Remedy for Trumpsomnia


Turns out I didn’t invent the phrase, I just suffer from it.

The following bit of wisdom goes back to the Iowa caucuses.

I assume it would still work.

Dear, The Beauster:

I recently heard a Donald Trump speech and it disturbed me so much that I have developed a case of “Trump-somnia.” Even with his loss in Iowa on Monday night I fear I will never sleep again? Is it even worth trying? -Sleepless in South Seattle

Dear S in S S: Congratulations! You are healthy! “Trump-somnia” is the only rational response to the hateful blather that pours from The Donald’s pouty-lipped mouth. Don’t sleep on this guy. France made that mistake with Hitler in the years leading up to World War II, brewing itself a giant mug of chamomile tea as the Third Reich annexed Austria, then chugging a bottle of Nyquil PM in response to its annexation of Czechoslovakia. When France finally roused from its slumber, a stern little man with an ugly moustache had crawled into its bed, hogging the covers and drooling all over the pillows. Stay awake! Do not sleep until this national threat has been – forgive the pun – put to rest.

 Prescription: The South Seattle Speedball – Espresso-infused vodka, vanilla-infused vodka & a whisper of Bailey’s Irish Cream in a sugar-rimmed shot glass to be dropped Boilermaker style into a pint of Flying Lion Rye Stout and Empire Espresso Toddy Coffee. From the pharmacy at Jude’s Old Town.

The Beauster is here for you, still dispensing advice and goodwill.

Except I don’t drink, Beauster.


Keep Thinking

13482879_10209824940688547_6450878168412378037_oWestcliffe, CO, June 20, 2016, photo by Bar Scott

“The full moon is the high tide of power. It signals it is time for you to release that which no longer serves you, what you no longer need in your life, or an aspect of yourself that you have outgrown.”

The things you hear at yoga. Who knew? Just kidding. Namaste, bitches.

Early on in my sobriety, I met a person who later became my “sponsor.” We used the term loosely, as I kept insisting a sponsor is someone who pays your way. Ray — let’s call him Ray — didn’t see it that way.

When I met Ray, he had more years sober than I had on earth. That’s a lot of wisdom to acknowledge. He was in a motorcycle gang in the 60s. A real life Captain America. Like I’m gonna argue with him about anything. The guy knew stuff about stuff I didn’t even know was stuff. I kept my mouth shut most of the time when I was with Ray. So, being with him always caused me to go against my nature in at least one way.

One thing Ray taught me is that it’s helpful, each year you’re sober, to let go of something. In addition to the booze and drugs and what not. You’ll constantly be surprised by what you don’t need, he said. He was right. It’s become second nature to let go of things that no longer help me move forward. Unhealthy things like cigarettes and resentments, invisible things like notions and fears, material things like collections of shoes and dishes: they’ve all made it to my discard pile.

I added a logical twist. Along with letting go of something I no longer need, I try to bring something new into my world each year. Maybe it’s a habit or a belief, a visit to a new place, a new friend, anything that keeps me thinking and growing.

Some years, I’ve gone a bit overboard, but that’s a different topic. Addicts can be excessive. Duh.

The huge moon Monday night was a beacon. I drank it in. It reminded me to get busy, and I haven’t stopped since. There’s so much left to do.

Tuesday, I learned Ray passed away while the moon was giving me permission for renewal.

I’ll keep that one last push he gave me clasped tightly in my hand, forever.


Rollercoaster Records, Kilkenny, Ireland

I found where all the good records are. Willie Meighan​’s Rollercoaster Records in Kilkenny, Ireland. If Willie doesn’t have it, you probably shouldn’t want it.

Willie won’t miss a beat in your conversation while waiting on three other people, answering the phone, sipping a coffee, and looking things up on his computer.

His selection of music, books and movies will boggle your mind. It’s like he gathered up all the vinyl you wish you’d saved, and then stocked the cds you should have progressed to by now. It’s the record store you’ve always dreamed of.

When you go, ask him to tell you about Bruce Springsteen in Kilkenny. And ask him where you should go in Kilkenny for the best live music.

Here’s Willie now.

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Happiest little record store in the world.

Rollercoaster Records
Kieran St
Kilkenny, Ireland
Phone (056) 776 3669

On His Birthday: A Classic Tom Sheehan Story

Happy Birthday to my father, Tom Sheehan, who’d be 93 today. He died July 4, 2003.

Here’s one of my favorite stories about him. It’s a baseball story, of course.

The College World Series — played in Omaha every spring — got its start in 1946.

Here’s how.

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My father was an All-American baseball player, the catcher and co-captain of his team at Notre Dame. He was selected to play in that 1946 game, held at Fenway Park in Boston, for the Mid-West (aka West) team. He’s mentioned below as one of the standout selections.


The East won, 6-2.


I didn’t know about any of this until one night in the 90’s, when I was home visiting my parents. We were having a few drinks at our usual spot, when some friends, a couple named Harold and Lois, dropped by our table.

“We have something that belongs to you, Tom,” Harold announced.

We all exchanged curious glances, none more curious than Tom’s.

Harold pulled a tiny square blue box from his pocket.

“We were on a cruise, and we met a woman from New York. We told her we were from Carroll, Iowa, and she asked us if we knew you.”

My mother raised an eyebrow.

“We said yes, and she said she had something of yours she’d like you to have back. She had this with her!” Harold handed my father the little box.

We all watched as my father took off the lid and looked inside.

After a few seconds, he seemed to know what he was looking at. “Holy cow,” he said, using one of his favorite expressions.

“What? What is it? Let’s see!” We all were bursting to know.

He showed us a shiny gold baseball charm, engraved with his initials.

“It’s from the one and only college all-star game. I played in it at Fenway Park,” he explained, tucking the box into his jacket pocket.

“Not so fast,” my mother said. “I think you’re leaving out part of the story.”

My father sheepishly explained, “Well, someone I used to know had it… and she must have decided to give it back.”

Turns out that someone was Miss New York at the time she was his girlfriend, when he gave her this trinket. My mother was familiar with her existence.

But none of us could quite believe anyone would travel with something like this, hoping to finally meet people who could help return it to its owner.

For the rest of the night, he kept pulling the little box out of his pocket, holding it between his fingers, smiling. “They never forget,” he gleefully teased my mother.

And now, it’s one of my favorite possessions.

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The clippings above are the only information I can find about the game. I didn’t know it was the precursor to the College World Series until I did this research. I’d love to know if all the players got one of these charms, and if anyone else still has one.

In honor of his birthday, here are some highlights from his senior season at Notre Dame the following year.

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Happy Birthday, Tom. I miss you every day.

Fabulous Furniture, Boiceville, NY

Three works of art, all from the mind of one artist: Steve Heller, of Boiceville, NY.

IMG_8059 IMG_8084 IMG_8097And that’s just the beginning. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling through upstate New York on Rt. 28, you can’t help noticing the fabulous pieces of sculpture outside a little shop in Boiceville, just north of Woodstock. You must stop and look at them. And go inside.

There, you’ll find a menagerie of glorious art pieces disguised as furniture, made from reclaimed wood by award-winning car restorer and American Visionary Art Museum contributor Steve Heller.

The furniture is displayed amidst his collection of robots and space vehicles, also made from reclaimed materials. Pretty soon you’re going to want to meet the guy who made all this. And you can. Just ask for him. He’s more than happy to leave his shop to visit with you and tell you all about the making of any piece that catches your eye. Steve is a completely charming guide as he takes you through his store, listening to you just as much as talking about his process. You’ll quickly see how much love and creative genius has gone into every item, whether it’s wood or metal.

The photo opps are endless at Fabulous Furniture. Here’s just a sample of what’s waiting for you. And Steve does custom pieces, obviously.

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This weekend, Steve hosts a show of new sculpture. The mind reels. Details below.

11722558_10207453078354772_2804554398306781217_oFabulous Furniture | Wed thru Sun 11-5 | Route 28 Boiceville, NY | 845-750-3035 |

Rejected Titles for Go Set a Watchman


  1. Go Sell a Roughdraft
  1. Scout-Tacy and Tib
  1. Burn This
  1. Peyton Place
  1. Call Me Atticus
  1. In Cold Mockingbird Blood
  1. I Can’t Find the Key to My Safety Deposit Box
  1. Ignore All Those Red Marks
  1. How to Reform a Racist in Six Easy Rewrites
  1. Think This Thing Has Legs?

Update: The talented Nan Tepper surprised me this morning with these! Double the fun. Thank you, Nan!

burn-this call-me-atticus go-sell-a-roughdraft how-to-reform-a-racist ignore-all-those-red-marks in-cold-mockingbird-bloos think-this-thing-has-legs

Would You Take Back a Manuscript Before Your Editor Finished Working on It?

A precise explanation of a common sense approach to editing an author’s work.

The POP Newsletter

Several times throughout my freelance career, I have had reason to suggest an author take back a manuscript and work on it some more before I continue with my editing. The reactions I have received run the gamut.

The first time this came up, I had been hired for a developmental edit and project management. I had done plenty of project management but was new to manuscript development, and it wasn’t until I had put in about 10 hours of work that I realized the project really amounted to a ghostwriting assignment.

WorriedGhostwriting costs a lot of money for a number of reasons, the two most obvious being it takes a lot of skill and it takes a lot of time. It definitely costs more than development. With my client’s pocketbook in mind, I suggested he take back the manuscript, do some work to transform what had been a transcript into…

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Improvisation for Writers

Writers and storytellers! We hope you’ll apply!

Stephen Tobolowsky

img_1421 Dartbrook Lodge, photo by Kitty Sheehan.

This October I am conducting a writing workshop in the mountains of upstate New York. Beautiful. I am thrilled about the change of scenery. I am excited about the workshop. I am going to be teaching improvisational techniques for writers.

I have 10 years experience teaching improv for actors and comics. It has been fun. I get a lot of good feed back. Several of my students have gotten jobs. Not necessarily in acting. I ran into one of my students about five years ago. I asked the standard teacher question, “So how are things going?”

“Great. I got out of show business.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes. It was your class that made me quit.”


“No. It was a good thing. I’m a writer now. I’ve had two books published. Working on my third. I owe it all to your class.”

I was…

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A Bubble Bath for Your Spirit


Paulette Goddard in Anna Lucasta.

Have I ever led you astray? Wait, people who knew me in my 20’s, don’t answer that. Or my 30’s. Or early 40’s. Ok, have I led you astray recently? I try not to. Leave it at that.

In a perfect world, Sunday is supposed to be a day to care for the spirit. I’d like to help you do that. Dig in, if interested.

There are quite a few things happening around me right now that are causing me to take a closer look at the big picture. My husband and I had a long talk about this today. As you get older, the big picture has less detail and becomes more abstract. For me, life’s big picture is about remembering these few things:

  1. Do something to make today better than yesterday. Even if it just means listening better. Especially if it just means listening better.
  2. NEVER say never.
  3. Try to say yes as often as you can.

As a way of helping to make your today better than your yesterday, here are my offerings.

This episode of The Mischke Road Show. I told you about this days ago. Why haven’t you listened to it yet? Thank you so much to those of you who have, and who have let me know. I assure you, it’s worth your time, and it will inspire you and change your day. (And a shout out to our children, who are doing their part in filling that bucket with drops. After you listen, you’ll know about the bucket and the drops.)

The website of the brilliant Taylor Negron. Spend time here, lift yourself up. He was so much more than a character actor and stand-up comic, as you’ll see. He was a bright, light soul who used his time here in astonishingly productive and creative ways. All the art on the website is by him, including the gorgeous paintings. An essay not to be missed: The Pink Gorilla (Tuesdays with Lucy).

And this. If nothing else, this. A Last Gift From The Genius Mind of Taylor Negron: Reflections On A Life Spent Playing Everyman: A meditation on saying goodbye from a master of the form.

A sweet song about why you should laugh more.

Hope you feel a little lighter.

And much appreciation to all who take time to comment here or to email me. It’s everything! xo

The Mischke Road Show

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I’m an AM radio geek. And I’ve been a fan of Tommy Mischke on Minneapolis radio for a couple decades.

Tommy’s show isn’t for everyone. I’ve been in a room with his other fans; I’ve seen a motley lot of us together in one place. I had a faint sense we were all a little unhinged somehow. Wait, who among us isn’t a little unhinged somehow — in one way or another? OK, yes, yes,  it is for everyone.

Mischke’s one of a kind, starting with his voice. You absolutely cannot match his distinctive, colorful and sometimes crazy delivery with anyone else’s. His unique takes on life are both wildly funny and deceptively profound. He’s that friend we all want to run things by, because you know he’s probably going to pose an angle you hadn’t thought of, a new way to connect the dots.

Up until 2013, Tommy’s then-gig was a nightly show on WCCO-AM that made me laugh, cry and think…usually on the same night. Then during one summer show that year, he announced he was quitting. Just like that. He told his listeners he knew he had to do something else, though he didn’t yet know what it was. We fans were in mourning, but we trusted him. We knew he was telling the truth and we wanted the best for him. We’d been through a lot with him, at least from our end. We hoped whatever it was he decided to do would be something we could share.

And it is. It’s the Mischke Road Show, a weekly podcast. It’s at once funny, informative, original and thought-provoking — and always unpredictable. You can find each week’s episode on his website. (Full disclosure: I created and designed his website along with my partner, Nan Tepper. How that happened is a Mischke tale for perhaps another day.)

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and on Spreaker.

This week’s show, to me, is the epitome of what Tommy does so well, and is honing to perfection with his new venture. “The Fighter” is a story that will take you on a stunning journey, one you’d probably never thought of taking. That’s Mischke. He finds the people who have quiet, powerful stories to tell. And off we go. He knows just when to step in, to steer, and when to be silent. This episode is, as always, masterfully edited.

If you’ve never heard Tom’s show before, this is the perfect place to start.

Here’s hoping the joy and light coming from Rachel and Jason, the couple in this story, might warm your deep, dark winter night.

Click on the image below, to listen.

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