Written By: sherridaley - • •

I had a dream last night about someone I loved very much.  He was mean to me in the dream. Not that he meant to be mean, but he wouldn’t say that he loved me. He didn’t say he didn’t, but he was evasive and distracted and didn’t pay any attention to me.

I wanted to go home in my dream, but he wouldn’t let me. Come with me to this party, he told me, and so I went with him, and everyone we knew was there, and I was proud to be there with him, and I almost forgot that I was hurt.

Then I woke up and I looked out at the dark in my room and wondered why I hadn’t heard from him in so long and where he was, and then I remembered that he was dead. He’d been dead for 30 years.

It took me until noon to get over it.


Old Ladies at the Library (Eventual Recall)

Written By: sherridaley - • •

There is a section in the library for new releases.  When I have not remembered to bring my New York Times Book Review section –on which I have meticulously taken notes, underlined previous books by the authors of books I want to read, ripped out the really important reviews, and put it all on the table near the door where I won’t forget to take it to the library —  well, when I don’t remember to take that, I go and sit on the bench there in the new releases section and browse the new books.

I put a lot of stock in book covers. I absolutely judge a book by its cover: publishers pay a lot of money to artists and designers of book covers and I wouldn’t want them to feel it was wasted. I believe in the artwork on book covers, although I often wonder about the stuff written on the book jacket. I try not to read the whole thing, although they are never as bad as the Netflix descriptions. Talk about spoiler alert.

Anyhow, I’m there and this woman is standing next to me holding a book I had recently read.  I forget the name now, but it’s about a lawyer who decides to defend an 11- or 12-year-old boy who murdered a 6-year-old girl, and the whole town turns against him and his family, and, well, I don’t want to ruin it for you if you decide to read it, but I’ll have to remember the name of it first.

I told the woman that she was going to love that book, and she asked me if I had any other suggestions for good books, so I asked her if she had read the one about the Olympic athlete who was a Japanese prisoner of war in WWII.

“No,no,” she said.  “What’s the name of it?”

I had no idea. “I dunno,” I said, “but it was written by the same author who wrote the one about the horse.”

She nodded. “Right,” she said. “The horse.”

“A woman.”

“Right. A woman wrote it.”

“A race horse.”

“Right.  I loved that book.”

“Anyhow, it was written by her.”  I thought for a minute.  “I also liked the one about the girl who was losing her house to foreclosure and an Indian family bought it, but she and her cop boyfriend were working on getting them evicted, and …”

The woman brightened up. “I saw the movie!” she exclaimed. “I loved the old guy, that actor.”

“He was magnificent.  What’s-his name.  Very noble.  But if you saw the movie, you probably don’t want to read the book.”

The woman looked up at the ceiling. “Didn’t that end badly?”

I was thinking that the old guy and his wife both die, but I didn’t want to tell her that.  I nodded at the book in her hand again.  “You’re going to love that book,” I reminded her.

“Well, thanks for your help.  It’s great meeting another real reader.”  She told me her name, which I promptly forgot, but about ten minutes later, I said out loud, “Seabiscuit.”



A poem about poetry

Written By: sherridaley - • •

Ffrankly, I’m tired of poems that have no rhyme or rhythm,

as though putting prose in an artistic arrangement on the page

makes it poetry.

Not that good prose is easy to write.

It’s not.


But the beauty of building love, despair, or exuberance

in a place that has rules,

well, that demands that a writer think.

He has to spend the extra time and effort closing it in,

clutching it like in a fist.


So that when it is read,

when the fist is opened,

and it becomes a hand, a wave, an offering,

the beauty is released.


Fuck free verse.

Even blank verse is better

Free verse is just good prose.

Write a sonnet.

Richard Ford’s books – Read ’em all — well, except one …

Written By: sherridaley - • •

I began my love affair with Richard Ford (I wish!) when I read The Sportswriter in 1986. Actually I think it was Frank Bascombe I fell in love with, that hapless, overly intelligent hero of Ford’s triptych: The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land. Bascombe, twice divorced, grieved father of a son who died at 9 years old, earnest lover, failed writer, and successful realtor, attacks every happenstance with the sensible bewilderment of a true thinking man.

It’s almost as if Ford writes his novels in real time, as the books, each one nearly 500 pages long, take place over a couple of days – Easter in the case of the Sportswriter, Fourth of July for Independence Day, and Thanksgiving in The Lay of the Land – and it takes just about as many hours to read each book, not counting the hours both you the reader and Frank Bascombe are sleeping.

I am a bad girl reader.  When the book is not to my liking, I flip to the back to see who gets the girl or what country got pillaged and throw the book on the floor beside my bed.  If the book has some merit, I’ll read ever other paragraph, speed read, as they say — but Ford is too good a writer for either of those.  I didn’t want to miss a thing.  Not a word.

I’m a bit of a word snot. I love words, their etymology, literary allusions, spelling, blah blah, blah. So when I come across a book that has words I absolutely don’t know, I am impressed, hooked. While reading The Lay of the Land, I jotted down words that I simply didn’t know, and their meanings from context were, well, foggy.  Who, except you folks in the medical professions, knew the name of the symbol for medicine, those entwining snakes on a staff (“caduceus”)?  And I challenge anyone except the Pope to tell me where you would find an “aspergill” and what you would do with it once you found it. What would you use a “muleta” for, if you had the balls to use one at all?

“Bosky”?  “Adumbrations”?  I love this one: A “claque” is a group of people hired to applaud!  But “quiddity” didn’t made sense to me even after I looked it up. It can be “the essence of something” or “a trifling point” or “an eccentricity”.  WTF? Don’t those definitions contradict one another?

I do love Ford’s metaphors and similes, a handful of singularly unique ones every page.  My favorite in Lay of the Land was “bored to concrete”.

My love for Richard Ford suffered a little when I read The Ultimate Good Luck, a story of drug-dealing losers in which I didn’t care if any of the characters lived or died.  Not a good sign for a readable book.  It ended up on the floor after I skipped ahead and read the last few pages and still didn’t care if the brother ended up dead.

I love Ford, even though all his book jacket photos make him look intimidatingly serious and frighteningly smart.

Now what?

Written By: sherridaley - • •

I quit writing in a journal a few years ago when I feared that I was beginning to sound like Bridget Jones, whining about not being able to lose weight, get laid, quit drinking, or hang onto a career that would make me rich -or at least pay my bills on time. And since Bridget Jone’s Diary had already been (a) written (b) a best-seller and (c) made into a movie, I had no chance of MY journals being anything but peevish grumbling. Furthermore, my journals had already been made into a book 30 years ago when I actually had a life worth writing about (a) —  although my book did not (b) become a best-seller despite the heroic attempts of my publishers and their PR people, and I still hold the movie rights (c), for whatever that’s worth. I do, however, still believe that my book will be made into a film  Hope floats.

For everyone who has asked me the following questions:

1. Have you read any good books lately?

2. What should I go to see in New York?

3. Isn’t growing old fucking shitty?  (Yes)

4. How’s your love life?  (What?)

5. Why did the impatiens in my garden look like crap this year?

6. How do you stay so thin?  (I’m not, by the way.)

7. How did you keep your courage and spirit during chemotherapy? (I didn’t, by the way.)

8. Been to any good restaurants lately?

9. Why is good cheese so expensive?

10.  How’s your brother?

These and endless other such topics will be addressed ad nauseam, especially #3, as I am tired of the media telling me how great we older women are supposed to feel. Have you noticed?  There is not one style magazine for women over 60.  Not one.  And you can’t count AARP.  Please.  Ari Seth Cohen, please come take my picture!