When I was growing up with 1970s parents, I noted two things about my father: 1. He commandeered the telephone late into the night, shouting about his plant’s wood supply; and 2. He spent every other second in his recliner.

A recliner spewed from his butt.
A permanent appendage.
His lost tail.

He refused to budge from his recliner for anything except another phone call.

When he needed a snack? Hey, Linda! LINDA! Get me some ice cream!

When he desired a different television channel before the advent of the remote control? Andra! A-N-D-R-A! Get off that pot and come change the channel RIGHT NOW!

When he wanted a closer look at anything? Hey, you! Bring me that thing! Right there!

Marketers divined an exact image of my father
when they coined the La-Z-Boy brand.

My ex-husband despised my incessant refusal to admit a lounging contraption in our house. But I didn’t marry my father! I don’t want to smell your farts as you zone out in front of the television every night! I was kind of sad about that proclamation when the ex left, because I didn’t have a crummy chair to throw at him.

MTM, my architect-man, possessed more cultured (read OUTRAGEOUSLY EXPENSIVE) tastes. Every time we visited the home of a fellow architect, he lowered himself into the lap of his furniture fantasy: a Le Corbusier chaise lounge.


(Note: Le Corbusier is another word for “sadomasochistic torture device.”)

I looked at MTM, zoned out in the Corb with sports blaring, and I vowed such an object would NEVER grace our built environment. If he wanted to relax, he could be a slug in bed.

Something shifted when I started to write full-time. I spent hours crunching my spine against our headboard, because the only way I can create is with my feet up. Yielding neck pain. Multiple visits to the chiropractor. Frequent headaches.

My writing habits had to change.

I tried creating at my desk. Upright, like normal people.


I practiced sitting up straight in bed, my entire spine fully against the headboard. As soon as I lost myself inside a character’s head, I migrated downward. I came to in the same smashed-up position, my neck on fire.


In despair, I visited Design Within Reach, thinking I could find an architect-approved sectional sofa with a priced-for-poor-people IKEA knock-off. I fell into MTM’s beloved Corb recliner instead. No neck kink. Adjustable foot height for the perfect creative angle. Easy-to-clean black leather. The Corb chair had one minuscule drawback:

It’s UGLY.

I locked myself in the car and tried to forget Monsieur Corbusier. Here’s how THAT turned out.


I am my father. A Corb recliner sprouts from my ass. I only leave it to use the toilet or go to bed.


Sound. As I type to the hum of traffic, the cross-hatch of MTM’s pen, the pulse of keys, I sob and wish sound weren’t a thing.

I know people who are virtually deaf. I don’t wish for that fate or mean to diminish their disability.

But I am waterboarded by the sound of my own voice. People want to hear me read my memoir.

Or they *think* they do.

They don’t know a theater critic once eviscerated my speaking voice in a review. “Etched in acid,” he crowed.

A seminal theater teacher, the one who taught me to cry on a dime, once stood inches from my face in a room full of people. Her spittle fireworked across my face as she forced me to put my voice in the body, while I sobbed.

And people think this writing thing’s hard?

But the sound requirement makes it so.

I love to read aloud. Always have. Ask any child in my life. They adore me, because they know when I read them a story, their parents won’t be able to calm them down until the following afternoon. Every picture book is a theatrical production; every character a soul worthy of life.

I’m trapped in a morass of knowing what I want. How I wish my reading sounded. What I want my new website to look like. Why I need certain video.

But I only know how to make words. I don’t know design. Technology is my foil. I can record raw footage, but I can’t do a clean take. I always stumble over a word or two, and I don’t know how to fix it.

I wish the solution were to pay someone, but I only have so much money. It’s all claimed.

After ten takes of one NWMF chapter (and several temper tantrums), I decamped to another place. A less claustrophobic room. One of my hallowed places. And I listened.

Janet Cardiff’s 40 Part Motet. Sound sculpture, juxtaposed against Renzo Piano’s vision of heaven. Stick figures with speaker heads. Ellsworth Kelly on a wall.

I wish I could pour my voice into a microphone and use techno-voodoo to make a sound sculpture worth hearing.

mtms packageI get tired of MTM’s package. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I like to unwrap things as much as the next girl……even when I know what’s inside.

Especially when I know what’s inside.

I don’t like surprises.

But MTM and his package……..how do I type this? MTM’s package is the never-ending gift. It’s everywhere.

Our guest bedroom.

All over our office.

The living room.

I’ve forbidden MTM’s package in the bedroom. A girl has to draw the line somewhere.

I can’t go to our storage unit because of MTM’s blasted package. It even haunts me when I open the mailbox and retrieve our mail.

MTM’s package!


He spends hours staring at screens. Talking to shifty characters about their packages. Even paying mysterious amounts of money for access to their packages.

What’s in MTM’s package, Dear Reader?