Singing the Blues

In the 1970s, when I was in my twenties, I belonged to a spiritual community that, on balance, did me a lot of good. My boss was convinced it was a cult, and when 900 members of the Peoples Temple drank cyanide-laced Kool-Aid in Jonestown, Guyana, he begged me to leave my community before something… Continue reading Singing the Blues

That Sapphire

When I was about to turn 50, I told my husband, ‘I think I’m going to let you buy me a sapphire.’ It was one of the ridiculous pronouncements I tend to make about sapphires, as I have written here. But I did have a birthday coming up, and we were at a gem show, visiting our… Continue reading That Sapphire

Mother’s Tourmalines

It was always hard to know what Mother wanted—though in certain respects she made her wishes clear, mostly having to do with cleaning up some mess or getting the hell out of her way. When I was a child following her around the kitchen, she’d say, sharply: ‘Get out from under my feet!’ She said it so… Continue reading Mother’s Tourmalines

A Lurid Tale

These things always begin innocently, at a crafts fair. This particular fair was at Lincoln Center, where I normally wouldn’t think of buying pearls. But there was a vendor with pearls in colors I’d never seen before: iridescent purples, pinks, bronzes. I hated them. And then I loved them. “Those colors are so—so lurid!” I said, meaning it as a… Continue reading A Lurid Tale