My Real Life Modern Family

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Being Joan Rivers (in Baltimore)

3 Written by: | Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014 11:26am

Joan-Rivers-jpg

University of Baltimore MFA student Nancy Murray recounts the day she got to know Joan Rivers quite personally.

In my acting days I had a reputation for being able to play any character at a moment’s notice. It didn’t matter if it was a murderous psychopath, a disco-dancing diva or a Puerto Rican man. If I played the character I could make it believable. I liked this about myself. I thought it said something about my ability to empathize with others. I was grateful for it because it meant that I always had work. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

An Unaffiliated Jew: How I Got Religion

1 Written by: | Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 12:12pm

image via kanestreet.org

image via kanestreet.org

University of Baltimore MFA student Ellen Hartley describes her stint in Hebrew school, the scandal that rocked her temple, and the pivotal personal decision she made at age 15.

I am an unaffiliated Jew. I wasn’t always. I became an unaffiliated Jew in 1956 when I was 15.

Before that I had felt comfortable within the fairly relaxed Jewish framework in which I’d grown up. My parents came from an Orthodox background of Eastern European immigrants. Their families kept kosher and observed the whole shebang. My mother officially left the fold as a teenager, when she and her cousin Ethel sneaked out of Yom Kippur services and went to a luncheonette for their first ham sandwich. When my parents married, they moved 250 miles away and dropped the Orthodoxy. Our refrigerator regularly held sliced ham for sandwiches; oddly, my mother drew the line at bacon, which she claimed made her ill. I remember my father making bacon and sausages for my brother and me on Sundays when my mother slept late. We’d run the exhaust fans so the “porky” odors would be extinguished. Read More →

My Real Life Modern Family

The Honda Rebel

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 12:30pm

Honda_Rebel

Every time I see a Honda Rebel 250 street bike, I think of cleavage. More specifically, my first intimate experience with cleavage. I was fresh out of high school, disheartened by the closeted state of my sexuality and the state –Indiana –in which I lived, surrounded by corn, mud flaps, and Baptists. I was 19 years old at the time; the cleavage was 43.

The cleavage, of course, belonged to a woman, Shaileen, who frequented the motorcycle shop where I worked. Once or twice a month she and her husband, Leland, would roll into the parking lot on their gargantuan Honda Goldwing, its radio blaring, its chrome glinting in the sunlight like the shades of an insensitive celebrity. They were from New Paris, Ohio, a town just east of the Indiana state line, famous for being the birthplace of the Christmas carol “Up on the Rooftop.”

Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Road Rage!

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 9:45am

image via westcoatblather.com

image via westcoastblather.com

University of Baltimore MFA student Nancy Murray describes the morning that Baltimore rush hour traffic sent her over the psychic edge.

Even if everything had gone perfectly I would have been about five minutes late for work. I didn’t call to make excuses to my boss because the chances were good that he wouldn’t be there either. It was entirely possible that he would never know I was late, but it was imperative that I get there as quickly as I could. There would be hell to pay if I were just unbuckling my seatbelt when he pulled up. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Waste Not, Want Everything

9 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 9:27am

494px--USE_LEFTOVERS_-_MARK_OF_A_GOOD_COOK_-_STUDY_YOUR_'ARMY_COOK'_FOR_RECIPES,_IDEAS-_-_NARA_-_515949

Baltimore writer and cabinetmaker Danielle Ariano describes her mother’s super strict policy never to waste anything edible–and how it has affected her own approach to food and life.

My mother washes out plastic baggies. Not the kind that they give you at the grocery store checkout, the kind you buy. The kind with zippers. Sometimes when I visit, I’ll find one drying in her drain board, looking like a dead jellyfish. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Road Trip

24 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 9:58am

 

image via dirtrunner100.blogspot.com

image via dirtrunner100.blogspot.com

University of Baltimore MFA student Terri Steel recalls the childhood road trip that changed her forever.

Another one whizzed by; we’d been passing them for hours. Bright yellow bubble letters against a black backdrop reading “SOUTH of the BORDER” and “CATCH Pedro IF YOU CAN!” The signs were a welcome sight, standing out against a monotonous stretch of landscape unadorned aside from the occasional nut shop dotting Interstate 95. I looked down at the bag of Stuckey’s pecans I had been munching on since morning. “How much longer until we get there, Mom?” Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Hidden Nerve

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 9:46am

photo by Judith Krummeck

photo by Judith Krummeck

Baltimore writer and beloved voice of classical music radio (WBJC) Judith Krummeck describes her sense of place — in the U.S. and Africa — and her sense of longing for each land she’s called home.

A hidden nerve is what every writer is ultimately about.

–André Aciman

I was born in Africa. I am an African. But, because of the color of my skin, I am not truly African. Strictly speaking, because I was born in Africa and I am now an American citizen, I am an African American. But, because of the color of my skin, I am not truly African American. In the truest sense, I am neither African nor American. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

The Worst Dates Were Probably All My Fault

3 Written by: | Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 12:00pm

image via heydolly.com

image via heydolly.com

Writer/television producer Jeff Dugan’s been on some great dates, but he learned more from the bad ones.

Everyone has few good horror stories of dates that went awry. As I look back on mine, I have to admit the problems seemed to stem from some oafish action or oversight on my part. Here are my top 10 worst dates, in chronological order. Please, learn from them. Read More →

Lifeline, My Real Life Modern Family

Memories of Early Target Practice

1 Written by: | Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 10:06am

robin-hoodUniversity of Baltimore creative writing MFA grad Timmy Reed reflects on the drama of his very first play date.

I have this memory of being about four years old in our old sun porch with my father and my new friend, Garrett Kennedy. I always referred to people by their first and last names back then as if I was unsure whether my parents, the only people I ever talked to, would believe they existed otherwise. In my memory, Garrett is dressed like a G.I. Joe with a tiger-striped scarf. I look tiny in my turtleneck and paper Indian costume. But I know that is not how we were dressed. That image is from a Polaroid my grandmother took years later on Halloween, in a different room, in a different house. The photograph still exists in a messy box in one of the houses where pictures of our family are still kept. We have divided ourselves a few times since the day in my memory. Read More →

Featured, Lifeline, Links, My Real Life Modern Family

Roll Call: The Girl Who Didn’t Come Home

6 Written by: | Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:22am

image via mauitube.org

image via mauitube.org

University of Baltimore MFA writing student Lisa M. Van Wormer recalls the day her fellow soldier failed to answer the repeat call of her name. Hear Lisa read the piece on WYPR’s “The Signal” this Friday at 7.

You are about halfway through your year deployment to Iraq at this point, just enough time to make routines and gain a sense of security in the day to day. You are at a satellite site away from the majority of your unit when you hear the news. Once granted permission you are on the next convoy to travel the 40 miles down IED alley to the base that it happened at, to be there for your surviving friends—for roll call. The feeling this day at the base is far different from any other you have experienced. For one, everyone is in full battle rattle (flak vest with shields, Kevlar, slung weapon, eight 30-round magazines), even off guard duty, which is not the norm for this secluded base. Secondly, there’s no milling around or open chatting—the whole base is silent and somber. Read More →

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Being Joan Rivers (in Baltimore)

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