Thursday, October 3, 2013


I went to see my dermatologist today.

“You have a liver spot on your face,” she said.

“That’s impossible,” I replied. I explained I was a writer, a crafter of ageless tales, who, through some arcane attribute akin to the Picture of Dorian Gray, was able to ward off senescence and hold the encroaching years at bay. Like Oscar Wilde’s magical portrait, my characters aged on the printed page in my stead, not I.

“You’re growing old,” she explained.

I ignored her laconic diagnosis and bade her to remove the offending spot, which she did. Having channeled my Shakespearean muse (“Out, damned spot. Out, I say.”), I proceeded to dine with my grandmother that evening.

“I saw my dermatologist today. She found a liver spot. She says I’m getting old.”

“Only one?” the 102 ½-year-old asked. (Half years, ignored by most of us, are enormously important to those under 10 or over 100 and must therefore be accorded the significance due them.)

I sighed. “The time sneaked by so quickly, like a furtive mouse in a house filled with cats. Where did it go and how do I call it back?” I thought of my grandmother’s rich legacy of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I contrasted it with my own legacy. My children bore spines, but neither hands nor feet. They came into the world as hardcovers and softcovers, and I labored as long and as hard as any woman to birth them. Long after I was gone, my literary issue would serve as my legacy. Their pages would keep my memory alive, reminding strangers yet born, for a little while I shared the same air and grass and sky as they, and, at least for the time it took them to read my words, I mattered.

I glanced down at my fountain (of youth) pen, and to my dismay, realized it was only a Bic, and held less than half the ink I had started with. So many pages yet to write, so little ink.

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