Daily Archives: January 30, 2012



About eight and a half years ago, I held out with trembling hand a story that I had written in secret. None of my friends knew I wanted to write fiction, but there I was, in a nighttime fiction workshop. It was the first story I’d ever written.

The workshop instructor said to send it out. And so I dumbly sent it out to ZYZZYVA. And that is how I was published for the first time in ZYZZYVA’s Fall 2003 issue.

Much gratitude to Howard Junker for finding my story and finding me. And now thank you to the current editors for featuring my story, “Bile” (circa 2003) on their website, along with some kind words today.

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Filed under literary magazines, Publishing

One of those pessimistic days?


Above: “When there is no solution, make one. That’s kind of what entrepreneurs do.”

I’m having one of those pessimistic writing days. I went to sleep last night with a little bit of a cough, and when I woke up, before I could peel my eyes open or try to speak, I knew that I was sick, that something had bloomed and raged in the night.

My throat was sore. That feeling you have when you get a first degree burn on your pinky? Except it’s in your throat? That.

My throat has nothing to do with my writing, I know. And yet it does. It’s from where I speak, and from where I project sound. I know writing doesn’t have literal sound, but it has figurative sound. Writing can whisper and it can scream. And my throat hurts.

It is more difficult than usual to write today.

I was on vacation all last week in New Orleans, where I feasted on all things shellfish, butter and fried and then more often than not drenched in some sort of cream (crawfish cream sauce!) or mayonaise-based (remoulade!) sauce. Oftentimes, these things were stuffed into each other (hello, stuffed flounder: flounder stuffed with crab drenched in crawfish cream sauce).

It was a great trip, one involving lots of walks down unfamiliar streets and architecture involving Creole cottages, shotgun houses, double-gallery homes, and Gothic mansions, the sun filtering through magnolia blossoms and overgrown vines, warming my bones for the first time in months.

I only wrote one day out of the whole week–with Jamey, at a cute little cafe-that-once-upon-a-time-was-a-bank. And what a writing day it was! I wrote and wrote a great number of words, forging a path in novel territory that I’d found difficult in days past.

But I didn’t write the rest of the week. I was either eating, or having unhealthy obsessions about weight gain and walking and walking (more on this, in a later post). In the back of my head, I felt even guiltier about not writing.

I expected to launch straight back into my writing this week.

But no. I’m sick. I’m paying for the blessings of last week. And my body’s sickness is going to my head. I’m feeling pessimistic. A novel is so hard to write. My novel feels impossible to revise and finish. I wish I could quit. I wish to do something that brings me happiness. But then I realize, writing this dark novel of mine makes me happy. Which then makes me wonder what went wrong in my childhood that draws me to this brand of twisted, difficult-to-earn happiness.

So I lay on the couch, competing for prime real estate with my two wiener dogs, sipping meyer lemon + honey + a pinch of cayenne in hot water, waiting for a turnaround.

p.s. in other news..I’ve decided to write those 30 snail mail letters on my 2012 To Do List over the next month or so. I’m going to mail a letter out to friends everyday.


Filed under Life, Writing