Up On a Broomstick

An old man, reflecting on his past loves, says in Isak Dinesen from “The Old Chevalier” in Seven Gothic Tales, “I do not think that I could ever really love a woman who had not, at some time or other, been up on a broomstick.”

When I read that line a week or so ago, I grabbed a pen and underlined it, something I rarely do with books anymore.

Yes! I’ve always had a fascination for women who’ve spent time, even considerable time up on a broomstick, doing their witch-type noir things, mesmerizing, beguiling, inviting trouble, making others get in trouble. Often there is intent up on the broomstick, but usually in my experience, they’re just up there making it up as they go along.

These are the only type of women who generate the mystery, mischief and cackling laughter that make me want to write about them, either in memoir, poetry or fiction (mostly fiction). These characters make routine appearances in my writing. Sometimes they are protagonists, sometimes antagonists, sometimes somewhere in between.

What does being up on a broomstick mean?

Well, for me, such moments like:

Stealing a statue of a mermaid on a rainy night.

Walking naked outside in the midst of the biggest rainstorm of the year.

A naked tarot reading in a driftwood fort.

Splayed atop a skylight as a birthday surprise.

Breaking into a beachfront house that no one had visited in year to raid a liquor cabinet.

Collecting agates while high.


Sensual shenanigans on a swinging suspension bridge.

Sensual shenanigans inside an obelisk on a grand bridge.

Climbing up an apple tree.

Grabbing a writer’s ass while he’s gigging.

Selling your gold to take a road trip.

You know, things like that.

Relationships with broomstick women usually don’t last all that long, although one of mine did for decades. Usually they end well. A few did not. These broomstick women have invariably led me to write short stories, tales, memoirs, poems, even novellas and novels about our indelible encounters. That’s nothing new for writers. It’s been going on forever in literature. I’ve even got a novel partially about two broomstick women that intersected with me over 30 years ago. That I am on the verge of another relationship with an irregular broomstick woman will no doubt assist me in the writing of this novel.