Body Talk

Mr. Body awoke feeling poky. “It’s your diet,” Mrs. Body sd. “I eat the same crap as everybody.” “Just as you say.” “What are those gold chains about their necks all about?” “True that. Tiffany’s on steroids.” “What are the qualities of good plumbing?” “You don’t hear the pipes growling in the walls.” “No leaks,…

Lenten Surf Season

Work morning and Luke up early helping his dad load plumbing tools, wrenches and chisels, elbows and nipples, the ladle and the lead pot full of soft lead that looks like frozen surf. Luke now taller than his dad. “Give Dan a call,” Luke said. “He’s drivin’ now. We’re headin’ inland to work,” and he…

Notes on Experience, Story, and Voice

“The idea that everyone has a story to tell (which underlies the notion that anyone can write since all a writer needs is a story) is strictly correct,” Jenny Diski said, writing in the London Review of Books (7 Mar, 21) about Marco Roth’s memoir, “The Scientists: A Family Romance.” Well, Henry James thought so,…

Plumbing & Writing: A Review of the Literature (at the Toads)

One of these days, I’ll craft a post equal to one of my Dad’s plumbing jobs. Meantime, here are a few past posts that mention the improbable connection between writing and plumbing: Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life E. B. White and the Plumber The Elite and the Effete: From Access to Egress A Portrait of…

A Plumber’s Noir

I was up late last night, twittering through “The Late Show,” the best way to watch Letterman, and awoke past the dawn to discover a delightful missive, a kind of plumbing noir note, left inside the TP wheelbarrow, placed atop the closed loo. The empty wheelbarrow was a first clue to the mishap that must…

The Postman Always Rings Twice, the Plumber Rarely More Than Once

I read a book this week, “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” There is no postman, but plenty of rings. The title page of my copy is stamped “WITHDRAWN,” and below that, “CIRCULATION STORAGE,” and above the publisher info., “SIERRA MADRE PUBLIC LIBRARY.” When a library “withdraws” a book, perhaps some helpful librarian might add a…

E. B. White and the plumber

In December of 1930, E. B. White wrote a piece for the New Yorker about the garbageman. “They have the town by the tail and they know it,” White concluded, after a brief study of the can collector’s habits. We like to watch the trashman too, the descendants of White’s subjects, wrestling now with new…