We used to be kings. Not real royalty, but cultural kings. By “we,” I mean our family. By “place,” I mean the world. And by “world,” I mean New York. My dad, Pat, and his brother Mike, in the 1960s and ‘70s, owned the fucking place. After my grandmother tired of waiting for her world-traveling UPI reporter husband to come …

Vanessa McGradyTable

Across the Great Divide

The first time I saw Nanci Griffith was in 1993. Jefe and I were leaving our messy, gritty, extraordinarily fun lives behind in Gallup, New Mexico, where we learned to be reporters and we’d finally gotten the hang of the two-step. I’d pretty much sabotaged the relationship, even though I was deeply, madly connected with this quirky and funny and …

Vanessa McGradyAcross the Great Divide


The thing about 40licious, as I’ve likely explained before, that with all the goodness of wisdom and the puzzle pieces taking shape (“oh! this piece finishes that bit of sky and connects the umbrella to her hand …”) is that there are people who finished this earth earlier than I have. My friend Todd, for example, who was a raucous …

Vanessa McGradyGhosts

A Letter to the Girl in the Towel

Dear Current Occupant of My Former Residence on Rowena Street, Busted. You realized that, as you stood at the door, hair in one towel, another wrapped around your LA-too-skinny ass. I really tried to do this in the most civilized manner possible. I left a nice note. You didn’t respond. I went again, with hopes that you would be home …

Vanessa McGradyA Letter to the Girl in the Towel

Seven Years Ago

Seven years ago I woke up to the sound of a plane zooming way too low for comfort. Then a crash. I thought it was Blue Angels, cursed them under my breath, and tried to find sleep again. But couldn’t. The phone rang. I answered it — Linda was still asleep — and her frightened friend told me to look …

Vanessa McGradySeven Years Ago

I May Move In With My Mother

Contractor shows up only sporadically these days. Still no water in kitchen, washing the few dishes I use in the bathtub. Dust is everywhere. My dog is pooping dust, I fear. Maybe it’s good for her, I don’t know. Today I came home to find: kitchen cabinet doors on and painted the exact shade I wanted (good) outlets in kitchen …

Vanessa McGradyI May Move In With My Mother

A Dog’s Life

This weekend I needed to get out of the house. It’s about two weeks into chaos due to my kitchen remodeling, and at this late date, I am still insecure about my choice of countertop. I am closest to deciding on the granite that looks like early-morning television snow (if you are under 35, go ask your parents what this …

Vanessa McGradyA Dog’s Life