WordBowl Word-of-the-Day from Jeffrey Q Sholemson, Chicagoan by way of Long Island, Expert Listener, and once, long ago, my college Freshman Orientation Leader.

This story is in no way in references him. 

Conundrum: what to wear to an Amends Meeting.

reparationphotoYou recognize the courage it took for him to call, reach out after decades of radio silence — you heard through the collegiate grapevine he fell hard fast, cleaned up good — you have seen enough Oprah/Dr. Phi/Dr. Drew/BarbraWaWa to appreciate an addict’s narrative arc. Still, a surprise, the call, the formality of the request for a “meeting”. Not a “get-together” or “a coffee” and obviously not for “drinks”.

A meeting to make amends. To you.

You wonder what the proper preparation is for an amends, this momentous occasion not of your planning.  What your role is in his story: Recipient? Protagonist? Heroine? Victim?

You notice “heroine” is only one letter but a whole world away from “heroin”.

12-Stepping, there are handbooks, guidelines, amends processes. Are there any such materials for the amendee?

Balance, you think, somewhere between sartorial sophistication and sartorial seriousness. You jettison “sexy”, despite your history of drunken fumbling in your relative youth, the two of you studying and partying with equal abandon, the late  — or early, depending on the night/morning continuum — heartfelt, booze-fueled discussions which inevitably dovetailed into an unarticulated need to for a physical closeness as bared as the conversation. As if to manifest the talk.

Post-call, memories flash, flood.

You flip through your times together, legendary stories, hazy moments, half-recollections. Fragments. You try to figure out what he could possibly want to say, so you can formulate a response.

Because if the moment was so significant, a betrayal, what does it say about you, that you don’t remember?

That you do not remember them as THAT, whatever it is they see as the fulcrum of your relationship.

You wonder what your culpability is in all of this.

Dredges of Classic Margarita, Rosa Mexicano, union square, nyc

Dredges of Classic Margarita, Rosa Mexicano, union square, nyc

The night before, you go a drink too far attempting to drown out the questions arising unbidden as a result of the call. You wonder how an addict is defined, wonder where weed falls these days on the addictive substances spectrum, now that it is legal in some states. Prescription pills, legal, too. Alcohol, also legal. You live in NYC, so cigarettes are virtually illegal, sugar nearly so as well. You debate personal responsibility with your bartender as he refills your wine, gratis. You go out often, you are accustomed to the appreciation of bar staff.

On the big day, A-Day, you wear black, as you have lived in Manhattan long enough to be considered a New Yorker. You convince yourself your quavering hands are a result of too much caffeine, a day of coffee shop meetings before the main event, at a hotel the choice of which you cannot help overanalyzing.

Your high-heels click-clack on the reflective marble as you cross the lobby, he is up out of his lounge seat, waving, as you approach. He smiles a familiar smile. You reach out to shake his hand, he clasps the whole of you in an embrace, trapping your arm between both bodies.

There is no turning back now. You are in this. You are to be Amended.

This responsibly consumed cocktail-fueled post was written at Bakehouse (meat packing district, nyc) and uploaded at Rosa Mexicana (union square, nyc)

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WordBowl Word of the Day: vernissage, courtesy of  Eileen @itmarksthespot (AKA, the go-to for all things Art & Music)

V-photoPsssshhhhhh clickclickclickclack psssssshhhhhhhh, dizzying fumes, or she is dizzy from lack of food despite gobbling a handful of paprika-dusted fried chickpeas at the pre-pre cocktail party last night with the Uber-est VIP collectors — people who brandish earliest access as social currency — and a smattering of aspiring tech tycoons, a couple of serious celebrities, a burlesque trio gleefully photo bombing Upper East Siders and Connecticuteers.

She needs air — tonite’s Grand Preview dress will not allow for food — fresh air, away from these spray paint wielding Brazilians, as indecipherable as they are interchangeable, Boy Wonders catapulting from San Palo favela to Soho gallery in one Technicolor Day Glow burst.

Her husband balked at a shared show, initially, but cooler heads (hers) prevailed. Buzz for the WonderTwins-wrought Street-Meets-Carnival art will expose her beloved to new audiences, potential to secure a San Palo show for the World Cup or the Olympics, if the universe is willing (or if she manages to be particularly persuasive in Portuguese). Hubby no stranger to buzz himself, most recently, a well-awarded if not spectacularly well-watched documentary burnishing his reputation among the culturally influential.

A pity the culturally influential rarely posses the funds to posses that which they covet.

Fortunate, his European collector base.

imgres-2Oh, to pop down to their hotel for a disco nap, but her husband is regaling a gaggle of art-amplifiers, their exact media provenance murky, television or scholarly journal or newspaper or magazine or micro-blog. She’s no longer certain as to who or what is important, these days she courts everyone.

Her husband’s eyes blink, Morse Code, she sidles over, pets his arm, leans in for a polished, practiced kiss. They are their own DynamicDuo.

Banter, banter, banter.

They will decamp for the hotel at some point for a costume change, make a grand entrance for the VIP Preview, and subsequent Grand Preview. This whole thing a veritable nesting doll of “pre” and “VIP”. She has to hand it to this curator, a maestro, orchestrating desire.

This business of selling, these negotiations between private space and insatiable demand for “behind the scenes”, “ the clamor to draw back the curtain to reveal The Great and Powerful as mere mortal.

As if her husband were a mere mortal. As if mortals could bear such visions, make manifest.

Blame Facebook, Twitter. Both of which he (she) is on, as part of the daily routine as cleaning paint brushes.

tphotoA photographer captures the Wonder Twins mid-selfie, a Meta-Moment she (dammit) did not think to do. Their photo-documenting innate, their early graffiti routinely painted over the moment the spray dried, they are born of momentary, obsolescence, next.

Will their work grace hallowed museum walls? Do they care?

She snaps a few candids of Dapper Hubby flanked by the Wonder Twins. Fodder for the social media mill.

Have the barometers of success shifted? Of course. But. Bottom line, money. Who buys, who sells. At what price.

Desire, she understands.  And money, she knows.

Francofile this week for a French word (and Bastille Day celebrations)

Turks & Frogs, west village, nyc


11th Street Cafe, west willage, nyc 



WordBowl Word-of-the-Day “auspices” from @RonHogan, literary evangelist & host of The Handsell

AuspicesphotoPrick-poke through workglove, she swallows the reflexive “shit”, flings the half-spooled wire bale forward, realizes no one is here to hear her howl.


She sighs at the smudgy sky, counts the days since she last spoke to someone — not the specific Someone Who Shall Not Be Named, any someone — returns her attention to the tangible act of twining wire fencing into bales nearly as large as she, mutant snails roaming her barren land.

Barren, when mere weeks ago farm interns and hired hands feverishly harvested. Hers, by abandonment until, if, when, she signs the papers. She shunts these wayward thoughs, wrangles the last of the wire, looks again to the sky as if to conjure a murder of crows.

images-3Unruly migration this year, a weak wet fall limping toward sullen soggy winter, she is, at last, in perfect harmony with the weather. As she and her love once were, harmonious. Once, as in recent, not Once Upon a Time, theirs no fairy tale, despite her wholehearted belief, once, this was to be her Happily Every After.

She trudges to the barn, pockets a stray turnip. She will abandon nothing sprung from this earth, unlike some people who blithely disregard these precious gifts, fail to appreciate this labored bounty, people who have lived a life so blessed as to assume abundance. People who have the financial luxury of flitting from one utopian ideal to another, pollinating with their presence, buzzing to the next.

People who convinced others of the wisdom of buying a farm in the middle of the country, a land far far away from the Santa Cruz produce collective where they first flirted across piles of cabbages.

"Fly By" from The Beagle Summer Cocktail Menu

“Fly By”, Summer Cocktail Menu, The Beagle

Sensible, buying a farm abut the family ranch of her partner’s childhood, built-in mentors willing to invest in them as they invested in the land, land from which they could travel during the fallow winter months, their claim stake watched over by benevolent eyes. The same eyes remain on her, now, awaiting her sensible decision to accept their reasonable cash offer.

Hard won, this land. The first months of dirt-meals-dirt-haul-hammer-dirt-shower-bed, conversation limited to the practical, jokes of becoming taciturn people of the land to break the silence. Miraculous moments: beds dug, plants planted, sheds propped, barn raised, produce to market. The second year a tornado whipped away the greenhouse and her tomatoes in one terrifying blast of air. But their sunflowers grew as tall and friendly as the familial community, birds returned each spring. Prosperous omens.

The farm, the ranch, indistinguishable from one another but for the erected barriers, as porous as they once were. They who birthed a dream, remodeled a ramshackle house, planted crops, shared a bed and meals and soap and underwear.

Boundary-less, until cleaved. She cannot feel the borders of herself, still.

Birds squawk overhead. They refuse to move on, despite what climatory pleasures await down South. They seem to prefer the known bitterness.

A sign for her to divine.

post handwritten at The Beagle, east village, nyc and Housingworks Bookstore Cafe, soho, nyc

Housingworks Cafe soho, nyc

Housingworks Cafe soho, nyc

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WordBowl Word-of-the-Day: “stump” courtesy of New Yorker-by-way-of-Baltimore,

fearless actor/daredevil surfer Edelen McWilliams 

She lives breathing recycled air: plane, hotel, convention center. Walking on, sleeping in, sitting on unnatural fibers, lurid patterned fabrics designed to mask high-volume human traffic, bodily stains, personal detritus. She swipes hand sanitizer over most of her exposed skin, still, her nostrils are raw, eyes red-rimmed, ears metaphorically cotton-stuffed, her head, too, she notices, in rare moments of response, as a flight taxis the runway, devices off at the demand of disgruntled flight attendants.

“Not Forever” the mantra at these moments, repeated to her husband, to their basset hound whose mournful expression predated her decision to bootstrap a startup.

Stump-photoShe is frequently introduced on daises as a “futurist”, a misnomer, as the future is here, now, as immediate and tangible as the devices in hand, the devices upon which all is explored, consumed, shared. Paradigm Shift. Fundamental disruption of the consumer product construct, the creator/manufacturer/producer to consumer/audience/buyer relationship. Hell, there are no buyers anymore. Subscription access, Freemium app models, the New Economy.

“Data (you fuckers)”, she wants to shout, but refrains. She wraps her simple message in a calculated mix of flattery and forewarning. “Actionable knowledge” she says, in venture capital boardrooms sipping designer coffee with two hands, not trusting a solo hand, a quivery hand betraying the disparity of her food-to-coffee-ratio. They get it, conceptually, these VCs, the questions lobbed back focus on market size, penetration, scale.

The market, the market. This Little Piggy went to market.

She needs a fucking major market player on board, just one, the first one, to establish consumer traction, define the market. The rest will follow. The significant players in this legacy space, they scrabble, scratch for second-mover status. The go gung-ho for silver, settle for bronze.

The seed money will last, cutting it close, it will last. Or she can dip into the last 401K from her single days, an account from a short-lived stint nearly forgotten.  Found money.

Living on the cusp, every hour a new idea, iteration. Not monetizing, but. Exhilarating. The business model is somewhere, close, she will pivot until she nails it. She may lose some of her people in the process.

A ponytailed Millennial offers a bottled water, eyes shining, mouth gushing, the future, the now future, running roughshod over all that came before.

Drunken Horse (despite name, a refined wine bar) chelsea, nyc

Drunken Horse (despite name, a refined wine bar) chelsea, nyc

She strides up to the stage, nimble, like her hanging-by-a-thread company, greeted with thunder, applause, for the briefest of moments she is Jobs-meets-Wozniack, Garage Google.

She will convince them all, this roomful of men in casual wear and determined women, and their bosses and the ultimate decision makers and the real money guys, because DATA will shape their future, shore up their investments, provide a path to profitability.

She has thousands of digital followers who believe. Conceptually.

She positions the microphone, tests a breath. The audience shifts, prepares to embrace, tweet, disseminate. She dials up the smile. She speaks.



She will figure out the money. In the future.

Post written with a “Picnic” cocktail at Brasalina hell’s kitchen, nyc

Post re-written with a crisp white at Drunken Horse (ha!) chelsea, nyc 

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