My Invisible Lover
August 3, 2014
The truth is, I came back to the south of France to find her. Laura had been my stateside college professor, literary mentor, partner in crime and best friend with major benefits. Our relationship, too, was a rite of passage. I was 19, she was 33.
When Long Lost Friends Should Stay Lost
May 25, 2014
What do you owe a long lost friend you haven’t seen in 40 years who finds you on Facebook and begs for help? That was the moral crevasse I fell into one morning looking through email. At first, I was happy to see R’s name in my inbox. Amazed, to be honest. I am still in awe of the power of the Internet to connect us to people we no longer know.
The Married Crush
March 23, 2014
My good friend P adores his wife but gets serial crushes on other women. P swears that these crushes are harmless, platonic. An oversexed academic of 50, P’s never cheated on his wife and sees nothing wrong in these dalliances with acolytes, students and random girls besotted by his biceps and intellect.
February 23, 2014
The night when impotence first crossed my mind announced my fall from grace as a man. I was 14 years old, a blissful stranger to the histrionics of the male erection. My own was something I took for granted; he was there, more or less constantly, rising to my beck and call.
The Only Place I Want Drama Is on TV
January 20, 2014
It was one of those moments you never forget, a betrayal so deep you can’t rebound. I hung up the phone after hearing the news, disgusted by what my friend had admitted, sick with rage and disbelief that a woman I trusted and loved, who I thought would be my friend forever, had become, in five short minutes, someone I never wanted to speak to again.
How to Visit Your Family Without Going Crazy
December 15, 2013
The last time I saw my family, we were planning a funeral. My older sister had died. She’d been sick a long time, had little money, used an oxygen tank and could barely walk. When my younger sister found her in bed, looking like she’d just fallen asleep, she had a cookie in one hand, the remote in another, with her cats snuggled around her feet. It wasn’t a terrible way to go.
November 24, 2013
My mother-in-law is having her Thanksgiving Meltdown. “I hate this holiday,” Bev complains, keening back and forth at the kitchen table. “You OK?” I ask, though I know the answer. Bev has had a terrible year. My father-in-law’s dementia has spiraled out of control.
The Secret Life of Plants
November 10, 2013
When she meets me at the restaurant, my old friend looks several years younger. Lighter is the word that comes to mind. “Wow,” I say. “You look amazing.” She smiles with a devilish twinkle. “Everyone keeps telling me that.”
Man in the Mirror
October 13, 2013
No one prepared me for F’s transformation. Before the shock of his sixtieth birthday, no one had warned me about the procedures he had done to prepare for this milestone: the face-lift, hair plugs, eye job, wattle tuck, silicone implants and movie-star teeth.
The Mystery of Love
September 22, 2013
Love is the greatest mystery. It comes when you’re least expecting it, and disappears when you think it is here to stay. The heat that ignites it at the beginning is doused by the intimacy it creates. Love’s a portal, a mirror, a cross to bear, a joy, a heartbreak, and an axe.
Secrets and Lies
September 2, 2013
Every life is a patchwork of secrets, half-truths, evasions, shams and disguises. The most authentic among us have hidden compartments, shadowy corners and taboo behaviors we keep under wraps for fear of destroying our public image.
It Is Sweet to Do Nothing
August 18, 2013
I used to dream of a non-stop life, a successful life that was crammed to bursting with deadlines, dates, demands, and duties so ceaseless and important I’d barely have time to think. This frantic existence, I imagined, would make me feel like someone who mattered, a person with a big life — going places.
Tweet or Die
August 5, 2013
I was dragged kicking and screaming into the social media age. Had I not been a professional writer, warned by publishers to become my own platform, I would never have issued a tweet, posted on Facebook, sent Constant Contact e-blasts, done audio promos, video promos, podcasts, webinars, teleconferences or Google chats in this lifetime. I would also have died a happy man.
Forgive or Forget It
July 19, 2013
Friendships are the great overlooked love affairs of our lives. On the hierarchy of emotional connections, we place even our dearest friends several rungs beneath lovers and family, and only slightly higher than colleagues, all too often, in the pecking order of who gets attention.
Age Is What Makes Us Sexy
July 11, 2013
I know a person who’s having a midlife crisis. It isn’t a secret; that’s part of the crisis. His issue comes down to an excess of sex that he talks about excessively. His best friends don’t mind that he’s scoring more than LeBron James in a heated playoff — they just wish he’d stop flaunting it.
Living Forever Is the Best Revenge
June 20, 2013
This past weekend in New York City, nearly a thousand people from around the world gathered together with the express purpose of figuring out how to live forever. The Global Future Conference (GF2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution) is the brainchild of Dmitry Itskov, a wealthy, 32-year-old Russian Internet entrepreneur committed to helping move humankind to the only sustainable future he believes is possible: placing human brains in robot-avatars that don’t eat food, don’t drink water, don’t drive cars and don’t squander the dwindling resources of this planet.
The Optimist’s Manifesto
June 4, 2013
When you’ve been hauled back from death’s door, it’s hard not to be an optimist. I was supposed to be dead at 30, over two decades ago. The condition didn’t kill me but what did get annihilated was the cynic hiding under my cheerful mask — the clever, dystopian pessimist part, who secretly feared that the future would only get worse and mocked optimistic, smiley-faced ninnies.
What’s your Story?
June 1, 2013
Every life is a work of fiction. That’s what I tell my writing students. People come to me wanting to tell their life story, the narrative that sums them up, that captures the essence of who they are. They expect to find this story hiding inside them like a Michelangelo statue trapped in the marble, fully formed, waiting to be released.