Pages and pages

Apparently the requirement for good poetry nowadays is the same as the requirement for good contemporary art: that I can’t understand it.

(In fairness, that may say more about me than the poetry or the art…)

I recently read Issue 42 of the Potomac Review, and I managed to find one poem that I not only understood (I think) but also enjoyed, one poem that I definitely understood and enjoyed, and a couple that I enjoyed parts of but mostly didn’t understand. The rest… “Huh?”

I won’t tell you which category this came from, but here, enjoy the last stanza from “Signs” by Marjory Wentworth:

I have let the water pull me for miles,
for years. I’ve watched birds turn
their heads in my direction. I didn’t notice
all the signs surrounding me. But I have
felt the stars throbbing like hearts
in the darkness. It has something to do with love,
and the way it hides and waits
in places we never expect to find it.

Also in that issue was “Harvard Man” by Michelle Brafman, which was a FANTASTIC story, the kind I’d love to write myself — and think I maybe could, someday. I contacted her (via her husband’s email address, which was more or less the only thing that turned up on Google) to let her know how much I enjoyed it, and she very graciously replied with thanks and encouragement on my own writing. Another point for Nice Writers!

“Alice Dale” by Laura Albritton was the other story I quite liked.

Immediately after finishing the Potomac, I gobbled up THE KITE RUNNER (my thoughts on its AMAZING-NESS here) and now I’m onto The Cincinnati Review 4.1. It feels good to be reading this much, so hopefully I keep it up. Though writing more might not be so bad either…

Another month, another masthead

In honor of the new month, I created a new masthead, just like I do… every month. :P

I also decided to archive all the previous mastheads, because I like them, and who knows, maybe someone else will too.

This month’s tagline (“let the poverty begin”) is in honor of my new part-time schedule, which starts in two weeks and means I’ll be earning 40% of my current salary (hence POVERTY) but writing a lot, lot more (read: MORE POVERTY). I’m really excited, but scared sh*tless at the same time.

On a related note, I’m sending my short story “The Eraser” out to a contest today. Wish me luck?

Scrambled eggs thoughts

Recently things keep coming up every time I want to blog, jolting me out of whatever mood I’m in and making me rethink whatever I’m about to say. For example, yesterday I was going to blog something happy (I can’t even remember what it was anymore) and then I received a phone call that totally turned the day on its head. Without discussing the contents of the call — because part of the call involved my getting yelled at for divulging too much to people — let me just say that I am a good secret-keeper, and I try to be a good friend and listener, but I have my limits, and when I have the kinds of concerns that I currently have, I AM NOT KEEPING YOUR SECRET. But that does not give you the right to talk sh*t about my mom.


Then today I was going to post about how much fun I had last night going out with girlfriends from work and seeing the Sex and the City movie — more on that awesomeness later — when I received a notice that my (short) short story “Chasing Trains” had been rejected by the editors at the Boston Review. Here’s the feedback:

Good writing, but ending seems a little much.

We look forward to reading more.


It’s not bad, but it’s also not a request for publication. And I was a little surprised by the comment about the ending, seeing as that was more or less the point of the story. Or maybe more accurately, it was the seed that germinated in my mind and inspired me to write the piece. So I guess I’m a little attached to it…


But it could have been worse — like, “Holy crap, woman, you really think you’re going to be a writer? HAHAHAHAHA” — so I’m actually feeling pretty encouraged. And even if that last line is a canned response, I’ll take it! Because goodness knows I’m not done submitting to them.

(Now for the originally scheduled awesomeness.)

In keeping with my inability to like things that other people like, I never really got into Sex and the City. Too much sex, too much pink, too much hype. And way too over-the-top clothes.

So after I blindly accepted my coworkers’ invitation to join their Girls’ Night Out, and then a month later asked what we’d actually be doing, and they replied, “Going to see the Sex and the City movie!” I have to admit, I hesitated. Did I really want to pay the outrageous theater prices to see SATC when I could see Kung Fu Panda instead? Was the possibility of getting to know my coworkers better worth suffering through two hours of crazy fashion and penis jokes? (YES.) Couldn’t I be doing something more fun and productive at home instead?

Okay, first of all, note to self: SHUT UP, SNOB.

Second, SATC rocked.

I’ve only seen like 1.5 episodes of the show, but I had no problem getting into the characters’ lives or personalities. The opening montage established their background info beautifully, and the actresses were so convincing, even when they were borderline caricature, that I felt like I was watching parts of their real lives. I think the best aspect was that the movie ebbed and flowed naturally, the way life does, and it spoke much more to the friendship between the four women than to their relationships with (stupid) men.

And Jennifer Hudson had an adorable cameo role!

In order, these were my favorite moments:

(Partial spoilers from here on out — including the link later — so beware!)

  • #3:
    Carrie’s impromptu fashion show in her closet, during which the other three girls voted “Take” or “Toss” on each item. Mostly hideous clothes, but such a cute little scene of their fun friendship.
  • #2:
    Carrie and Big in bed teasing each other about library books and glasses and other inane, real life-y things.
  • #1:
    Charlotte screaming, “No. NO!” at Big right after Carrie beats him with her bouquet. The emotion on Kristin Davis’ face literally brought me to tears. In that moment, she wasn’t Kristin Davis pretending to be Charlotte. She WAS Charlotte, defending her best friend from the man who broke her heart.

Seriously, a great movie. Probably not for guys (unless they want to get laid), but for girls who feel passionately about their friends? It’s a must-see.

(If you’re more conservative, you should be prepared to shield your eyes from the nudity. Oh the nudity.)

Based on how much I love this movie, I’m considering watching all six seasons of the show. But, to ensure that Andy won’t kill me for it, I think I’ll treat it as a reward for meeting my writing goals once I go part-time. Like, an episode a day as long as I write at least X hours or at least X hundred words. That’s fair, right?

I thought so.

One last thing about SATC, and then I’ll shut up: I think it’s hilarious that the movie references a book that everyone now wants to buy even though it doesn’t exist. Too bad they didn’t say it was written by me!

I is not a cop-out


Now I have to revise.


In general, I don’t do well with things that are hyped up. Like, god forbid I take part in a trend, right? So I refuse and resist beyond all reason (just ask Angie) and I deny myself the wonder of things like capri pants, ballet flats, and Harry Potter. FOOL! (And yes, Angie, you were right about all of the above.)

In short: me? Not so good with the fads. And in literature, writing in the first person seems to be a very, very big fad right now. It’s something I’ve always sort of thought of as a cop-out, like, shouldn’t you be able to tell a story without having to pretend that YOU are actually telling the story?

BUT. (Butt!) I’ve read a lot of great books written in first person (like anything by Paulo Coelho and Amy Tan) and I know that this stupid prejudice of mine is just that: a STUPID PREJUDICE.

Not only that, but I’ve been thinking. And let me tell you, me thinking only leads to bad things. (Often tears. My own, of course. I don’t make other people cry.) In this case, the bad thing I thought of is that I probably need to rewrite The Good Daughters. In first person.

(I bet if I’d asked Angie, she would have told me that from the start.)

Continue reading “I is not a cop-out”