In March I visited my grandparents and uncle for a week. While there, I interviewed my grandparents about growing up in Puerto Rico in the 30’s and 40’s, about the move to the United States, about family and friends they knew, about stories and histories and details of their lives. It really was a mind-expanding experience. I asked questions I wanted their answers to that I could share with others once my grandparents are gone. I recorded hours and hours of material. And then, a couple of hours ago, my digital recorder erased it. All of it. Every last second.

I don’t have the heart to write about how that’s making feel. So instead, I’m going to write about my brief and disastrous fling with North Carolina.


In 2004 I flew from Buffalo to Wilmington, NC. This was my first plane flight in 10 years and also the last time I’ve been on a plane. There are a few things in life I dislike with abnormal intensity. Nickels. Raw tomatoes. The metal lids on containers of salt (special shout out to gymnast/novelist/biped extraordinaire Diana Gallagher for helping me with that terminology—one of the secret shames of the life of a writer is when you realize you don’t know what to call an everyday object you realize 99 people out of 100 can, while my ass is stumbling around wondering if “salt cylinder” cuts the mustard. Oh yeah. I also don’t like mustard. Devil seed.).

After 35 years on this spinning globe there are 2 people I’ve ever hated. I think that’s a pretty good ratio. There is one thing I’ve always hated, though, to the point that it dominated my nightmares for years. That thing is flying. Continue reading