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.


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.


Writing in Real Life

For the very first time, writing has been brought to the forefront of my “real life” career. It’s odd – the workweek tedium is suddenly being broken by…stretches of writing? I am not used to this. I’m now helping my company revamp all of the writing across their websites, as well as coming up with ideas for blogs. I am appreciated and getting paid for my contributions. It’s a nice place to be in.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to attend the AWP conference this year. I was invited to give readings and help man Conium Review‘s booth, but I’m unable to make the time and take a trip to Los Angeles. I wonder if there will ever be one in Florida?

In order to remain an active participant in the literary community (other than just writing and tweeting quietly sometimes), I’ve accepted a position at The Review Review to review literary journals and occasionally conduct interviews with editors.

Here’s an issue of a journal that you should probably read:

rattle51

It’s Rattle‘s feminist issue, featuring an interview with Maggie Nelson. Now you know I’m all about that.

I’ve also started a blog where we can all share our favorite poems with each other. My goal is to highlight a wide range of poets from all kinds of backgrounds, especially those that may have been overlooked. Feel free to submit, follow, and share.


Queer Bodies

The end of the year posts are coming, I assure you. There’s still the retrospective, resolutions, and uncapping the memory jar. Let’s just say that I am optimistic about the new year and that is coming from me. Where are my Daria glasses?

I almost don’t want to look back at all.

cactusheartissue14.5

Although it is nearly the end of the year, I just wanted to let you all know that my short story, “Dysmorphia,” is featured in the BODIES issue of Cactus Heart. You can order a copy for yourself here. It’s quite a diverse offering. You will find many writers across the LGBTQ spectrum, voices from the margins. Stories about self-image, gender, coping with illness. I’m happy to be in such good company.

Permafrost also wants to publish a poem of mine in an upcoming print issue. It’s dedicated to a long-time online friend who quietly suffered through drug addiction. I’ll post that when the issue is out.

If you’d like to follow, I now have an Instagram account: @lettersforburning. My sister made me get it. There will be no letters on fire, but you can look forward to books, book quotes, and probably food.

See you all soon.


The Matter of Bodies

A simple fact: we are our bodies. This fact was one I tried my hardest to escape especially in adolescence, which of course, led to complete misery. Detachment of the flesh, asceticism: these seemed worthwhile goals. Buddhism was the only world religion worthy of my time. The rest of that time was spent anguishing about bodily things that simply couldn’t be changed. All the energy of youth, so uselessly spent.

It was a process to some semblance of acceptance. It’s always a process. You learn: the mind is the body is the mind is the body.

We try to escape our blemishes too. This past month, my sister and I have been participating in a university study on skin. It’s quite an experience having someone actually count out your flaws to you. We had to be the appropriate amount of blemished in order to participate. I’m receiving blue light therapy – which consists of some kind of alien technology half-surrounding my head for about 15-20 minutes – and my sister is having some kind of electro-therapy done. So far, I haven’t felt anything except slight tingles on my face. My sister says she tastes metal. Somehow, these treatments are supposed to help in ways that topical potions cannot.

It’s for science, you see.

Our pictures have been taken for BEFORE and AFTER. My sister and I always have a good laugh at those TV advertisements where the BEFORE pictures are always of pretty faces with maybe two or three blemishes. No scarring, no boils, no cysts. My heart truly bleeds for the miserable lives they must lead.

trulyhorribleacne

But the prom’s tomorrow!

Maybe not so coincidentally, my fiction writing has been all about the body: how it’s a prison, how we may attempt to escape it, how it is perceived, how these perceived images can become so wildly distorted. It’s obviously personal. How appropriate that one of these stories found a home recently at Corium Magazine. Their tagline: “beneath the skin.”

Now, I’m working through dysmorphia, fascinated by all these monsters we see in the mirror. Maybe it will just turn into a small project of similarly themed stories, or maybe it will turn into a whole body of literature itself. The distortions can be truly endless.