeless wastrel”.

By then, I was a burden to my parents. I know this because they told me so. Repeatedly. Then my mom stopped talking to me (I wrote of it here) – but she managed to convey the message anyway, with words sharp as knives hurled at the space above my head.

I finally found a job in Bombay, and I left my home. I met a girl, and I got married to her. My parents did not attend. They did not know the girl, but disliked her on principle – how could someone who I liked possibly be any good?

So I made my life and lived it. And my parents made their life around my sister and my nieces, and lived that life. We were parallel universes with no channels of communication, with no connection.

And then came the morning of March 17, 1997, when my cousin landed on my doorstep to tell me my father was no more.

That afternoon, as I lay prostrate before the corpse of my father, seeking to wash away with tears the bitterness, the regrets of a lifetime, I felt a gentle hand on my head, a touch that transmitted absolution. A  benediction.

Shortly after that day, my mom began to call.

She kept it up for the next sixteen years – till the day her mind failed her.

PS: I wrote large chunks of this on April 12. I had barely reached office that morning when my sis called. She told me mom was no longer even opening her eyes. There was a heartbeat, yes, and a pulse. And if you looked closely you could see her chest rise and fall in time with her slow, labored breathing.

But her eyes were closed. And save for fleeting micro-seconds, she never opened her eyes again, ever. I went down to Chennai late that night. And I saw her lying there – desiccated, shriveled, still, a shell within which once resided a person who, among other things, gave me life.

I knew, then, that she was gone. For it is not a pulse, or a heartbeat, or a breath, that makes a mom.

That morning, after I got that call, I wrote. And in Chennai next day, sitting at her bedside, I wrote more (Not everything I wrote has made it to this post).

I wrote to remember. And I wrote so I could forget.

I wrote to cauterize wounds, to exorcise demons.

And at some level, I wrote because who knows? A day may come when I’ll stare at the keyboard of my laptop and not remember what it is for.

Just like mom with the light switch.

Tumbling into something new

For the longest time, folks on Twitter have been complaining that there is no easy way to follow the various links I keep tossing up; elsewhere, blog readers complained that ‘eye browse’, an occasional series of blog posts I used to do where I linked to interesting reading matter, is now defunct.

Okay, two birds, one stone. Meet my new Tumblr avtaar — a site dedicated entirely to curating all the stuff I read, as I read them. (in other words, when I want to write something, that will happen here; if it is just a link to something I read, that will go in Tumblr).

Too confusing? Okay, making it easier — see the right side of this blog? The segment called ‘Reading Matter’? That is the RSS feed of my Tumblr blog; it tells you what I have added new, and you can avoid or click based on interest levels.

The answer to one final question I’ve been getting a lot of in email: when will I get back to blogging. The short answer? June 1. See you here, then.

2013

365 days ago, I remember wishing folks I knew (and via social media, many I did not) a very happy 2012.

How did that work out for us?

I woke on January 1 to this news. And we all know how we are ending the year.

“Happy New Year” doesn’t, today, sit quite easy on the tongue, when we know we will merely change one calendar for another while all that was obscene about life this year remains unchanged.

So, a slightly different wish: Today, tomorrow, and in the tomorrows to come, be safe, please.

See you ‘next year’.