The Washington Post - Feb 8, 2018
The Washington Post - Aug 3, 2017
This is my book - which won an Independent Publisher's Book Award, the bronze in the sex & relationships category - filled with narratives and interviews with experts (biologists, psychologists, historians) on why it is that love drives us to do things we would never do in our right, rational minds - why it feels like the mental illness we all want to have.
Selected quote: "This didn't mean I was immune to love, and when it did pop up, like a brain aneurysm or a winning lotto ticket, I was as unprepared for its consuming power as Carrie White was for her period.”
This was a post-break-up story fantasizing about the perfect man who I decided was Gomez Addams. John Astin, who played Gomez, actually sent a thank you email and some autographed pics
Selected quote: "You see, men are very much like bras. The really hot looking ones are never very supportive. The durable, practical ones are mostly boring. They're almost never big enough, and they're all pinchy. I go through them quickly, no matter how well I take care of them, and if I find one I really like I seem to end up wanting two. Free-speech feminist or not, you know you could use one, but they're all a bit confining. If you get one so comfortable that you don't even know it's there, well, what's the point? And you always end up hooked. Men are just bras that can drive. That's Victoria's Secret."
4. "The Cleaner"
Orlando Weekly, 1998
A story about the days I spent following and sometimes doing a little bit of work with an Orlando couple who founded and run "Biohazard Response," crime, accident and death-scene clean-up business. Few people realize that while the coroner will take the body away and the police will come to the scene it's the homeowner that is inevitably responsible for the cleaning of often-messy bodies. Carmen and Michael respond with efficiency and, just as importantly, with compassion.
Selected quote: "It’s gruesome,” Carmen says of her line of work. People intrigued by the profession tell her, “‘I’ve seen this CSI show, and that seems like a cool job.’ … The minute I hear ‘cool job,’” Carmen says, “I know that’s not the right person (for the work).”
5. “Do Crows Hold Funerals For Their Dead?”
National Geographic, 2015
I’ve had many stories that were the most popular on the National Geographic site for the week, but this was a personal favorite of mine. How crows remember and respond to human faces is fascinating and so telling about all the things we don’t know yet about animals.
Selected quote: (Rememberig human faces) “is beneficial for these long-lived, social birds, partly because they have to deal with unpredictable people.
If you're a crow "some people will kill you, other people will feed you," and that can switch if, say, a bird lover moves out of a house and someone less bird friendly moves in, Marzluff notes.”
Orlando Weekly, 2015
On the 25th anniversary of the Orlando Weekly I was asked to write a tribute to the paper’s founding editor, Peter O’Sullivan, who died in 2013 and whose generous guidance - mixed with the perfect amount of snark - I still miss every day.
Selected quote: “People talk about artists seeing beauty in the world that most people can't. They never, ever talk about editors that way. Editors are better at seeing the truth, which usually isn't pretty, much less beautiful, but the good ones hear things in their writers that aren't evident to everyone. Peter heard our distinct voices, often when no one else did, and he knew how to bring out the best in us. He did something I don't know if people have time to do anymore: mentored, cajoled and went out of his way to create opportunities for us, until before we knew it, we had become infinitely better – without losing the quirks that made us stand out to begin with. He made us feel like we could do anything. So we did.”
This piece for Salon.com made it into the anthology "Best Sex Writing 2008," and was an amazing piece to research. It's about a problem that flies under the radar - possibly even sags under the radar - of senior citizens contracting HIV and other STDs because they either aren't educated about or never think they need condoms and doctors not thinking that HIV/STDs might be the cause of their ailments. Often when it comes to sex ed we think only of teens but adults - even older ones - need it as well.
Selected quote: "One Village guy tells me that he's "very concerned about STDs, but doesn't use protection al that much. I ask one of the women if her friends worry about protection.
"Yes," she says, "but they don't follow through" on their concerns.
"How do you know?" I ask.
"Because I didn't. I said I would, and I didn't."
This piece is about how to handle the overwhelming desire other people seem to have for one to breed and three years later I still get fan letters about this piece.
Selected quote: "Wanting kids isn't just the social norm, it's said to be a biological imperative, the only supposed "duh" of evolution, so I know my lack of sentiment isn't especially mainstream. I listen to people rhapsodize about parenthood, that it's so fulfilling and the greatest job in the world and good for them -- the more happiness in the world, the better.
Then I see parents at Target -- with one kid screaming in the cart, one screaming in their arms -- looking as blissful as a cat in a dryer. And I remember to take my pill.”
The Save the Chimps sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida is a 150-acre open-air facility that gives apes who once lived solitary, miserable lives as lab animals a new chance to be chimps...and to live with other chimps.
Selected quote: “And then there was Sophie, who ran up to me carrying an orangutan doll that she takes everywhere, like Linus with his blanket. (Triana) Romero (director of communications) asks Sophie if she’s enjoying the sun and she nods. And I nod. Then Sophie shakes her head no. I copy. She has me engaged in “monkey see, monkey do,” and I’m the monkey.”
as a child and she has been trying to leave ever since. Because Florida is warm and cheap, and so is she, it’s not easy.
I’ve written over 1,000 published stories and choosing the best is like picking the diamonds out of a mix of other diamonds as well as a few rhinestones (all writers have them and they make us cringe).
Here, though, are some of my favorites.