Saturday, January 2, 2010

This is my last blog post

at this address. My first post just went live at my new blog home For those of you willing to update your links and Google Reader, thank you and I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

I hope you'll come on over and still visit with me.

This blog was so good to me. You were all so good to me. Thanks!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last night I received yet another form rejection from Night Train. This morning brought yet another rejection from Smokelong Quarterly. I so love and admire these magazines, their editors and the great writers and memorable works they publish. I've received a long string of rejections from both mags and each one hurts a little more, feeds my insecurity.

You know what I did in the last hour? I made peace with my disappointment and insecurity, and accepted the rejections. Because these rejections, and the acceptance on Tuesday from Potomac Review, on some higher level that really matters none of it matters. It has to be about the work. I need to tattoo "the work" onto my palm.

Going forward, I am determined to take a long break from submitting my work. I work incredibly hard at my writing, but I need to be more disciplined around submitting and not allow myself get sucked into the craziness. I want to produce less and spend more time on each work. I want to live with my work longer and love it with all I've got before I even attempt to send it out into the world. I am going on record on this to further bolster my resolve. Editors, feel feel to call me out and throw me to the masses if I stray anytime soon!

We have an incredible community, and I am so honored and excited to be a part of it all. This blog began in January, 2009. I had no idea where it would take me, the writers and editors I would get to know and work with. The amount of work I would write, revise, and publish. I have always tried to dedicate this space not just to my work, but to promote other writers and their fine works. I plan to read much more and to focus on other writers' work even more in 2010 at my new home

I am reluctant to mention anyone for fear of leaving people out, but I would be remiss if I did not say a huge thank you to the following incredible, beautiful, and gifted people for the myriad of ways they've inspired me and touched my life this year: Roxane Gay, Meg Pokrass, Kathy Fish, Lauren Becker, Molly Gaudry, Laura Ellen Scott, Erin Fitzgerald, Michelle Reale, Katrina Denza, Tanita Davis, Robin Stratton, Peter Cole, Scott Garson, Randall Brown, Matt Bell, Steve Himmer, David Erlewine, Mel Bosworth, Eric Beeny, Jason Jordan, Greg Gerke, and Andrew Roe. So many others from Zoe and Fictionaut too. If I have forgotten anyone, please forgive me.

And to every other editor and reader who ever accepted or rejected my work, thank you. Thank you for taking the time and care to read my work and for the love, passion, commitment, and vision you bring to your magazines and our community.

To everyone who reads this blog, and to those who post comments regularly, thank you so much for your time and interest. I am deeply grateful.

Rock on.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh yeah, baby

Yesterday, I received an acceptance from Potomac Review for their "Hot Opener" feature. I am still doing the happy dance. You should see me. Okay, maybe not.

Last night, while taking a break from the happy dance, I read Laura van den Berg's short short story from Monkeybicycle 6 "Photography." Have you read it? It's a beautiful piece told with impeccable tone and pacing. It strikes such a moving and hopeful chord at its close too.

What also struck me about Laura's lovely work is that I just sent out my latest short short, a piece I feel excited and hopeful about, and there were several similarities between my work and "Photography." So much so it felt uncanny. They are very different works certainly, but still some weird sameness ... What do these coincidences mean? I'd like to think that it means my work will also find a great home, but I can't help feeling there's something more to it ... What do you make of such coincidences? I suspect it happens to us all.

The other night, too, we played poker with close friends. One player dominated the game all night. Just got incredible cards hand after hand after hand. At the end of the game his chips were a dance floor. How does that happen? Energy? Karma? Luck? Chance? Just desserts? Who knows. But I tell you, my main thought right now is to keep the work like the story just accepted by Potomac and the short short I just finished, and reading experiences like Laura's "Photography," coming. Pretty please, Universe.

Now, I want to read more Laura van den Berg, and that's just what I am going to do.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Eventful Couple of Days

Remember those white feathers I saw inexplicably fall outside my kitchen window two days ago? Nice things are happening:

I awoke this morning to read this from Doug Paul Case about my micro "Gold" published in Wigleaf earlier this year. Thank you, Doug!

Meg Pokrass interviewed me for the fantastic series "Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story on a Postcard." My "life story" went live today. I'm honored to be included in this series, thanks, Meg and Michael, although frankly it was a painful exercise.

My short "Parched" is up at Wilderness House Literary Review. Thank you, Tim Gager.

My short "Hanging on the Telephone" is live at Mannequin Envy. Thank you Jennifer and Jai. I wish you all every success as you move forward beyond Mannequin Envy, and am sad to see you go.

I received a personal rejection from, thank you. Surely this is concrete evidence that there's a shift in the universe?

As of January, I will host a new blog and website at

Mood gauge right now: deep gratitude.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I cried

myself to sleep last night in a way I haven't cried in a long time. My breath faltered, face warmed and tightened, and my chest hurt, as if some part was truly cracking.

As a family, we had watched an American Girl TV movie: Samantha, An American Girl Holiday. It was a typical heart-wrenching "American Classic" set in 1904: orphans, child neglect/exploitation, a dead cat, the need for a home and a sense of belonging, good triumphing over evil, and the inevitable happy-ever-after. Sentimental and unrealistic, yes, but also strangely affecting.

After the movie, my seven-year-old daughter was inconsolable. Mostly, it seems because of the reference to the beloved dead cat. Our long-haired orange tabby, Jameson, is only a year-and-a-half, but ever since we adopted him at age three months, my daughter has in equal parts obsessed over how much she loves him and how much she will not be able to bear it when he dies.

Next, my ten-year-old joined-in the tear-fall, lamenting again over how we have no family here in the U.S., no grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins. She pleaded, as she does on a regular basis, for us to move to Ireland where we could have family all around us (she thinks living there would be just as much fun (for her and her sister) as vacationing there. NOT). That's never going to happen, I tell her for the countless time. Why????? I remind them both, quoting verbatim from the movie, to focus not on what we don't have, but on what we do have.

I climbed into bed between both girls, and wrapped my arms around them. I told them how, as a girl, I would cuddle between both my sisters and we would sing ourselves to sleep. And that's just what we did. We cuddled and sang Christmas carols, and after the sixth song my daughters fell deep asleep. Still I held onto them, listened to them breathe easy. I was getting to do it all again, I realized with a start, getting to be the glue, the safe base, in the middle. Only this time in charmed circumstances. I felt a gratitude that rocked me.

Gratitude and heart-hurt too. I so want to do it better second time round. So wish it could have been different first time round.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Timing is Everything

I received a rejection yesterday, Christmas Day. It was kind and encouraging, but magic-reducing. Ouch.

I received an acceptance this morning. Much nicer, Universe, thanks.

I just went downstairs to make myself a cup of tea, and saw an inexplicable group of small white feathers, approximately ten, fall past my garden window. I'm confounded. The sighting makes me feel expectant, hopeful.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

From Me to You

Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope these last days of the year are what you want them to be, shared with the people you want around you--even if it's only in your heart and mind. Whatever that looks like for you, live it, enjoy it.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today's Guest: Randall Brown

In "Notes on Novel Structure" from Words Overflown By Stars:
Creative Writing Instruction and Insight from the Vermont College of Fine
Arts MFA Program
, Douglas Glover refers to the novel as "a machine
of desire," one in which "the writer generally tries to announce the desire,
goal, or need of the primary character as quickly as possible." The key,
Glover believes, "is to make this desire concrete and simple."

First off, I love the idea of fiction as a machine. The novel's
machinery--Glover "breaks down the novel into six major structures: point of
view, plot, novel thought, subplot, theme, and image patterning"--exists to
produce what one would expect it to produce--a novel. I often hear writers
say, "I am writing a novel," but rarely do I hear them say, "I am producing
a novel." Produce is chock-full of interesting meanings: manufacturing,
birthing, exhibiting, and even farming (as in the produce market).

Flash fiction, rather than the novel, has captured my time and interest, and
I wonder what it might mean to switch from "writing flash" to "producing
flash." Out of what materials does one construct such a thing? How might
these same materials be used differently by the writer producing the short
story, the novella, the novel, and so on? For example, I believe flash
arises more out of its title and first line than say the novel. While a
novel arises out of a character's desire, I think flash arises less out of
character's desire and more out of a writer's desire. Maybe that desire is
to bend words to one's will, to fill that tiny container with something too
large for its confines, to develop a story out of white space, to see how
much can be implied, and so on.

Of course, there exists that flash driven into existence by a character's
yearning, and the machinery then finds a way to turn that abstract desire
into something concrete and active. It occurred to me recently, though, that
a few hundred words isn't much time to become attached to a character, to
that moment when the character goes all in for his/her heart's desire. If I
had to fill in the blank for flash--flash is a machine of [blank]--I'd say
that it's a machine of compression. What exactly does that mean, then, for
the flash writer?

I'm not exactly sure. For me, it means manufacturing titles that work to
create an entire history, the backstory, the subtext/subplot, the first and
last line, and so on; producing words that hint at all the words I've
omitted; creating an essential action, rather than a series of ones;
fabricating characters readers can attach to in the space of a few words
(mother, father, son, lover, boss); inventing the encounter that is both
strange and archetypal; and so on.

Imagine a flash fiction piece that begins with "He entered his parents'
bedroom and discovered...." I discard the expected things: his parents'
having sex, Christmas presents, a dead body, and so on." I discard the
history of that character, the backstory. There is a title that might imply
these things. This action, his entering this bedroom on this day, must be
the essential action of his life. There is no series of thwarted actions.
There is only this.

He entered his parents' bedroom and found the contract, signed in red ink,
an Open Marriage.
He entered his parents' bedroom and found boxes of Scope, stuffed in the
space behind his mother's dresses.
He entered his parents' bedroom and found the silver dollar, the one
his grandfather sent through the air.

And so on. Hundreds of things, aren't there?, to be found. It isn't about
trying and failing, trying and failing, about the machine producing an
entire novel's worth of iterations of the same conflict, over and over,
until finally the desire is satisfied, with a yes!, no!, maybe so!

It's about this one time, this one thing. It's about the weight of things,
with so much of that flash depending upon the singularity you discover to
fill in that blank. He entered his parents' bedroom and found [?]. Imagine
if the title were "Before He Found the Contract." What would he discover
then? How might compression work to produce that flash fiction, to recreate
that moment we all had as children, that fall from innocence into
experience, the realization that the world doesn't know what to do with our
innocence except to find ways to destroy it. Unlike the novel that is read
over a period of days or weeks or months, the flash isn't a thing readers
live with for awhile; it is like a passing stranger, one of those ephemeral
encounters that make up so much of our lives. Imagine if whenever I think of
the fall from childhood, I'm drawn back to your flash, those five minutes we
had together. Imagine that flash is a machine of compression, not just of
words and action and characterization but also of emotion, not the kind that
takes forever to be realized, but a different kind, the one borne of tight
packaging, like the force put upon atoms and their desire to matter.

Randall Brown teaches at and directs Rosemont College's MFA in Creative Writing and Graduate English programs.
He is the author of the award-winning (very) short fiction collection Mad To Live
and his essay appears in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction.
He blogs at FlashFiction.Net.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Teasers

This time from December's The Collagist.

Congratulations to Todd Cantrell on “Aren’t There People Who Take Care of this Kind of Thing,” winner of The Collagist’s 2009 Flash Fiction Contest:
My wife lives in sleep, and her lips taste like old licorice.

Congratulations, also, to the contest finalists:

Stace Budzko “Blades”
Wes went on to tell me how he was changed, how he was done with blades.
(I loved this work. The last paragraph took my breath away.)

Chella Courington “Diana loved anything orange”

Her eighth Halloween she painted her nose and toes orange and swathed herself in a sheet RIT-dyed sunshine orange that her mother soaked in white vinegar until the bleeding stopped.

Kristine Uyeda “Leaving Freiburg, 1940"
In the earliest days of what would become The War, God was a German who whispered out of earshot.

There’s more fine fiction in this December issue:

Scott Garson, “A Note on the Lyrics, Atlanta Gymnopédie, Asheville Gymnopédie, and Oklahoma City Gymnopédie”
I'll tell you this final thing: I'll have you imagine me writing the song at the bus stop, or on my front steps, with crust in my eye, with fog at the base of my skull; but my hands find their way in the strings, and now you are here: the fact, the wildness of you as a person—and me, both of us: because the moment has come undressed.

Jennifer Howard “Twenty Questions” “It’s Me” and “It’s You”
Did you tell the neighbors?

Lindsay Merbaum “A Name”
I don’t love you, I said. I told you, I can’t love someone with that name.

Jim Ruland “Antlers”
A glorious crown fused to the body, a halo you could hold on to.
(Another standout amongst standouts for me in this issue).

Invest some time in this latest issue of The Collagist. You will be well rewarded. There’s also excellent poetry, and a novel excerpt, non-fiction essays, and book reviews that I have yet to read. Enjoy!

Congratulations to Matt Bell, Kim Chinquee, and all involved in bringing us this great issue.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So Many Magazines, So Little Time, So PANK

Let’s face it, we're all crazy-busy, overwhelmed, and some magazines are just better reads than others. The December issue of PANK is out, and IMHO it’s, as always, well worth your reading time. I’m proud to be in there with my story “Air” along with a stellar line-up of fellow writers. Some highlights from this issue include:

Eric Beeny “Living Expenses”
But Mortimer noticed pieces were missing, and he shook the empty box around, stared into it, spanking its bottom, holding it open-end down.

Sheldon Lee Compton “Drugs, Rock And Roll And Sex Or Three Things That Go Together Like Sex, Drugs And Rock And Roll”
If you crush yourself into someone else for long enough there’s nothing left to waste.

I. Fontana “Amnesia”

The red of the Coca-Cola signs is the same all over the world.

Janet Freeman “The Ugliest Drowned Man in the World Washes Ashore Lake Michigan"
But there could only be one Stanley in the world and there he was, stretched out like a vienna sausage, wearing denim overalls with no shirt beneath, that bright orange hair sticking up in the air.

Steve Himmer “Be Your Own Boss”
And he did come, I think, in the dark while I tried to remember the myriad ways in which the swirled ceiling caught light and shadows when there were light and shadows to catch.
(This story had a profound effect on me. Congratulations, Steve.)

Ben Loory “The Cigarette”
And it is then, as she lights it and raises it to her lips, that she notices the hole in her hand.

Ben Loory “The Woman and the Basement”
The only place the woman wants to go is down into the basement.

Antonios Maltezos “Chalet”
His eyes were all over the woods, searching for the ghosts of the words he’d rehearsed on the long drive up here, when he’d realized he was on a trip to becoming a man, in that dreadful silence except for her breathing and their fidgeting, the five of them packed in tight with all the fishing gear, the booze, or he was searching for game, something to eat.

Rachel Mehl “Following Todd”
If it was his mother or sister
I said wrong number but if it was his own husky voice
cracking on the other end, I just breathed.

Kevin O’Cuinn “Graphologizing”
Her final note is blank; and he knows that she is gone.
(This is compression so well done. Congratulations, Kevin.)

Fortunato Salazar “Men At Work”

I told him that if he wanted to know what I’d gone through he would have to ruin himself first.

Reynard Seifert “Mud Cakes”
In the evening I took down the plant and whispered into its stems about how easy it would be if only she and I could live together in a clay pot somewhere.

There's lots more great writing in this issue. Read. Enjoy.

Now it's time for me to tune-in to the December issue of The Collagist, another must read.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Say ...

Do animals "speak" in native tongues, with dialects and accents?

Are you reading Grant Bailie's serialized novel, NEW HOPE FOR SMALL MEN, over at Necessary Fiction?

See Jensen Whelan's list of works published. Don't you love his gift for titles?

How's this for a writer's (anybody's) name?

Where's my copy of Molly Gaudry's WE TAKE ME APART?

How many more "Last Chance" mass emails will I receive this Holiday season?

Want a recommendation for a great family/board game gift? Say Anything.

Lauren Becker's feeling very lucky. You go, Lauren.

Thanks to Andrew Roe for sharing this Beckett quote: "I can't go on, I'll go on."

There's also those two great last lines from Beckett's short story "Dante and the Lobster":

Well, thought Belacqua, it's a quick death, God help us all.

It is not.

Guess how many books Brad Green read (or attempted to read) in 2009? Can anyone top that?

I started to name all the writers and editors that I wanted to thank for so much during 2009, but the list became so long it was unmanageable and impractical. This is a great complaint. Thank you one and all, I trust you know who you are. Sincere thanks also to everyone who reads this blog, go raibh mile maith agaibh go leir.

What makes your pulse beat faster? Let us count the ways.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It’s wet and cold here in San Francisco, 50º F. Raised in Ireland, I’m no stranger to wet and cold. It’s less than 30º F in parts of Ireland right now, and in recent weeks the country has endured devastating flash floods.

I remember as a child I would hang out the laundry in our back garden, on our red-rope line, to dry. Clothes that often grew soggier from the downpours and dirty-all-over-again from the smog and the ashes from chimneys, that weighed-down on that clothesline until they were mired in the dirt of the garden below or were whipped off by the high winds and scattered. Clothes that stiffened and cracked, spray-painted with frost. And all that was in summer :-). I have acclimated and softened, evidently, because this much gentler wet and cold of San Francisco make me miserable.

I admit the ongoing battery of rejection these days also adds to my misery. I submit little anymore, aside from a handful of older, longer stories that I have worked incredibly hard on and that I believe in. I hope I can find a handful of editors to also believe in them EVENTUALLY. Responses are sloooooow. My writer’s inbox averages two emails a day now. Time was … I can’t seem to focus on any new work these days either.

I also admit that I have stopped reporting my rejections (and my last two acceptances) to Duotrope. I have never used Duotrope to track my submissions/responses and suddenly it seems a little futile and self-indulgent to post an acceptance just to see “Congratulations! Ethel Rohan.” I also now can’t bring myself to report all my rejections because it only compounds my misery. Am I bad? I think this is me breaking-up with Duotrope. I feel more break-ups coming on.

Here’s a quote from Dave Eggers's excellent book Zeitoun, a non-fiction account of the harrowing experiences of a New Orleans contractor, Abdulrahman Zeitoun, and his family during and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The sense of transcendence in this book, and this following quote in particular, have stayed with me, protect me from the many elements, comfort me like a mother’s hug:

“If he can picture it, it can be. This has been the pattern of his life: ludicrous dreams followed by hours and days and years of work and then a reality surpassing his wildest hopes and expectation.
And so why should this be any different?”

Monday, December 7, 2009


I'm thrilled to be included in the latest issue of Monkeybicycle's one sentence gems. If you have time, enjoy the read. As always, it's stellar stuff from this magazine. Thank you, Steven Seighman, Founder/Editor.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

elimae still in my air

Meg Pokrass's LOST AND FOUND, a collection of her elimae stories from Bannock Street Books is STUNNING. Everything worked on me: Meg's dazzling work, Coop Renner's gorgeous artwork, and even the author/artist photos beg to be studied and examined.

Did I miss the parade? Why isn't anyone talking about this? Get your copy here. I can't think of a better way to spend $5, unless it is to donate to aid others, like the women and children suffering unthinkable atrocities in Darfur.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

just thinking out loud ...

If we nurture our creative “weirdness,” does it make us weird(er) in general?

If we continue to push and mold language a la Joyce/Beckett/Butler/Lovelace do we devalue or add value to the English language (as opposed to literature) as we know it?

Do we choose what to write about or does it choose us?

How much faster will my eyesight deteriorate because I read so much online?

Why would a writer submit to a magazine and tell the editor that their work probably isn’t a good fit for the magazine, but they thought they’d enjoy the read?

If I write the wish onto my vision board, will someday PANK or Keyhole or Coop Renner publish, and design/paint the cover for, my (chap)book?

Will the next generation write solely in text shorthand/tweets?

If we are what we repeatedly do (Aristotle) why aren’t we all food, or worse?

Why am I blogging more these days than writing/living?

For those of you who’ve wondered: I am real. I do dislike a LOT of writing. Why put my energy there?

If I’m a pacifist, why do I think there should be more golf club-wielding women in the world a la Elin Nordegren?

Why, oh why, can’t we touch the sky? Just once.

Anemone Sidecar

My short "Necessary" is up at Anemone Sidecar, along with Ryan W. Bradley and Greg Gerke and many more. Thank you, Kathryn Rantala, Editor.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Congratulations to Mel Bosworth on his chapbook WHEN THE CATS RAZZED THE CHICKENS & OTHER STORIES.

I received my fine-looking, hand-crafted copy from Folded Word Press, congratulations, Jessi Graustein, Managing Editor. (Thanks, Mel, for your very kind note on my copy :-)

There are twelve works in this collection, and they showcase Mel's range and talents. I liked the shifting style, tone, and mood: funny, flip, irreverent, tender, complex, honest, probing, and moving.

I liked "Sometimes Conditional," which read funny, moving, and honest.

"The Humble Origins of the Milky Way (Boys)" was another standout with a great last line.

Despite the fact that I'm not a beard fan (sorry, Mel!), I do enjoy narrative around objects, and really liked "Xyrophobic Me" -- I enjoyed the imagination here, and again the last line got me.

"Chivalry Lives" -- a fabulous micro, and one of my favorites in the collection.

"The Stumbling Conquistador," centers on issues of identity, a theme that always captures my imagination.

"Leave Me As I Lessen" is a great title, and the fine work behind it is my favorite piece from this collection.

Congratulations again, Mel, and well done. I envy you the feeling of holding this work in your hands.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December elimae

I already feel nostalgic for Cooper Renner as elimae's fiction editor, but am happy and excited for Kim Chinquee. Congratulations, Kim. Coop, I hope the change of guard opens up more doors for you into great spaces.

elimae is elimae and it's unique. I don't always enjoy everything elimae-esque, and even when I do much of the time I can't articulate just why I like what I like from this journal. That being said, there were some standouts for me in the December elimae:

David Peak's "At Home on the Riverbed, a Stream of Silt": This work is far removed from my own writing style, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Nora Nadjarian's "Gardening": This had me at the first line.

Ben Segal's "I Would Kiss Him Back All Over Again Too": Again, a kind of work I don't think I have it in me to write, and that I admired.

Meakin Armstrong's "Watching Our Reflections on TV While We Wait": The suspense and tension here are palpable, and the piece is so open to interpretation that I felt an active participant in the work. Hell, I felt I was right there on that couch. I loved this.

Kimberly Ruth's "Dare": Ditto.

Congratulations to everyone who made it into this outstanding issue, the last (in fiction at least) under Coop Renner's loving and gifted charge.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Today's Guest: Roxane Gay

Blog Entries About Infomercial Products That Somehow Did Not Yield a Book Deal

January 1
I just finished reading Julia to Julia by Julia Powell, a charming book about a woman who decides to cook her way through a Julia Child’s cookbook over the course of a year. I don’t see why I can’t do the same thing only different.

January 7
It came to me while I was watching late night television. For the next year, I’m going to buy infomercial products and write about them and how they affect my life on this blog.

January 19
It’s cold this time of year. It is only fitting that the first product I should write about is the Snuggie. I was skeptical at first—a blanket that keeps your arms warm while you change the channel or walk to the mailbox? That’s the stuff of the future. Still, I ordered my Snuggie and it arrived yesterday. I got the zebra print. It matches the carpet in my living room. As promised, the Snuggie is warm and soft and the sleeves are the cleverest things I ever did see. It is so cozy to snuggle up on the couch wearing my Snuggie, changing the channel without getting goose bumps. And because it is buy one get one free, I gave my boyfriend a matching Snuggie. The look on his face was priceless!

January 28
I’ve been eyeing the Aero Garden for quite some time. Like the Snuggie, it is so futuristic. I live in an apartment but I have a bit of a green thumb. I’ve also been reading a lot lately about eating local, organic food. The Aero Garden is the perfect solution. In a few short weeks, I’ll have fresh produce and herbs with which I’ll be able to make delicious salads. Perhaps this is the start of something greater—kitchen counter farming with an indoor gardening appliance.

February 4
Not much progress yet with my kitchen counter farm. Some green buds have sprouted in the pod but I have yet to see evidence of anything edible. In the meantime, I saw a wonderful infomercial with the Sham Wow guy. He demonstrated the Slap Chop and in the commercial he said, “You’re going to love my nuts,” so of course I had to buy it. My Slap Chop arrived yesterday and since then I’ve been chopping things and putting them into little baggies. At one point, I got so excited, I chopped the tip of my finger. It’s mixed in with some carrot bits. Hopefully, I don’t accidentally eat it. Would that make me a cannibal?

February 11
Is it indelicate of me to discuss body hair? I was in Sally’s Beauty Supply where I found the Smooth Away. I didn’t have to order it over the phone. Huzzah! When I got home, I opened the package, adhered the flex crystal pad to the large applicator and began vigorously rubbing it along my arm. After a few minutes, my arm began to tingle uncomfortably. There was a strange smell. It took quite some time, but eventually I was able to remove all the hair. The skin there has now taken on a grayish tint. I’m very worried about smoothing away more sensitive areas, particularly that place so popular in Brazil.

February 12
Had to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night. It was ill advised to attempt to use Smooth Away between my ass cheeks. I’ve been lying on my stomach all day. I’m fasting because what goes in must come out.

February 19
Still wary of eating solid food. I bought a juicer and have, for the past several days, been juicing all my meals. I don’t recommend juicing pasta with marinara sauce. It has a discomfiting consistency. The kitchen farm is not progressing. The little buds are growing, but slowly. This agrarian project of mine is taking much longer than the instructions indicated. Eating local is harder than I thought. I now understand how hipsters are able to fit in their skinny jeans.

March 1
Did you know there is an As Seen on TV store in the Mall of America? When I heard the news, I got in my car, drove all night, and when I got there, it was like I had been called to the happiest place on earth. I told the salesperson I wanted one of everything. He even helped me carry my bags to my car. It’s true what they say about Minnesota nice.

April 9
I now have a greater understanding of the dangers of opening Pandora’s Box. I bought the Silver Sonic XL, which promises to amplify sound up to 90 feet. My boyfriend, let’s call him Mr. Ex, was on the balcony on the phone while I was in the living room wearing my new toy. I have a small apartment. I’m sure you can imagine the rest. I heard him talking to some skank, saying the filthiest things you could imagine. He also made unkind statements about my mental state, which I assure you, is just fine. The infomercial didn’t warn me that some things can’t be unheard. I’ve had better days, friends.

April 21
Big day today. I decided to soothe my heartache by buying a Sleep Number bed. It was delivered today and even though I have no one with whom to share it, I invited my best friend Sally over. We poured eight or nine glasses of wine, set them on the edges of the bed and started jumping up and down in the middle. Not one of them tipped over. It was just like the commercial said. Afterwards, we drank all the wine and made out. My spirits are much improved.

May 7
I went on a blind date tonight and decided to do a little something different with my hair by using an EZ Comb. My date complimented my hairstyle but later, when he tried to remove the EZ Comb while we were making out, it got tangled in my hair and there was a whole scene. It pretty much killed the mood. The EZ Comb is a total cock blocker.

May 31
Things are looking up! There are signs of life in the Aero Garden. In the meantime, now that I’m single, I have more time to workout. I bought the Thigh Master to improve my leg tone, but as I’m squeezing the contraption, I can’t help but think about how much Mr. Ex would enjoy watching me use it. I miss him.

June 28
It is a dark day, friends. Billy Mays has died. I adored his enthusiasm, the way his signature blue shirt brought out the color of his eyes, and his perfectly trimmed beard. When I called my mom to talk about it she said, “He was probably on drugs.” Don’t worry, gentle readers. I told her, “Mom, that’s simply not possible. Billy Mays isn’t enthusiastic about the products he sells because he’s under the influence. He’s enthusiastic because he believes. He has faith.” Then I hung up on her because she’s a Godless sinner. She’s probably going to burn in hell.

July 2
After a lot of soul searching, I’ve decided to end this blog sooner than I originally planned. Although there are many products still out there for me to try and share with you all, I don’t know how to move forward with this blog in a world without Billy Mays. To be honest, my life hasn’t been so great since I started this blog. I’ve lost my boyfriend. I haven’t been able to harvest anything from my Aero Garden. The Sleep Number bed isn’t that comfortable. I’m still suffering from the effects of that unfortunate incident with the Smooth Away. I haven’t gotten a book and movie deal yet and if it hasn’t happened after seven months, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. I know when to say when. Thanks for reading and in the immortal words of Billy Mays, “Act fast. Time is running out.”

To learn more about Roxane Gay, and read more of her work, go here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Now Read for Hobart Print

and am struck again and again by how "easily" I can see what is, and what isn't, working in others' work, but struggle to evaluate my own stories.

I know time and distance help with objectivity, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to "see" my work the way I can others' -- Is that kind of ease of objectivity ever really possible when evaluating and revising our own work? I've been told by some very fine writers that such wisdom will come, but I don't know ...

I just got a rejection from The Collagist that hurt like a kick, despite the fact that Matt Bell is one gracious guy. I thought this last story would do it. This is my third rejection in the past hour from three excellent journals.

Right now, I could put my head down on my desk and stay there for a long, long time. Instead, I'm going for a long walk in the sunshine with my daughters. With my daughters, at least, I always know I'm in the right place, doing what I'm supposed to be doing.