World-Building

I started gradually rejoining the online world in 2016, after about two years away. I’d spent the six years before that being an unbearable Pollyanna, trying to get everyone to have interactions where we could find common ground and have Meaningful Discussions and for shit’s sake stop calling each other evil. I’d exhausted myself by…

Recovering

It’s been a bad time. No one had a good year in 2020, but I have to say I had a particularly bad one. My husband and I split in August, so I moved back to Texas to live with family. Because of the move, I got behind in my classes, and then my mental…

Ways of Seeing

The act of creating a story is foreign to me. I’m both awed and baffled by people who can just decide, out of their own brains, that this is what should happen in a story, this is what this character would do. I don’t know how to create a story. What I do know is how to see the story that…

Updates

We moved! From Texas to Utah. It’s a two-day drive, unless you drive overnight, which we didn’t because we don’t hate ourselves (at least no more than people who make themselves drive from Texas to Utah hate themselves; it is not a fun drive). I listened to Amy Chozick’s Chasing Hillary on the drive, finishing it…

No two people are not on fire

No one should have to handle YA all at once. In general, I disagree with the claim that the genre is “getting too dark”—the real world is pretty fucking dark and teenagers have to deal with that just as much as adults do, with fewer resources. But as a cataloger for a public library, I…

We shall have to be philosophers, Mary

Most adults accept the world as a matter of course. This is precisely where philosophers are a notable exception. A philosopher never gets quite used to the world. To him or her, the world continues to seem a bit unreasonable—bewildering, even enigmatic. Philosophers and small children thus have an important faculty in common. You might…

Fast Forwarding

I’ve always been a completionist. I cannot stand starting a series anywhere but the absolute beginning (one reason it was so difficult for me to break into the world of comics), and once I start something, I have a strong need to finish it. So it is pretty crazy for me to tell you that…

“To be able to perform music for yourself is a wonderful thing.”

Written Saturday, April 16, 2011, while staying with my family. This morning I’m reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and listening to my brother downstairs playing the piano. I’ve always been jealous of his skill. I taught myself to play the piano as a kid, and had only a month or two of lessons in high school….

Things that are just about too much for me right now:

Accidentally reading internet comments. I’ve long had a personal rule against doing so, and I’m almost always good about it, because I know how much I genuinely do not want to know what the general public has to say on literally any topic. And yet somehow, I ended up reading an entire stomach-wrenching thread about Lena Dunham’s recent…

Part Three: Scream Into the Roaring Waves

And for all the things I can’t get enough of, there is too much of what should not be at all. There is too much wrong for one world. The more I read, the more injustice I discover, and it seems like I can’t pick up a book anymore without uncovering a whole new field…

Part Two: Too Much/Not Enough

There is too much world for one person. There is too much to experience, and I’m interested in so much of it. I have tried to learn so many languages, and I still want to learn so many more. I play piano and bass clarinet, but haven’t played either in years. I’ve attempted to learn the…

Part One: I Can Never Catch Up

I think if I could have an entire year in which, except for the passage of the year itself, time didn’t move—ignore the paradox, just let your imagination make it work—maybe then I could catch up on everything. I’m annoyed that it’s January 15 and I haven’t finished my end-of-2017 posts. I did finally manage…

A World That Is Disappointing Us Every Single Day

A little while ago I read a great interview with Bob Odenkirk. When asked if he thought of himself as a cynical person, this is what he said: Most people who are described as cynical are truly not. They’re idealists, and the cynical points of view that they espouse are literally their idealistic mentalities reacting…

True Colors

Memory: I have, at this point, pretty much gotten over the loss of all my closest college friends. But it never fails that hearing that Phil Collins song recalls some of my most vulnerable and painful memories. We used to play the board game called True Colors, and I was almost never the one people…

Hopes and Fears . . . Under the Iron Sea

Memory: Songs from these albums make me think of walking around the neighborhood next to Lakeside Village, pushing Liron in his stroller, loving the quiet streets with weird flowers and stop sign graffiti. Fall 2010.  

Perfect Blue Buildings

Memories: All the most beautiful parts of Salt Lake City, particularly Sugar House and the bookstores there. The Counting Crows concert. That period when I was talking to my cousin Sara a lot. Autumn.  

Supplication to the Gods of Television

A show where people watch The Joy of Painting and try to do what Bob Ross does. They should probably be drinking; in fact, the source material lends itself perfectly to a drinking game. Take a drink anytime he paints the indication of something, creates the illusion of something, or tells the audience they get…

Supernova

I feel like I’m imploding in slow motion. Like for the first 25 years of my life, I had this exoskeleton, a shell that forced me into an unnatural shape but was somehow propping me up as well. And then I blew it up, and the explosion gave me momentum for a few years, but…

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live

The world is such an upsetting place. I’ve been reading a book about the billionaires who control American politics, and I just read about the case in 1996 when a Koch Industries pipeline exploded and burned two teenagers to death. I was thinking about the parents, and the unbelievable amount that was awarded to them—$296…

Chin Up, Claws Out

I went to the Women’s March in Austin, and it was the most okay I have felt since November. It was an amazing day, and I drained my phone’s entire battery in a few hours because I couldn’t stop taking pictures. The diversity, the signs, the almost 50,000 people. Seeing my sweet nieces holding up…

Things To Do

Take kung fu, tai chi, or another martial art. Go to ladies night at the comic book store. Go to the last Thursday book group at Deep Vellum.  Join the feminism and social justice book club I was just invited to. Hang out with friends on my own; doesn’t always have to be with Mike….

Looking Up Through the Leaves

I just had the most beautiful flash of a memory from childhood—that time around sixth or seventh grade, before you’ve totally grown out of your actual child-ness and into a teenager. I was in the backyard of the house we lived in when we first moved to Texas. Our backyard was an acre, the front…

The Possibility of Up

It hasn’t been a great time for me lately, but if some things that it seems are going to work out will in fact work out, then I think a lot could change in the next few months. I’m not a fan of baseless optimism, but in this case, the circumstances are such that it…

Matilda, Mara Wilson, and Me

I started out writing this as a review for my book blog, but it turned into (1) a pretty personal post that is also (2) not at all a review. I know I have severe anxiety, but I hadn’t realized how many specific things I would have in common with Wilson. Not being in a great…

Hurdles, Obstacles, and Other Metaphors for How Life Sucks

It doesn’t seem like any of it should be this complicated. All I want is to live somewhere comfortable, do things I care about, and see parts of the world other than the place I grew up. I’m pretty sure this is all a lot of people want. How can it be so hard? I…

Lately

I’m trying to think of something more ridiculous than having months-long writer’s block on a blog about your own life, but the only contenders are the fact that it’s taken me probably ten minutes and twice as many rewrites to compose this garbage sentence, and Donald Trump (but that was a given). God, I hate…

Re: FWD: don’t read this unless you’re bored

Remember those email surveys we used to do in the 90s and early 2000s? I did several the summer before my freshman year of college, when my future roommate and I had gotten each other’s names from the admissions office and were trying to get a sense of the person we’d be living with in the…

Get Your Shit Together, Facebook

This year is the tenth anniversary of the last summer I had with my friends in college. It was the last one before we all started dating the people we ended up marrying, and since I was Mormon at the time, that meant it was the last summer before all my guy friends just suddenly…