Cary Tennis After Hours

Musings, outtakes and daydreams

Cary Tennis

Cary Tennis
San Francisco, California, USA
September 11
Since You Asked advice columnist
Cary Tennis writes the Since You Asked advice column for He also leads writing workshops and runs a small publishing company. He lives in the Outer Sunset/Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Francisco with his wife Norma, who is a painter and book designer, and their two standard poodles, Lola and Ricky.


OCTOBER 21, 2012 10:08AM

Writing is hard

Writing is hard. But you knew that. I am always looking for ways to make it easier. Not that it will ever be easy easy. But just so that it is easy enough that it will actually get done.
Did you read my Oct. 18 column? I got an email… Read full post »

Justin Bieber and his manager, Mr. Braun, had separate bedrooms. Justin, being younger, always went to bed first. His manager, Mr. Braun, not Lloyd Braun from “Seinfeld,” but Scooter, or “Scott” Braun, liked to stay up a little later, smoking his pipe and thinking about the so… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 7:20PM

OK, I kinda still love San Francisco

Get on the bus in the rain and sit up front in the handicapped and old peoples benches and a guy says nice hat. He’s wearing a white shirt like he’s going to work and a black jacket like maybe he used to be a punk and is looking at his…

Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 7:20PM

This post does not actually exist

You never saw this. This never happened.

Raised on cowboys and Indians, detectives, harsh men in suits blazing pistols in the dark, G.I.'s holding off the enemy from trenches or behind rocks, robbers on the lam shooting through the broken windows of splintering shacks ... these were the exciting images of gunplay I grew up with. As a… Read full post »

Norma and I got married in September 1993 at the Cliff House in San Francisco, right there at the mouth of San Francisco Bay, looking out over the Pacific.

Me and Norma getting married at the Cliff House in September 1993 

Norma had this idea that since she was only going to be wearing the wedding dress… Read full post »

People will tell you it's time to take some lessons or get therapy, and they will explain to you what is wrong with your attitude and how you can get through this either by toughing it out or by surrendering to the universe but nothing anyone says takes into account exactly… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 1:14PM

I'm pretty darned healthy, actually

Well, I have an unruly mind and it's hard to do the Tweet thing and the Facebook thing and the blog thing because of my long and sort of masochistic, sequestered, power-hungry, control-freakish hierarchical old-school fear-based relationship with writing which is miraculously being cured daily by my… Read full post »

JUNE 19, 2010 12:40AM

Writing comes from feeling

Whenever I am stuck, as I am now, I am lucky if I can recall that writing comes from feeling. Whenever I am trying to relate a circumstance or string out a narrative, describe an incident, portray an emotion, show a face, take you with me somewhere, if I am stuck… Read full post »

Here's the interesting part of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act.

Charge dealers $50 per ounce:

Chapter 2. Imposition of Fee
34011. Until a different fee is determined pursuant to Section
34032 there is hereby imposed a fee of fifty dollars ($50) per ounce
(avoir… Read full post »

JUNE 4, 2010 2:45PM

Loma Linda Dreamin'

Yesterday I swam. It was the first time since December. It felt good. I was not strong. But I had form. I wobbled only a little. My goggles did not leak. The pool is short. It is kidney-shaped.

Yesterday also I had my first proton beam radiation treatment at Loma… Read full post »

Wow, I've got to get a draft done of my spoken word piece, "Standards," in time for the Sunday, May 23 reading at 5 p.m. at Five Points Arthouse on Tehama Street in SF, and I've got a bunch of jumbled words on paper and in the computer and, man, I… Read full post »

I attended the weekly  Salon editorial meeting Thursday. After five months' absence it was great see Joan Walsh, King Kaufman and Ruth Henrich, with whom I have worked closely for over 10 years now. It was also great to see Richard Gingras, Tracy Clark-Flory, Gail Williams, Kathryn Branstetter,… Read full post »

Well, you know, I'm feeling pretty strong these days and as soon as I can get my doctor to give me a note, I think I'll start writing the advice column again. Maybe part-time at first: two or three days a week to start. We'll see how it goes.

So if… Read full post »

Well, I'm slowly coming around, and my friends at the Portuguese ARtists Colony said Hey, why not come down and read at our show, but I didn't know if I'd be starting my proton beam radiation therapy down there in Southern California at Loma Linda University Hospital yet, so I said… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 8, 2010 2:56PM

It's great to be alive

Yesterday for the first time in a while I felt the mad rush of physical being. I felt the exhiliration of strength returning. I felt the sheer wonder of taking a breath. 

It was pretty good. I've felt a similar high joy in an emotional way but this was utterly of… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 22, 2010 9:58PM

Repeal? I take that rather personally!

Watching Rachel Maddow recite the many good things the healthcare bill does, I was elated. Hearing that Republicans have vowed to repeal the bill, I was insulted. My insurance pays for life-saving care. My insurance has saved my life. It is easy and natural to shield oneself from the bloody, painful,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 22, 2010 1:49PM

Update: I've been approved!

Thanks to everyone who has worked on my behalf, the medical reviewers at Blue Cross have taken a second look at the case for proton beam radiation therapy and have approved my treatment.

 I would like to thank medical advocate Jennifer Brokaw, my superb surgical team of Drs. Christopher Ames and… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 19, 2010 12:36PM

I'm filing a grievance with Blue Shield -- and you can, too!

It's been a while since I posted on Open Salon.

I've been recovering from cancer surgery and waiting for the insurance company to approve the next course of treatment, which is 8 weeks of proton beam radiation therapy at Loma Linda Hospital in Southern California.

This treatment… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 1, 2010 9:09PM

Imaginary Cary Admits to Hurting the Poodle

Dear J,

Well, my passion is unruly, J. I turned from writing to you -- telling you I was going to work on one piece -- to writing some other things, unexpected things, things that pushed forward to the front of the line. You know, I write a lot of what… Read full post »

Dear Imaginary Julie,

Well, actually, I'm gonna call you just Imaginary  J because I know several actual Julies and you have to be Imaginary Julie or you will get all mixed up in my head with those actual Julies. So you'll just be J. Imaginary J. If that's OK, even though… Read full post »

MARCH 1, 2010 1:08PM

I had a realization!

Big thought just hit me. I kinda have trouble writing for the blog. How come? dunno, dunno, dunno, then it hit: I had no idea who I was writing to. That's it! Also why advice column is such an excellent format for me: I know who I am writing to!

Try… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 11, 2010 6:46PM

How lack of health insurance kills artists

While I was in the MRI machine today, I thought of my friend Tom Fowler, the artist who died because of lack of health insurance.

(Not the artist named Tom Fowler who is Mignon's husband -- a different artist named Tom Fowler.)

The MRI machine was taking pictures of… Read full post »


Greetings. [Having by some infernal and accidental use of the spacebar in combination with unknown other keys keys lost the first and brilliant iteration of this post ... I try to recreate, which means recreating the exact mental/emotional state ... fick fick fick!]

i don't remember

i can rem… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 5, 2010 8:54PM

Coming out of hibernation

Oh, what sky! Oh, what Tundra V8 power up Clipper toward Portola and toward the sky! Oh what reverence before rainclouds: Where in the built world is found that color gray? Can it be the sun-silvered look of weathered redwood fenceboards in the low, leaning fences of Sunset backyards? Can it… Read full post »