Because neurotic is the new black....

Ann Nichols

Ann Nichols
East Lansing, Michigan,
December 31
I write, I read, I clean up after people and I worry about things. I have a chronic insufficiency of ironic detachment. My birthday isn't really December 31; it's March 22 but it won't let me change it.


Ann Nichols's Links

Editor’s Pick
MAY 20, 2011 10:47AM

My Rapture Plan

If there really is a Rapture tomorrow (does one capitalize “Rapture?”) I have a little list. I have chosen to hedge my bets and work today, since if there is no Rapture, I will not be paid if I take the day off to resolve the various loose ends and savor… Read full post »
MAY 16, 2011 11:43PM

A Message With No Bottle

If you find yourself trapped alone, in a small box, with room enough to pace and fret but not to recline and rest.


If the old, old dream of live burial beneath layers of rich, dark soil becomes your life and crushes all hope of sunlight or… Read full post »

MAY 15, 2011 7:30PM

Fighting Words

I have the makings of a first class pedant. From the moment I received my red Olivetti Valentine typewriter in the Fourth grade, I was fascinated by writing right. I inhaled the gospel of words from my parents, both academic types, proud that I put the comma inside the quotation marks,… Read full post »

MAY 13, 2011 9:19AM


Some time in the fall, I fell off the meditation cushion. I didn’t even actually have a cushion; I sat in a large armchair with my legs crossed, trying to keep my spine straight. It was a good practice for me, that meditation. My mind wandered away like an escaped heliumRead full post »

MAY 9, 2011 9:40AM


For my own personal realignment, The Seven Deadly Sins should include “Judginess.” I grew up in a family where judgments were harsh about things like improper use of the English language and any display of proletarian vulgarity, but never about anyone’s appearance or other immutable… Read full post »

MAY 8, 2011 10:00PM

The Loss of the Least

The cats were staring fixedly at something underneath one of the Adirondack chairs on the porch. “There’s something under there,” I said to my husband, bending to look. To the left of the chair, near the front door I spied a thick pile of tiny feathers. Too many feathers to leave… Read full post »

MAY 6, 2011 9:55AM



 "Depression is anger without enthusiasm."


I have always envied people capable of real, honest anger. By “anger” I do not mean the persistent wormholes of bitterness that lead to a grim worldview and the auxiliary need to puncture balloons and rain on parades. What… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 2, 2011 7:04PM

Something Wild


 curly ox

As a child, I had very curly hair. Although the ringlets disappeared into memory some time around my fourth birthday, the curl returned when it rained, when it was humid, and after I swam in the ocean. I speak not of some beach goddess wave, but of actual… Read full post »

APRIL 28, 2011 9:03AM


 Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought? 

-Joan Didion

 Nearly twenty years ago, I followed my dreams to a better life. Not the pasty pink, bedazzled “dreams” that are aspirations, but the gritty movies that play on the screen of the sleepi… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 25, 2011 10:18AM

The Golden Letter

On June 21, 1981 I was home from my first year at The New England Conservatory of Music, and my parents were having a party to celebrate The Royal Wedding. It was, because they were fabulous throwers of parties, quite a “do.” My father wore his kilt, my mother dressed in… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 22, 2011 9:23AM

Maundy Thursday and The Real Housewives of New York City

Yesterday was a day of thick, dark solemnity at the church where I sling Shepard’s Pie and order linens. There was a funeral first, the final celebration for a man only ten years older than I am. He was busy, active, healthy, a father of two young adults, lost to a… Read full post »
APRIL 19, 2011 9:04AM

The First Cut

 "The first cut is the deepest, Baby I know —
The first cut is the deepest..."-Cat Stevens
The first time the blade moves across white flesh, leaving in its wake a trail of carmine dots that swell into urgent rivers, it is exhilarating. Life never seems so present as… Read full post »
APRIL 18, 2011 8:37AM

Words and Music

Lately I have been thinking about lyrics and music. I posted the two as alternative choice on Facebook, and was surprised to find that the vast majority of commenters believed that music reigned supreme. (My brother,  for example, commented “Music. Duh”). I remained unconvinced.

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 14, 2011 9:47AM

Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?


It was really just going to be too much trouble to do a Passover Seder last year. My mother is Jewish, and we grew up with an annual Seder at my grandmother's house in Ohio, but these days we are just all sort of Professionally Busy.  My brother (a doctor!)Read full post »

APRIL 12, 2011 7:49AM


Having written previously about being janked, and wishing not to bore you, gentle reader, with anything repetitive or stale, I will tell you today about being bescrewed. It isn’t as much fun as it sounds.

My litany for today, a day which has begun as charmlessly as a Miley Cyrus… Read full post »
APRIL 10, 2011 8:07PM

Summer: A Preview

Summer is my least favorite season. I am a ghostly pale person, I sweat easily, and I do not garden successfully. I am allergic to chlorine and can’t spend days by the pool without breaking out in hives, and I am not generally given to hiking, camping, kayaking or doing any… Read full post »
APRIL 7, 2011 10:31AM

Iron Maiden

I recently read about a study which confirmed that ones’ taste in music is a veritable turducken of emotional intrigue. Criticizing an artist or genre that someone loves is tantamount to a psychic slap, because the music we love is part of our identity. Woe betide the insensitive thug who makes… Read full post »
APRIL 5, 2011 9:17AM

Mixed Metal

I was born in George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., the day that the Queen of the Gypsies died there. Around the same time that one of the assembled  gypsies stole the expensive overcoat of my mother's obstetrician, another took my father aside on the Labor and Delivery floo… Read full post »

Last night I said possibly the stupidest thing I have ever said. Anticipating this morning’s trip to the eye doctor, and worried about the cause of my increasingly blurry vision, I told my husband that I “really need to be able to see.” he kindly refrained from pointing out to me… Read full post »
MARCH 31, 2011 8:46AM

(I Am Not) The Brash and Persistent

I will take “no” for an answer. I will not only take it, clutching it to my heart like some beloved and bedraggled security blanket, but expect it and reach my hand out to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I am not a go-getter, a cold-caller or an optimist,… Read full post »
MARCH 29, 2011 11:19AM


I am daring to think of things that give me pleasure, that take me outside of the metes and bounds of intellect, to please my body and my soul. I struggle with knowing the things that really please me, rather than the things that I should like. I know the things… Read full post »
MARCH 28, 2011 1:59PM

Streaming Live

I am rarely confused with James Joyce. Only occasionally does someone say “is that Ann Nichols’ work, or early Joyce lost under a barrel of aging Jameson’s until the distillery moved to Killarney?

I do read, Joyce, though, and a woodcut of him hangs ov… Read full post »
MARCH 23, 2011 10:56AM

There Is No "There," Here



It has occurred to me that, in the paraphrased words of Gertrude Stein “there is no there here.” I am a mirror, something that exists only for the purpose of reflecting an image for anyone looking in from the outside. I am a chameleon; I can be anything… Read full post »

MARCH 20, 2011 11:29AM


 Thinking of an age old dream, places I have never seen,
Fantasies lived times before,
I split my brain, melt through the floor.

Iron Maiden, "Purgatory" 


I have been slogging through hip-deep mud, grateful for something so small as the sight of a sleeping baby in a shopping cart, or… Read full post »

MARCH 18, 2011 7:44PM

Oil Change

A lifetime ago, when I lived in Boston, the object of my affection purchased a sleek, black Volkswagen Jetta. He was leading a grownup life that involved having a job, and so he could afford things like cars and restaurant meals. We rode all over New England in that car, and… Read full post »