Skip to content

Category Archives: Essays from the MP

Excerpt, Essay 13, David, just as he was

(A portrait of a friend who died nearly twenty years ago, and the last essay in the collection.) David stands on the corner of Market and Castro, a wide grin spreading under his bottlebrush mustache, a Bible clasped in one hand while the other brushes a thick shag of brown hair from his eyes; his […]

Excerpt, Essay 12, The Feast of Dreams

(An essay about menopause.) I wake up at 2 a.m. in a pool of my own sweat and stumble from the bedroom so I do not wake up Sandy. Before menopause crept up on me, I did not realize how many parts of my body could perspire, particularly at once, particularly without the provocations of […]

Excerpt, Essay 11, The Outlaw Bride

(An essay about love and marriage. The following scene takes place after our marriage was invalidated.) My eccentric one-woman campaign to prevaricate about my marital status might seem a sort of unraveling. After all, no one noticed or cared; it took me a surprisingly long time to realize that anyone reviewing the forms I so […]

Excerpt, Essay 10, Wild Kingdom

(An essay about many things, including squirrels.) “You got a pet elephant?” asked the lady behind me at Costco as I piled five giant bags of unsalted peanuts in the shell on the checkout counter. It was my second trip to Costco that month. “Squirrels,” I replied, embarrassed. “No, not squirrels, please,” she said, rolling […]

Excerpt, Essay 9, Adult Beginner

(An essay about learning to swim… and learning to write.) My decision to pursue my “craft” was not always obvious to those close to me, and when I am sitting before a monitor beaming back at me the computer equivalent of scribbles, I can see and hear my friends as clearly as if I were […]

Excerpt, Essay 8, A Moving Experience

(An essay about household moves. It helps to know that at this point in the move I have lost my right slipper.) Sandy sobbed when she gave away her cross-country skis a couple of weeks ago. “It’s the end of that part of my life,” she said. A neighbor we called in for a second […]

Excerpt, Essay 7, Range of Desire

(An essay about women, guns, and desire. I hasten to add, if you’re reading these in order, I am not a gun nut, not that it would be so awful if I were; the gun-related excerpts from my essays just make for attention-getting call-outs.) On the weapons range I lay prone, my gun ready. I […]

Excerpt, Essay 6, At Ease

(An essay about transitioning to civilian life, framed around a cross-country trip.) In his hands, big as briskets, the box of bullets was plain as plain could get, a small tan cardboard box with numbers on the side. But the gun was flat-out sexy: a classic six-chamber Colt .38 with a 4” barrel, perfectly tooled, […]

Excerpt, Essay 5, A Home for Rover

(Two captains, a dying dog, military red tape, and a stolen truck, all set in Korea.) Three months into my tour, I meet Pat in the laundry room of our barracks one evening, a few days after she arrives at Suwon. A pilot had alerted me that a new lady captain was on base. Out […]

Excerpt, Essay 4, Chow

(“Chow” is an essay about food and military life.) When I got away from Hahn [Airbase], it was as far as I could get, not so much in miles from base as in distance from the endless war training machine, in search of beer and skittles, hungry for another adventure. I didn’t have to go […]