I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Alex Quinlan and Dorothy Chan over at The Southeast Review about writing, Split Lip, and fashion. Check it out here.
And in other exciting news, I’ll be leading a unique online workshop for experienced writers. Unique in that participants are both writer and teacher. Unlike typical workshops where students are led by a teacher, this workshop promotes a communal approach, and everyone is both student and teacher.
The best part? It’s affordable and it works. I may be biased, but because of this workshop I wrote and revised two stories, both of which were accepted for publication.
Find out more here.
I’ll be at Barrelhouse’s Conversations and Connections Conference on 4/22 in DC sharing literary wisdom, real talk, and strategies for literary success with my friend and colleague Amanda Miska. Join us for a healthy vent session and maybe some late-morning wine.
Sign up and learn more here.
Thrilled to have a story in Booth this month.
Announcing the 1st Annual Literary Advent Calendar, for heathens, nerds, and believers alike! I’ll be reading one story/poem/essay a day for 25 days and sharing the deets here and on Twitter. Also looking for any and all suggestions, and will share your recommendations for favorite literary works from 2016 and beyond with the masses. Leave a comment, send me a message, Tweet at me, whatever it is, don’t be shy.
Happy reading and joyous wishes for 2016 to you. May you get all the books your geeky heart desires.
2016 Literary Advent Calendar
Day 2: “Isabelle” by George Saunders in Indiana Review 17. 1 (and also in CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: Stories & a Novella)
Day 3: “DM if you #REPENT” by Allison Pinkerton in The Pinch
Day 4: “Guided Tour” by Miller Williams in Southern Humanities Review, Volume 1.1, Spring 1967
Day 5: “Of Windows and Doors” by Mohsin Hamid in The New Yorker (Nov 14, 2016)
Day 7: “The Prospects” by Michelle Seaton in One Story Mag
Day 8: “Not Trash Day” by Claire Eder in Colorado Review
Day 9: “Trespassing” by Nghiem Tran in The Offing
Day 10: “still life with the accent” by Safia Elhillo in The Collagist
Day 11: “Cleaning Deposit” by Molly Giles in Superstition Review
Day 12: “Interesting Facts” by Adam Johnson in Harpers
Day 13: “Please Bury Me in This” by Allison Benis White in POETS.org
Day 14: “Interior with Storm System” by Emily Geminder in Passages North
Day 15: “Cruelty-Free” by Conor Bracken in Nashville Review
Day 16: “Letter from Majorca” by J.D. Daniels in The Paris Review
Day 17: “Diabetic Jeffrey” by Jennifer Givhan in Adroit Journal
Day 18: “Dirt” by Rushing Pittman in Booth
Day 19: “Iconography” by Ayse Papatya Bucak in the Iowa Review
Day 20: “Condition” by Erica Dawson in the Bennington Review
Day 21: “Mandarini” by Douglas W. Milliken in Matchbook
Day 22: “Riddle” by Jericho Brown in the Georgia Review
Day 23: “My Friend Diane” by Emily Flouton in SmokeLong
Day 24: “Kathleen, or Ryan” by Bobby Fischer in Outlook Springs
Day 25: “Ledger” by Debra Allbery in Kenyon Review
I thought of the mice. Fancy vegan (food blogger?) mice that chewed on pecans and dried mangoes, their droppings sliding through every crack. The house was crooked, and the kitchen floor featured a view of the basement, but it was near the metro and that tapas place so remember, there’s always a silver lining. We set a few traps, and eventually, we moved out.
Then I thought of more mice, less health conscious, into chips and crackers and a variety of baby-friendly treats like pear-spinach-pea mash. As a responsible adult (I’m still in yesterday’s clothes) I called in a professional. Nice guy. Sealed the cracks, set the bait and the traps, and warned me not to get too worked up should I see an uptick in droppings at first. A resurgence. We close up their exits, and they get a little antsy, he said. I’m confident though, he said. We’ll get them, he said.
I thought of the verbally abusive boyfriend who once commented on the size of my pubic bone (too small! too manly!), of the girlfriends who abandoned me when I reported the boyfriend, and of the night I went home to eat Dunkin’ Donuts chocolate chip muffins with my dad instead of going to a party because he would be there.
Of the friend with leopard-print shoes whose religion teaches him that it’s a sin to love a man, that women should cover their heads and be submissive, that East Coast earthquakes are punishment from God for our transgressions
Of the fifth grade Doogie Howser, M.D. lookalike who suggested a group of us girls touch our elbows together behind our backs. A scientific experiment to compare boob size. We complied. Lucky me, winner, winner chicken dinner. I did not yet own a bra.
Of winning “Most Dramatic” senior year. How that seemed like a joke to everyone, including me. How being dramatic is a thing silly women do.
Of the nurses rolling their eyes after my son had been pulled from my belly during an emergency C-section. I couldn’t remember the name of his pediatrician. I didn’t want to breastfeed. I wanted to eat. I could only have ice chips.
Of the scar that runs across my lower abdomen, still painful and red 18 months post-op. The only solution, according to medical experts, is to have more babies.
Of the material crap I’ve bought to soothe the pain: booties, jeggings, quinoa salads. The things I’ve tried: yoga, veganism, whole foods, binge watching and social media scrolling, new filters, feminine curation, pictures of my baby, but never scars.
Of never speaking out. Of wanting to be liked. Of feeling small and worthless. Of the millions of women who voted for Trump, an openly racist, sexist candidate turned President-elect.
Of the mice and their one last stand, uglier and more poop-filled than the last. One more red cup party. One final gasp from those who find themselves lost among the colorful, boisterous, innovative, creative, no fucks given people of this diverse nation.
And then I stopped thinking and started doing.
If you’ve ever felt small and worthless because of your gender, sexuality, race, country of origin, disability, religion, and/or class, we see you. If you’ve ever felt that “just getting over it” is something people say when they don’t want to look within and deal with real issues, we see you. If you’ve ever wondered how we’ll get through this, I hear you and assure you, we can.
This is the first time in thirty-three years that I felt compelled to talk so openly about my wounds. You do the same. No more tiptoeing through the kitchen afraid of mouse shit. No more hiding. No more apologizing. Today I’m not afraid. Today I’m not sorry.
This may not be my America now, but it will be.