Worshipping with Elvis

I knew that Elvis Presley, whose fame was built mostly on blue suede shoes, shocking dance moves, bad movies, a sexy sulk, and the drug-and-food induced glittery, sweaty end of his short tragic life, had made a few little gospel recordings, a nod to Pentecostal nostalgia. I didn’t know until today, browsing the dangerous portals…

Not Pretty Enough

Pretty was the thing. It was indiscreet to talk about marrying for money, but Pretty was the Golden Ticket to happiness with a rich man who would find you irresistible, love you beyond reason, and give you everything your heart desired. Pretty could lead to a career in acting or modeling, but not in science,…

I Survived

Some random first-world thoughts on the eve of yet another cross-country move, this time to Cancún. I haven’t written much of anything since November 8, 2017. I have been in shock, stupefied, wordless (although I have spoken and thought many passionate words about the fate of the planet, of my country, of my children and their…

Mama Lesh

Note: The original post appeared on my autobiographical blog, “My Own Ordinary Life.” I am reposting it here because addiction and suicide are so often in the news. The problems are both more prevalent and more widely reported these days, but addiction didn’t start with hippies and rock stars in the 1960s. My grandmother, born…

In search of a story: heat and ashes

When the developers of Danza del Sol in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, didn’t sell enough apartments to recuperate their investment, the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara bought it to use for conferences and guest housing. I was an employee of the university, and we were offered generous discounts  on short-term rentals of  the suites. When my husband’s cousin Ricardo and his…

La Llorona

Stories of mothers who kill their children, whether news reports, fiction, or myths and legends, awaken our primordial fear of all mothers’ power over their children. The unquestioning and unavoidable trust of an infant for the mother can be terrifying to a grown-up child who realizes that his own mother should not have been trusted…