Lillian founded the “BEDLAM: New Work by Women Writers” reading series in New York. She and her co-host, Deborah Oster Pannell, were kind enough to let me read from this essay at the April event. (Real talk: I was just the warm-up act for LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Amanda Harris, Tanwi Nandini Islam, and Anna March. You should seek out their work immediately.) Lillian’s own work has been nominated for Best of the Web and Pushcart, and has won the Gigantic Sequins prize for fiction. She’s been published by way too many places to mention but a shortlist includes Seal Press, the Millions, Salon, the Daily Beast, the Nervous Breakdown, the Forge Literary Magazine, and BUST. You should get her novella, How to Travel with Your Demons!
Treat your first draft like a one night stand. Bring tequila, insanity, and animal instincts to the party— drape your panties on a bare light bulb, kick your shoes across the room, play loud music, and dance naked. Drink too much, and throw up on the kitchen floor. Never, ever promise to return. And never say I Iove you. You won’t be back, you’re here for the thrill of it. And that is all.
She’s Martha Stewart on crack
My listing in the Directory of Writers
Because once I started to let go of things, it was hard to stop. On that morning, as the sun rose, I picked up murderously sharp pieces of glass, and dropped them in a tall cardboard box, covered it up with an quilt, and placed it in the foyer, where it still sits, eight weeks later.
Debi made a tapestry of his t-shirts and mailed it to me. I got his death certificate in the mail, crumpled it up, and saved it. He left two walking sticks here. One was adjustable, and I gave it to the guy who maintains the flower gardens around here. He said he had a friend who really needed it. When I picked it up, it was so clearly adjusted to his height. I could feel his weight. I kept the wooden one; it’s in the corner by the window, next to a picture of all of us at Stevie’s wedding.
Kathy didn’t seem sick then. I thought she was plugged in to a higher realm.
Oliver Sacks describes his first migraine aura as “an enormous shimmering semicircle stretching from the ground to the sky, with sharp zigzagging borders and brilliant blue and orange colors.” I saw a clear geometric shape, or pattern. It looked like a crystal, like a geode with the same jagged edges. It got bigger and bigger, and the edges began to shimmer.
On Groundhog Day, I read that the movie, Groundhog Day, is considered a Buddhist meditation. My brother talked about it in the weeks before he died. He liked watching it, and liked comparing himself to the hero.
People called me Mrs. David Bowie. I had my hair cut short just like his. I wore slinky pants, and platform shoes. I cross-dressed at gay bars in Chicago and Milwaukee. Was I a boy or a girl? He gave me a non-binary system of identity, and also poetry. And if he was from outer space, then so was I.