It's pronounced HAYZ-ler, you dweebs.

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

What Cosmo Doesn’t Know

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

How To Make His Arm Want You

Cosmo tells me that what makes men fall in love is doing stuff like putting my hair in a pony tail one day, wearing it down another day. That way he doesn’t feel trapped with one person. That way there’s no need for him to worry that we’re in a rut. You gotta trick a guy into feeling like you’re multiple people, because lord knows he’s going to get tired of banging you really quickly.


Cosmo tells me that I need to tell him if I’m afraid to commit, because that will make him happy. Cosmo tells me men think we’re all out to get babies put in our bellies and rings on our fingers. But if I’m afraid to commit, that’s because I don’t really like the guy. So I guess I shouldn’t tell him. This is so confusing.

When I first met Alan, we lived an hour away from each other. A Wisconsin hour away is no small thing. In LA, that’s just like, “She lives in Silver Lake, he lives in the valley. There’s traffic.” A Wisconsin hour away is dark and cold and full of black ice and deer running out in front of you. That drive will age you.

So, when we weren’t together, I would write to him. The emails were long, beautiful, streaming narratives. I vaguely remember writing something about elephants. There’s irony in me forgetting what I wrote about elephants.

When I first met Josh, he lived in Chicago and I lived in Waukesha, WI. Our first morning together was so beautiful that I cried when I woke up. I’m that kind of girl. When I couldn’t see him, I wrote to him.

When I first met Lee, he lived in England. K was in Santa Barbara. Ted and I talked via email for 6 months before we met in person.

Cosmo, a printed publication full of words about how you can get a man to love you, is missing out on something pretty major. It’s called words. And it’s not some stupid bullshit where you try to get crafty and play it cool and be evasive. It’s just, what are you thinking about?

Now, I get that this isn’t going to work across the board. Because sometimes what you’re thinking about is really boring. I think about boring stuff all the time. Just earlier I spent a good long time thinking about what it would be like to work in a pretzel factory and if that would make me not like pretzels. Yesterday I thought about my hair for a good chunk of the day. Sometimes I’m thinking about some conversation I had and how I should have said something different.

But, when I’m still, and I look around, or when I’m walking to the bus, my head is just full of stuff. Memories. Something I saw on the sidewalk. And that stuff is just going to go away. It’s not going to end up anywhere other than my head. But if I write it in a letter to someone I adore-if I just write all that stuff I was just thinking exactly as I was thinking it, I’ve just communicated in a rare way, thereby sharing parts of myself that the recipient isn’t going to see on some date.

It’s not a manipulation or a game or waiting till he texts me three times to text him back or not always being available when he wants me or whatever nonsense women are supposed to do. It’s the opposite. It’s honesty and communication and giving him something raw and vulnerable. It is intimacy. And it really, really works.

That said, a handie ever now and then doesn’t hurt. Whuhtwhuht.

Submission: Stuck In Bed: Haiku

Thursday, June 28th, 2012



by Danielle Hlatkey


Cactus knocked off sill

Cactus falls on me with quills

I am stuck in bed

I used to write poetry

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Back in my midwest poetry writing, watercoloring, soap making days. 2003-ish.


Every once in a while I still do it, too. But I used to do it every day.

Recently, my first ex husband got remarried. I’ve been married twice already, and some days I’m fine as frog’s fur with that, and other days I feel like it’s a bit of dirt up my nose that I can never wash out. I can smell it, and it’s visible, and that dirt says, “Here’s a lady who doesn’t know how to have a long lasting, meaningful relationship. Here’s a lady destined to make bad choices.” Couple that with having three kids from three different fathers, take a look in my cupboards at my chipped, non-matching dishes, and look at the way I thumb tack mementos to my bedroom wall, and this is the pretty little package of a someone stunted person.

So, Mitch got remarried. Nothing feels weird about it. There are no moments where I miss what we had; no regrets that things ended. The wedding reception was great, too. They had a mashed potato bar, you guys. And in the morning? At brunch? Another mashed potato bar. It was some kind of heaven, and a goddam lovely time.

There Is Nothing To Fear But Nothing To Fear

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

I used to fear water, or rather, I used to say I feared water. I didn’t really fear it, though there was something about murky lake bottoms and fish bold enough to graze my goosefleshed legs that grossed me right out. Still, I overplayed my fear of water for years, claiming I was psychic and knew how I’d die; claiming that because my father had drowned at 21, I was afraid I’d drown as well; claiming that in a former life I had drowned myself; claiming whatever seemed most interesting while hugging my own arms and making a show of my fear.

Having moved a lot, I could reinvent fears based on convenience. Moving in the summer usually kept my fear of water at bay, with the opportunity to do hand stands in pools during the stickiest midwestern days guiding me to not only not fear water, but to be a mermaid; to lay in the bottom of pools with all of the air pushed out of my body until I was still as a stone, looking up, watching the way the sun turned into three suns through the chlorine kaleidoscope. In those cases, I always picked other things to fear- the dark, the basement, thunder, loud noises.

What was I, after all, if I had nothing to fear? Everyone seemed to fear something, and I had noticed that when they did, they were loved for it. They were loved through it. They were hugged and teased, then protected from it. If they faced their fears, they were hugged harder, even if they came out shaking.

My son, Trast, has real fears. He fears roller coasters, heights, and anything medical. He fears pain, discomfort, and seeing his own blood. And I have a hard time understanding him, because I have had very few honest fears in my life other than spiders, and not being loved, for which I would do anything.

Yesterday Tim and I went to the ocean. We drove down the Pacific Coast Highway, gathering pools of disgusting as we waited in lines of traffic so slow that I daydreamed of rollerskating past all the cars, shaking my short shorts and holding a flower. He just kept telling me to be happy, it was going to be a good day, but I couldn’t feel it yet. I’ve been so angry lately, anyway, and I wasn’t feeling down with his whole “Look at us! Tim and Nikol! Off to do whatever and be spontaneous!” idea.

And then we got to the ocean, and I can’t imagine anyone has ever not felt the way I feel when I’m next to the Pacific. I never get used to the moment of realization that I am so very small; that everything else is so very large; that I have nothing worth worrying about, as the moment I first look up at the perfect spot toward the back of the sky where you realize it seems to have no end. I imagine, had I lived in a time when people thought you could fall off the edge of the earth if you swam far enough, I would have thought, “Sure, stupids, but that’d take you only forever.”

Photo by Joshua MacLeod

When you first feel the water, standing at the edge, as the waves barely touch your toes, the first reaction is to make your way back to the towel and forget the ice water. “It’s cold because it comes all the way from Alaska.” Tim tells me this every single time we’re at the water. “Yeah, but come on! Didn’t it have time to warm up a little?” That’s how I always respond. Things with him are like that. I always know what to expect with him, and I have needed something like that in my life forever.

The waves knocked me over this time. The moon was full and the tide was especially strong. Even if you “stayed low” the water seemed intent on pulling you into it and pushing you down. I started to laugh underwater, imagining what it must have looked like to see my bald head, growing back blonde baby fuzz, one moment above water, and the next gone. I don’t suggest laughing underwater to anyone.

I sat in a shallower area, but the waves kept pushing my head back, filling my nose with salt. I thought about my teen years and my fabricated fear of water, and I thought of how, so long as I kept telling myself it was the truth, I could almost convince myself of anything. Just yesterday morning I decided that I loved doing dishes. I know that by the end of the week, I will be downright cheerful about washing them. The brain is like that. You can tell yourself anything and make you believe it.

If I think about the things I fear right now, I haven’t changed all that much. I still fear that nobody loves me. I still genuinely won’t go near a bug. And I fear being blind folded. That seriously freaks me out. But more noteable is what I don’t fear, and what I have never feared; a thing whose lack of fear has lead me to another kind of fear altogether. I don’t fear death.

Since the moment I knew I was alive I have never feared death. Through any spiritual incarnation of my beliefs, even when I believed there was a hell, I didn’t fear death. I have been near it, I have sought it, I have wondered about it, and I have never felt a moment’s fear about it.

I fear Pelham, who is only five, not having the goofy stories of times we spend together; not being around the very spirit of all that I am that makes others shake their heads.


However, like any proper egomaniac, I have feared life without me. I have feared Trast, already one of the most amazing men I know, continuing to be amazing but without our banter. I have feared Ayden and I never getting to the point where we can say “All those years of butting heads were pretty funny now that we look back on it.” I fear Pelham, who is only five, not having the goofy stories of times we spend together; not being around the very spirit of all that I am that makes others shake their heads.

And I clearly see the parties I’m not at. I clearly see the dinners I don’t cook. People are there. They are eating, happy, smiling. These are people I love, and I am not there anymore. There’s Tim, at the beach, and the water is cold. “This water is cold because it comes all the way down from Alaska.” he says. And whoever he is there with says “Oh.” And I am nowhere. But everything else, like the ocean, keeps going so far that you can’t even imagine where it ends.

To Keep Halloween Going

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Cianna Stewart, who I somehow was lucky enough to meet years ago when I first visited San Fran, approached me recently about this great site, Dudecraft, which was gathering stories to benefit 826 National, a nonprofit which helps kids learn to be writers.

Well, instaboner on my part. That sounds like lots of stuff I love. Dudes, crafts, kids, writing, nonprofits. Shoot, add some hotsauce and whiskey to that and my kind of party is starting!

So, she asked me to write a story about Halloween. Here’s what I came up with. Picture goodness included.

Thanks, Dudecraft and 826 National, for the healthy reminder that I was a total lame-wad.