An Ordinary Tragedy


February 19, 2012

“Jane, from now on, I want you to call me Mutte.” “Why,… Mutte?” I asked. My mother had decided to learn German and had enrolled in a local language school. She had not yet been to the first class, but had the book and was learning to say her first words in another language. “Because […]

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On the Streets of Consciousness

September 23, 2011

I live my life on two planes in my cerebral city.  Above ground, on the busy streets of consciousness, I go about my day-to-day life and I am engaged in what is going on around me. On this plane, I love living and what I feel feels like life. I bustle along the streets of […]

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The world awaits

January 3, 2011

I decided to move to Adelaide when I was 22. I am not sure why other than I was offered a job at an advertising agency there. I worked for Young & Rubicam Adelaide for a year and, one night, sitting up at the bar in a restaurant, I met my first husband. He was […]

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An education

January 2, 2011

Not long after I moved to the United States at the end of 1990, I took one class at the local community college, The College of Marin. When I filled out the application form, I was asked about high school and, since I had not graduated from high school in Australia, was required to take […]

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Stay, let go or both

January 1, 2011

I went back to Australia several times before my mother died and we continued to talk frequently on the phone when I was not there. Her cancer returned during that time and there was little to be done, since the efficacy of Tamoxifen had worn off and there were no other alternatives. Every time I […]

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December 13, 2010

I am a rolling stone. I gather no moss. Every day is new and nothing sticks. There is no accumulation of anything worth keeping. There is no foundation. Our house is a house of cards. Standing at the gate and looking at our house and garden and the swimming pool, I swear they look like […]

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One is fun

December 12, 2010

Since it is the season, I am thinking about Christmas, not just the holiday but my last name. Over the term of my life, Christmas has come to mean to so much and so little to me. So this piece of writing is about Christmas in one way or another. In spite of my mother’s […]

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Misunderstood to the end

December 7, 2010

“God, this is awful,” I mutter under my breath to my cousin who is sitting beside me on the pew at the front of the chapel. The funeral celebrant, who had never met my mother, is reading the eulogy. On top of everything else, she has a monotonous voice and is droning on about someone […]

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And we let go

December 7, 2010

My mother lasted another seven years. During that time, she was happier than she had ever been. After she had recovered from her surgery, she started seeing a psychoanalyst and went to see him five days a week until she became too sick. Then he visited her at the hospital and he came to her […]

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A fight to the death

December 4, 2010

My mother’s cancer is just as sad and unbelievable a story as any other part of this ordinary tragedy.  When she discovered she had a lump in her breast, my sister took her to see the doctor. My sister waited in the car with her children while my mother went into the clinic. Later, my […]

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