Logophobia with Transition

That sounds like a title of a poem, doesn’t it? Or maybe I’ve just been reading too much poetry this year and my brain has become a poem, oh no.

I am going back to school for the upcoming spring semester and I’m very excited. I was accepted into the English graduate program at FAU. I’m going to be reading a lot and I can’t wait. Alongside my studies, I will be assisting students with their papers at the university’s writing center. I’ve left my job as a content editor. This change in my life makes me nervous, but I am incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive husband as I continue my education.

When I was little, I used to play imaginary school. I was the teacher, of course. My class consisted of 20+ stuffed animals surrounding me in a circle. They each had a nametag and a last name. I’d do rollcall and give them homework assignments. After I graduated college, my family was surprised that I didn’t pursue teaching and/or continue to graduate school. At the time, I just wanted to find work. I didn’t find work for a while because the timing was not great in terms of the economy. I occasionally regret not immediately going on to graduate school a decade ago. However, if I did, I may not have gained the perspective of someone who worked as both a civil servant and as a small cog in the private sector, deftly navigating corporate culture and all the big personalities it brings with it. But who knows. Anyway, what-ifs will drive you crazy. Poetry is a testament to that.

Perhaps the most important experience I’ve gained in the workforce is how to be more assertive, especially when I know I’m right about something. Doubt is a plague for any thinking person, but I used to apologize for being correct, even when I was absolutely certain. Now I take a step forward and reiterate. I give ample explanation where necessary. Despite this, I struggled a lot with collaboration. This was not due to an inability to speak up, but a difficulty in dealing with a lot of different personalities, each with their own problem with language. Whether it was using their own jargon, deliberately withholding or omitting information, having English as a second language, or not responding to my messages, this huge breakdown in communication really tested my patience. I am a writer. I use words to the best of my ability. I cannot read anyone’s mind, nor do I wish that curse upon my worst enemy.

I am looking forward to being around people who love books as much as I do. I am looking forward to helping students become better writers. I am looking forward to a new year of change and possibility.


Hellos and Goodbyes

October was gone in an instant and November already has one foot out the door. Instead of writing and reading, I was very busy studying for the GRE and applying to MFA programs. I hadn’t done geometry since high school, and hopefully that was the very last time I’ll have to study math again. I had to seek out professors I hadn’t talked to in over a decade for letters of recommendation. I had to refresh their memory of who I was, what I did in their classes, and what I’ve been working on since then. Somehow, I put together a portfolio of my best short fiction. It’s very difficult selecting “the best” of anything. I crafted a statement of purpose, which includes what I write, why I write, what I want out of an MFA, and what I can possibly contribute. These posts by Carmen Maria Machado and Cady Vishniac were essential in figuring all of this out. Thank goodness for gracious writers like them.

I’ve also become an assistant editor at The Review Review. Their site is an invaluable resource to both new and veteran writers alike. I’ve previously written reviews for them. Now I’m coordinating all the interviews with literary magazine editors for the site. It’s become my mission to highlight new journals that seek to publish underrepresented voices, alongside the old journals who have been around for decades.

I received my contributor copies of the Lascaux Prize 2017 anthology. My poem, “Heathens at Thanksgiving,” was a finalist and was included in its pages. You can order a print or digital copy.

Unfortunately, some of the hellos I’ve gotten to say lately have come with goodbyes. This week, we lost my grandma on my dad’s side. Grandma had just celebrated her 90th birthday this year. It is a very unreal feeling when someone you’ve known your whole life is suddenly no longer a part of it. I remember watching The Price Is Right with her when I was little. I remember her excessive cheek kisses and her dance moves at parties. I remember all her Italian-isms: bicciuridu (my little baby), stunad (idiot), gifu? (what’s wrong?). Lots of mangia, of course. How she always cooked huge Italian meals for Christmas, every kind of chicken and pasta, the scungille (shellfish) and bruppu (octopus). How all my little cousins loved the octopus and how I didn’t trust it. I will miss Grandma, but I’m very glad she lived a long life. I’ve got some good genes.


New Poems + Publishing Malaise

I have poems in the new issue of Mortar Magazine: “Before the Geyser” and “The Stones.” My writing is accompanied by the gorgeous street art of Tamara Alves. You can listen to audio of my readings on their site as well.

You will also find three of my poems in the newest issue of Requited Journal, a journal I admire for its experimentation and commitment to publishing the marginal. I’m always on the lookout for journals that showcase underrepresented voices. I crave originality and fresh perspective in writing more than anything else. I’m grateful to those editors who strive for a spectrum.

I think I’m going to take a break from submitting so much and just focus on the writing. So much time is devoted to this cycle, this endless grind, but the actual writing is always what brings me the most pleasure and sense of accomplishment. Publication is just a bonus. I have to remind myself about that sometimes.


New Look, New Writing

I’ve changed the look of the site so that it’s more focused on my writing and less just like a personal blog. The blog will still remain for updates and the occasional anecdote I’d like to share, but I don’t want it to be the focus. I’ve updated my list of publications since many of the journals that published my writing have closed. I used to joke that I was the grim reaper of literary magazines—since so many journals seem to go defunct right after they publish me. But I guess that’s just the nature of publishing, whether online or print.

But here are some newer publications:

  • I have a flash in Fanzine that was inspired by an article I read online about gay people being more haunted than straight people. Yes, it was a real article and not a parody.
  • I have a short coming-of-age story told in fragments in the newest issue of Gone Lawn. I’m very proud of this one.

I’m currently in the brainstorming stage of a novel, sort of. I’ve never written a novel before, apart from a godawful fantasy when I was in high school that was really more like fan fiction. I’m starting with the characters since some of them have been in my mind for many years. I’m just letting them wander and interact now. Let’s see where this goes.


Fall Fragments

  1. The cool, dry air pays a visit like an old friend. My skin is glowing but my eyes are tearing.
  2. I have a short prose poem in the fall issue of Unbroken Journal. It is ominous, as most writing is these days.
  3. Someone asks me, “What do you write?” I freeze. You’d think I’d be able to answer this by now.
  4. I finished writing a story told in fragments. It features potions and a garden. My stories always seem to feature a garden.
  5. I finished reading Cruddy by Lynda Barry. Brutal and beautiful. I wrote a micro review about it. Easily one of my favorite reads this year.
  6. I’ve updated my list of literary journals for LGBTQ writers, women, and writers of color. People still seem to use it as a resource and I’m glad it’s been so helpful. Unfortunately, I’ve had to remove quite a few journals that have gone defunct or no longer appear online.
  7. I’m getting married soon. Since there’s no bride, we’ve had to write a ceremony ourselves. There are no real traditions to inherit yet, no set rules. We are setting them down. I should write about this eventually.
  8. The cool spell will be gone tomorrow, I’m sure.