New Year, New Essay

MR. MA’AM’s second issue is now live, meaning so is my essay “Lucas & Leo“!  The theme of this one: regret, regret, regret.  If you take anything from my experiences, let it be that you should treat your friends well.  You should own your actions when you hurt someone.  You should never let your shallowness or cowardice override your impulse to just fucking apologize.

I’ll stop my pontificating, dear reader, if you promise to enter 2019 with compassion and empathy.  Or at least with a smidgen more compassion and empathy than my ~2013 self demonstrated.

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Christmas in July (Sort Of)

…well, the piece is “Gemini in July,” but its publication date falls nicely into the Christmastime window, so…!

May I say, before I share the link, that 2018 has been a hell of a year.  I said goodbye to a job (and a group of students) I adored.  I said goodbye to Florida, a place I hated and a place I regret never learning to appreciate.  I said goodbye to my dreams of the tortured-writer life, settled into a Real Adult Job, and was shocked to find that everything is just as beautiful (and just as enthralling) even when I’m not immersed in ~the creative sphere~ 24/7.   I said goodbye to the therapist who put me back together when I believed I was a lost cause.  And, most painfully, I said goodbye to my fiancee and best friend.

But I also made friends–the truest friends I’ve had in years.  I fought my eating disorder and won–again.  I moved to Maryland and felt reinvented by the newness of it all.  I saw Taylor Swift live (twice!).  I discovered what good sex is.  I learned how to defrost my windshield.  I went on some first dates that were so epically bad, I’ll never again have to worry about what stories I should tell at parties.  I reconnected with my childhood best friend.  I got back into the kind of long-distance running I hadn’t done since college.  And I met someone who changed everything.

But let’s flashback specifically to July, back to the Gemini who ~intoxicated~ me at the time.  Maybe he was truly a gift from God, or maybe I was just dying for change.  Either way, he was the theme of my summer, and the prologue to the truly strange (and exciting and sexy and confusing and joyous) Everything that came after.

Here is “Gemini in July.”  Scroll down the page for the audio version by yours truly.

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New Work at Rougarou

My essay “Parallel (Intersecting) Lives” is live!

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This one’s all about fear of abandonment–not the cheeriest topic in the world, but one that’s been on my mind a lot in the recent past.  How do you keep old abandonments from avalanching into Debilitating Trust Issues?  How do you keep yourself guarded without becoming cynical?  I’ve been accused of seeing the world too black-and-white (everything’s either perfect or disastrous in my eyes) and I think that applies to my fears on this subject: I enter every relationship dreading its end, as if a relationship can only be valuable if it lasts to the grave.

Ironically, I just (“just,” as in a few days ago) ended the relationship I discuss in this essay.  And, as I write in the essay, I wish I hadn’t had to.  I wish I could’ve led two lives: one in which I was engaged, and one completely different life in which I was single (or even with someone else).  That indecisiveness was probably poisonous to my relationship, but it taught me a valuable lesson, and it forced me to make a choice that was for the best.  I can’t have two lives, so it’s my responsibility to build a life that doesn’t need a fallback AU.  The breakup has been…well…let’s just say that I have plenty more essays to write 😉  The mood of which could only be described as:

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Stay tuned!

Real Talk

So, my essay “Not Otherwise Specified” went up on Entropy yesterday.  This is exciting news because I’m officially a “regular contributor” there, but complicated news because I believe the piece requires a bit of a disclaimer.

Please, please, please, if you are suffering/recovering from an eating disorder, beware that this essay is potentially very triggering.  I know from experience that any literature on EDs–even the self-help books!–can lead you to a dark place.  So, please, loves: take care of yourselves.

And a little more context for the piece: it’s a bit of an oldie, written in January-ish of 2016, back when I was struggling with a really severe ED relapse.  I was at the point where I realized how destructive my behaviors were, and I was starting to piece together how/why I’d gotten where I was, but I still hadn’t sought professional help.  I think, though, that writing through the memories in “Not Otherwise Specified” gave me the perspective I needed.  Shortly after I finished the piece, I set up an appointments with a therapist and a doctor, and making those appointments was probably the best decision of my life.

Recovery is long.  It’s lonely.  It’s a whole lot of stumbling around the halls of your brain, shouting for help and realizing that no one is coming to your rescue; you have to save yourself.  Yes, a therapist/counselor/psychologist/psychiatrist can be an invaluable, life-saving asset in the saving-yourself process, but you still have to save yourself.  And recovering from an ED (yes, I’m fully recovered–cue T-Swift’s “Clean”!!!) finally answered the questions I pose throughout “Not Otherwise Specified”–the questions about who I am, how I define myself, what’s important/lovable/valuable about me.  See, an ED is tricky because it convinces you that it is what’s good about you.  Not only is that untrue, but it gets you into a pattern of forming destructive, codependent relationships; i.e., relationships wherein you rely on someone/something else to tell you who you are.

It is only appropriate, then, to end this somber disclaimer with a pep talk from my best friend:

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New for June

More good news!  I’ve got an essay forthcoming at Entropy (it’ll be my second time publishing there; haha, I promise I’m not bribing the nonfiction editor) and my flash piece is up on Heavy Feather Review‘s blog.  The piece is called “Everything Was Cliché and Nothing Hurt,” though the events actually hurt tremendously and I still haven’t fully recovered from them 🙂

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Cheers to writing the hard stuff!

That Was Fast

I guess my writing hasn’t been too “glacially slow”: I’ve got a piece of flash nonfiction forthcoming from Heavy Feather Review‘s blog.  I’ve wanted to work with this journal forEVER (“forEVER” meaning, since I saw that Allegra Hyde placed work there back in the day).

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Changes!

2018 has been a weird year so far.

I graduated from Florida State with my MFA, quit my job teaching high-school English, turned down a spot in the Creative Writing PhD program at Ohio University, and convinced my fiancée to move to Maryland with me so that I could fulfill my not-at-all-lifelong, not-at-all-dream of becoming a technical writer.  (I promise, dear reader, that writing engineering proposals is not endgame for me.  It does, however, pay the bills, and it’s a hell of a lot less stressful than teaching.)

Given all of this upheaval, my writing has been slow.  Like, glacially slow.  However, I do have a few new things you can peruse if you’re so inclined:

  • My essay “Ethereal Girls” is included in this beautiful anthology by Wash and Fold Press.  Seriously, it’s a gorgeous little book, and I’m honored to have a space in it.
  • An essay called “Shame, A History” appeared in Rubbertop Review, Issue 9, though I’m having trouble tracking down a link to  it.  I’ll update you if one blossoms out of the ether.

I’ve got two sestinas forthcoming: the first, Note,” in Lavender Review; the second, “Vice,” in Red Weather.  Stay tuned for links!  Also, I’ve got an essay called “Lucas & Leo” forthcoming from MR. MA’AM.  I’ll post a link to the essay when it’s up, though fair warning–it was a tough one to write.  Mostly because it involves delving into one of the most spineless and shameful things I’ve ever done, and to a longtime friend no less.  (So…something to look forward to…?!)

In the meantime, catch me working on a novel in my cubicle during lunch hours!  It’s a glamorous life, isn’t it?

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Summer Stuff

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I’ve got the above essay in Hawai’i Review, a quick (and possibly sacrilegious) piece at The Tusk, and some shorter works over at Cease, Cows and Breathe Free Press.

Out of the Box

You’d better believe this was on my mind when I wrote “Out of the Box” several years ago!  If you have a few minutes, take a gander at the new issue of Superstition Review.  And don’t stop at my piece–read Charlotte Holmes’ creative nonfiction as well!  Charlotte was my thesis adviser/lovely friend/surrogate mother while I was working toward my MA at Penn State.  Charlotte is fierce, and wonderful, and brilliant, and…and adjectives simply don’t do her justice.