author spotlight: Robin Silbergleid

Life choices like marriage can sometimes break up a friendship, even if you’re not quite sure why, explains Robin Silbergleid in “In Recipes and CDs”…

“The other night, I cooked those chickpeas you used to make–you know, those spicy ones with turmeric and lemon juice? I loved the way your apartment smelled, the sizzle of onions and garlic in oil. I keep the recipe in the front pocket of my black binder, along with the recipe for Thai curry that I also got from you. It’s been six years, and I’m not quite sure what happened, or when we stopped being best friends and started being acquaintances at best. But you’re always with me. In the recipes I cook, in the black pens I buy at Staples, in the books lined on my shelves. But I feel your absence most at those turning points when I really need a confidant. You weren’t there when I miscarried. You weren’t there when I gave myself shot after shot after shot and finally found the two blue lines on the test stick. (“All the fertility nonsense,” you called it the last time we spoke on the phone, dismissing two years of my life in a turn of the phrase.) You weren’t there when I brought the baby home from the hospital, and you weren’t there when I named her Hannah. You never even bothered to send a card. You, a woman who had regular coffee dates with a man you called your “benign stalker.” You must really hate me. Every year on Yom Kippur I write you a letter of apology, a letter I never send. I’m sorry I missed your wedding. I’m sorry I cried at the reception. I’m sorry I never said I’m sorry sooner. Most of all, I’m sorry I don’t know how to be friends with a married woman. I told myself I hurt you so badly you never wanted to talk to me again (even if I’m not quite sure what I did wrong). I told myself you were desperately jealous that I got the kid and the job without all the nonsense of heterosexual romance. I told myself I was full of shit. I told myself you just didn’t care…”

ROBIN SILBERGLEID is assistant professor of English at Michigan State University, where she teaches literature and creative writing. She is the author of the chapbook Pas de Deux: Prose and Other Poems (Basilisk Press, 2006), and her poems and essays have appeared in journals including The Truth about the Fact, River Oak Review, Crab Orchard Review, and the Cream City Review, for which she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her collection of poems The Baby Book began as a piece she wrote for J.’s son on the occasion of his birth, a poem that never actually made it into the collection. He is, however, included in Texas Girl, a book-length memoir that deals with becoming a single mother by choice. Robin is looking for publishers for both books. Following the birth of her daughter, Robin moved to Michigan; she has many friends in East Lansing, but they are not J.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Spooky alert…for some reason this morning, we were drawn to Robin’s letter today to make as today’s spotlight, and then while typing her bio editor realized that she’s actually wearing a Michigan State University sweatshirt this morning. Coincidence? You decide…

Read the rest of Robin’s letter, and 35 others, in P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends, now available in bookstores nationwide!

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