Short Stories

“Everything They Say About Sailors is True”: Appears in the August 2008 issue of Storyglossia

He pulls me out of the car into a trailer park. I don't see any pink flamingoes on the lawns, but it's that kind of place.

“Let’s do it here,” he says.

“Here?” I ask. On the ground in a trailer park? Then I say, “Okay.”

Epiphanies abound when an Ivy League girl meets a sailor on shore leave.
Hot Spring: Received Special Mention in Pushcart Prize XXVIII (2004) and winner of Prairie Schooner’s Bernice Slote Award for best work by a new writer. Read it online
“Something smooth glides over her leg. Instinctively she twists away, but fingers tighten around her thigh, pulling her back and down. Panic numbs her body, but clears her head. She sees, with perfect clarity, the lines of wood grain at the edge of the tub dip and swell like waves, hears a single drop of condensed steam fall from the ceiling above. And she feels, within the clutch of fear, a stirring: the cooler lust of curiosity. Could this be what she came here to find?”
A young American woman meets Old Japan.
Courtesan with a Lover: Published in the Gettysburg Review
“Lydia was, for one Kyoto summer and fall, a professional woman, which meant people paid her for doing things amateurs did for free.”
A floating world print in modern translation.
Questions: Winner of the Stanford Magazine short story contest. Also published in the Paumanok Review
“Jennifer would pass on the contour of her upper lip and then go off to graduate school in a different state. A mother like a father. But she was the mother who would be there. To labor, give birth, suckle, soothe, nurse, and nag. When the baby was born, she wouldn't have time to ask questions.”
A woman contemplates motherhood in the age of fertility technology.
Presidential Dreams: Published in AGNI, April 2004.
“Bill Clinton? Well, I heard it was almost an epidemic at the beginning, women getting visits from the new president in their slumbers. I always thought Al Gore was the more attractive of the pair, but my husband said, ‘That’s what you women say in the day time.’”
Kerry and Nader aren’t the only ones with presidential dreams…
Blindfold: First published in the first issue of Rain Crow Magazine. Published in Absinthe, winner of 2001/2002 Absinthe Editor's Prize.
“When the blindfold goes on, I can see certain things more clearly. That blank screen against my eyelids is alive with images, visions, memories that arouse me in strange and quiet ways.”
A couple discovers just how many things you can you do with a scarf.
Somebody's Lying: A short story published in All Story Extra.
“Gray often said that he worked so hard so they could pay people to do the things they didn’t want to do: the house-cleaner, the gardening service, the after-school babysitter on Mondays and Thursdays. Why not hire a female voice to insist with such conviction that semen tasted exactly like cream? Allison would be hard pressed to do it herself.”
We all have illusions we pay for—a little phone sex, a little Martha Stewart.
At the Shore: Published in Carve Magazine and reprinted in Paumanok Review
“Chass looks up at me, the corners of her eyes all crinkly with her smile. And there it is, that moment--sometimes it happens with a stranger on the street--when a woman's eyes are like an open door. There's a light like a tiny lantern waving in that blackness so you can see all the dissatisfactions in her life, the hollow places you can fill. And for that single moment everything is possible between you and her.”
Do we ever stop wanting the things we can’t have? An attempt at the male POV.
Fruit: Published in FlashQuake and nominated for the Pushcart Prize Stories XXX.
“She took the smallest portion for herself, lingering over each tiny sliver of the fruit. On such evenings she sat taller in her chair, a faintly glamorous air about her, as if she had done something. It had to be a trick of the summer evening light, I thought, that she could be sitting right across the table yet seem so far away.”
Life lessons from Cantaloupe.
“At the end of June, Christy reported to IRS headquarters, a huge building near the Mall with an entrance flanked by columns like graying incisors. She was seventeen and it was her first real job, except for babysitting. Her mother told her it would teach her about life.”
Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll at the IRS.

Non-Fiction

A Pill to Change Your Life: Published in Fourth Genre (Fall 2006). Read it online
How did she die? Why did she die? For a time these were questions pondered by drug company lawyers, prominent liver specialists, and millions of Americans watching the evening news.”
My quest for the truth about my mother’s agonizing death from a “miracle” drug teaches me the limits of justice--and the power of words.
Wine Lovers: Published in Wine Spectator Nov. 1998 (registration required)
“A great poem captivates the senses with its beauty, dazzles the mind with its rich layers of meaning and moves the heart by revealing the truths of human experience. This wine did much the same in liquid form…and it went very well with the lamb.”
How a bottle of ’70 Mouton changed my life.
“All drugs have risks, but unfortunately, in the current environment where efficacy is misleadingly determined by surrogate endpoints, adverse side-effects are consistently downplayed, and profit is valued over human life to the point that some drug companies offer to indemnify doctors if they are sued for prescribing their drug, as Warner-Lambert did with Rezulin, all the risk falls on the patient, all the more so if we are denied access to crucial information.”
My mother was one of the sixty-six official victims of the deadly diabetes drug Rezulin (experts estimate the true number of deaths by liver failure was ten times higher). On July 17, 2002, I spoke at a meeting of the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee about making the latest information about the dangers of new drugs available to consumers in a timely manner. Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen recommends you wait seven years before taking a new drug.

Translations

Child of Darkness: Yoko and other stories by Furui Yoshikichi: A translation with critical commentaries; what I did before I started writing
“Yoko was sitting alone at the bottom of a deep ravine”
Love and madness in 1970's Japan.