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Possessor of Paul Newman eyes. Author of many things straightforward and strange. Some of them appear here. “Women zai shuo ba” as the Mandarin say. Born 2016.
two shades of blue papercut design for the initial letter “A” with a tree and various birds plus a full moon behind the branches and a raccoon at bottom
two shades of blue papercut design for the initial letter “A” with a tree and various birds plus a full moon behind the branches and a raccoon at bottom
©Belinda Paterson

Like this hasn’t been done before…

The story of my stories

rows of standing, old fashioned yellow computer discs
rows of standing, old fashioned yellow computer discs
Photo by Jackson Emery on Unsplash

There is no proper and neat way to do this.

So one has to find the “best” way, one’s personal way around it until someone else does find the truly best way.

Of course, others claim to have found the best way…if you understand coding and computer science, which I do not. So, screw them. I know how to type and I am rapidly losing that function as well.

Therefore, as an aid for the two people and three canaries who might ever want to go back and read anything I’ve written, I’m arranging my work on MEDIUM in a way that makes it a slightly easier way to find…

Foibles of Modern Living

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Social media has, of course, many pluses.

But it has one huge minus that makes me hate it without hesitation.

You can send an email or write a text or post a response to something someone has written that is, word for word, exactly what you might say to them, what you would say had you two been talking while sitting and having a nice, friendly cup of coffee.

However, the difference is that the other person would not have the faintest idea what you are saying or, worse, they would interpret it in the exact opposite manner that you…


Accepting the inevitable with grace

Photo by Hannah Jacobson on Unsplash

Let’s face facts: Every jerk thinks they’re funny.

And everyone who is funny seems like a jerk to someone.

This is this history of humor. And philosophy. And plumbing.

When you look in the mirror who, other than yourself, do you see?

Because, inevitably, you are a composite of others, strategically built up over time, like Legos, into who you are. Some pieces may fall away and be replaced. Often they leave empty spaces that are better left as voids. As well, given time, new “bricks” come to fashion a “new you” in parts.

So. Who are you, in total? And what?

Not only do people fashion us but experiences. Events that occur more naturally than the erratic and forced behaviors…


Some people, Americans naturally, absolutely hate sparrows because they are an invasive species.

Well, you know what? We’re an invasive species as well, and we have a heck of a lot more control over our invasiveness than sparrows and all the other invasive species do.

So let’s give them and all the other invasive species a little break, okay? Either that or let’s go out and commit total species hara kiri so we can stop blaming them for things that are simply not their fault. Most of their invasiveness is our fault in the first instance. …


I have no idea what he’d do

calm woman dressed in red not knowing she is being chased by a monster
calm woman dressed in red not knowing she is being chased by a monster
Photo by Miguel Gonzalez on Unsplash

I’m never quite certain if I can say I walk in anyone else’s shoes.

This used to be the most common idea taught to children — and adults — in an effort to raise them into a state of compassion for others (“The Other”) in general. Today people tend to be rather cynical and make fun of outreach concepts such as “Kumbaya” that originated in West Africa, or even celebrating together with “Pride” parades.

Or simply coming together for a peaceful Thanksgiving meal with your own family.

More often than not, one is met with responses in the tone of, “You cannot know what it’s like to…

Writing Life

Not actually an open letter

Photo by Sam Rios on Unsplash

Dear Bev: (not to be redundant or anything…)

Here’s an irony for your Sunday morning!

I wrote that response to your “Bully” story. I honestly don’t feel that everyone here is a “writer.” That not everyone here understands what writers do or what they are, how writers operate, individually or within a community; that many are here for other purposes (which is okay) and that some see this as little more than Facebook or Reddit or even 4Chan.

Anyway, after a few days this guy wrote a response agreeing with me, with that response. I have no recollection at this point what…


Whose life matters


When I moved to my current home a Mexican family was living directly across the street.

The father, mother, uncle, and older son all worked for the landlord at a restaurant she owned in the nearby town, a city of sorts, more or less, in this utterly rural, basically white trash state.

[If you follow the clues and find that you, too, are from here or have some other heartfelt connections…I make no apologies so don’t go seeking them out.]

As I have detailed before, this is not the friendliest neighborhood. At least as far as people like myself are concerned. And Mexicans. Or other people of color. No one brought a welcoming apple pie to…

Writing Life

For those who take it to the next level

Photo by Joel Mott on Unsplash

For a long stretch those of us who write (particularly at book length) and spend any amount of time studying the subject have been exposed to the argument between those who promote “pantsing” and outlining.

Now, there are some (and I’ve recently finished reading one slim tome to remain unnamed) who take the outlining argument to an even farther degree, insisting not only that one way is “better” but better for a particular purpose. And it is that purpose which turns the argument ugly, I believe.

I shall endeavor to make my counterargument as briefly as possible.

In summary, one woman who…


Long ago and far away…from here…

The East Village Other masthead Winter, 1968… Notice any familiar names?

My first national publication occurred when I was fourteen.

An article about Andy Warhol. Well, not Andy, exactly, but someone at one of his Factory parties. And if they had known I was merely fourteen I would have been brusquely excommunicated from the premises, back out into the darkness of a late Springtime Union Square neighborhood, directly onto my teenage tush.

Earlier that Spring I had been hired as a part-time “gofer” and janitor at the country’s largest underground newspaper on the strength of my begging for the job and the editors’ boredom which led them to glance at my art-high school portfolio.

Alan Asnen

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