A Quick Meditation

This is deeply soothing.

Advertisements

Commencement

Assuming a successful thesis defense next week, I’ll graduate from my MFA program in May. Because of this, I’ve become oddly obsessed with reading and listening to commencement speeches. As if by absorbing enough of them, I will magically become equipped to deal with the frustrations, difficulties, and tedium of life outside the cocoon of my program. Programs like mine are not reflective of real life. They are artificial, beautiful places where people’s default is to care about writing. My program spoiled me, paying me to spend three years working on my writing. In May, I will leave that cocoon. I have a lot of anxiety about that – hence, the commencement speeches.

Here are some of my favorites:

Marianne Boruch at Purdue

Neil Gaiman at The University of the Arts

DFW at Kenyon College

End-of-Summer Update

18-theMOONcard

Paulina Cassidy’s beautiful tarot deck

Life-related stuff:

+ This summer I’ve spent too much money on Etsy. Favorite shops: The Vintage Mistress, ChainChainChained, Bolted Vintage, Everyday is like Halloween, Ella Dolce.

+ I taught creative writing to gifted kids for three weeks, and learned – much to my surprise – I really like 5th and 6th graders. They are so engaged and excited and haven’t absorbed the self-consciousness that will probably plague them throughout adolescence.

+ I read some amazing books. Favorites: House of Leaves (OMG, that book!), The Phantom Prince (Ted Bundy’s Former Girlfriend Tells All!), Periods in Popular Culture, Evil Genes (best book I’ve ever read about psychopathy, nature vs. nurture, and evil), When Women Were Birds (beautiful).

+ I decided to start collecting tarot cards and am coveting these decks: Paulina Tarot, The Deck of the Bastard, Lenormand.

+ My mom visited for a week in July, and we watched way too many episodes of Top Chef and the Real Housewives. We also guffawed over The Hotwives of Orlando.

+ I got really obsessed with fountain pens.

Writing-related stuff:

+ I have a story in the summer issue of Midwestern Gothic (swoon!), and they interviewed me about writing, burgers, and the Midwest for their blog.

+ Narrative Magazine posted my story as Story of the Week in early August.

Mother’s Day Reading

It’s wonderful to celebrate all the mothers out there, but it’s also important to consider those who are not mothers (either by choice or circumstance), those who have lost their mothers, those who have lost children, or those who aren’t close with their biological mothers and have created a chosen family.

These pieces explore different aspects of motherhood, and I promise they will give you all the feels.

Christine Hennessey’s excellent creative nonfiction piece, “Hatchling,” explores her ambivalence to motherhood as she hatches her first chickens.

Lindsey Gates-Markel’s lovely short story, “Bring it on Home to Me,” shows a couple with conflicting feelings about parenthood.

Ruth Margalit’s essay, “The Unmothered,” gives us Mother’s Day from the perspective of someone who has lost their mother.

Ariel Levy’s heartbreaking and gorgeous essay, “Thanksgiving in Mongolia,” talks about losing her baby while traveling abroad.

 

Hedgehog Love

I’ve had Beatrix for a few weeks, and it’s now safe to say I’m obsessed with her.

She enjoys burrowing into my clothing, climbing me, and trying to nest in my hair.

Her favorite activities are running on her wheel, eating mealworms, and burrowing under towels. She also likes cuddling in the crook of my arm after her bath.

Hedgehogs are odd pets, though. They haven’t been domesticated for very long, so they’re naturally cautious of humans. Although Beatrix is becoming more comfortable around me, she still gets scared and often rolls herself into a ball, Sonic-the-hedgehog-style.