Mallory McGiven

I had been lying in bed blue and depressed. Even the pills did nothing. They didn’t make me sleep. Just even more immobilized. And that had made things even worse. The ruffled hawk feather from the dirt hills of Arizona. The bar of hand-poured silver from Eureka. The smooth Petoskey stone from the shore of Lake Michigan. Stashed away. In a shoebox. In another shoebox. All the other shoeboxes. I had had an entire row once that had been thrown away. Automatically. Even those. Hopeless. And even his colorful striped woolen blanket. Folded and dumped in the curbside dumpster. Even my notebooks. Dumped out in the same dumpster. Even there I could not bear witness to, bear to read my own testimonies. My self-deception. Amazing! The one! In love! At last! The same thing. Ad nauseam. Depressing. Even my own confidences with myself had been wistful inventions of the imagination mostly. Mostly like pretty, colorful decals a little girl had once pressed onto square glass bedroom windowpanes to make herself feel better about her grimly lived life—there’s a rainbow! there’s a unicorn! there’s a windmill! there’s a four leaf clover! there’s a smiling sun! Imagined. Made up. Pretty. Make believe. I had disconnected the landline, blocked my cell, same for any messages. I had lain in the lavender oil bathwater and had remembered how beastly he had been, crouching on his elbows lapping up water with his tongue by the lake, who had, it seemed, completely loved me from his ruined castle which love I had not I felt, dozing eventually into oblivion, nor had I accepted had been my own before I had completely slipped away myself.

Match . . .

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Divorced and on the loose, writer Egbert Starr reveals the manic days of his six month plunge into online dating. A cringe-worthy read that’s hard to let go of, he writes over three hundred letters to women online, just as desperate for sex and love as he is. Funny, cruel, sentimental, heartfelt, and just plain ridiculous, these letters stage the outlandish adventures he ends up on—from bi-polar potheads discovered in the forests of New Jersey, to crazed Harvard PhD’s threatening to break down his locked front door.

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Match: The Book—

Everybody has done online dating, but nobody has done online dating the way Egbert Starr has done online dating.

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My Light Blue Blanket Folds

baseball players on bended knee

A little blue man with a rounded blue belly once told me all his woes. He told me that he never rose higher than fetching coins tossed toward a scattered highway basket, where, skirting traffic, he was mocked by other toll-takers safely protected in their metal and glass booths. He claimed to be a hero picking skilletfuls of quarters, nickels, and dimes from the speeding pavement. He told me how a fever killed his sense of smell and wartime cost his hair. Proud though he was to practice fencing with a gentleman whose occupation as a famed ophthalmologist made him feel quick and tall, he was never a guest in that same man’s college drinking club, just a block from Grand Central. He filled me in on the deaths of guppies in his fish tank, boiled alive by accident by a faulty water heater, as a child. And he promptly told me of broken women whom he aptly diagnosed, turning the pages of psychiatric classifications, from a borrowed DSM-5. I felt bad and let him touch me a little bit, and worse to let him go.

(read more & play @ egbertstarr.com)

Modern Gym Rat Par Excellence

cairns & people

I know it: I’m a skunk. When I see a lady in tights, down in the dumps, I move in. I take her out to tea. I take her out to a movie. I shaved down my skull to look ten years younger. I say ‘hello’ to everyone in town. I know my way around. They can’t believe I had late stage Lyme Disease. And I tell the lady I’m with, “Yeah, for a time, my confidence, it was really eroded.” I look down. But they don’t see half of what I know. How I got too close where I should have not. Got caught. The short of it was, my old job? Kaput. I wanna say I’m a victim of Orson Welles. That my little red sled, my Rosebud, got burned up, too, on that snowy, white hill. I want to overcome my original traumas, my mother, my father, my love affairs with blue raincoats and wearing all my life, on both sleeves, the songs of Leonard Cohen. That’s what I do. Can’t help it. I know it. I’m a creep. Posing as a one hundred percent beeswax candle burning like romance on your bedside table. Why, I’m never going to be famous. And I’m never going to be rich. Blah blah blah. It works. I’ll taking a spinning class at the Racquet Club and ride my wheels there. And before you know it, I’ll be checking out the tight ass of some other hot … Well, you know it. I’m just so lonely, and so incomplete. I believe in karma, for sure. Can’t help it. I’m a professional player. For sure. Don’t doubt it. Come on, date me. Go out to dinner. I’ll pay. Shop together at Whole Foods. You buy. Let me swap out the light summer screen with your heavy glass storm door. I’m strong. Even wash your car. Yeah, do it. And I know you’ll feel sorry for me—no kids no wife no family blah blah blah so fucking sad—and mix that all up with your own good kindness and true, honest compassion. After you, when you catch on and we’re done, I’ll move on. There’s always another hot dame around, all confused with how to use the scale at the Club. There she is. She’s hot, jabbing at the on/off button with her sneaker’s green and pink toe. A pro, I know exactly where to begin. I’ll move in. [Start at top line of this paragraph, again.] Starting up the pattern again. Another tale to tell, as the LCD screen lights up with the nimble prodding of my foot and my verbal aplomb, as I venture to recount, for the weeks that it takes, my ongoing saga of romantic woe. In the end, the numbers add up. Women are precisely and exactly and predictably the same: my saddened male lifetime, swapped for a feather down bed. The pattern? It’s clockwork. The women all know me. I say “I’m alone.” I reap what I’ve sown.

(read more & play around @ egbertstarr.com)