An excerpt from OFF THE YOGA MAT manuscript appears on the Blog  Writing Yoga®. (click to see full excerpt)  It begins like this:

Nathaniel and Gil entered the stark warehouse below Canal Street; sage-scented fumes engulfed them and new age music droned...

My short story "Hovering" was read at the Liars' League series at KGB Bar in the East Village by actress Michaela Morton. Click here for audio file and text.

Here is an excerpt from the opening of  Off the Yoga Mat,  my novel manuscript. Comments welcome! SEEKING AGENT AND/OR PUBLISHER.  CONTACT


Chapter One “Inflexible” (January, 1999)

Nathaniel Dart lives where he sits--on a beat-up swivel chair in his apartment, no cabin in the woods. He wonders if he can cobble together his doctoral dissertation after years of studiously avoiding it. He reads many books with lists of footnotes acknowledging other books that set off a chain reaction of need. Sitting so long he becomes inflexible, but if you encountered him on one of his forays outside, you find a tall man with a broad frame and a bit of a belly, dark hair on the long and shaggy side, impressively thick. His face almost always features unshaven stubble and half-moons beneath the eyes. Nonetheless you grasp intelligence in the arc of his eyebrows, find sincerity in his well-formed hands.  There is something buzzing inside him.

            His loving girlfriend Nora Jane bites her tongue. “Come to the countryside, Nate.  For god sakes take a break.”

            “Okay, okay,” he nods.  They spend a weekend in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts.  It’s a Sunday in late autumn when they make it to a hiking trail.

            As they zigzag along a rocky path ascending Monument Mountain the sun pokes out and then retreats.  Nora stops in her tracks.

            “Nate. It’s time. We’ve got to talk things over.”  

            He gestures towards the sky.

             “Nora, here’s where Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville went rock scrambling!  A black thunder cloud appeared and it started pouring. Melville climbed on a rock and he spoke of some invisible ropes that would pull them up.”

            “I won’t speak of any ropes,” Nora says.

  “After their meeting, Melville visited Hawthorne in Lenox; they walk and philosophize. He admires Hawthorne’s Puritan intellect, his blackness and depravity. Melville is writing Moby Dick. Imagine that.”

 “The rest is history,” Nora says.

“Yes. Camaraderie.  Inspiration. Sheer determination.  Moby Dick is not well-received,” says Nate, stepping over a log.

“It’s not surprising,” Nora replies.  “Listen to me. You work hard. You deserve success. I want it for you.”

“And you've been patient.”

  “But listen up.  I can’t keep it going.  Not anymore.” She pokes the zipper on his jacket.  “I believe we’ve reached the end.”

He blocks her with the bulk of his body. “You can’t be serious.” He opens his pack to remove a water bottle but does not take a sip. “I’ll complete the dissertation and someone will hire me. I won’t accept another dime from my parents.”

 “It’s too late.”  

They are turning forty, a significant milestone. Nora relates it to the threats of crashing computers and mechanical glitches predicted by all the media outlets for the year 2000. She believes her fertility is more vulnerable than any hard drive. Nate, whose dissertation remains sequestered in an oversize Word Perfect file, is a proud Luddite who doesn’t dwell on his age. When the 99 rolls over to 00, he envisions the Y2K bug will infect him like a tic-borne illness. Nora intends to overcome doomsday predictions.