Month: September 2009 Page 1 of 3

Grossy gross gross

Dear Riley,

St X with Riley 008

Yesterday you ate poop.

Then when I was brushing your teeth, you ate half the toothbrush head.

The only thing that I was happy you ate last night was the hydrogen peroxide I used to induce your vomiting. Until I had to pick up all your vomit. Then I wasn’t feeling so cheerful. (But I did find the piece of the toothbrush amidst the soggy, bile-covered kibbles, so mission accomplished!)

Oh, don’t give me those cute puppy eyes or that big doggy grin. They won’t work on me anymore.

Okay, fine, they will. I still love you. But please, let’s not repeat last night, OK?


Right now, everything feels like tomorrow

A couple days ago Alex sent me the poem “The Return” by Bruce Bond, and several lines resonated with me. In particular:

Long ago tomorrow was everything to me.
I loved it the way a small room
loves an only window,
the farthest reaches, the fever
of daylight as it rises and falls.

Long ago
I loved the future the way a wick
loves the fire that eats it.

Elegant and eloquent.

And as Alex said in our subsequent discussion, right now everything feels like tomorrow. Perhaps that would have been a better way to explain what I was trying to say yesterday about my frustrations. Tomorrow I will finish my manuscript. Tomorrow I will get an agent. Tomorrow I will be published.

It’s beautiful to always have something to look forward to (and work toward) but then again, it’s hard to always wait.

Another great line, although not relevant to my thoughts above:

Every morning the sun rose
on the jungle of who we thought we were,
what we lost, what we had become.
Even those who returned never returned.

Two years (and a few months) resolution

The past couple days I have been going through a bunch of New Yorker and Narrative magazine stories I had bookmarked to read and never did. I consider this part of my job as a writer, but there are a probably a lot of people out there who are like, “Reading? That’s your job? HAH!”

But Alex pointed out today that I don’t work part-time; I work two jobs. There’s the one that I do for 30 hours a week, answering phones at a graphic design firm — the one that (mostly) pays the bills and provides health insurance. And then there’s the one that I do for at least that many hours if not more, the one with no boss but myself, no deadlines, no schedule or plan or client or anything. That’s the hard one, the one I really care about, the one that I think most people don’t get. (Unless of course they are working that job too…)

No need to pull out the world’s smallest violin for me; I know that I have it good and that I’m not special. I don’t really “get” anyone else’s job either, except my parents’. I’ve dated Andy for 4 years and I’m sure that what I know about his job is a tiny fraction of what he actually does. It’s the whole you gotta walk a mile in the other person’s shoes thing. Except, people respect Andy (as a purchasing manager) without really understanding his job. I don’t think the same is always true for me as a writer.

But that doesn’t really bother me. It just is what it is. No, what bothers me is that I’m starting to feel disappointed in myself. Two years (and a few months) after graduating college, I don’t feel like I have very much to show for my efforts. Yes, I made some big decisions — namely, I committed career suicide and quit my job as an account manager, and I switched from literary fiction to young adult — but what concrete things do I actually have to show for it? What can I point to when people ask what I’m doing, what I’ve done?

Last week my alma mater hosted an info session in downtown Cincinnati for high school students who were interested in applying/attending. I’ve volunteered at that session the past couple of years, helping people register and answering their questions both before and after the presentation. This year I decided not to go. There were a number of factors that led to that decision, but I admit, one of them was that I did not like the idea of having to answer the inevitable questions, “What did you study? What do you do? Have you been published?”

I know that my current struggles are normal, that I’m not behind schedule for this career. (In fact, given my age, it could easily be argued that I am ahead.) But I also know that those parents are considering paying a LOT of money for that education, and those kids are thinking not just about classes and dorms but about internships and job offers, and they all want to see results. They want to know that their time and money will be well-spent. And right now I just don’t think I would make a convincing case to them.

But this is not a pity fest. I knew (mostly) what this would be like when I decided I was really going for it. In fact, I have it easier than a lot of other aspiring writers, not to mention most people around the world.

So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I made a decision. I will be at that info session next year. And when they ask the inevitable questions, this is what I will answer:

What did you study? Creative writing.

What do you do? I write novels.

Have you been published? Yes.*

*If not “Yes,” then I’d at least like to be able to say something like, “Sort of. I have an agent, and we’re currently sifting through offers from multiple publishing houses on my first manuscript. It should be on bookshelves by 2011. Be sure to pick up a few copies!”

A powerful woman, a passionate woman, a writer

“Nice people with common sense do not make interesting characters. They only make good former spouses.”

You can watch the full video, Isabel Allende: Tales of passion, at YouTube or below. She’s actually rather funny.

2 days and 2 redesigns later…

Well that was short-lived.

As y’all can see, I redesigned. Again. I just “wasn’t feeling” that design, and apparently I wasn’t the only one. Thanks for all the feedback, folks. Hopefully this new look incorporates the best of both worlds. Most importantly, I think it reflects my personality: simple, tidy, and fun/cute/endearing.

And yes, I drew those icons. :)

There are a few more minor tweaks to make, but it’s the kind of stuff that probably no one will notice except me, so I’m not going to work on it right now. I’ve already wasted spent enough time coding and banging my head against the keyboard. (*mumbles angrily about browser compatibility*) It’s time to get back to the real work.


From the NYTimes review of a new book that I want to read, “Beg, Borrow, Steal – A Writer’s Life”:

The idea was that none of these jobs should be too involving or require a real commitment; Greenberg was saving himself for his serious writing, thereby becoming yet another martyr to art, like so many other New Yorkers. In talking about the workroom in the West Village he has rented for 25 years, he writes: “I figure that I have spent more than 50,000 hours in this room and wonder aloud if the products of those hours — from a first novel brought to an end because I couldn’t bear to revise it anymore, to the voice-over narration for a television program about golf — have configured themselves into a single repellent mass.” When he tries to rent the studio to a young woman “who approaches writing as if it were a rational, upwardly mobile career,” she flees, as if she can smell the odor of defeat in the shabby room.

A list of the (supposedly) “Best Fiction of the Millenium (So Far)”. Of these 20 books, I have read… one. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. It was good. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so.

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