third grade brain

I had big, dorky plans to write a long blog post today, but I've spent a big chunk of today working on writing projects and I don't have much brainspace left to write much. So here's a list instead:

  • I am seeing Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D this Thursday. I just had to stop myself from mimicking my third grade journal structure: I am doing/will do __________ and it will be fun!
  • The weather is killing my sinuses and I hate everything when it is both polleny and humid outside.
  • I write almost every day and I still feel like I'm not doing enough.
  • I am making a big decision and next week, I'll get to talk about it and I'm super excited.
  • I hate making big decisions.
  • On Friday, I am going to make a plum cake. AND IT WILL BE FUN.
  • On Friday, I am going to talk to my chapbook publisher and cover artist and we're going to talk about my letterpressed cover. And IT WILL BE FUN.
  • And. It. Will. Be Fun.



This whole month has been--to use a cliche that always proves why it's a good cliche--a rollercoaster. One of Jon's grandmothers passed away suddenly. Other family issues. I'm leaving a position I sometimes liked a lot at SmokeLong to take on being an Editor at The Offing. Our landlord has hired what appears to be the most incompetent roofer in the world and what we were told would take 2 weeks at most, has now lasted a month. Yesterday things were even worse because it rained and the roofer forgot to secure a tarp over the exposed sections of the roof. So our closet wall and ceiling are damaged now, a bunch of our clothes have gotten soaked, and I spent most of yesterday morning cleaning, vacuuming, and packing up clothes.

It was one of those days where I was so mad. And it was one of those angers where I didn't have to stop and pause like I usually do when I'm angry and think a) am I overreacting? and b) is this my fault at all? Most of the times when I'm mad, I think those things and I deflate pretty fast now. Or at least go stone silent until the anger washes out. But this was one of those holy shit, I'm not wrong and actually expressing (in a politeish way) my anger might make this situation get solved a little faster moments. What I have learned as an adult woman and especially as an adult black woman is that there are rarely occasions where you can actually express the anger you're feeling without people treating you like an insane person. 

I got invited to a debate party last night. And it probably would've been fine. I would have been surrounded by dear friends, good food, and lots of liquor. But after being angry most of the day, I just couldn't take it. Some of it was I think it's truly possible to just have too much anger. I don't think I could have sat down and watched either candidate discuss black lives in America without exploding. And not in a fun, cool, look how funny I'm being way, but in a teary, I am scared way.

And the other thing is I just didn't want to see a man get applauded again for basically transforming himself into blustering, stupid anger. And on some level, I intellectually get why people support Donald Trump.  Most people want to see themselves reflected in the symbols of their nations. He probably acts how some people feel inside. But every time I think about people who support him, I wonder what are they going to do if he is elected? When they have a reason to stop being angry (finally someone who has promised me all the things I deserve to be promised, finally someone who looks like me, etc. etc.), what's going to happen? Electing a president isn't like lashing out at someone in anger and being able to just go back and say, Look I should have handled that better. Treated you with more respect. I'm sorry. And I sincerely doubt that most of the people who are gungho Trumpheads are big apologizers. In general, I wish more people were better at apologies. I think those are the make or break moments for people to show who they really are. Do I care more about my ego or about respecting someone else? I want to (within reason) always be a person who cares more about the people around me than my own ego. 

on the way to being something else

This morning I woke up early and I thought maybe  I was finally ready to keep writing a story I'd started in the middle of August. I apparently am not. To be specifically unspecific about the whole thing: I'm at a point in the story where I have to be absolutely sure of the character to go forward. If not, it'll just be a bunch of blah.

So that lead to some online puttering. I ended up reading an article by Nicholson Baker in The New York Times about being a substitute teacher. There's a paragraph in it that if I was the kind of person to do vision boards or had an organized office space, I would print it out and put it on my wall. It sums up some of my favorite things about life (and about great writing and about interesting marriages):

Beyond admiring the writing in that (I am a little annoyed that Nicholson Baker got around to using fireflying as a verb before I did. Now whenever I try something similar, I'm going to have to ask myself if what I'm writing is better than fireflying because the only way I can do this now is to feel like I wrote one that's better than his), God, I admire the sentiment so much.

I don't want to be one of those people who subscribe to the notion that everything can be wonderful. (I don't want to emulate a famous, thirsty author and try to find the joy in something like ISIS) But I do think now that I'm getting older that one of life's joys is changing and being able to be interested in things that you would never have expected to be interested in just five years ago.

When I started with plants, it was on one level a health thing. I have annoying problems with bronchitis and allergies. I read that buying an air cleansing plant is actually helpful. And eventually that's become several plants around the house. They range from the original plant who I've forgotten what kind it is to a plant that grew from clippings Jon's grandma gave us that is called Barbara the 3rd (again not an official type. The story is Jon's grandma calls her plant Barbara after the woman who gave it to her as a gift. She gave some clippings to Jon's mom. And then gave clippings to me over a year ago. Barbara the 3rd is now pretty big and hanging in our living room window).

There are times where I am very unhappy about changing and one of the things I remind myself that actually helps calm me down is, you're going to learn so much. 

Well first: I didn't realize until sitting down to write this that the long post I wrote last week is somehow gone. To get all artsy young millennial: Mercury in Retrograde strikes again! It was all about the very cliche anxiety dreams I was having. It was a real B+ blog post.

Anyway, today I got a copy of Best Small Fictions 2016 to use as a giveaway copy. And it is so, so cool. This is the first time my writing has been featured in an anthology. And my writing is published next to people I think of as cool, innovative peers, people whose writing I'm definitely excited to read more of,  and next to people whose books I've loved (Amelia Gray, Kathy Fish, Paul Lisicky, Laird Hunt) and have on my bookshelves. 

One of the weirdest and best and kind of deeply embarrassing things (I find all interviews with me embarrassing because talking about myself, especially for the consumption of a potentially wide audience, makes me so uncomfortable. I am writing in this blog still because I am basically pretending that I am Dougie Howsering it and no one is actually reading this. It's just a device so I know what I'm thinking and learning about. Also I would've been an incredible teenage doctor) is that there's an interview with me in the book:

Anyway, it's finally available! It's a real thing I can hold in my hands!