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In Memory, 1996
Mary Daniel Hobson

kodalith and mixed media collage, from the series Mapping the Body.

At age 14, Mary Daniel Hobson was captivated by photography and has been pursuing it ever since. Her most recent work, Mapping the Body, uses collage to navigate the inner world by expressing metaphorically how emotions and experiences are imprinted upon the body. Another image from the series, Untitled: for My Grandmother, was on the cover of Moxie's issue The Body Eclectic (summer 1999).

A San Francisco native, Hobson received her B. A. in art history from Vassar College, and then pursued an M.A. in the history of photography at the University of New Mexico. Her work has been exhibited nationally, and is in collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art..


Moxie is delighted to bring you WhattheHell, a new department that throws caution to the winds. For a glimpse of the inner workings of the female mind, amble around in the imaginative stories we've gathered here. Then let the authors of these unreal pieces hear from you.

Single Mom had always been the wallflower sort. That was why her ex had been so attracted to her: he was a great dancer and paradoxical. At any large social gathering she always found a friendly shadow and set herself down in it. There she scrutinized the bright and frenetic: the buzzing, cooing, grunting, screeching... (more )

The Arithmetic of Girl Beauty
After "The Brady Bunch," "Scooby Doo," and "Gilligan's Island"

Marcia Sucks. This is what Jan thought-

all that Other Girl angst rolled up inside her

like the hole in a donut, and only Alice the Maid...
(more )

I'm tired of nice. Nice manners. Nice writing that no one publishes. I'm even tired of goodness. I'm not good, you understand. I'm tired of trying to be good. That's why I've moved to New York City. At age sixty I'm going to learn "bad" from Manhattan. My goal is not only to write bad, but to be bad... (more )

I stood there, using my supreme will power to stop my hands from trembling; even still my palms were so sweaty I rubbed them repeatedly on the thighs of my khaki shorts. I arrived early for the four o'clock Blackjack Tournament. I needed to walk off some excess energy and get comfortable in this slot machine jungle. Bells, flashing lights and bright colors put me on sensory overload. I had to calm down, and I wanted to scope out the competition before they knew I was in the game. Late afternoon is usually a dead time in a casino on a cruise ship but the cool inviting air conditioning was starting to suck my rivals in. I tried to be unobtrusive (as unobtrusive as a long-legged redhead can be) as I watched the men and women approach the cashier's cage to sign up.... (more )

Bye, Bye Birdie
She had given serious thought to killing her husband. That she didn't kill him wasn't for lack of means. For one thing, there were a half dozen guns in the house, and he'd taught her how to use them back in the early days of their marriage. But she was also certain she could never get away it. She didn't know how to kill him and at the same time be sure she wouldn't have to go to prison for it. She watched the news, and she'd heard reports of more than one wife who'd killed an abusive husband and had then been punished for it. She just couldn't risk losing the twins, leaving them without a mother, especially since they really didn't have a father... (more )

Corporate Cheeseballs
I first met Richard in Thailand. He seemed normal but what I perceived as normal then has now changed. He was tall, handsome, and reeked with class, not the book-learned kind...genetic... (more )

It starts with one disgruntled sandal
who spreads rumors to the quieter pumps.
By the time I get to the closet,
the shoe rack is toppled.
Rumbling spreads up pant legs,
skirts sizzle with anger...
(more )

Foot Stories
My last boyfriend hated my feet. He assured me it had nothing to do with my feet in particular, he felt this way about everyone's feet, including his own. His vehemence on the subject - what I initially, jokingly called the "anti-fetish" - surprised me, though I respected it with the curious interest one has in a new lover's ways. It seemed a harmless idiosyncrasy. I asked him what had spurred this keen dislike, an accident, perhaps, some harsh poolside comment. Suprisingly, he felt no need at all to justify his repulsion. He had no stories; hating feet was simply a part of his life... (more )

The bartender gave us free drinks that night: cute cocktails for the cute sorority girls that we were back then. I remember pink potions that tasted like jellybeans, green and crimson syrups, a lavender liqueur all mixed up with maraschino cherries. A full August moon hung over town and I felt exuberant, reckless. We had just started college and getting hammered was fun - really fun. We giggled and snorted. We tried on each other's lipstick and talked about penises. All of a sudden then, I remembered that I was illegally parked...

Valerie wasn't surfing the Internet, she was drowning. Unless she caught a wave pretty soon, her whole life would be in the toilet, the twin turds of romance and career floating side by side. And this time Mark was going to flush... (more )

Kung Fu Coma
"I don't teach no wimpy dance moves. I'm gonna teach you how to take a man down! Make him hurt!"

I winced and held the phone away from my ear. The man on the line spoke in a raspy, manic half-shout. He sounded like a cross between the Crocodile Hunter and a WWF wrestler...

Lonely Planet Woman
I like to think of myself as an über-Lonely Planet traveler: eager to immerse myself in a different culture and shed the comfort of my middle-class American skin. But deep down, I sometimes get the sinking feeling I might be more of a Frommer-girl. My boyfriend Eric and I decide to go to Akumal, a tiny village on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. We want a "beach" vacation. I need to be restored. I don't want to backpack, museum-hop, or even carry a map. My Lonely Planet self whispers, "You're going soft." But I ignore her in favor of lying on a beach and not making a decision in my decision-laden life. ...

Looking Good
Listen, my girlfriends, and you shall hear
What most men want, besides cold beer.
I've studied them and the things they do,
And what I've learned I'll now tell you...

Here it was, Friday night, and Lucinda was alone in her upstairs apartment. To make matters worse, the elevator was on the fritz again, and the fire escape stairwell was covered with rust.
"I can't even call for take-out," she grumbled...
(more )

The Makeup Artist
Poppy opened her bag and set out little pots of powder, assorted brushes, tubes of colors, and prepared to do her best for Carol Gordon, recently deceased wife of Andrew Gordon, mother of ... (more )

No Greeks or Comedians Allowed
I'm a generally happy person. There are exceptions, of course. If I have a cold and snot is running out of my nose, then I am not happy. If I have to walk ten blocks in the miserable cold with no gloves, then I am not happy. If I go back to Michigan, and some horrific middle-American farmer's wife in a sweatshirt asks me if I've found a man yet, then I am not happy. But overall, I'm satisfied with my lot in life... (more )

One Last Donation
It wasn't clear what drove Megan to do it. Maybe it was thing, but it was probably everything. It had all started when she walked into a government office, composed mainly of women, as an intern in the early nineties. Her first faux pas had been to wear rubbed silk when everyone else was wearing sofa-cover dresses with lace pilgrim collars. Of course, there had been the asymmetrical haircut, silver bangles, and ear cuff. She had eventually succumbed to the pressure to wear gold-tone jewelry and synthetic fabrics, but how she missed the texture of real material... (more )

One More Reason to Quit Drinking Sodas
It's not that I don't like George. What's not to like? He's such a nice guy. The kind of guy who puts you in front of him at the copier if you look hurried, or even if you don't. The kind of guy who buys you a Coke when he goes to the vending machine, even if you weren't wanting a Coke at all and actually are trying not to drink so much soda in general. Because he's that kind of guy, if you offer him money for the Coke, it will seem petty in the face of his benevolence. I try anyway, even though I know... (more )

In the summer of 1856, Nongqause was 16. Her father was dead and she lived with her uncle, Mhlakaza. He was an important man in the tribe, a prophet and a teacher whose interpretations of dreams and omens had made him both feared and respected. Nongquase was afraid of him.
She was a shy girl with big bones, heavy features, and few friends. But that didn't prevent her from dreaming of a lover. Her desires fastened on Nxele, a young herdsman. From a distance, she kept watch on him. She saw his strength and the bronzed beauty...
(more )

Peaceful Dreams
She sat on the big green couch after dinner like she did every night staring at the T.V. but not aware of the program. Just images and noise. He sat on the couch too but at the other end staring in the same direction. They sat that way for a long time through three sitcoms and then she spoke, "Are we through? Is it over?"

He didn't look at her, not at first and then he simply said, "Yes, I think so."...
(more )

Please Excuse My Mental Illness or
Plea of a Barnacle to its Boat Owner
I want you to like me, I insist on it. But whatever you do, for God's sake don't get rid of me just because you don't understand me, along with my uses to you. (I haven't figured that out myself! But perhaps I wasn't put here for your purposes anyhow. Just an idea, no offense intended... (more )

Poems About Fat Girls
Have you ever noticed how poems about fat girls are sexy? All that talk of curves and suavity can't help but get your pen following gravity to where flesh gathers and unfurls like summer ferns. Skinny girls are not built to carry the fullness of love sonnets. How many odes to her minuscule breasts, her arms like salad tongs, her throat as fine as a picture hook have you read? It's the softness that enraptures writers... (more )

My name is Erin and I don't talk. Everyone says I've got problems. I'm ten. I can talk, I just don't because it's too hard. I get around people and they ask me questions and I start to sweat - first my hands and then from the top of my head. Hot. I get very hot. So I don't answer questions and I don't talk... (more )

Quantum Physics, Regret,
And The Art Of Bathing
I don't know a lot about quantum physics. In fact, I know nearly nothing. But I've read a little. I've watched some documentaries and talked to a friend doing graduate studies in physics. Sub-atomic particles are peculiar things, apparently. Studying them has led some physicists to question the very nature of reality as we know it. Imagine: Every nanosecond (or less), every possible thing that could happen in fact does happen. This means that there are infinitely many universes, exponentially growing in number with each passing second... (more )

The Rules
I got a letter from the library today. Acting in the best interests of the entire community, it said, they have put me on probation for six months. I can't check out books, just videos. Not any video, mind you, only videos from the children's section. At the end of my probation period, when they receive a letter from a psychiatrist, the library board will decide whether or not to reissue my regular card...

The Smoking Cuban Woman
Kim Walden interprets dreams so I just had to tell her about the one I had the other night. It was a doozy. Kim's one of those waify, touchy-feely types with frizzy hair in need of relaxer, but she's studied tarot for years and is up to speed on symbolism, which is essential to interpreting dreams... (more )

Kathy was concerned over the health of her marriage. After taking various quizzes in woman's magazines and consulting the self help section in the bookstore, she came to the conclusion that she had to do something if she was ever to get off this path leading directly to the doors of Divorce Court. That and she had to lose ten pounds. Ever since she had opted to stay home with the baby, things had changed. Guilt over not making money like she used to had compelled her... (more )

Swinging with Tarzan
Well, here I am, lost in the jungle again for the first time... (more )

Talking Out Loud In My Head
It's Friday night. I survey my section, paste a pleasantly bland smile on my face, and get on with it. As I approach my first customer I'm not expecting anything original and sure enough, he isn't.
"Hey doll, whatcha doin' tonight?"
I respond with the ease that comes from too much practice at this game.
"Hello, can I get you anything from the bar?"
I'm working, you moron, what does it look like?...
(more )

White Tail Park
They said I could wear clothes
during the all-nude art
show at White Tail Park.

Hundreds of breasts,
naked, perfect in oil,
charcoal, and ink,
lined the booths.
I liked those
of one artist best,
and asked how much
he would charge
to draw mine,
with scars...
(more )

Woman in the Moon
(dedicated to Delonto Mae)
The seductively sweet scent of oleander entranced and distracted me at the corner of Gramma's house where the magenta, mauve, and pink-tipped flowers bloomed in the moonlight. I touched a delicate petal. When I brought it close to my face to inhale its intoxicating fragrance, Gramma said, "Don't touch the Oleander -- it's poisonous! If you eat it you'll lose your voice!"
"I'm not going to eat it, Gramma. Just smell it," I protested, amazed, even as a young girl...
(more )

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