One Benefit to Your Mid-Thirties

Though, I suppose this is the year I enter my late thirties. I kind of like that “Late thirties.” That sounds like the age when women do something ridiculous. “Oh, I bought this mink coat.” “Oh, you must be 34. Call me when you hit 37 and are buying mink coats for your horse.” “We get horses?” “Some women do.” Or you become a spy. Or go to Toledo and moon people. And you leave folks to wonder if that’s Ohio or Spain.

Anyway, 37 will be here soon enough. I’m enjoying the last dregs of 36, though, because I finally feel like the stupid shit I do is not surprising to myself. I know some things about myself. Like, I crave being a better, well-regarded writer. And, in order to do that, I’m going to have to show my work to some people and get their feedback. And then, when I find myself unable to open the emails from them?

I laugh, because, yeah, I hate criticism, no matter how helpful and spot-on and necessary it is to make my work better. But finally knowing that I hate that part, but that it’s necessary, has made me able to do it. And the feedback I’ve gotten so far has been super useful. Like, truly, exactly what I hoped for–good notes about where what is in my head does not quite translate to paper and kind words about how much folks like it. Ha, hopefully that will continue. But opening those emails is causing me to have a slight stroke of fear every time.

In my head, the Satanic menage a trois with the accompanying anal sex looms large, both because, even though the Devil as a character doesn’t push my taboo buttons, that’s the one part of the book I imagine some readers will be like “No, I am done with this filth and I am writing a sternly worded letter to this woman’s mother.” I do not want my mom getting sternly worded letters from strangers about her daughter’s Satanic butt sex scene. Especially because my mom’s eyesight is shot, which means my dad will have to read her those letters out loud.


Okay. That might be a little funny.

Still, I do not want it!

Okay, so that and that I have¬† no practical experience with a two-man one-woman menage a trois with a moonshining wrestling artist in the middle. So, I would die of mortification if people more familiar with dude-on-dude sex were like “Oh, lord, Betsy. I’m going to have to write a sternly worded letter to your mother about what a dumbass you are. Do you not even understand how male bodies work?”

So, it is with great relief that I can report that one reader said the Satanic menage a trois was very tasteful and another reader did not even quite realize the anal sex aspect of it on the first read-through. I can totally live with “author of tasteful, oblique Satanic butt sex.”

And I think my mom can, too.

Edited to add: I hope, anyway.

Cross Since Christmas

Since just after Christmas–if I’d looked, maybe right after Epiphany–this cross has been laying by the side of the road where Mrs. Wigglebottom and I see it on our walk. For a while, I thought, well, the timing has you thinking that it’s a religious object. Maybe it could be something else. But if you look closely, you can see holes in the top and bottom where you might run a rope to suspend it and steady it.

So, I do think it’s a religious object someone just dumped after the holidays.


But here we are coming up on the spring holidays and I find, as it slowly weathers and things grow green around it, that I do feel something profound I can’t quite put into words.

It’s not a Christian profundity. But I do feel like I’m seeing something Mysterious I don’t quite know how to read.