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Novels by Mary Marcus

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Okla Elliot

Very few of my close friends are on Facebook. I participate to post my blog and do the occasional round of keeping up with the two thousand plus imaginary friends I have, that I “made” in order to promote my work. Though I like the pictures of people’s children and dogs, any and all yoga stuff, the occasional plate of gorgeous food, I think we all spend too much time on line. It’s bad for the eyes, it’s bad for the ass, and I think honestly it’s even worse for the spirit. I say this about FB with a few notable exceptions. One is my friend Andrea, whom I’m seeing in a few minutes. The other is the wonderful fiction writer Steve Yarbrough who I can honestly say is my real friend, whom I wouldn’t have met but for Facebook. I read his posts the same way I read the New York Times: religiously. Steve plays the guitar and will sometimes make a video of himself playing Bluegrass. It’s great fun. Friend him on line, if you like gentle reader, but better than that, read Steve Yarbrough’s books. The other person whom I’ve been following (far less sedulously) was a dude named Okla Elliot who was young, taught English and religion at some obscure university and wrote a book about Bernie Saunders during the campaign. And always had a lot of lively things to say about poetry, about the books he was reading, about his life (which sounded weird, frankly), monkish with junk food seems to be the only description I can come up with. Okla was found dead...

Husband Gone To The Wolves

It’s pilot season here in Los Angeles. If you are married to an editor who isn’t working on something else, that often means, he or she will be gone for seven to nine weeks seven days a week 15 hours a day (not counting the commute) and you will feel like there’s a war going on. Or the spouse has sailed off 18th Century style in a boat with fellow sailors, lime juice to prevent scurvy, and perhaps Captain Bly at the helm. It’s not a pretty sight, once it gets going. My husband who has the stamina of five horses, two oxen and eight goats, loves these death marches. Me, I wouldn’t last half an hour. I visited him once years ago in one of his cutting rooms during pilot season because I hadn’t seen him in a few days. He was happily at the helm of the Avid, arms out like a concert pianist, with a frazzled writer/producer nearby, running the scene forward, backward, sideways. He hadn’t slept in a couple of days and the bags under his eyes looked like suitcases. But he was happy as a clam. (Have you ever wondered how a clam feels happiness? Let me be the first to say, this is the first time I have wondered….) That’s the thing editors do: they run the scene (any scene, in real life or in screen time) forward, backwards, sideways, and they try different music and they jump cut. This is, for better or worse, their approach to reality. To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower,...

Pet Camp

We were playing around with the idea of taking a trip without Henry. Doggy day care is everywhere in the big cities. Every time you turn around in LA, there’s a doggy day care or a Gentleman’s Club, two such places in my neighborhood share the same building with different entrances. Passing by, I always wonder if someone wasn’t paying attention and walked into the Silver Reign rather than the Wag’s Club, could a whole life change within the course of this error? I’m guessing yes! But Henry because he still has his you-know-what’s isn’t welcome at the Wag’s Club or most doggy day care places. So when I heard about this camp out in the country outside LA, a place described to me as “summer camp for dogs,” I decided to check the place out. It’s so exclusive you need an appointment for the evaluation. And for ten dollars more a day, Henry with his you-know-what’s would be welcome. Provided he passed the entrance exam. “It sounds like the interview for nursery school,” I told my husband. “Will you go with us?” “OK, just so we agree we’re not going to leave him there, just check the place out.” I adored camp the only summer we had enough money to send me there. I was the youngest camper—eight years old—and I got to stay there for two months. I fished, I took nature walks, nobody guilt tripped or terrorized me. I slept in a cool cabin with nine other girls so I wasn’t afraid of the dark. It was an utter contrast to regular life, back in Shreveport,...