Forget Your Nerves

I have been typing and typing, but no words. Numbers instead. Little robot doing repetitive tasks. The nerves are dead. Open your hands for me. They’re too soft. I can almost feel the blood. They might make nice replacements.

In November, I attended the Miami Book Fair with an old friend from college. We had the same creative writing professor summers ago, Mr. John Dufresne, who had a new book out. It was hot and wet as we walked the barricaded streets, but never rained. There were crowds of people, which would normally send me running, but the knowledge that they were there solely for books and writers was more of a comfort. We had nutella crepes in the makeshift food court and freshly squeezed lemonade. I got some new books for $5.

Book haul:

bookhaul2

I forced my friend to go to a queer poetry panel with me. It was hosted by Reading Queer. The room was packed. People had to stand. Looking around, there were wings inside my chest. There were fantastic writers on the panel, like Eduardo Corral and Maureen Seaton, who had a poem published alongside me in Pear Noir! #9. They read some of their poems. There was a performance piece that made my head tilt a little. There was awkward laughing and a bottle of champagne.

I was reading the latest issue of Birdfeast and I came across a name that was like an arrow in my brain: Caroline Cabrera. I took to the internet and saw if I could find more. There was more, much more, and even a book of poetry. Of course, this was Carrie from elementary school. I remember. Carrie who always got straight A’s, Carrie who hung out with Julie who also got straight A’s, Carrie who would no doubt become a teacher, and did. Not Carrie who had telekinetic abilities, but she probably should have. I immediately sent her a message and we were able to reconnect. How odd that two Catholic school kids would turn into writers running in similar writing circles, reading and publishing in the same kinds of magazines.

Amidst all the end-of-the-year list-making, I was nominated for my first ever Pushcart Prize. The nomination came from Ghost Ocean. I wonder if I’m allowed to call myself an indie author yet?

Let’s go back to words. Let’s make them routine again, and hopefully they’ll be neighborly to the numbers that have grown into a town. Norton Juster would be proud.

Writing Spaces

I’ve mentioned the basic premise of my new writing project here and there, but let’s recap: I’ve wanted to create some kind of blog dedicated to writers and where they write. I wanted to do this because I feel like writing can get lonely sometimes, and it would be nice to have a place to share and connect our lonely corners. Ideally, I’d really like to see places and voices from all over. Well, I’m happy to say Writing Spaces is now all set up and open to submissions. If you think you might be interested, you can submit your space.

We’ve already had our first submission from Angela, which you can read on the blog. If you aren’t acquainted with her already, you’re missing out on some great writing.

See you soon. Until then, don’t die from a heat stroke.

May Is for Birthing, Reading Rich

May is always a crazy month for me, even though it seems like such a mild one according to what most writers would tell you. Summer is almost here, but there are so many birthdays going on, including mine (I read somewhere that my birthday, May 22nd, is the rarest birthday to have?). A few of my friends are coming down to South Florida for the occasion (and their own birthdays), and I haven’t seen them in the longest time. I really don’t know what to think about 25. I thought I was still 18?

I’m reading Adrienne Rich’s poetry collection, The Dream of a Common Language. Despite the fact that she passed away just this year, it was fairly difficult to find a copy of this book online. Rich was a poet I greatly admired while I was an undergrad, and I still do. I feel some kind of kinship with her and I’m not sure why that is. I’m still trying to figure that out. She’s also one of the few poets who actually writes tolerable love poems. That’s really difficult to achieve at this point, I think. I love how her poems read like stories and aren’t these entirely inscrutable, abstract puzzles within meta-enigmas, and how they’re concrete, visceral, and so immediately emotionally charged. They’re like sudden jolts of electricity.

In other news, I’ve sent quite a few stories and poems out to various publications. I’m still waiting to hear back from most of them. Unfortunately, I did not win the Indiana Review’s annual poetry prize. Haha. Maybe I’m better at writing short fiction. I still can’t really tell.

Janie’s Scrapbook

I found something buried in one of my bottom shelves today and I thought I would dust it off a bit and share. Back in high school, I took advanced placement English classes that not only required a lot of reading and essay writing, but a lot of creative projects as well. One of these projects was putting together a scrapbook for the character Janie from the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. On the pages, I tried to capture several of the most significant scenes, themes, and images in the book. I’m glad I still kept it. It was probably one of my favorite projects.

Rebels Who Refuse to Rebel: Zazen by Vanessa Veselka

So I guess this is technically my first ever publication in anything! This week, Paste Magazine ran my review on the novel Zazen by Vanessa Veselka. It’s featured in Issue #42 and on their front page in the books section. Exciting. It’s a book review (about a fairly inscrutable book), but I also discuss rebels, dystopias, and Never Let Me Go.

You can read it here.