After Pittsburgh

What to say?

When I try to speak these days, it’s as if my words have been stolen from my throat, and all that is left is a soundless scream. I open my mouth, straining. Nothing comes out. I swallow it all down, hoping it will come back up as something useful. Nothing.

Yes, there are the marches, the protests. I have marched. I have protested. Still.

Then there was last week, a week that felt Grand Guignol even by the standards of these dark days. The bombs. The anti-trans memo. The racially motivated killing of two senior citizens who were grocery shopping. The election of a dangerously far-right extremist in Brazil. The massacre in a Pittsburgh synagogue of worshippers, one of whom, at ninety-seven years old, had been a teenager as the Nazis rose to power. Last week was one of canary-in-the-coal mine anxiety and tragedy produced by the constant stoking of fear, rage, irrationality, and the othering of human beings by those in power. It was horrific. Overwhelming. Open the mouth: nothing.

How do we respond to such seemingly senseless brutality? To the madness of slaughter? To the willful cruelty enacted by those who hold the power against those who have or are experiencing powerlessness, those who most need our protection—the asylum-seekers, the elderly, the marginalized, the sexual abuse victims, the children? I could understand how cynicism could be the response. Cynicism is a defense, and who wouldn’t want to disappear inside the armor of Nothing-Matters-Fuck-This? If anything, what we are seeing among those making the most egregiously hurtful of policies is that very cynicism—one that does not believe in a shared future but only the immediate, selfish gratification of here and now. One with no regard for tomorrow. No, cynicism is not the answer.

I grew up a Christian. Or, as I say, I literally grew up in the church—my father was a minister, and the smell of musty hymnals, of oiled pews, is as familiar to me as Dial soap, campfire, lemons. I have an uneasy relationship with the faith of my childhood. I found it hard to reconcile the New Testament gospel I was taught with the fact that my gay father could not openly be himself and hold onto his job. As a burgeoning young woman, I could not reconcile my need to value myself as a human being with the patriarchal church’s continued subjugation and denial of the feminine. On a philosophical level, I had deep questions about an all-powerful God who could allow such terrible things to happen in this world. Only a monster would allow that. Over the years, my faith has been contentious, beseeching, middle fingers raised to the sky, needy, questioning. At times, I’ve felt as if God and I sat at TV trays with our takeout, Netflix options scrolling, me saying, “You know we’ve got to figure this shit out sometime, you and me, right?” It is an imperfect, evolving relationship. I never once thought about being shot to death while kneeling in prayer.

The one church-taught thing I have carried with me all these years, though, is the belief that small ministrations matter. These seemingly insignificant moments shared with another outside the camera frame, these dogged decencies and small acts of kindness matter. When my father was dying of AIDS, I was overwhelmed by the specter of pain and death awaiting him. How was it possible to alleviate his suffering? The answer was, read a letter aloud. Adjust the fan. Find the Judy Collins CD he likes and play that. Talk. Listen. Rub the swollen feet that ache and kiss the forehead that needs a kiss when the eyes are failing. This. You do what you can. One small action following another small action.

When I am wordless, I think about this. Maybe it helps you to hold on to this now, too. Perhaps you might read a book to a child. Donate a Saturday to Planned Parenthood. You might find yourself at a bus stop with an elderly woman who needs help boarding, who just lost her sister, who needs to talk about that, and you might listen as the two of you ride, a burden eased. You might drive someone to the polls on election day. Or call your representatives again and again and again because they are counting those calls, and sometimes, when the words feel hard to find, a phone call is your voice. You stick up for the person being bullied or help that person get to safety. You send the five-dollar donation to protect the rights of those whose rights are being threatened because five dollars is what you can give. That five dollars matters. You return the Metrocard to the person who dropped it. And you vote. Please, please vote. Do not discount the everyday acts of resistance. The Grand Canyon was made not by some theatrical explosion but by the time and tide of erosion, a consistent, persistent chipping away of rock. What forces on earth are more powerful than water, than the rivers and seas? And what feeds those rivers and seas but steady drops of rain? Every drop is needed.

On my block in Brooklyn, my neighbors are Puerto Rican and Italian, Dutch, Chinese, Colombian, and Pakistani. The house next door to me has a little library that my neighbor, a carpenter, made himself. It is lovely, and the children stop to peruse its wares daily. On the other side, my Colombian neighbors and I sometimes trade dog stories (they have three; I have one dog who feels like having three). One of my neighbors is trans, and over the years, I have been witness to their claiming of true self. Another neighbor, a musician, visits hospitals to sing and play for those in need of comfort. Holidays come. We decorate. We take down our decorations. We sweep our leaves and shake our heads at the high-rises going up. We smile at the young ones lined up with their folding chairs outside Foot Locker when the new sneakers come in, and we say, “Honey, are you cold?” They always say no because they are young. When mail is misdelivered, we bring it to its rightful owner and say hello and ask how the cats and the children are, if there will be a vacation this year. We loan each other ice chippers in the winter and allow access to each other’s yards when the cable needs fixing which, thanks to the squirrels and Spectrum, is fairly often. No one shoots anybody.

There is an Islamic cultural center and school a few blocks away, and many mornings, I pass the teenagers on their way to class, girls in hijabs laughing and talking excitedly, boys bouncing along on legs that seem too long for their bodies just yet. Around the corner from my house is a WIC-sponsored community center near a Catholic church that’s dedicated to helping young families, many of them immigrants, get a foothold in New York City. Because it’s brutal to go it alone. We all need people. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise—nobody can do this gig without help from and without connection to other people. That, my darlings, is the stone-cold truth: We goddamned need each other.  I’m crying a little as I type this which is how I usually know something feels true. Well, at least I hope it’s true for you, too.

Anyway. In the dog park each morning before work, we greet one another and marvel at the way the early morning sun lights up the fall foliage. We know we are fortunate to be there together, watching our dogs frolic after Frisbees while the dawn crawls up over the tops of trees to take a peek. We know we are fortunate not to be trying to hold on to hope inside a refugee camp. We know we are fortunate not to be counting someone we love among the shooting victims. For today.

In the dog parks, on the streets, we greet one another. We stand, side-by-side or face-to-face. We look in each other’s eyes. Sometimes, depending on the light, we see ourselves reflected for a second. And when we leave, we always say, “See you tomorrow,” a phrase that is act of resistance in and of itself. It boldly asserts a future, one in which we will see each other again, and we will meet in gladness.







You guys. You guuuuys. I can’t believe this is really happening. How is it almost October? But it is, and on October 3, BEFORE THE DEVIL BREAKS YOU, the third book in THE DIVINERS quartet, will be in stores. You can find out what’s happening with Evie, Sam, Memphis, Theta, Isaiah, Ling, Henry, Mabel, Blind Bill, the Proctor Sisters, Uncle Will, Sister Walker, the Shadow Men, and–of course–the Man in the Stovepipe Hat.

And now, you can pre-order BEFORE THE DEVIL BREAKS YOU from these wonderful indie bookstores:

McNally Jackson:
52 Prince St
NY, NY 10012

Mysterious Galaxy
5943 Balboa Ave #100
San Diego, CA

The King’s English
1151 1500 E
Salt Lake City, UT

Children’s Book World, PA
17 Haverford Station Rd
Haverford, PA

603 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX

BUT WAIT—THERE’S MORE. If you pre-order from any of the participating bookstores above, you’ll get the following:

Before the Devil Breaks You Preorder Graphic

I’m so very excited to get to share this next installment of the series with you. Secrets are revealed. Loyalties are tested. And the danger grows. I hope you’ll join me.


P.S. Stay tuned: I’ll have some tour dates to post very, very soon!


A year ago, I was shocked, horrified, and deeply saddened to hear about the terrible Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. It seemed incomprehensible to me at first that a place of such joy could also be a killing field. It was heartbreaking to think of all those beautiful young people cut down while they were celebrating Pride. While they were dancing.

Two weeks later, I was also celebrating Pride in NYC with dear friends near the historic Stonewall Inn. It was a beautiful summer day of blue skies and streets festive with explosions of color and music and shimmering happiness on display everywhere. Glitter and feathers floated on the breeze like the lost plumage of rare birds. Strangers became friends with the exchange of hugs and smiles.

And we danced.

We danced despite what had happened. We danced in memory of those lost. We danced in defiance of hate and fear and all the things that would try to rob us of progress, of the right to move and love freely and joyfully in the world. We danced because bullets cannot kill hope.

That night, I went home and wrote a song. This spring, I finally got the chance to record it. It’s called “LOVE WINS.” Today, that song of defiance, hope, identity, resistance, progress, and love, love, love is available for FREE on Bandcamp:

I ONLY ASK ONE THING: Ifyou can, you donate whatever you can—$1, $5, $10, $100, 12 Golden Flibits of the Realm (watch out for that tricky, magical exchange rate)—to The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project provides intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13-24, letting them know that “it gets better.” They are, quite literally, an organization of hope. They’re heroes.

You can donate via a donation page I set up on The Trevor Project website here: The Trevor Project Love Wins

Download. Dance. Sing along. Please donate if you can. Spread the love.

I feel incredibly self-conscious about asking anyone to signal boost anything of mine. But I don’t really consider this my song; it’s everybody’s song, made in joyful collaboration with the amazingly talented team of Bill Zeffiro, Chip Fabrizi, Leslie Wagner, and Sherryl Marshall. Love is for everybody. Hope is for everybody. And heaven knows, we could use as much of that as we can get right now in the face of continued heartbreak and acts of violence. So I’m asking: If it’s not an imposition, maybe you’d signal boost with the hashtags: #LoveWins #TheTrevorProject? And if you don’t want to, that’s cool, too. Just keep dancing in your way.

There have been a lot of things this past year that might make one lose hope. But hate has a dull unity to its one trajectory–destruction; resisting hate has so, so many more creative ways to fight back, to fight forward:

With love.
With persistence.
With protest.
With art/music/theater/books, which can encompass all of the above.
Through teaching. Parenting. Healing arts. Service. Thoughtfulness. Building community.

Hate don’t stand a chance.

It’s Pride time again. There will be parades. Floats. Whistles. Music. Color and costume and joy.

There will be friends and families, of origin and of choice, hugging and waving streamers and loving one another despite whatever horrors may come in a world often fighting for its soul. And there will be dancing in the streets.

Because in the end, love wins. I believe that with all my heart.

Happy Pride, y’all.

With so much gratitude and love,

“LOVE WINS” was recorded at PPI Studios, Soho, NYC.
Engineer: Chip Fabrizi
Piano, synth, & musical direction: Bill Zeffiro
Music, lyrics, vocals: Libba Bray
Backing vocals: Leslie Wagner & Sherryl Marshall


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

It’s so (adjective. Limited to four: great, tremendous, huge, fantastic.) to be here. I love (place name). Love giving speeches to (name of organization). The lying media said I wouldn’t (verb). Wrong! They are the (superlative adjective). They said I did not get a /an (adjective) (noun) or that my (plural noun) are small. That’s a lie. Total (adjective) news. But I love the people here in (different place name). Love the (totally different organization). They’ve always (verb, past tense) me. Love you guys.

You know, I just fired (name of literally any famous person). I was firing people before anybody else. Before it was (adverb/adjective combo. Make your life simple. Just use “bigly big” here). On my TV show, which, you know, had the (superlative adjective) ratings of any TV show ever in (hyperbolic phrase) People said, “Donald, you gotta (verb) that guy. He’s terrible, terrible. I didn’t want to. Didn’t want to. But I did. To stop the (plural noun) from (verb ending in -ing) here. To make (noun) (adjective) again.

You know who’s tremendous, tremendous friend? (name of dead dictator) Love that guy. (Two adjectives) guy. People don’t understand him. He’s got a really big (noun). He’s doing really (adjective) things, my friend (slight mispronunciation of name of dead dictator), who is a good friend of mine. And we’re going to be doing so much together, (name of character in fiction). You know, they gave me a standing (noun) in (name of country not found on any map) and I wasn’t even there. You know this, right? (Pejorative) (plural noun) didn’t even report it!

But we’ll be doing (adjective) things, (adjective) things. We want tougher (plural noun). We want border (noun). We want a/an (adjective) ban on all people who are (religion) which is so not a ban on (same religion), no matter what the (plural nouns) want you to believe. We’re gonna give you such (adverb) (adjective) healthcare! You’ll be so tired of (verb ending in –ing)! And women! Oh, I love the women. No one cares about women more than me. I’m telling you, ladies, we’re going to (verb) the absolute (noun) out of you. And we’ll get rid of the (plural noun), the (adjective) science people pushing (adjective) ideas about (noun), those education people thingie type persons who believe in public education for all kids—hoax! They want kids to be able to (verb) and (verb), and they want government to pay for it! Your taxes going for that instead of (luxury items) for people like (Congressperson or Senator) who works so hard he hasn’t even had time to go to (name of store) to buy his own Grand Dragon (type of clothing). Can you believe these (adjective) guys? Unbelievable. Unbelievable. And all these (three adjectives, all the same) laws. Terrible. Who needs so many laws? We’ll get rid of the laws and get (name of planet) to pay for it.

Look: I got a standing ovation, okay? There were (bigly number) of people there. And they wouldn’t sit down, okay? Some of ‘em stood so long they got (medical condition), which is now a pre-existing condition, and they (dire verb, past tense). Still, they gave me a thumbs-up as they (verb, past tense). (Adjective) people. They love me. Love me.

But there are people who are total (plural noun). I don’t like to name names, but this Merriam Webster. What kind of name is that? Probably from (name of Pokemon character). Merriam Webster. (Adjective) person. Total (noun). Thinks because she throws around a lot of (adjective) (plural noun), she’s somebody. I tried reading one of her books. Boring! Hardly any pictures. Yeah, Merriam Webster. A real (noun).

Again: There were (very high number) of (plural noun) at my (type of event), okay? The Fire Marshall had to (verb ending in –ing. Yes, we know that makes no grammatical sense. Roll with it.) Didn’t want to—HAD to. And my (body part, plural) are not (adjective). Not by a long shot.

Benghazi. Birth certificate. Obama. Drugs and rapists. Pizza pedophiles. CNN. I don’t know (foreign dictator). We never did (vacation activity) together. Uh, did I say CNN? Her emails. Except when her emails get (name of politician) fired, which, again, I made into a thing, so, technically, I should get money anytime anybody gets fired. Where is Sean (last name made into catch phrase)? Is he hiding in the (location) again? Last time, we had to use the Jaws of Life to pull him out of (other location).

The (plural noun) didn’t think I’d win. They didn’t think I’d win. Boy, were they wrong. So wrong. WRONG. But they (mangled verb) the (noun) of the people. Never (verb) the people. Unless you’re Congress. We’ve got a (adjective) Congress, by the way. Lots of (adverb) (adjective) (plural noun) in Congress. Tell Congress how much you love them! Tell them: (Exclamation), Congress!

My daughter (Name of children’s toy or Saturday morning cartoon)? Tremendous. She’s now (high-ranking position) in charge of all (plural noun). And my son-in-law, (name of 1920s gangster), a tremendous (noun), is now (two high-ranking positions) and also (two more high-ranking positions) and he’s also going to grow all our food inside his (body part). He’s got (adjective) ideas and he can get you a (noun), unlike these Washington elites. Terrible people. (Adjective) people. Don’t want me to do anything even though I got (impossibly high number) of standing (plural noun) that lasted (very long period of time) and was written about in (fictional galaxy). If you’ve got $500K to spend, give (name of 1920s gangster) a call. Or come visit us in (name of building), which we like to call the (adjective) (place name).

It’s an honor to be here at (totally different place name). This was the (superlative adjective) speech you’ve ever heard, and we will protect (plural noun) and build a (noun) around all the golf courses, and make (famous dead singer) pay for it. May God bless you and yours. That’s our new healthcare policy, by the way.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Even though they’re telling me you’re sprawled on the floor, and some of you are (verb ending in -ing), in my heart, which is the (superlative adjective) heart–even (name of any famous person, living or dead) says so–I know you’re all standing up for me and for this (noun).

Let’s make America (adjective) again.






You have woken the witch that lives deep inside me.

You have removed the slumber chains from the giant of old.

You have handed me a box of matches and no chaperone

And a world made of lies and polyester.



You have barked up the wrong bitch.


Proclaim it:

I have shucked off the good, southern lady’s cloak,

Of the homecoming court, the cheerleader,

The preacher’s daughter, hands gentled in her lap.

They tied it at my neck with a bow, a Gordian girl-knot,

When I was young and bossy and sure-footed

“For protection,” they said.

Whose protection? I wondered.


I have sent that shit out to the dry cleaners

I will not pick it up

They can sell it for a profit from a rack on the street.

From now on,

I’m exposing the raw pink edges of my true skin to the sun.

Some things can’t be prettied up.


I used to be embarrassed by this side of me:

Messy. Expansive. Unraveled by rage.

The barroom brawler holding out a broken bottle

With a shaking hand

Blood jumping to a punk-rock soundtrack in my soul

Eyes so alive they had to be narrowed to keep the light of all that truth

From burning up the room.

These mornings when I wake,

I feel as if I have eaten a breakfast of gunpowder and a handful of stars

The combination roiling, anticipatory, explosive

My mouth ready to spew out a universe of fire and

An ancestral memory of the silenced women who came before,

Rotting in their shrouds, long dead under the ground

Still angry.


No one seems to understand:

That rage has to go somewhere.

Some girls cut. Some girls starve.

Some fuck strangers, tell themselves it’s freedom, not numbness.

Some guzzle gin when no one’s looking.

Some girls swallow their rage down and vomit it back up with the

penetration of a reprimanding finger, stifling the voice,

an Inside Job

The internalized, reflexive police force

Body violating body,

Forever and ever



I have done all of those things:

Starved. Cut. Boozed. Fucked and run.

I’ve punished myself the way

the world wants to see its women


Spoiler alert: It’s exhausting.


You exhaust us.


You. Are. Exhausting.

You. And your bullshit.

You, the Senators and Churches.

You, the old men holding the law hostage to your whims.

Blind Justice?

Nah. That bitch sees fine.

Puts the blindfold on herself now.

Stockholm Syndrome, you know.

Happens after a while.

Shrug. Step. Repeat.

Jazz hands.


They told me not to raise my voice.

So I learned to swallow all my sharp words.

They told me not to be disagreeable.

So I learned lipstick and smiling, a catechism of femininity.

They told me I was shame.

So I learned to feel shame.

They told me not to curse.


Yeah. Good luck with that, motherfuckers.


Oh, beautiful for spacious goddamned skies

For “fuck off” and “bite my ass”

Thundering across the parched grasslands of my tongue

Like middle-finger mustangs who won’t be tamed.

Cursing was the first language of my anger.

The poison apple spit out, not choked in.

A weaponized mouth and a sharp wit

To establish a DMZ—“You shall not pass.”

That foul mouth has saved me from myself.

Try to take it from me, motherfucker.

I double-goddamn-dog-dare you.


Oh, my anger needs room to roam.

I will spread my legs on the subway seat

Let it take up space.

I will turn up my coat collar and skulk the streets,

Hands fisted in pockets, knuckles turned towards the world, ready.

Oh, it’s on.

I will call up to my sisters at their windows,

“Yo! Leave the dishes in the sink,

and the pantyhose to drip from the towel bar.

Leave your shame on the floor

So they’ll see it first when they come inside,

Expecting you

but finding you


nothing but a slipped skin, a


To remind them that they were right to fear you

All along.”

Then, soft as a lover:

“Come out into the streets, all you messy ones.

All you angry, hurting, had-enough ones.

It’s time.

Come on out. Come out.”


I have awakened to reclaim that girl.

The one refusing the cloak at her throat.

I am an angry woman with a voice

And a foul mouth

And a pen as cutting

as the jagged teeth of a bottle

that has been broken too hard against the bar

and is now a weapon

in a barroom brawl.


Your move.

Come at me, motherfuckers.






An Announcement from Muffy Higginbottom


Dear Sisters,

Thank you for coming downstairs for this meeting on such short notice. I appreciate y’all taking time away from the things you’ve been doing to cope, like staying drunk, listening to “Lemonade” on repeat, and Instagramming pics of your soon-to-be-outlawed IUDs with moody filters and hashtags like #YouAintGettinNoHandmaidsTailFromMeAnymore. 

I get it. I do. Like every time I pass by the Election Day Cake Ji-won and Margarita made with the top breaking through an edible glass ceiling and that sagging banner of a winking HRC drinking a celebratory Colt 45 under a “Number 45 BITCHES!” banner, I feel like crying, then vomiting out a poisonous fire blood that would lay waste to the smirking patriarchy like a feminist Cronenberg film. But, as they say, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is for marching in the streets like a crew of motherfucking bosses.” I think that’s how that phrase goes. I don’t shop Hallmark all that much, tbh.

Okay, first, let me drop a dollar in the Delta Sigma Tau swear jar for the MF I just spewed. Just so you know, I’m gonna be real hardcore about the swear jar in the coming months. Let’s face it—these are XL sweary times, sisters. Even my MeeMaw, who is so Baptist she calls Dancing with the Stars “Dancing with All the People Earning a Fast Pass to Hell,” dropped a real swear scorcher on Inauguration Day. She’s mostly recovered now, although she’s not welcome at my cousin’s next baptism. The point is: If you let slip with a mouthful of swears that could strip the paint from the walls, woman up and put your dollars in the jar. We’re gonna need that money to pay for our Norwegian pap smears.

But this is not a wake, sisters! This is a call to action! it’s time to buck up and hit back like the true Delta Sigma Tau resistance fighters we are, y’all! I am so proud of the work many of our sisters are already doing.

Like Aisha. Where’s Aisha? Y’all, Aisha is on Birth Control Resistance Work. She figured out how to get into Speaker Ryan’s P90X fan club bank account and transfer allll that money to Planned Parenthood. We call it our Affordable Care Hack. Our back room is currently stacked to the ceiling with boxes of contraception paid for by the Speaker of the House. We’re gonna go Pussy Wilding(TM), handing out birth control pills like Pez. There’s some postcards of armed uteruses in Che Guevara berets—thanks Lindsay and Oksana!—which y’all can send to Speaker Ryan en masse to thank him personally. Remember: We are Deltas, and we have manners. Thank you notes are très importante.

So many snaps to our STEM girls, LaKeisha, Vivian, Charlie, and XY-XX for our brand-new panty line which we the Shock-and-AWEsome. First of all, LOVE the polka dots and lace combo. So. On. Fleek. But these super-Modcloth-worthy panties are actually imbued with a patented, Anti-Pussy-Grabbing grabbing technology: It’s part panty, part Taser. If some Overcomb-pensating, Putin acolytes with the moral suck of an open spaceship airlock feel emboldened enough to grab a handful of your lady parts, they’ll receive 50,000 volts that’ll make it hard for them to choke the monkey or, I don’t know, sign offensive legislation for quite some time. I understand that the smaller your hands, the more it hurts. It’s almost Valentine’s Day, ladies. These make darling gifts. Stock up now. I have a feeling we’ll need them.

And speaking of Valentine’s Day—how about some additional snaps for our filmmaking team, Esther, Haruka, Jennifer and Jennifer! Ever since GODDESS Ava Duvernay decided she was So. Over. This. Patriarchal. Racist. Bullshit. we’ve been nurturing a team of Delta Sigma Tau filmmakers to storm the walls of the Hollywood Boys Club. I’m pleased to announce that they’ve just finished their first movie, just in time for Valentine’s Day, called “Well, Actually….” It’s a rom-com in the style of “Love, Actually” that follows the lives of several women, told via simultaneously unfolding, intersecting and intersectional plot lines in which…oh, none of that matters. Because each plot line is interrupted by a character called Annoying Dude in Your Timeline who pops up to tell the ladies what each of their stories is ACTUALLY about. Every time he does, we take a drink. Y’all, we are gonna be soooo drunk! Par-taaayy!

Anyway, SPOILER ALERT: At the end, all the ladies come together and wrap the Annoying Dude in a roll of #NotAllMen duct tape and leave him in the desert while he complains that he’s actually the victim of reverse sexism, and the ladies respond, “Well, ACTUALLY…” to a laugh track stolen from a Chuck Lorre sitcom as they drive away in a vintage Cadillac that they absolutely, positively do NOT drive off a cliff. Fin. So stoked for our first screening! And those 12 bottles of vodka.

There’s also some amaaazeballs work from our Delta Sigma Tau WOC committee—Achutebe, Nahla, Preeti, and Tiffani—who have compiled an anthology of resistance essays: “Yeah, We’ve Been Doing This Shit a Long Time Where the Fuck Have You Been?” Yes, Hazel, I know there’s another dollar for the swear jar. Somebody’s getting a pap smear in Lillehammer tonight! Anyway, all proceeds from the anthology will go toward writing workshops to empower the next generation. And if you subscribe to the Delta Sigma Tau WOC podcast, “Pissed Off, Live and In Color,” today, you’ll get a free baseball cap: Make America Stop Being Such an Asshole.

Moving on: Our theater arts team is staging a 24-hour reading of Lysistrata on the Capitol steps. There are sign-up sheets in the back. Ladies, let’s do this now before our NEA funding gets slashed like a couple of fornicating teenagers in an 80s horror movie.

If you have any musical talent and you’d like to join a Delta Sigma Tau Women’s March band, please see Sakura, Ashley, and Ashleigh at the back. I think the band name they’re going for is Alt-Fact Pussy? And they’ve written their first song, “Your Con Ways.” It goes: “Kellyanne, Kellyanne, spin that shit from the Capitol Klan, kiss the ass of the Orange Man, WTF’s your damage, Kellyanne, Kellyanne?” A note from Sakura: Need a cowbell. And a chainsaw.

Okay. That’s a whole lotta dollars in the swear jar.
True fact: OB-GYNs in Norway warm the stirrups first. It’s practically heaven.

As you can see, we’ve set up a merch table with an array of homemade t-shirts, and every cent goes to funding candidates who will fight back against the erosion of our rights:
Dear Dear Congress: I Am Not Fallopian with You.
My Rights Trump Your Wrongs
There’s an Us in Uterus, Motherfuckers.
Snatch My Rights & I’ll Snatch Your Seat (Women for Congress 2018)
This Beaver Bites.
Poon-Tang Clan.
And, of course, the ever-popular, My Lady Business Is None of Yours.

(Dollar. In. The. Swear. Jar. Done.)

Okay. On a heartrending note, Maria, Alison, and Yumei have started a Go Fund Me page to see if we can get some necessary spinal implants for the House and Senate Democrats. Senator Gillibrand has graciously offered to be a spinal donor. We hope to raise enough money by 2018.

In conclusion, Delta Sigma Tau sisters, I know it’s tough going. I know we’re all in shock and dodging flaming poop balls daily. I know we’re trying to come to grips with the idea that an Oompa-Loompa-hued, sentient DSM-V manual who seems to be following the script of a “Saw” movie while signing literal death into legislation with a swipe of the pen clutched in his freakish baby hands has been unleashed on the country, and, as usual, it’s gonna be up to a bunch of pissed-off women to keep democracy safe so we can go on making 73 cents to every man’s dollar while fighting for the rights to own our own fucking bodies while having to listen to a host of Congressional douche nozzles “Well, actually…”-ing at us 24/7, and yes, Sally, I know that’s another dollar. (By tomorrow, I could probably fund a tour group to Norway’s finest gynecology clinics, like a Napa tour but without waking up wondering why you’re wearing a Wine Not? T-shirt that’s not yours.)

But this is not the end. This is the beginning. They can’t stop all of us. I swear to Angela Davis they can’t. Remember our motto: Clear eyes, full hearts, Tasers on stun, can’t lose.

I fucking love y’all. For reals.

(*puts all the dollars in the jar*)

Your President and Sister,
Muffy ❤


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I write.

For months now, I’ve been wrestling with the demons of Diviners 3 which, yes, still lacks a proper title. It’s a plot-heavy book. There are, after all, eight main characters plus a host of secondary characters whom I do not regard as secondary in the least but as vital components of the whole vast circus. There are several mystery threads which must be teased out in satisfying fashion. There are backstories and flashbacks. And there are many elements yet to be written which I do not fully understand, which I may never understand. More on that in a moment.

It’s a lot of…choreography. It makes my brain hurt. At times, it makes me feel dumb as a bag of socks. But also, it often feels mechanical. Like performing sex via a VCR programming manual: “I am now to say that I love you and find you desirable. Ah, good. Could you stand a little to the left while I do so? Thank you very much.”

When I get fidgety and want to throw my computer in the river is not when I’m having trouble with a plot point. It’s when I no longer feel that I’m reaching into the abyss and pulling up something that feels both utterly unexplainable yet necessary to tell, that lives on the knife’s edge of the deeply personal within and the hopefully universal without. How do we write about alienation, isolation, love, a moment of William Blake-ish ephemeral joy, the unreliability of memory, identity, sexuality, gender, our fear of and attraction to death and destruction, rage, loss, envy, our deep desire for connection, our recognition that we are, each of us, alone? How to create work that courts the transgressive or, at the very least, asks us to risk exposing our own vulnerability? Work that requires that deep, hard look into the well of the soul?

Right now, as I type this, my brain is saying, “You should be working on your book. It’s due. You have eight hours and seven minutes left in your writing day. Stop this nonsense and report, soldier.” My soul? My soul says, “Fuck off. I’m busy here.”

Fuck off, I’m busy here is, I’d argue, a necessary part of the writing process.

There comes a moment in every book, when you can’t see what you’re writing anymore. You are utterly lost inside your mess of a world. None of it makes sense or hangs together. It feels awful then. Like you are dumber than anyone suspects. That you have no right to be doing it at all. You a fraud, an imposter. I like to think that, at those awful times, your book is smarter than you are in your misery, and it leaves you clues that, later, you will see anew and go, Oh, shit. Riiiight. Because the book comes from your unconscious, from your depths. Despite our writerly manipulations, the true story comes out.

Which brings us back to this: Not all of what I write makes sense to me. It never will. And that’s fine. In fact, that’s kind of the point. If I could explain it readily in a Power Point, there’d be no reason to write a story.

It’s hard work, these acts of creation, of willing nothing into being. It takes time—time to think, to reflect, to ask questions. It also takes time to allow for the unexplainable and ambiguous to get past our defenses and happen. Whenever someone asks me to tell them about something I’ve written, I often want to answer, “I can’t. Not really.” The truth is, I don’t always know where it comes from, and if I try to explain it, it falls apart.

The reader is a better judge of the novel because she/he/they are experiencing it, interacting with it. The alchemy takes place in a space of communication that we writers cannot see or describe—it is a moment of theater shared between writer and reader but taking place offstage. It is beyond our control.

We live now in a time of content providers. Of rapid, nearly feral consumption of any medium. This creates a demand for more and faster entertainment. This is not a judgment or condemnation of where things are, simply acknowledgment. Personally, I love both drive-thru burgers and movie explosions on occasion. I just hope that there will continue to be space for work that makes us uncomfortable. That challenges. Demands. Pushes boundaries or defies expectations. Work that mystifies and does not necessarily explain itself but that makes us feel different on the other side of it. Work that, perhaps, leaves us with more questions than answers: A John Coltrane Love Supreme. A Velvet Underground album. A Langston Hughes poem. A Nina Simone song. A Patti Smith spoken-word free association. Kanye West’s “Blood on the Leaves.” A George Saunders book. A Nova Ren Suma anything.

I hope that I can get past my own limitations enough to go where they lead. I am not completely divorced from market pressures. I can’t write a book a year. I’m not fast enough. Sometimes, that makes me feel like shit. Other times, I call upon my inner philosopher, who is a Texas-Brooklyn-potty mouth philosopher who squints at me in supreme irritation from the couch and says, “Yeah, fuck that,” before swigging Dr. Pepper and belching. But that girl doesn’t always show up. I ask myself, Is this story still YA? I don’t know. Is it frustrating, weird, non-linear? Maybe, possibly, probably. Is it, in its draft infancy, stilted and not nearly true enough yet? Yes, times one hundred. Will it take me somewhere new? God, I sure hope so.

It’s easy to let my vanity or ego get in the way of the work. Like everyone, I struggle with “writer’s cocaine”—that need for validation. It’s tempting to want to protect myself and go for what could garner likes rather than open everything up for examination. For the blood-letting. Sometimes, when I can’t figure it out, I come here to this blog to wrestle with it all. Often, when I can’t get through the words, I turn to singing. The act of opening my mouth and letting sound and vibration move through my body via a song is a way of connecting not to an idea but to an in-the-moment feeling. That is being both within and without. You cannot ask yourself, mid-song, “Is this going to pay off in Book 4?” You just sing. You are the fucking song.

I want to be the fucking song.

I am in my fifty-second year as a human on this fascinating planet. I have less time to waste. I feel it deeply. I want to do good work. I want to be more honest with myself and with you. To risk messiness and transparency. I don’t have a brand. Unless that brand is Swedish Fish, which I’m a big fan of as far as brands go. Odds are good that I will never have a brand because when I’m not writing or singing, there’s a shit-ton of laundry to do and some goddamned lovely friends to see. Some of them even make music.

I’ll just keep hacking away at the story, trying to find it, or, if I’m lucky, allowing it to come and find me: The alchemical moment; mystery, happening. The shift from doing to being, the two blurred into a single, straight line.

I hope, I hope.






Walking through the Marigny at 6:45 a.m.

Morning clouds are a thick gray cap

on the skull of the day.

Streets, empty.

Gutter puddles hold tight to Sunday night’s revels:

plastic cup shards, scattered like teeth knocked from an angry mouth

a strand of abandoned beads,

pale blue constellation calling from a dirty sidewalk sky,

Don’t forget me

Passing Frenchmen’s Street, the last stretched note of a

Dixieland trumpet lingers,

swallowed up

by the metal whine of an unseen garbage truck.


Everything is an explosion of color here.

Bright-aqua doors. Maroon wind chimes.

Mustard-yellow trim slapped along the drooping slats of falling shutters.

The defiance of a pink house, Who Dat?

Old brick beauty, a courtesan in decline,

her fading bricks striated by a history of floods.

A record.

A witnessing.

A voice.

Nothing is erased.

There is the you now carrying within

the you that has walked these streets before

Young and broken

Drunk and sober

Alone and not

Lost and searching

A St. Jude prayer card, random

gift of a strung-out Bourbon Street stranger

tucked into a pocket, pressing against

the raw, grasping hope of your fingers.

The town a forgiving mother, cradling you to its bosom.

Ghosts. Ghosts.

At the intersection of Royal and Elysian Fields,

where Stanley cried for Stella,

close your eyes for just a moment.

Hear the faint rumble of a long-gone street car

carrying Memory as its passenger.

You wait for the green signal, a safe crossing.

Up ahead, there’s a break in the early morning rain clouds,

a thin pink mouth slowly opening up

in a fat shout of light.

The sun coming through.

As it will.

As it does.

RNC Final Day with Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams reporting

Brian Williams: Good evening and welcome to MSNBC’s continuing coverage of the Republican National Convention live from the Quicken Loans Arena here in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m Brian Williams.

Rachel Maddow: And I’m Rachel Maddow. Brian, tonight, we’ve been hearing from lots of people who know Trump, and they’ve been sharing stories that show a personal side of Trump they say many on the outside don’t get to see.

BW: Indeed, Rachel, last night on this stage, there was soap actress Kimberlin Brown’s amusing story about a dinner party at Mar-A-Lago during which Trump had everyone play charades—

RM: –Forced. I believe she said forced them to play charades—

BW: Yes. And Trump proved he was no quitter, playing well into the wee hours until he won all the trophies. Apparently, even guest Vladimir Putin threw in the towel saying, “Just give it to him, already! I want to go to bed.” Paul Manafort, as Trump’s campaign manager, what do you say about that?

Paul Manafort: Well, I think the story humanized him. Just like the skin suit he wears. The one made out of women.

BW: Because…the women are human?

PM: Well, not anymore, Brian. Technically, they’re now a suit.

RM: Let’s…move on. Mr. Manafort, the campaign has come under fire for issues of plagiarism and permissions. In addition to the controversy surrounding Melania’s appropriation of Michelle Obama’s Democratic Convention speech, there has been the repeated use of music from bands who have refused permission.

PM: Well, Rachel, when bands say no, they really mean yes.

RM: *blinks*

PM: Those songs should not have put themselves out there on the radio, dressed like that. It’s just common sense. They were asking for it.

BW: What about Melania Trump’s speech? She lifted an entire paragraph from the First Lady’s speech from 2008.

PM: Frankly, Brian, Michelle Obama should thank Melania Trump.

BW: Uh…how so?

PM: Melania made the speech a “crossover hit” with white Republican audiences who just are not familiar with concepts like African-American female lawyers with degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law who can also throw down at Carpool Karaoke with Missy Elliot. Melania made Michelle Obama famous, to use another Melania quote.

RM: Pretty sure that’s Kanye West. And no, she didn’t.

PM: Yes, she did.

RM: Literally did not.

PM: Rachel, we’d like to invoke the My Little Pony defense.

RM: There’s no such thing.

PM: There is now. We just said it. No take backs.

BW: I think we can all agree that it speaks volumes about this election and what it says is, “Start readying your Canadian visas.” You know, Rachel, one of the things Americans have to ask themselves, after they’ve poured their morning vodka and had a good long cry into a godless universe that has long since forgotten about their pain, is what will a Trump presidency look like. Can you walk us through that, Paul?

PM: It’s going to be the first Reality TV presidency. It’s going to be terrific. We’ve already got Gene Simmons and Kris Jenner on board to star in the first season. And Wayne Newton will open the casino.

BW: The casino?

PM: Yes, Brian, the White House is a casino now.

RM: Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, gentlemen, but the next speaker is taking the stage. This is…Immortan Joe. He is listed as “Lord of the Citadel and Commander of the War Boys.” He is a veteran of both the Oil and Water Wars, so he’s got experience with what we’re going to look like in another ten years after the collapse when we are all foraging in drainage ditches for GMO-infected food scraps and drinking our own urine to survive. According to Beltway Insiders, Trump has promised to make him Chancellor of the new Handmaid’s Tale division. It says Immortan Joe combines the “feel-good” factor of Cormac McCarthy combined with the swingy insouciance of 1970s-era J.G. Ballard.

BW: I understand the person who used “insouciance” has been shot.

RM: That’s confirmed. That word has been flagged by Trump’s Ministry of Elitism as “foreign, possibly socialist” and so has been taken out of all the dictionaries. Most words have, Brian.

BW: Yes, Rachel, but we still get “incredible” “terrible” “loser” “so great” “Yuuge” and “Shake-n-Bake-faced Muppet-wig.” I can tell you, attacking dictionaries is not going to sit well with intellectual freedom-fighting librarians, Rachel.

RM: The libraries are on fire, Brian. They were the first to go.

BW: *clears throat* Right. Now, we have the national anthem as sung by Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Says he’s been singing a long time, since grade school, where he was taught music by his beloved third grade teacher, Mrs. Gillivray. According to Governor Walker, “Mrs. Gillivray was the first person to encourage me and make me feel like I could achieve my dreams. She was the best.” Well, I sure hope she’s watching tonight, Rachel.

RM: Brian, she can’t. Mrs. Gillivray has been living in a box under an overpass since Gov. Walker KO’d the teacher’s union.

BW: Well. That’s a shame. *pause* Governor Walker certainly has a lovely baritone. *pause* I don’t remember the words “Death to our enemies” in Francis Scott Key’s original. Are those words a new addition, Rachel?

RM: Yes, Brian. It joins, “TrumpAmerica™, the Beautiful, Okay?” and “It’s a Grand Old Flag Which I Will Defend with My Open-Carry AK-47, Pew-Pew-Pew.”

BW: Rachel, let’s take a moment to talk to this fellow over here. This is a fun thing—Republicans for Pokemon Go! What’s your name, sir?”

Kevin: Uh, Kevin. Wait, are you wearing a wire?

BW: We’re with MSNBC. You are catching Pokemon here on the convention floor, sir?

K: Yes. And then deporting them.

RM: I…I’m sorry?

K: It’s called Pokemon Go! Pokemon Must Go. Gotta catch ‘em all. Gotta send ‘em back. We’re orchestrating a Pikachexit.

RM: Why are you deporting Pokemon exactly?

K: They’re undocumented! Bulbasaur. Alakazam. Gengar. Charizard. Those are not American names. There’s no screening process for these Pokemon.

RM: Actually, there is, sir. They only exist on a screen. Because they’re virtual. They’re not real. They’re…Pokemon.

K: That’s what they want you to believe. Report them! We’re on to you, Pikachu! You won’t put me to sleep, Jigglypuff!

RM: Brian, I want to direct your attention to that area in the upper left behind us. It appears they’ve put Ted Cruz in a dunking booth and they’re using baseballs with Antonin Scalia’s face on them to drop the Senator from Texas into a pit where he’s forced to wrestle alligators before climbing his way back up.

BW: That’s gotta hurt, Rachel. And that water must be cold by now.

RM: There’s no water, Brian. It’s just an open pit that reaches all the way to the depths of Mordor. We do expect the Balrog to give his endorsement sometime this evening. Brian, let’s go back to the stage. Chris Christie has just given his speech. Many at home watching may have seen him blink out “Please free me. They’ve got my family” in Morse code. And now you see Trump’s VP pick, Mike Pence, from Indiana, waving to the crowd. Paul Manafort, what should people know about Mike Pence that they don’t know already?

PM: Well, he’s a plainspoken man with a sunny disposition, what people call “Indiana Nice.” Whenever people talk about Mike Pence, they always preface their remarks with “Well, he’s a nice guy.” Like, “Well, he’s a nice guy…who also wants to deport all Muslims.” “He’s a nice guy who also just happens to hate gay people and support legislation making it okay to discriminate against them.” “He’s a nice guy who wants to force women to have funerals for their miscarriages.”

RM: Brian, do you still have that bottle of vodka in your briefcase?

BW: I do, Rachel. You should know I added a morphine kicker to it.

RM: Delicious. Pour Mama a big tumbler of that, will ya?

BW: I would, but my arms no longer work. I’ve had half the bottle.

RM: Understood.

BW: Uh-oh. Looks like there’s some kind of commotion breaking out on the convention floor. Let’s go to our correspondent, Katy Tur. Katy, can you tell us what’s happening down there?

Katy Tur: Yes, Brian and Rachel—the delegates from, ah, from, shit! From Texas, led by Immortan Joe and his War Boys—Hey! Don’t touch me!—are, um, are roasting and eating protestors right here. It’s…it’s absolute carnage, you guys. The fire is…out of control…and the smell of burning flesh, oh god, I’m…I’m gonna vomit…

BW: Well, Immortan Joe said he’d get straight to work, and he appears to be a man of his word, Rachel. We’ll get back to you for an update later, Katy—

KT: No! You can’t leave me down here with them, you fuckers! Get me out! Wait! Wait—No! I’m not with the media! I’m…I’m with ESPN! ESPN! Sprechen ze ESPN? Sports? You like sports?

RM: Katy? Katy?

BW: She’s used a zip line to escape. She’s resourceful. But it looks like we’ve got some technical difficulties? The video screen has gone completely dark.

RM: It’s committed suicide, Brian. It left a note. The speeches will now be accompanied by a continuous Chuck Norris loop on a giant Viewmaster.

BW: Loved his work in Total Gym Fit. The man knows his way around an infomercial.

RM: Brian, the moment everyone has been waiting for is here. Donald Trump has arrived via a golden litter carried on the shoulders of Marco Rubio and John Kasich. There’s a giant egg-shaped chrysalis balanced atop the litter from which, one assumes, Mr. Trump will emerge.

BW: He is accompanied by Rudy Giuliani’s Rage Against the Machine dancers who wowed the crowds on Monday night with their dance routine to The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” complete with video of a ghostly Joe Strummer sobbing. The former Mayor of New York City out in front there, acting as dance captain, surprisingly nimble for a man of seventy-two. Have to say, the red-white-and-blue sequined unitard is a surprise.

RM: As are the full splits. That’s a…daring choice.

BW: Rachel, it seems he’s stuck? I can see the stage crew readying the Medivac.

RM: Meanwhile, Brian, Donald Trump has emerged from his fog-filled chrysalis. It seems he is now an enormous orange slime monster-praying mantis hybrid.

BW: That would explain the egg sac.

RM: Indeed. You can see the pincer claws at the ends of his long, molting, and, frankly, quite disturbing arms.

BW: Rachel, we’re getting word that we should now refer to Donald Trump as Overlord Trump of Planet Earth.

RM: Oh my goodness: Overlord Trump has just eaten the head of Rudy Giuliani. It’s playing very well with the crowd, though. They are chanting, “USA! USA! USA!”

BW: The road crew are just attaching the voice box Overlord Trump will need to speak to us tonight in human tones. Their work done, the road crew has now become food. According to MSNBC entomologists, Overlord Trump will need to feed fairly often to sustain the energy needed for a tough campaign.

RM: This crowd is on their feet. The base is fired up. This is what they’ve waited for—a unifying speech from an alien life form bent on complete annihilation. You see there Overlord Trump thanking the crowd using his pincer claws.

BW: Or possibly threatening them with those pincer claws. It’s hard to tell.

They’re really tiny.

RNC Day #2: An Address from Ben Carson

Good evening, Cleveland.


*Looks to teleprompter*

Ben Carson.

Folks, I am concerned for the future of this great nation under God if Hillary Clinton is crowned President in November. I want to tell you about Hillary’s unholy agenda as put forth in her college thesis.

A thesis is a paper you write in college if you are an elitist. I Googled it. My Google is made of string and aluminum foil connected to an old Impala battery with googly eyes on top. It scorches my tongue when I connect it with jumper cables the way Steve King told me to, but I trust him. He is from Iowa, where the Pharoah’s granaries live.

Anyway, according to my battery-operated Google, Hillary’s thesis advisor, Better Call Saul, dedicated his book “To Lucifer…the first radical.” Is this who we want leading our God-Fearing nation? A President with LadyParts who cavorts with the Devil?

I am here tonight to tell you what will happen if Hillary Clinton scores a President Goal at the World Cup of America in November.

Number One: If Hillary Clinton is President, we will all have to eat Devil’s food cake. We have certain inalienable rights, to Twinkies and Little Debbie oatmeal pies and those Hunt’s snack pack puddings with the pull-top rings. Sometimes Mike Pence opens mine for me but only if I promise to “sing that one Michael Jackson song I like.”

Would Lucifer open my pudding snack packs? No. He wouldn’t.
You know why? Because he’s the Devil, and the Devil is mean.
Besides, his fingernails are really long and gnarly which means he probably can’t open a pull-ring top, either.
I’ll bet Lucifer gets manicures, which is a homosexual thing to do.
I don’t open pull-tops because I’m a surgeon with Gifted Hands.

I want to tell you more about what Hillary and her Vice-President, Mr. Homosexual Manicure Lucifer, will do.

For one, there’s the Devil’s Food cake issue, which I just told you about and which you can find out more about on, which is a website I have personally funded with my own money from the sale of my book, Where Is Cuba, Again?

Okay. Number Two: Hillary and Lucifer will empty all the grain from the Pharoah’s granaries out in Iowa and Egypt, which is part of America if you believe the Bible, like I do. This is how they fund Head Start and other communist school programs: Soylent Green is people. And free breakfast is made from Pharaoh grain stolen from the Heartland. Don’t be fooled.

Number Five: Secular Progressives. I personally have a pair of progressives and they help with my reading at night, but it is a fact that if you wear Secular Progressives, you cannot read the Bible and you will start reading about science and climate change and watching John Oliver. My progressives allow you to see into the core of the 6,000-year-old earth where the Devil’s minions manufacture ISIS fighters like in that documentary, “The Lord of the Rings,” which is okay to watch because it has Lord in the title.

This is what happened to the Unicorns, by the way. ISIS got them.

Mike told me if Donald Trump is elected, I can be Minister of Unicorns.

I will feed them pudding snacks.

Number Ten: Hillary and Lucifer will come for your guns. You know why? Because if you have guns, you can demand a change to the menu. If you say, “I don’t want Devil’s Food Cake! Bring me one of those Sara Lee butter pound cakes that are so good! And put some dang Cool Whip like on top like they do at Denny’s and as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights where one of our Founding Fathers, John McAdams, who is not Rachel’s cousin, by the way—I Googled that, too, which is why my tongue’s a little swollen today; sometimes Steve forgets to take off the cables—John McAdams said, “Give me Cool Whip or give me death!” Our Founding Fathers were awesome. I wish I could make a time machine with my Gifted Hands and go back to the 1600’s and give them all pudding snacks.

And if Lucifer marched into Congress and tried to shoot us with his pitchfork devil guns, I wouldn’t just take it. I’d yell, “Hey, everybody! Let’s attack him! He can’t get us all!” Then, as America’s Minister of Unicorns, I’d charge Lucifer, and I know Steve and Mike and The Donald would be right behind me, because we are friends, and they are going to invite me to their country clubs for golf any day now.

Don’t let America go to the Devil.
Guard your guns and your Twinkies.
Thank you and may God bless you all.

*Whispers* Where do I go now?

Wait, are we in Cleveland still?

Can I have my pudding snack now, Mike?

We still friends?

I made you a lanyard bracelet. With my Gifted Hands.

I really need some pudding, Mike.