It started with asbestos. Something to think about when I hammered a nail into the baby’s nursery to hang an old floral painting I bought at a yard sale. And then there was toxic black mold. According to the papers, you had to tear the walls apart to really find it. Lead came next: in the water, the pipes, the windowsills, the dirt in the back yard where my not-yet-born child might play. When truck treads started flying off tires on the freeway, smashing through windshields and killing drivers, I really began to worry. How was I ever going to survive a drive to the hospital where my child would receive her possibly HIV-tainted blood transfusion to reduce the lead in her poisoned body?
I couldn’t eliminate any of these terrors—like bad plastic surgery, each fix presented a new problem. So I eliminated the newspaper. And the news on TV. And everything, almost magically, just disappeared.
Jessica Anya Blau's second novel, DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME (HarperCollins) will be out on January 18. Her first book, THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES (HarperCollins) was chosen as a Best Summer Book by the Today Show, the New York Post, and New York Magazine. The San Francisco Chronicle, the Rocky Mountain News and Barnes and Noble all chose THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES as one of the Best Books of the Year. Currently, Jessica lives in Baltimore and teaches at Goucher College. For information go to www.jessicaanyablau.com