Friday, July 1, 2016

July, July!

Happy second half of 2016! I always think of this song by The Decemberists when July rolls around, for obvious reasons.

Still no luck on the job front, but maybe July will be my month. It might simply be due to the never-ending string of 100+ degree days, but I've been feeling particularly anxious to get out of Vegas lately. Part of me wants to abandon the city once my lease is up on August 1st, bounce around on friends' couches in other cities for a while, especially since I could still do part-time work remotely for my old company. However, there are two major problems with this desire:

1) I would feel guilty mooching off my friends.

2) Lack of health insurance. UNLV has already told me that I can part-time instruct three composition courses in the fall, which means that I would have health insurance. And as I have serious anxiety, staying on my medication is a priority for me. It's unfortunate that I have to do something I don't love just to stay in good mental health, but that's the way our society works. Ah, well. #Bernie2016, I guess. Give me some of that sweet socialized medicine.

But let's stay positive, shall we? Hopefully someone will hire me soon, and I'll no longer have this dilemma.

Here's another positive thing: yesterday was not, in fact, a 100+ degree day. It got into the 90's, but then it cooled off when the thick black clouds rolled in, ejecting bolts of lightning from their bellies and dropping a sudden monsoon on Vegas--so much rain that there were flash floods. I suppose flash floods aren't a positive thing, but I was more than happy about the dip in temperature, and last night, when I walked to Stake Out to meet my friends, the humidity was at fifty-five percent. It was a pleasant change of pace.

And another positive thing: the summer issue of Witness is out, and it's really good--I should know, because I was, as always, a reader for the magazine, passing along fantastic stories and poems from the submissions pile to the editors. I'm glad to see that Maegan and Leia took so much of my sage advice into account. I remember giving the thumbs-up to Asako Serizawa's "Willow Run," and to Courtney Faye Taylor's poems "how lives may matter in 2031" and "Portrait of a Billboard as Voice of Reason." (You should also read Stephanie Carpenter's "Trial Watchers" from the Spectacle issue, as it was one of my favorite finds for Witness ever.) I must say, I have impeccable taste.

All joking aside, I've loved working with my fellow MFA & PhD students on Witness for the past three years, who all have impeccable taste--that's why the magazine is so damn good. It's honestly been one of my favorite activities. When my queue was full, I used to read submissions when I woke up in the morning, or right before bed, which helped give structure to my day. I think my own writing benefited from the experience--I was able to see what other emerging and established writers were working on, to notice trends and patterns. And what's more, it made me a lot more patient in terms of my own submissions to magazines. Now I know just how overwhelming it can be to get through all those submissions, and I know how frequently good stories are rejected simply because they don't quite fit with a theme or a style. It's a lot easier to avoid dejection now, to keep submitting. I'm very much going to miss reading for Witness.

So, I mean, if you guys need any extra help next year, just let me know...

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