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.


Carousel #9

  1. One of my old creative writing professors was named a Guggenheim fellow. Pretty fantastic. A friend of mine called my attention to it and we reminisced about our days in fiction workshop at the Biscayne Bay campus and our quick dinners at Taco Bell.
  2. Huh. Here’s something new I learned today: apparently, Emily Dickinson used to love to bake a lot. Here’s the original recipe for her coconut cake.
  3. About a month or so ago, I read Edith Wharton’s book called The Writing of Fiction, which gives her opinions on writers and advice on the writing process (from novels to short stories to genre fiction, like horror). Here’s her story, “Copy: A Dialogue,” which was published in Scribner’s Magazine in 1900.
  4. I recently watched Martin’s Scorsese’s documentary, Public Speaking, on the writer and social commentator Fran Lebowitz. Here’s a video clip of Lebowitz discussing the posterity of Jane Austen. I love the idea of how readers should view books as doors rather than mirrors.
  5. I don’t know about the readers of this blog, but I’m a largely introverted person. In fact, I’m probably the most introverted person I know. Ever since I was little, this has been treated as a huge issue in pretty much every facet of my life. Then along comes Susan Cain and her TED talk. She is the author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which I plan on reading sometime hopefully this year (my to-read list is getting ridiculous again, of course). If you’re an introvert, you may find it reassuring to be reminded every once in a while that you shouldn’t feel ashamed of who you are.