I love my playlist




I ride my bike 4 or 5 times a week for about fifty minutes. I have done it for over 3 years—and always, always with my phone and spotify playlist. Sorry, Taylor (see a two part post). When I inherited my son’s phone, he gave me an arm band to hold the phone and the most amazing, blue tooth headset so I could listen to music while biking. This music has saved me from many a crappy day, and it always, always, brings me back to center. I swear, it’s miraculous. It’s a white woman blend of rock (old and new) and pop (old and new), no hip-hop, no rap, no hippie girls or irish guys. Think The Black Keys, The Heavy, Katy Perry, The Ting-Tings, Blondie—very eclectic. A certain tempo is required for my biking and these songs all fit the bill.  It is awesome. Should anyone ever care to listen, and if you’re a friend on facebook, search for Pam Heffner on spotify, “biking” playlist.

And, no, that’s not how I dress on my bike. Just wanted to get your attention.


photo credit: chicksandfixies.wordpress.com


shane falco


top10films_co_uk cbssports


Hey, remember that great article I posted about Shane Falco, I mean Joe Flacco? Remember that the article said Flacco was hot and I agreed? I take it back. You suck, Flacco.

And since the majority of my readers are not football people, Keanu Reeves played QB Shane Falco in The Replacements, one of my all time favorite, bad movies. Dude, I’m playin’ football!


post is dedicated to tmh

photo credit: top10films.co.uk / cbssports.com

a house blessing




Thoughts of beauty made me think of this book today—a gift I gave to myself in 1995—A House Blessing by Welleran Poltarness. It’s a bit sappy, and if you’re feeling sappy (and we all get that way on occasion), it’s the perfect little read. It about honoring home, and as my readers know, I’m all about home. Some pieces below:


All who live and visit here shall be friends. Kindliness and harmony shall be the watchwords.

Let the mealtimes be far more than the fulfillment of a necessity. In this home food shall be prepared with grace, and eaten with gratitude.

Let this be the place of peace, offering refuge from chaos and doubt, and manifesting in its orderliness, a model for the larger world.

My beauty reign here, and lovely objects renew us by their silence and perfection.

I wish for you, in this sheltered place, the freedom to play and explore.


photo credit: Sacheverell Darling / Blue Lantern Studio

I want




I seemed to be plagued with tremendous wants as of late. I want everyone to buy my book, I want an income as a writer, I want a wardrobe (not a better wardrobe, a wardrobe, period), I want a city apartment, I want emotional fulfillment—which is another post entirely. And since I believe that most emotion is cyclical, I know that my deep wanting period will pass—but here it is—as annoying as mosquitos overhead. Damnit. I hate when this happens.

In Laura Oliver’s memoir and essay class, we were once given the writing prompt of “I want…”  Two hundred and fifty words, short, concise, and for me, an incredibly meaningful assignment, one that I took quite seriously considering that this class in itself was a step towards understanding my wants (must add that I took all assignments seriously). Two things of note about this piece: I remember that I may have been the only student to be so specific in my wants. It seemed as if the other wants were more esoteric or ethereal. And this task was maybe 3 or 4 years ago, and interestingly, my wants have changed very little, if at all. I’m perfectly pissed off that I’ve lost the original work, but I have replicated it pretty well below, even though I’m way short of the intended word count. Regardless…”I want…”

I want to live alone in a city apartment with a view, with a balcony or patio big enough to hold large plants. I want my husband and children to come stay with me and I’ll cook holiday dinners for all and it will be wonderful. I want a living room with round wooden tables and beautiful lamps and humble boxes on top, and a bedroom that is perfectly romantic and covered with sumptuous fabrics and a boyfriend who never minds spending the night at my place. I want beautiful dresses to wear when my boyfriend takes me dancing, and we will go dancing a lot. I want to live close to a coffee shop, a drugstore and a grocery store and work park time in a consignment shop, spending the rest of my time writing stories that people love to read. And then, please, and then, let me be free of this incessant wanting.

I understand about working towards your wants, the options, the obstacles, the effort required to make them come to fruition, but I seem to moving at a snails pace, and often I find myself stuffing the wants down, mostly because of self-doubt. But I think that it may be a good thing to have my wants smacking me in the face right now, to motivate, to inspire. Carry on. That’s it, just carry on. MAKE IT WORK, and thank you, Tim Gunn, my mentor, my pasty, white God. Keep your eye on the prize. Will I ever be free of wanting? Probably not. But oh, that fancy bedroom may satisfy me for a very long time.


p.s. Try the “I want…” exercise—a perfect fit for introspective types.


art: Anne Taintor


eleven minutes


blue black room


from Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes

“When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself.

When I experienced humiliation and total submission, I was free. I don’t know if I’m ill, if it was all a dream, or if it only happens once. I know that I can perfectly well live without it, but I would like to do it again, to repeat the experience, to go still further.

I was a bit frightened by the pain, but it wasn’t as bad as the humiliation, and it was just a pretext. When I had my first orgasm in many months, despite all the many men I’ve been with and the many different things they’ve done with my body, I felt—is this possible?—closer to God. I remembered what he said about how the flagellants, in offering up their pain for the salvation of humanity, found pleasure. I didn’t want to save humanity, or him or me; I was just there.

The art of sex is the art of controlled abandon.”


photo credit: etsy.com / blue black room


the nipple




Your left nipple is mine, he told her

and she looked into his want and thought for some time.

I give you my nipple, she whispered

but hold it at the back of your jaw

and close to your tongue

and no harm can come to my nipple

or it comes back to my body.


I will protect this gift he told her

and took it into his mouth and thought for some time.

I must sadly return your nipple, he whispered

as he kissed her bare breast,

for it loves you too dearly–

and instead, take your tears

as I open your body

and tell you you’re mine. – pn


photo credit: sznewsdaily.sznews.com


be right back




How many writers do you think have been hypnotized by a blinking cursor on their computer? Why, I suspect it’s in the hundreds, thousands, millions, perhaps. That blinking cursor sits on my machine like a word at the end of my tongue. A word that is about to spill from my mouth, and my mouth says, ah, ah, ah, and nothing comes of it. It’s right there. And so is the blinking cursor. The word at the end of my fingertips that will just not come out. Actually, there are too many words. I’ve just not sorted them out yet.

Stay thirsty, my friends.


photo credit: blogelina.com


drinking story no. 2




When my husband and I moved to Baltimore, I went through 2 waitress jobs before I found one that stuck. My first was on the Nobska, a former New England ferry turned restaurant that sat in Baltimore’s up and coming Inner Harbor. It didn’t sail anywhere, it just sat there, rather floated there, bobbed there, gross and smelly. I worked on the Nobska for 3 days, I vomited twice. The second waitress job was in Baltimore’s only 5 star restaurant, Danny’s, home of tableside everything. The joke on the street was, “which is older, the restaurant or the waitresses?” and at twenty-something, no one could quite figure out what I was doing there, myself included. My experience at Danny’s was also short-lived.

The third restaurant I worked in was Martick’s Restaurant Francais, a Baltimore landmark, an institution, a decrepit, old building, with an equally decrepit, crazy-ass owner named Morris Martick. There are mixed accounts on the history of both the building and the business—its genesis as grocery store, to bar to speakeasy to jazz club to bohemian, French restaurant. There was NO signage, just a doorbell and a number on a building next to a creepy parking lot. By the time I started working there, the memories and the menu were fading, and the few customers we had seemed to be as surprised at being there as the servers were in seeing them. I worked with a handful of artists that I truly admired and Morris, while scattered and a bit of a bully, was a talented chef and a character worth watching and knowing. I made little money there but I loved the job.

The first floor of the building was the bar and dining room, the second floor housed the kitchen and a large closet where Morris slept. The third floor was storage and attic extraordinaire, bulging with vintage dinnerware, cutlery, hotel silver, and gorgeous glassware. I was fascinated with this space (I promise to write a post about my reoccurring dream of finding the undiscovered room of lost treasures). I poked into boxes and bags and dusty containers every time I was up there, searching for something fabulous, coveting these beautiful, forgotten pieces—and stealing them. I stole a bunch. Dessert plates, silver trays, vases, whatever. I used these pieces and enjoyed them—kinda. Morris had no idea what was up there and he would never, ever, miss them. I was, and I am, an alcoholic—and that’s what some alcoholics do.

Several years after I got sober, long after my time at Martick’s, I returned the stolen pieces. I’m not sure that Morris remembered who I was, his health and mind were failing, but it would be close to impossible to forget the shock on his face upon looking into the bag that held his treasures. He told me that no one had ever been so kind or so honest. I didn’t stay and chat—while my visit was extremely satisfying, it was equally embarrassing for both of us. I didn’t think of this act as a big deal on my part, I had done plenty of foolish things as an alcoholic that I would not be able to atone for, and returning Morris’s possessions was a small stroke in a very large pool of stupidity. I made an old man’s day and stayed clean long enough to tell the tale in this journal—which is hopefully, thankfully, what some alcoholics come to do.


photo credit:  Morris Martick, baltimorebrew.com


the bird’s nest


IMG_0503 IMG_0505


I just took these photos with my phone while sitting on the balcony that is off of my bedroom—the bird’s nest. My pictures (I probably have 1,000 sunset shots on my computer) and my words do not do it justice. It is an inspirational space, narrow, with only a chair, a skinny, little bench and a candle. I have written many poems here and chapters for my novella. I have contemplated and medicated here, I have talked on the phone for hours here. It is my smoking room. Once in a very big snow storm, one of those storms with heavy wind and thunder, I locked myself out of the house while having a cigarette in the nest. My husband was two floors below and since he can’t hear me from the next room, he wasn’t going to be of any help. My son was watching tv one floor below, my only hope before jumping into the snow drift. Thanks to my tossing of a table that was there at the time and my extra large voice, I was spared from the frosty fall.

The importance of your work space is stressed over and over again on all writing-how-to blogs, and I absolutely recommend a nest (build one, find one) for all writers, artists, everyone, really. Good work and good thought comes from this place of safety, this center, and I am blessed with this space, no doubt. But comfort and inspiration are everywhere, born from within, a coupling of attitude and gratitude. Recognize and use these emotions wisely.