Elaine's Personal Writing
Creative nonfiction, just because
So to Speak, October 2023
My mother developed some unusual habits while I was away at college. Most glaringly: after decades of teaching the rules of phonics to elementary school students, she started making up her own.
Take, for example, a name that somehow filtered into her consciousness, the fashion designer Liz Claiborne. Should be simple: short i Liz, followed by a long A for Clai; the silent e at the end turns the o vowel long, CLAY-bōrn. But that’s not where Ma went rogue.
Home in the summer of 1980 was my parents’ house in Teaneck. During the last long vacation before I graduated from Smith, we all decided it was time for me to get a real job—one that would pay more than the $50 a week I’d earned doing summer theatre. And once I got hired, my parents would amscray…
“Dating as a Single Dyke in My 60s”
Autostraddle, November 2021
Back in the olden days — before the internet, I mean — I knew of only two ways to find a girlfriend: in person (at a bar or, during the ’80s, a disco) or by mail. If you were shy — and I was very, painfully, almost self-destructively shy — the first method didn’t work so well. And the second cost a lot of money, especially for someone in an entry-level job: first to place a personal ad in the back of the newspaper and second to rent a mailbox at the publisher’s offices to receive the responses.
“Seen and Unseen”
The Nasiona, April 2021
My wife’s heart rate looked like a roller-coaster. A particularly boring roller-coaster — only ups and downs — but running at a manic pace. I put my hand on Keane’s arm as she slept; the roller-coaster slowed. She needs me, I thought. And for the first time since I’d left her eight months earlier, I knew for sure I wanted us to be together again. The nurse popped into the recovery room, looking quizzically at the monitor. I moved my hand away and the roller-coaster started up again. See? I told the nurse silently as I replaced my hand. She knows we’re supposed to be together.