Saturday, December 30, 2017

Holiday Card 2017

I suspect I'll never get my shit together enough to send out proper Christmas cards. I also suspect social media has largely eliminated the need for them--after all, if you want to know what I'm up to, you merely have to hop on Facebook or Twitter.

That said, 2017 has been another wonderful year for me, and I'm filled with so much gratitude that I feel like I ought to recount the high points here, if only briefly.

  • Early in January, I visited Tim in Kalamazoo--and I got to meet Laura for the very first time! Always a plus when internet friends become real-life friends. 
  • Later in January, I hopped on a bus and drove to Washington D.C. for the Women's March on Washington. Always a plus to be part of an historic protest. (Though my favorite part is probably still when we commandeered the men's bathroom at an Indiana rest stop.) 
  • February brought both my 29th birthday and yet another trip to D.C., this time for the AWP Conference. I was able to reconnect with Vegas friends and geek out over literary minutiae. And at the end of the month, I flew out to Vegas for Shaun and Rachel's surprisingly chilly but nonetheless charming wedding. 
  • You couldn't reasonably expect me not to travel in March, could you? I went to Denver to visit Letakins for a few days. We drank loads of spicy Bhakti Chai and made the acquaintance of a very friendly cat named Toulouse. 
  • April was a big month for me, as it marked the beginning of my great solo Southeast Asian adventure. I started the month in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, then took a bus to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, then another bus to Siem Reap, then a plane to Singapore, then another plane to Bangkok. I rode on a motorbike for the first time, I climbed the temples at Angkor Wat, I watched a thunderstorm roll in from the top of the Marina Bay Sands. Phew.
  • May was the second half of my great solo Southeast Asian adventure. Took a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, a tiny little plane to Luang Prabang in Laos, and another tiny little plane to Hanoi, where I gave myself a nearly two-week writing retreat. Then it was a boat around Halong Bay, a train to Hue, did I get to Hoi An? I think I flew...or maybe I took a train? No, I'm pretty sure I flew. At any rate, I also befriended several pachyderms, visited loads of temples, and bought some perfectly tailored clothes. Ate a lot of food, too. 
  • June saw the end of my adventure. Flew to Phu Quoc Island, where I went snorkeling for the first time. From there it was back to HCMC for a quick trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels and souvenir shopping in Ben Thanh Market, and then the long flight back to the U.S., where I was finally forced to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life next.
  • Over the summer I applied for roughly one million jobs (or at least that's what it felt like), but in August I ended up securing a Corporate Relations position at Allstate, where I have top-notch coworkers, a good salary, and great benefits to boot. I suppose traditional job security has its upsides.
  • Oh yeah--I bought a car in August, too. Geri is basically my new dog. Prius is a breed of dog now.
  • In September I was honored to be a bridesmaid in Gena and Marty's wedding! #genamartyparty
  • In October I was honored to be Unicorn of Honor in Meg and Marc's wedding! #holycatrimony
  • The first weekend of November, I moved into my new apartment, where I got settled in quickly thanks to the aid of my overly-generous friends. I am happy to report that I am still keeping it relatively clean because I am an adult or whatever.
  • On December 1st, I sent my novel to an agent for the first time! And it got rejected! But that's okay, because it was a really brave thing to do! Waiting to hear back from many more...
Not to mention my flash publications in 2017: Midwestern Gothic, Pithead Chapel, and (b)OINK zine. AND I started working for Split Lip, which has been utterly amazing. And then there are the concerts I've been fortunate enough to attend: John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks, Mountain Goats, Andrew Bird--and tonight I'm going to see Noname at Lincoln Hall. 

You guys. You guys are the real reason 2017 was a good year for me--why every year tends to go pretty well for me. It would literally be impossible for me to do all the ridiculous things I do without your support and your love, and I love you for it more than you know. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holiday cheer, dammit.

Life has been a little strange lately; I've been taking some blows--or what should theoretically be blows--but they haven't hurt me as much as they might otherwise because things have simultaneously been so relaxing.

My novel has been rejected by two agents (and very probably a third, since their website said that if you don't receive a response within three weeks, they're not interested). On top of that, a rad lit journal rejected some of my flash, so that sucked. My friend Brittany sent me a picture of this art print, which she has hanging in her home; if anyone wants to get me a belated Christmas gift, you know what to do.

Then there are the political blows--the monstrous tax bill, mostly. I find it so maddening that one state in our union has tried this before, and it miserably failed. Do what our legislators should have done and listen to the Planet Money episode about the Kansas Experiment--it's both enlightening and depressing.

On the other hand, some lovely things have also happened to me. Last weekend I got tons of work done on my translation, and our Split Lip Editors Workshop discussed my story on Saturday, and I received not one, but two surprise holiday gifts in the mail this week. I haven't had much to do at work, I've been exercising and reading regularly. Tonight I'm catching up with a friend who's in town for Christmas, and tomorrow I'm taking myself on a date to see Star Wars.

I guess the moral of the story is that bad things can happen if good things happen in equal measure. Or perhaps the moral is that I'm confident enough in my writing and familiar enough with the editing process to avoid being flustered by rejection. Or maybe it's that self-care really does make a difference.

I'll let you decide. In the meantime, here's a link to my "Motherflippin' Christmas" Spotify playlist. Let's get festive. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Holy Moly

My housewarming on Saturday night was one whopper of a party! I was expecting a few friends, a few drinks, a few board games. Instead it was LOTS of friends, LOTS of drinks (including a hot cocoa bar!), and no board games whatsoever. Just conversations and laughter and promises to start D&D campaigns.

We got some pretty good pictures out of the deal, too.

Our inspiration for that one was "jellyfish." 

Thank you all for coming--it made me feel very loved. And extra thanks, as always, to Meg, who helped me prepare. Were it not for Meg, there would have been no art on my walls, nor would there have been any hot cocoa. Or at least the art would have been hung poorly, and the cocoa wouldn't have been nearly as good.

While the party was delightful, I haven't been able to catch up on sleep since. So I'm surviving this week almost exclusively on caffeine and sugar. That's healthy, right?

Other updates: 
  • My sister got us tickets to see Andrew Bird at Fourth Presbyterian last night, which was, of course, fantastic. My favorite part was the encore, when he announced that Roy Moore had lost the election.
  • I made Rice Krispie treats and did not ruin them. 
  • I've found a podcast called Revolutions that just talks about various historical revolutions. Right now I'm on episode 9 of their 55-part series on the French Revolution. It's the best. Tennis Court Oath coming up soon. 
  • I'm reading The Iliad for the first time. Enjoying it much more than I thought I would, despite the fact that it's nothing more than a mythological dick-measuring contest. 
  • Haven't heard back about the novel yet. I'll let you know if anything changes. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Regarding my last post: I am happy to report that I conquered my fears.

I submitted my novel to two agents.


I could use good vibes right now, if you have any to spare. Acceptance would obviously be wonderful, but I know I must ultimately steel myself for rejection. If I'm like most writers, lots and lots of rejection.

I'm going to try to submit to two agents per week this month. I have a list is awesome.

In the meantime, I need to distract myself so that I don't obsessively check my inbox. Fortunately, I'm busy as hell.
  • Monday I saw Meg perform/direct horror radio plays at Deathscribe's 10th Anniversary show.
  • Tonight I'm having dinner with my parents for their anniversary.
  • Saturday is my housewarming party--and I have to clean/hang art/assemble furniture before then.
All that and hot tea, of course. It's good for the soul.